Legends of the Appalachian Mountains

Legends of the Appalachian Mountains

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The Appalachian region is home to numerous spooky tales, the most famous of these are Mothman, the Flatwoods Monster, Bigfoot, the Brown Mountain Lights, and the Bell Witch, as well as lots of ghost and UFO stories.

The Appalachians: Fertile ground for strange activity

Running from southeastern Canada all the way to central Alabama, the Appalachian Mountains are linked with a variety of terrifying tales.

The Appalachian region in the United States reaches over portions of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama.

Stretching from the island of Newfoundland, the mountain range varies from 100 to 300 miles wide covers some 1,500 miles all the way to Alabama. These mountains average 3,000 feet, with the highest being Mount Mitchell in North Carolina at 6,684 feet, which is also the highest point in the US east of the Mississippi River.

This terrain gives creatures plenty of places to hide and exist away from the busyness of human activity. But paths do cross, and the result has been a number of stories of strange encounters that have become legendary.

The weird, spooky tales of the Appalachians

Here are a few of the most famous tales that have occurred in the Appalachian region.

The Bell Witch haunting

One of the oldest tales of the region is that of the Bell Witch Haunting, occurring in 1817 when farmers John and Lucy Bell of Adams, Tennessee began experiencing odd and unexplainable occurrences in their homes. The mostly invisible entity was able to speak, shapeshift and affect the physical environment. Even General and future President Andrew Jackson visited the farm upon hearing about the events. The event has been profiled in a number of films, including An American Haunting.


In Pleasant Point, West Virginia on November 12, 1966, the first sighting of Mothman occurred. The community was shocked by an article in the point Pleasant register four days later entitled: “Couple Sees Man-sized Bird…Creature…Something.” The creature was described as a “large flying man with 10-foot wings” and eyes that “glowed red. The story went national in the legend was set. Numerous sightings would continue, particularly over the next year.

The Greenbrier Ghost

In West Virginia, the story of The Greenbrier Ghost has the distinction of being the only one documented in a court case. It concerns a young woman who was murdered in 1897. The ghost of Zona Heaster supposedly appeared outside the logging town of Rainelle, WV, public broadcasting reports.

Other famous terrifying tales of Appalachia

Some of the other famous stories associated with Appalachia include:

Bigfoot: Ape-man creature.

The Brown Mountain Lights: Strange orb-like lights first seen in 1913. Are they UFOs or something else?

The Moon-Eyed People: Ancient Cherokee tale of a race they say existed even before Cherokees moved to the area.

The Flatwoods Monster: Monster that emerged from UFO in 1952.

The West Virginia Ghost Train: Locomotive that mysteriously disappeared.