Native American Hauntings, Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina

The Phantom Battle

The Darker Side of the Pisgah National Forest

The state of North Carolina is one of the thirteen original colonies. Located on the east coast of the United States it is well noted for its beauty and temperate climate. Whether you are by the sea enjoying the sunset or trekking through the mountain regions there are sights you will never forget.

Welcome sign as you're entering the Pisgah National Forest. Photo by Christa Thompson

Welcome sign as you’re entering the Pisgah National Forest. Photo by Christa Thompson

Western North Carolina with its Blue Ridge Mountains is a land of mystery with the Pisgah National Forest being known for one of the most haunted regions in the nation. In times long past the Cherokee and the Catawba battled fiercely with each other over the ownership of these mountains. The white settlers were becoming more and more prominent within these lands cutting off trails and hunting lands the Indians had used for centuries.

In the 1800’s the woodlands of these hills were still a hunters dream. It was the day of the full moon on a chilly October morning when a local farmer living in the foothills of the Pisgah Mountain range gathered his hunting dogs and headed for the top of the ridge known as Pisgah Ledge. It was well known for an abundance of wild life. After a full day of running his dogs he had nothing to show for his efforts and returned home empty handed.

The vista from Darkside Cliffs Trail 272 in the Wilson Creek Wilderness Area of Pisgah National Forest. Photo by Christa Thompson

The vista from Darkside Cliffs Trail 272 in the Wilson Creek Wilderness Area of Pisgah National Forest. Photo by Christa Thompson

The farmer visited his brother the next day and told him of his hunting trip. Together they made plans to hunt along the banks of the French Broad River for raccoon and possibly a deer to help feed their families. Packing their guns and other necessities for the hunt they rose early on the morning of October and journeyed some miles away to camp along the waters of the French Broad River.

The first day of hunting brought joy to both men for the game was plentiful and they had more meat than they had dreamed possible. It was decided the men would hunt that night for a few raccoon to add to their bounty and then make their way back home.

Again the hunt was successful and the two men returned to their camp before midnight. By the light of their camp fire they ate and reveled in the tales of their hunt. They had planned to leave by the first light of dawn and return home. In the wee hours of the morning the two men were awakened shivering beneath their blankets; their fire cold and dead.

The view of Linville Falls from Chimney View. You can take a 3/4 mile strenuous hike down to the base of the river where you are rewarded by up close rack face walls, giant boulder hopping, and a perfect place to have a lunch. I have made this hike twice, it's gnarly but awesome. Photo by Christa Thompson.

The view of Linville Falls from Chimney View. You can take a 3/4 mile strenuous hike down to the base of the river where you are rewarded by up close rack face walls, giant boulder hopping, and a perfect place to have a lunch. I have made this hike twice, it’s gnarly but awesome. Photo by Christa Thompson.

An unsettling silence filed the air around them. There was not the sound of a single frog, nor the usual sounds of the rushing waters of the French Broad River. The hunting dogs cowered together shivering by the trunk of a large Ash tree. In the light of the moon the two men saw a red wolf on the bank of the river across from them watching their every move. They saw the pack horses nervously twitching and pulling on their tether. Reaching for their guns they pulled them closer readying themselves for something they could not see.

The red wolf suddenly pricked his ears and looked down river. Without a sound he disappeared into the woods leaving the men to try and discover what he had seen. They suspected there may be a bear in the area drawn by the smell of their cooking, but their fear was unfounded. Within seconds they found themselves surrounded by the Catawba and Cherokee battling to the death.

They fired their weapons trying to keep the Indians away from them. It was not to be! The battled raged all around them as the blood flowed and men fell. Screams of pain and anguish filled the air. The battle rushed through their camp nearly trampling them. A tomahawk was swung wildly missing a Catawba but striking the farmer. He screamed and fell back against a fallen tree. Reaching for the wound he found no blood and his clothing was still intact. They saw each and every warrior’s face that came close to them finally realizing the warriors were not seeing them. The two men suddenly realized they could see their dogs and their horses through the bodies of the warriors. It was a ghostly battle to the death and they were trapped in the middle of the battle.

The two farmers grabbed the guns and horses fleeing from their camp. An hour had passed since they left the camp by the French Broad and they stopped to catch their breath. There was no-one chasing them and everything appeared to be normal again.

For many years to come they told the tale of the ghostly battle between the Cherokee and the Catawba Indians with few that believed them. Those close to the farmer had seen the evidence. There remained a red mark on his skin next to his shoulder in the shape of a tomahawk blade until his death at the age of 76. Who can explain the lights that roam through the forest by the banks of the French Broad River?

For up to date park service information click here:

Pisgah National Forest

Linville Gorge Wilderness Area

Wilson Creek Wilderness Area

About the Author:

 

Author-Micheal-Rivers-2-e1400947739660

BESTSELLING PARANORMAL THRILLER AUTHOR MICHEAL RIVERS won 1st Place Runner up at The Paranormal Awards 2014 and has won Supernatural Book of the Year 2012. His books have made the Kindle Top 100 Paid List several times and have hit #1 in Supernatural. He is a recognized authority as a paranormal investigator with over thirty years experience and provides his readers with some of his experiences woven into his paranormal thrillers. He is the lead investigator for the Smokey Mountain Ghost Trackers. His boxer Delilah affectionately known as DeeDee accompanies him occasionally on investigations.

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8 Comments on this post

  1. Great story! I can totally believe it, as well. There are similar tales surrounding Scottish battlefields, where visitors have encountered soldiers even in broad daylight – for example, Killiecrankie and Culloden.

    Jo Woolf / Reply
  2. Very interesting story and what wonderful wild woods!

    ztevetevans / Reply
    • Thanks Steve! Yeah I was thrilled when Micheal came to me with this story. The Appalachian Mountains are filled with legends and folklore. There’s so much more that I want to tap into… so far I’ve tapped into the moonshine. There is a lot more Native America to come though. Stay tuned xx

  3. Thanks for inviting me Christa. You have some great photos to capture the essence of the area. I’ll be staying tuned for more of your Native American legends. My book Appalachia Mountain Folklore is primarily based in Western North Carolina and has several stories from the local Cherokees in it.

    Micheal Rivers / Reply

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