Last Sunday was a beautiful day. I talked my husband into taking a ride up tp Mentone and Little River Canyon -sites of some haunted places I’ve been researching lately. I have always loved Mentone- it is in its own little world up there on the Mountain- with quaint little restarants and shops.
First, we visted the site of the Mentone Springs hotel. It burned March 1, 2014, taking a huge part of our hearts and memories with it. The Grand Old Queen of Mentone, she sat high on a hill watching over the town for 130 years. I had heard stories that one of the rooms was haunted by a woman. I have yet to hear the full story. (If you know it, contact me, please!)
We quietly walked among her ruins. There were no words for a loss like that.
Next, we headed out to DeSoto Falls. A part of the DeSoto State park (but located about 7 miles from the main park) this is one of the most beautiful waterfalls around. It takes your breath away. I was hoping we’d have a sighting of Granny Dollar and Buster- the spirit of a Native American woman and her dog. Granny Dollar was 105 years old when she died in 1931. (Buster was 20.) Upon her death, the money she had saved for her tombstone was stolen. The story circulated that she walked the area of the falls and her cabin seeking justice. We tried to find the cabin, but no luck. I hope to go back soon and try again. The full story of Granny and Buster will be in my book. She ws an amazing woman and lived quite an interesting life.
Even without Granny Dollar and Buster, the falls were a sight to behold.
Next stop, Little River Canyon National Preserve. The largest canyon east of the Mississippi, The Canyon was made a National Preserve in 1992. The Canyon Rim Drive is a must -see with breath-taking views and one of the cleaniest rivers in the USA.
The Canyon is supposedly haunted. Visitors report hearing chants and otherwordly songs coming from somewhere deep in the canyon. I’d love to talk to someone who has heard them.
Eberhart Point on the Canyon rim is also the site of what once was Canyon Land Park. Though little-known outside the area, Canon Land is a favorite memory of all who grew up in this corner of the south. (Who could forget a chair lift that took you over the edge and DOWN IN TO the canyon?!) I still remember being scared of that thing.
A place like Canyon Land would never survive in today’s safety- concious , lawsuit- laden society- the sky lift going down into the canyon, swimming and picnicing in the river below… We 70’s kids were a tougher bunch, I guess. We thought the place was just GRAND! There was also a zoo and campground in addition to the rides.
Today, Canyon Land lies deserted and quiet, a few remnants left here and there to remind us of what once was a summertime tradition. A For Sale sign stands out front. (Anyone want to buy your own amusement park?!)
Stories abound that, when the Park closed in 1982, the zoo animals were turned out into the wild. There have been sightings of cheetahs, chimpanzees, and other exotic animals in the woods surrounding the canyon.
There is also an obscure tale of a ghost that haunts one of the old buildings . I’ve been chasing that tale for a while now, though, and come up with dead ends.
Haunted or not, Cloudland Canyon Park is a huge part of our growing up years. (I am going to keep on hunting the story of that ghost…)
If you have any memories or tales from therse places (or others in the area) please comment or send me an email. I’d love to hear from you!