Sunday, July 14, 2024

Great Smoky Mountains: Mysteries & Legends Of The Appalachian Trail

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The Great Smoky Mountains are an iconic mountain range and a popular tourist destination for hiking, camping and sightseeing. Sitting on the Tennessee-North Carolina border, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited park in the country. What lies beyond the rolling fog, flowers, and birds? 

Great Smoky Mountains are also home to mysterious legends and captivating tales that go far beyond the natural beauty. Here is a look at some of the most intriguing mysteries and legends of the Great Smoky Mountains Appalachian Trail.

History of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The rich history of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park dates back to the days of early settlers. In the 1800s, many Native American tribes, including the Cherokee and Catawba, inhabited the area, leaving behind a variety of cultural attractions. In the mid 1800s, Tennessee and North Carolina began cultivating farmland, and by the late 1800s, logging operations began to take over the region.

In the 1900s, the local inhabitants began to petition for the establishment of a national park to protect the land and its biodiversity. In 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the legislation that would create the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Today, the park covers more than 500,000 acres of preserved land and is a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site.

Mysterious Legends & Lore of the Great Smoky Mountains

The Great Smoky Mountains are shrouded in mystery and folklore. These tales and stories are full of bears, dragons, ghosts, and specters, which makes the mountains an even more enchanting place to explore.

Mysterious Bears

In the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most famous mystery of all is that of the mysterious “White Bears”. Commonly believed to be albino bears, these mysterious creatures are said to roam the mountains and woods of the park. While no one has yet to actually spot one of these creatures, reports of white-furred bears have been made as far back as the 1900s.

Ghostly Voices

The mysterious white bears aren’t the only strange phenomenon that has been sighted in the park. On the Cades Cove Loop, a popular driving route through the park, visitors often report hearing mysterious voices. Locals refer to these voices as the “voices of the dead”. While it’s unclear who these voices belong to, some locals believe they’re the spirits of settlers from the 1800s who tragically died in fires or were victims of disease.

The Dragon of Shuckstack

One of the wildest mysteries of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the legend of the dragon of Shuckstack. This giant fire-breathing creature is said to guard the peak of the mountain. According to legend, the dragon was sent by the Cherokee to protect the mountain from outsiders. It is said that the dragon became enraged at the arrival of settlers and unleashed a torrent of fire and smoke upon them. Despite being a mythical creature, locals and visitors alike claim to have seen the dragon, so keep your eyes open if you take a trip to Shuckstack!

Mysterious Lights

On the Elkmont area of the Great Smoky Mountains, visitors may report seeing mysterious lights. Allegedly, these lights appear in the darkness and quickly disappear, sometimes forming in the sky in geometric shapes. It is not known what causes these mysterious lights, but locals believe they may be the spirits of former residents whose homes were destroyed when the park was established.

Hauntings Of The Park

If you really want to get in touch with the mysterious side of the park, then you will want to visit some of the allegedly haunted sites. One of the most haunted places in the park is the Elkmont Hotel, which was originally built in 1910. The old hotel is said to be haunted by the ghost of a woman whose husband died on the premises. She is said to haunt the hotel in search of her beloved.

Another famously haunted spot is the Noah “Bud” Ogle farmhouse. Ogle is said to have been cursed by a Cherokee shaman and to have been haunted by a phantom dog. The Ogle farmhouse is open to visitors and can be explored. Legend has it that if you whistle as you walk past, you will call the phantom dog to you.

Specters & Spirits of the Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail is another area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that is said to be home to specters and spirits from the past. The most famous of these is the “ghost of Rocky Top”. This figure is said to appear in the form of a mist or fog on top of Rocky Top mountain during foggy weather or at night. Those who claim to have seen it often describe it as an otherworldly mist. Some believe it is the spirit of an old Cherokee chief that was driven away by the settlers.

The Shelton Grave is another haunted spot on the Appalachian Trail. The grave is said to be home to the spirit of a woman who was brutally murdered by her husband in the 1800s. The legend states that if you stand on the grave and call out her name, three times, she will come out and haunt you.

The mysteries and legends of the Great Smoky Mountains are steeped in history and folklore. Whether you choose to explore the mystical side of the mountains via a guided ghost tour or set out to explore on your own, you are sure to encounter stories of mysterious creatures, spooky specters, and haunted sights. The mysteries and legends of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are a captivating part of the allure of the Appalachian Trail.

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