And then she went missing.
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Largay had gone off the path to relieve herself and never found her way back, joining the ranks of hikers who have disappeared on the Appalachian Trail. She survived 26 days before passing in her sleeping bag due to starvation and exposure to the elements.
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In mid-July, things took a turn for the worse. Because the trail became increasingly remote, George wasn't able to meet his wife until three days and nights passed; he parked at Route 27 and waited for her. On July 22, Largay stepped off the trail to go to the bathroom. Unable to find her way back, she tried to text her husband, but there was no reception.
George waited in the parking lot for her, even spending the night in his car. But the next day, he knew something was wrong and reported Largay missing. Bluegrass songs claim that the lights are the ghost of a slave searching for his lost master. Popular Native American folklore says that a bloody battle between the Cherokee and Catawba tribes took place on the mountain.
Many lives were lost. The lights, claim the legend, are the ghosts of grieving women still searching the mountainside for the bodies of fallen warriors. But not every story of the Brown Mountain Lights is steeped in superstition.
In July the Charlotte Observer reported that Forest Service officers had reported close-up encounters on the mountain with beach ball sized orbs that floated by and then vanished. Though scientists have not been able to determine what causes the lights, ball lightning and naturally occurring mountain gases are two widely accepted theories. If you want to find out for yourself, the best time to see the Brown Mountain Lights is September through early November. The City of Morganton, North Carolina even recently helped to improve the Brown Mountain Overlook on North Carolina Highway for the purpose of attracting curious visitors hoping to catch a glimpse of the ghost lights.
Back in , Point Pleasant, West Virginia—located at the confluence of the Ohio and Kanawha Rivers—was a sleepy town of a couple thousand people. But it was rocked by an unidentifiable visitor on November 12, , when gravediggers at a cemetery in Clendenin, West Virginia, about 80 miles from Point Pleasant, claimed to see a man with wings lift off from a tree and fly over their heads. They were so spooked by their experience that they went directly to the police. Newspapers dubbed the creature Mothman. The national press picked up the story, and Mothman became a sensation.
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Over the following week, there were at least 8 more reported sightings in and around Point Pleasant of a man-like bird with large wings. Others refuted the sightings, believing that residents of Point Pleasant were actually seeing a sandhill crane that had wandered out of its normal migration route.
Born and raised in town, Wamsley was only five years old when the Mothman showed up and began terrorizing his neighbors. Over the following year, the oddities continued. And the Mothman sightings continued. Then, ten days before Christmas in , tragedy struck. While the Silver Bridge that connected Point Pleasant to Gallipolis, Ohio was teeming with rush-hour traffic, the bridge collapsed, killing 46 people.
Reportedly, some claimed to have seen the Mothman at the bridge shortly before its collapse and believed its presence was a harbinger of doom. For his part, Wamsley does believe that the people of Point Pleasant encountered something out of the ordinary. According to Cherokee legend, long ago, before the Cherokee moved into the Smokies , there was a race of small, bearded white men who lived in the mountains. Because they could only see in the dark, the Cherokee called them the Moon-Eyed People. Some believe they were descendants of a small group of Welshmen who came to America long before the Spanish and settled in the Smoky Mountains around As the legend goes, the Moon-Eyed People eventually abandoned their home—or were driven from it—and traveled west, never to be seen again.
enter site The soapstone statue is inches tall and weighs pounds. In the latest episode of Inside Appalachia, Jessica Lilly and Roxy Todd talk to writers and folklorists who share their favorite West Virginia spooky story. Listen Listening Nothing says Halloween quite like wrapping up in toilet paper and dressing as a mummy.
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Alderson Broaddus University student Marcus Hardinger recently visited the Barbour County historical museum to find out the story behind the town's mummies. The museum is open through Halloween. Subscribe to the Inside Appalachia podcast. Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston.