The forest covered ridges and the crop abounding lowlands of the Appalachian mountains are a sight worthy of any bucket list. Thousands of hikers each year take to the trails to discover some of the most beautiful sights anywhere in North America. While the beauty of the snow capped mountains or the far-reaching horizon appeals to hikers by day, there’s also innumerable stories of paranormal activity that attracts visitors at night.
Tales of cryptids, the otherworldly, and of supernatural origin have the Appalachian mountains inundated with sightings of Bigfoot, the Flatwoods Monster, UFO’s, the Mothman and a deluge of ghostly hauntings.
Hauntings at Harpers Ferry
In the surrounding area, you’ll come across the small historic town of Harpers Ferry, situated in West Virginia. The well restored 19th century buildings pull in tens of thousands of tourists each year. The historical and cosy appeal of the town makes Harpers Ferry a perfect retreat for city folk, but to locals, it’s also the most haunted town in the state.
Harpers Ferry might only be a small town, but it played a big role in history. The area is littered with battlegrounds and the memories of previous struggles.
The abolitionist John Brown launched an unsuccessful anti-slavery raid on the town’s arsenal in 1859. He was caught, and executed on 2nd December 1859.
The town was also heavily fought over in the civil war, with the confederate forces led by Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson being victorious in 1862. The town had suffered heavily in the siege however, with over 12,000 estimated casualties.
The tumultuous events of the town’s history have made it a hotbed of ghostly sightings. From phantom armies, the ghosts of Dangerfield Newby and Screaming Jenny, to the ghost of the famed abolitionist John Brown himself, who is seen walking the streets of Harpers Ferry at night. If you’re a fan of the paranormal, a visit to Harpers Ferry is a must.
The Origins of the Mothman
In 1966, residents living in the small town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia, witnessed a terrifying eight-foot tall humanoid-looking figure, with large “demon” wings and penetrating red eyes.
The book researched and composed by John A Keel entitled “The Mothman Prophecies”, brought more international attention to the story, and also inspired the Richard Gere movie by the same name.
Since the original sightings of the so-called Mothman, hundreds of new eyewitness reports have flooded the internet, with sightings even further afield than Point Pleasant.
The Mothman Museum and statue in the town attract thousands of visitors each year.
The Brown Mountain Lights
While the Appalachian regions are home to countless stories of ghosts and cryptids, there’s also other stories that have baffled and intrigued locals over the years, such as the Brown Mountain Lights of Burke County, North Carolina.
Throughout the years the story of these mysterious lights has changed slightly. The more prominent however, was told by the native Cherokee people, who claim the lights are the souls of women searching for their husbands, which were killed in a battle that took place on the Brown Mountain.
One main comparison in each telling of the story however, is that the lights represent the souls of those who went out into the Pisgah National Forest searching for missing people – themselves never to return.
The Bell Witch
No region so abundant with paranormal activity would be complete without witchcraft. The Bell Witch is one of the most famous stories of witchcraft in North America.
A successful farmer – John Bell and his family decided to move from their home in North Carolina to start anew in Tennessee. Excited by the prospects of their new life, the Bells soon settled into their new home and began to operate as before.
The excitement was short lived. The Bell family became the subjects of numerous mysterious happenings that occurred over a several year period. Firstly, in 1817 John Bell claimed to have seen a strange creature out in the fields. Shortly after, the family reported experiencing poltergeist-like activity in the house. They were being pinched by some unseen force, hearing disembodied voices and family members were falling ill. This unseen force which later became known as the Bell Witch, seemed to primarily focus their attacks on John and his daughter Betsy.
The witch’s attacks became so prominent that Betsy decided to call off her engagement, and John Bell is said to have died from poisoning that was actually carried out by the Bell Witch.
The Flatwoods Monster
One of the more alluring attributes of small-town living is the stories that are handed down by locals.
The story of the Flatwoods Monster takes us back to West Virginia, to a small village which at the time had a population of just 300 people. Though largely unknown to many, the small village of Flatwoods now hosts thousands of tourists each year.
Tourists arrive with the intentions of gaining a glimpse into the Appalachian origins of the now world-famous Flatwoods Monster.
Brothers Ed and Freddie May were out playing in the school-yard, when together with their friend Tommy Hyer, they witnessed a red light dart across the sky, only to crash land in a nearby farm. Terrified, Ed and his brother Freddie ran home to get their mother. The three of them made their way up to the farm to investigate the site of the crash.
A few other local boys also arrived to investigate. To their horror, they recounted seeing a “10-foot Frankenstein-like monster” in the Flatwoods hills. The protruding creature with its blood-red body and glowing green face engulfed in a thick mist was a sight unlike any other. Witnesses also claimed that it looked as though the Flatwoods Monster had claw-like hands.
The Appalachian regions are plentiful with stories of paranormal activity. Some of the most interesting and famous cases anywhere in the world originate here, from the small towns, villages, and vast mountainous regions.