Chills & Thrills in Transylvania County
With the Halloween season almost upon us, the Adventurist thought you might enjoy hearing about some of the spooky legends of Transylvania County. As Halloween approaches, we recomend you share these local stories around a campfire deep in the woods. And be sure to rustle up some s’mores to comfort your jangly nerves as you ponder those mysterious shadows that seem to be dancing out there in the darkness, just beyond the light cast by the flickering flames…
The Legend of Tommy Hodges
Transylvania County’s most famous, still unsolved case involves a young forestry student at the old Biltmore School (now the Cradle of Forestry) by the name of Tommy Hodges. The young man went missing one night, under mysterious circumstances, and was never found again. Every year, the Cradle of Forestry in Pisgah National Forest recreates this tale with an interactive, theatrical experience that invites audiences to truly become part of the tale. To find out the facts on Tommy Hodges and develop your own theories about what happened to him, direct your investigation here.
The Headless Man of Williamson Creek
Sometime during the Civil War, a group of Union soldiers were discovered camping alongside Williamson Creek near Brevard. Nearby Confederate officers were sent to investigate, and upon seeing the men, killed them. One of the soldiers was decapitated and when the bodies were buried, they could not find the head. Not long after that, locals began reporting mysterious sounds and occasional sightings of a headless man near Glen Cannon Falls at night. He roamed the creekside, mourning his fallen comrades and searching for his missing head.
(If you would like to spend some time exploring the more charming ambiance of Brevard, get details on our more family-friendly museums here.)
The Hanging Tree of Pisgah Forest
Back in the old days, a farmer’s son from Pisgah Forest met and fell in love with a beautiful rich young woman recently arrived from Florida. Though many local young men vied for her affections, she gave her heart to the farmer’s son, and they secretly courted for a year or so and intended to wed. But the farmer’s son was rudely denied when he went to the girl’s father to ask for her hand in marriage. He was poor, not good enough in her father’s eyes, and thus was ordered to drop his pursuit and stay well away. One night the father discovered his daughter was missing, and he went out into the forest to search for her. He found the two lovers kissing beneath a maple tree. So enraged was the father, he unholstered his gun and tried to shoot the farmer’s son, but at the last minute, his daughter jumped in front of her lover. She took the bullet to save his life. Though she begged in her dying breath to spare the farmer’s son, her father was enraged. He ordered the young man hung from that very tree, over his own daughter’s grave. They say sometimes you can still see the figure of the two lovers, intertwined forever beneath the branches of that maple tree.
The Mysterious Beast
In the upper end of Transylvania County between Balsam Grove and Wolf Lake, there is a rock in the mountainside mysteriously printed with hundreds of hoof prints of different shapes and sizes. They say if you approach it at night, you will hear chanting and screams coming from the stone.
(If you would like to know more about the upper end of Transylvania County, check out the Historic Toxaway website.)
The Horned Creature Of Cedar Mountain
A young hunter and his dog stopped for water near a quarry in Cedar Mountain. When he saw his dog’s hackles rise, the hunter rose from the pond and saw a mysterious creature standing across the water. This creature had the horns of a goat, the head of a lion, the body of a bear and hooves like a horse. He took aim, shot the creature, and loaded it into the back of his truck to show off his rare prey. But on the third night, the creature disappeared. Some say it was stolen by a spiteful hunter. Others say that it can still be seen roaming the forests.
(While you might not want to go looking for the Horned Creature, the friendly, fun community of Cedar Mountain is worth the effort to get to. Get the inside scoop here.)
This imposing Blue Ridge Parkway landmark wows visitors with its massive crags and stunning views. Traditional Cherokee folklore has it that Devil’s Courthouse is the home of a giant, devilish lord of the hunt, known as Tsul’kălû’ or Judaculla. He was said to reside in a cave below, where he held court and hosted dances. You can find Devil’s Courthouse at Milepost 422.4 on the Blue Ridge Parkway at an elevation of 5,720 feet.
(To learn more about Cherokee History in Transylvania County click here.)
Of course, scary stories aren’t the only way to scratch your Halloween itch. Transylvania County is ground zero for some of the spookiest, trick-or-treat-iest, family-friendliest Halloween action around, most notably Heart of Brevard’s Halloweenfest. Get all the details right here.