The Scariest Legends About Appalachia

By: Beth Moreton | Published: Apr 12, 2024

Appalachia runs through several southern U.S. states and includes the mountain range.

Over the years, there have been several stories of things in Appalachia that are enough to potentially put you off from ever visiting the area again.

The Moon-Eyed People

The legend of the moon-eyed people stems from the Cherokee, known to have lived in the Appalachian area for centuries.

The faces of the moon-eyed people are made of stone. They have hollow eyes, mouths, and noses.

Source: @zaibatsu/X

Many believe them to have just been European settlers by their description, but the Cherokee were convinced they were an entirely different race, according to The Collector

Moon-Eyed People Were Different from the Cherokee

Cherokee legend says the moon-eyed people had beards and incredibly pale skin.

Three Cherokee Indians are standing in front of green bushes, wearing traditional Indian headdresses and clothes.

Source: Boston Public Library/Wikimedia Commons

North Carolina Ghosts report that they were called moon-eyed people as their eyes were sensitive to sunlight, and as such, they only came out at night. 

A Statue Is Evidence of Moon-Eyed People

Like many legends, the truth is unknown, as stories can change over time.

The statue of the moon-eyed people. The statue consists of two people whose heads are attached. A chain is around them that is attaching them to the wall.

Source: @TheAncientCode/X

A statue showing two people with conjoined faces was found by a 19th-century farmer who dug it up on his land. All That’s Interesting reports that the statue is now in a museum in Murphy, North Carolina. 

The Curse of Dudleytown

The curse of Dudleytown dates back hundreds of years and has led to the village’s abandonment.

This is an old white house in Dudleytown, Connecticut. It has white pannelling and a green door and is surrounded by bare trees.

Source: Magicpiano/Wikimedia Commons

According to American Haunting Sink, the village was named after Gideon Dudley, who was followed there by two men who are believed to have put the curse on the village.

The Curse Began with Henry VIII

Dudley didn’t enter the village until the 1700s, but the curse was believed to have begun with one of his ancestors in the 1500s.

A painting of Henry VIII. He is wearing a black hat with white detailing and gold and brown clothes with a gold chain.

Source: Hans Holbein the Younger/Wikimedia Commons

The Tudor Society says that Edmund Dudley had tried to overthrow Henry VIII and was executed for treason. After this, a curse was placed on the family so that they would be surrounded by horror and death. 


Many Bizarre and Strange Things Happened

Dudleytown was an incredibly small area. U.S. Ghost Adventures said its peak population was 26 families.

This is an abandoned forest in Dudleytown, Connecticut. There are bare trees with leaves on the floor, and it is where the old station used to be.

Source: Wipsenade/Wikimedia Commons

Some were brutally murdered, others died in mysterious ways, such as falling off a roof. There was a lot of talk about ghosts and demons. These deaths were seen as bizarre because the village was so small, and the number of things happening compared to the population wasn’t adding up. 


It Is Illegal to Visit Dudleytown

Dudleytown became completely abandoned between the 19th and 20th centuries, and according to Your Tango, it is now illegal to visit.

This is a screenshot from a TikTok video about Dudleytown, Connecticut. The video shows an abandoned building with a yellow “for sale” sign on the outside. Above the image are three shocked emoji faces, and underneath, it says “Dudleytown” in red and white writing.

Source: @StuartJamesAuthor/TikTok

Many have tried to visit the area, with some showing on social media what it now looks like — completely dark, abandoned, and haunting. 


The Legend of Spearfinger

Piddlin states that the legend of Spearfinger is an old Cherokee tale and was used to scare children. 

This is a painting of Spearfinger. She has long dark hair, and her eyes are shut with dark rings around them. There is a blue and orange butterfly on both shoulders. She is holding a stick, and her finger can be seen.

Source: @HistoriumU/X

The Cherokee name was U’tlun’ta, meaning “she had it sharp.” She was given this name because she had a sharp finger on her right hand, which is where the nickname “Spearfinger” comes from. 


Her Spearfinger Was Used for Her Victims

She used her finger to cut her victims and would eat the blood of the liver of her victims.

This is a black-and-white cartoon featuring Spearfinger. She is wearing a black cape and grabbing hold of one of her victims, which looks like a skull wrapped in bandages.

Source: @DeputyRustArt/X

Her heart was also said to be outside her body and was known as her evil heart. It was supposedly her only weak spot, and she would clutch it with her right hand so no one could get to it. 


Spearfinger Was Able to Shapeshift

Spearfinger was able to shapeshift, with Medium reporting that her normal shape was that of an old woman. 

A painting of Spearfinger. She is dressed as a Native American and is holding a spear in her hand.

Source: @DanielRiffle2/X

Many of her victims would be children, and she would shapeshift into the child’s family members to make them believe they were safe before claiming them as her victims.


Spearfinger Can Be Seen on the Norton Creek Trail

The Great Smokies says the Norton Creek Trail is the scariest trail in the Great Smoky Mountains. 

The Norton Creek Trail. There is a red bridge over a river with rocks and a person standing on the bridge.

Source: @reserveamerica/Instagram

Many scary things are said to have happened here, and it is also the trail that Spearfinger is said to haunt. Walkers see a ghostly light in the woods that is believed to be Spearfinger.