Floyd County’s Haints

Now, there were the Brown Mountain Lights back between Linville and Morganton in NC where we used to live, but locally, I’m fresh outta ghost stories. If you have any, send them along and I’ll get them to the authors so they can get this book out, PDQ. 

Dear Fred,

I’m having a lot of fun writing Strange Tales from Floyd County.  My family is collecting Fortean stories (things not explainable by science), such as ghost stories, folk lore that came true, UFO’s, etc.  I was wondering if you could write something up on this, to invite Floyd folks to contribute their stories.  I’ve found the very best way to get stories is just to ask around.  We’re trying to finish collecting stories by the end of this month and get it self published by next month.

I have some very tantalizing leads that I was hoping folks might have more information on… if you go up Penn Road (next to Schoolhouse Fabrics) and turn on to Valley Road, you will go through “Haint Holler”.  The oldest lady who lives on that road told me that she understands that someone saw a misty white figure there and it has been known as Haint Holler ever since.  I was hoping that someone might have more details on this.

A headless man has been seen reading a newspaper in the middle of the night on a park bench in Floyd. (At the courthouse?)

Dennis, the current owner of Rakes Mansion (next to the “Village Green” parking lot) was told that his house was supposed to be haunted, but he doesn’t know the stories.

In The Man Who Moved a Mountain there is mention of… “balls of fire that flash across the cove and disappear in the ivy ahead of you…” on Buffalo Mountain.

Storker’s (Stocker’s) Knob is also supposed to be haunted by the ghost of a Revolutionary War deserter.

Various people had seen strange lights (unidentified flying objects) in the sky.  It’s been interesting to see the similarities in their stories.

As for the Brown Mt Lights, the currently working non-spooky explanation from wikipedia:

The light phenomena are “caused by natural plasmas produced by special geologic and atmospheric conditions of the mountain. According to their interpretation, conductive and non-conductive layers of the mountain (such as magnetite and quartz) store electric charge when water runs through tunnels in the ridge. At night, when the rocks cool and contract, these layers squeeze together causing massive discharges. Sometimes multiple discharges intersect and spin fast enough to be observed in the visible electromagnetic spectrum, causing the illusion of a self-contained sphere of light at the point of intersection.”

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. I live a mile up the road from Franklin County’s “Hainted Holler,” although the ghost hasn’t been seen for several decades. Didn’t know Floyd has a “Haint Holler” too.

    I wonder, does every rural county have a holler that’s hainted?