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.
For several years, folklorists Randy Russell and Janet Barnett have taught a course about Southern folklore at the North Carolina Center for Advancement of Teaching in Cullowhee, North Carolina. Russell is also the author of several mysteries, including Edgar Award nominee Hot Wire. They live in Asheville, North Carolina.