North Carolina is of average size when compared to the rest of the 49 United States (twenty-eighth out of fifty, but it’s still twice as big as Ireland, so take that Emerald Isle), but it’s crowded, ranking ninth in population density with 9.944 million residents. It’s home to the highest point in North America east of the Mississippi River (Mount Mitchell at an elevation of 6,684 feet), and more than 300 miles of coastland. Along with the Atlantic Ocean, and mountains, North Carolina boasts approximately 18.7 million acres of timberland. Famous residents include seventh President Andrew Jackson, NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Sr., Pepsi inventor Caleb Bradham, actors Ava Gardner, Andy Griffith, and Zach Galifanakis, authors O. Henry and Thomas Wolfe, Grammy winner Roberta Flack, boxer Sugar Ray Leonard, and Virginia Dare, the first child born to English parents in North America. Now, let’s include some creepy crawlies with that.
Lake Norman is a manmade lake, the result of the construction of the Cowans Ford Dam between 1959 and 1964 – but that doesn’t mean it can’t have the legend of a monster. With a surface area of around 32,500 acres, and a depth of 130 at the south end (although it only averages 30 feet), there’s plenty of room for one.
The first report of Normie, the Lake Norman Monster, was in 2002, although the lake had been the source of suspicious wildlife for a while. In the 1990s, freshwater jellyfish inexplicably appeared in Lake Norman. In 2000, it was alligators. Neither species should have been in that lake. So why not a monster?
Witnesses describe Normie as everything from a crocodile (which makes sense due to the alligators), to an enormous fish, to a plesiosaur. From the official Lake Norman Monster website (www.lakenormanmonster.com), a man posted the following encounter:
“I was tubing and I had just fallen off from a quick turn. I floated in the water waiting for the boat and as I did I saw a large neck emerge from the water about five feet in the air. I was terrified because it was only about forty meters from me and I don’t know if this thing is mean or not. I quickly turned and started swimming towards the boat as my dad sped towards me because he saw it too. When I got on the boat he said it disappeared right after I turned around.”
Although there have been reports for decades of car-sized fish deep in the lake – similar to mostly unsubstantiated reports from most man-made lakes across the country – at least fifty people have claimed seeing Normie in the past few decades.
The Beast of Bladenboro
In the early 1950s, the area around Bladenboro, North Carolina, was terrorized by the sudden appearance of a large cat residents blamed for animal mutilations that involved livestock, and pets with their jaws either broken or removed. The people of Bladenboro set out to hunt the beast, but it had vanished as quickly as it had come. Fifty years later, the attacks returned with the same style of mutilations.
The first encounter was 29 December 1953 when a resident of Clarkton, North Carolina (eight and a half miles from Bladenboro) went outside to investigate her why her neighbor’s dogs were barking. What she found was the Beast, a large cat that melted into the night. Two days later, the Beast appeared again, this time near Bladenboro where two farm dogs had been sucked dry of blood.
More attacks followed. The owner of a local gas station watched a large, cat-like creature attack a dog, and drag it into the trees. People blamed the increasing animal attacks on a panther, or a bear – then the Beast attacked a local woman. When Mrs. C.E. Kinslaw went outside to check on yelping dogs, a dark creature the size of a cougar lunged at her. Her screams frightened the Beast, and it bolted away.
Although farmers soon after killed a large bobcat, and deemed it the Beast of Bladenboro, many people doubted that claim. The attacks stopped nonetheless – until 2003. Since then more animals have been reported killed, and drained of blood around the Bladenboro area, the largest being three horses.
Whatever the Beast of Bladenboro may be, one thing is certain – it’s big.
Demon Dog of Valle Crucis
Valle Crucis (Latin for Valley of the Cross) is a tiny unincorporated community in the Appalachian Mountains. Once the location of a general store that served as a way station between civilization and the wilderness, today it is a cultural destination with a calendar filled with music, and festivals. It’s also home to legend.
St. John’s Episcopal Church, built in the 1860s, sits near the edge of the small community, and although it is usually as quiet the rest of the area, its graveyard is the territory of a hellhound. As the story goes, two students of a nearby college drove past the church in the dark when a black hulking shape leaped from behind a tombstone at the church, and jumped into the road. The driver slammed on his brakes, and came to rest on the shoulder of the rural highway. In front of the students was a snarling black dog the size of a man – it had blazing red eyes.
The hell beast growled, and began to pad toward the car when the terrified driver took his foot off the brake and stomped on the accelerator, tearing down the curvy highway at high speeds. The dog not only followed, it closed on the car. However, once the car crossed a bridge the dog stopped chasing them, and melted into the darkness.
The Moon-Eyed People
The ruins of ancient stone monuments dot the Appalachian Mountains, and according to Native American legends, these are buildings left by the Moon-Eyed People.
The Moon-Eyed People were a diminutive nocturnal race of man with pale white skin, and long beards. They were unable to see in daylight. An 850-foot-long stone wall at the border of North Carolina and Georgia, built between approximately 400 to 500 C.E., is credited to the Moon-Eyed People. The wall, anywhere from two- to six-feet-tall, is said to be from a war the Moon-Eyed people fought against the Creek Indians who attacked during the full moon. Even the light of the full moon was too bright for the small bearded people, and the Creek drove the Moon-Eyed People underground, where they are said to remain.
Some attribute the white bearded Moon-Eyed People to another legend of Welsh travelers led by Prince Madoc who arrived in that general area of North America in 1170 C.E. However, the evidence of a Welsh incursion into North America 300 years before the arrival of Columbus is tenuous at best. And, it’s probably safe to say the Welsh have always been able to see in sunlight. The Moon-Eyed People remain a mystery.
Up next: North Dakota.