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Mountain Ghost Stories and Curious Tales of Western North Carolina

Randy Russell and Janet Barnett

John F. Blair, Publisher
$14.95 hardcover
5 ½ x 8    
109 pages

For centuries, the mountains of western North Carolina have inspired wonder and awe. It was only natural that man, after gazing at such scenic wonders, would turn some of the mystery he felt into legend. Sometimes these legends attempted to explain natural phenomena, sometimes they attempted to explain an occurrence that appeared to be supernatural, and sometimes they grew up around the eccentric characters that were drawn to the isolation of these mysterious hills.

This collection of eighteen stories presents some of the mystery and awe that the mountains convey, and it may alter your perception of the Blue Ridge and Smoky mountains forever. You may never stand atop Roan Mountain during a storm without thinking you hear a ghostly choir. You may gaze at the top of Chimney Rock during a hazy summer afternoon and wonder if it really is a ghostly cavalry fight you see. If you spend the night near High Hampton, you may find yourself listening for the call of the lonesome white owl. If you stand at Wiseman's View, you will probably think that you, too, can see the Brown Mountain Lights. Standing atop Clingman's Dome, you may wonder if there really is an enchanted lake where animals flock to heal their wounds somewhere in the valley below. And you will always wonder if the fly you hear on your mountain walk means that Spearfinger is lurking nearby.

Locations and settings included in Mountain Ghost Stories:

  • Rutherfordton
  • Rumbling Bald Mountain
  • Hickory Nut Gap
  • Chimney Rock
  • Cashiers
  • Whiteside Mountain
  • Highlands
  • Judaculla Rock
  • Eagle Nest Mountain
  • Franklin
  • Nantahala Gorge
  • Clingman’s Dome
  • Big Bald Mountain
  • Roan Mountain
  • Grandfather Mountain
  • Gingercake Mountain
  • Brown Mountain
  • Blowing Rock


“Things that go bump in the mountains at night are things that growl and bite! The best sense of setting in a folklore book that I have ever read. Makes the mountains of North Carolina seem like the only place in America you want to visit on your next vacation. The story of the Spearfinger Witch alone is worth the price of this well-researched book by a husband and wife who spent their honeymoon kicking around the N.C. hills, listening to ghost stories as they are still told today. Terrific fun.”
Amazon.com reviewer
“I found this book in a small bookstore in Highlands many years ago in my travels through North Carolina. I found it to be a warm collection of good old-fashioned bedside stories to capture your interest. I really enjoyed these unusual tales of the region, including a favorite ‘X Marks the Spot’ which covers the unusual circumstances behind the establishment of Highlands, North Carolina. All in all, this collection is definitely enjoyable, and you will find it to be a great book to have around for a quick read before bedtime. The stories are short, but very interesting and will spark your curiosity and imagination about the wonderful mountains of this beautiful state. I truly enjoyed it.”
Amazon.com reviewer
“I am a ten year old and enjoyed this book! I suggest you read it! It is horrifying, but it is enjoyable. Read it!”
Amazon.com reviewer