Category: Folklore, Legends & Paranormal

Folklife: The Forgotten Custom of Women Proposing to Men During Leap Year

The custom of women proposing to men during Leap Year is traced back to a legend of St. Patrick. So girls get out your scarlet flannel petticoats and make a date with your local justice of the peace!  No worries fellas! You can blame the Scots for declaring it open season on bachelors.

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Asheville’s Most Haunted: Riverside Cemetery


Riverside Cemetery, located near Asheville, is a very peaceful, quiet place–most of the time. It’s the resting place of some of the city’s notable individuals including war heroes, authors, artists, politicians and even presidential bodyguards.

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Folklife: The Ghostly Legend of Wicked John and the Devil

Storytelling has been a long-standing deep-rooted tradition with Appalachian families.  The pioneers of Appalachia developed an elaborate structure of folklore combined with various tales that were passed on orally from one generation to the next.  These oral histories were told to ensure the preservation of their community.

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Lincoln’s Phantom Ghost Train: Night Switchman Describes Eyewitness Account in 1872

Lincoln’s funeral train, The Lincoln Special, was designated as the official presidential mode of transportation much like Air Force One represents today. The U.S. Military Railroads built the car and delivered it to the president in early 1865. Tragically, Lincoln never rode in it until his death.

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Appalachian Folk Magic: The Witch Bottle


There is an old Irish tale passed down through the generations about a clairvoyant and healer who carried a magic bottle.  Biddy Early (Bridget Ellen “Biddy” Early, 1798-1872) became known as a witch when she foretold the murder of a Limerick landlord she was employed by as a servant.  When her premonition proved true, she gained a reputation as a witch. 

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Appalachian Folklife: The Mysterious Vampire of Big Stone Gap

From Jack Tales to spooky stories, Wise County, Virginia is riddled with history and folklore from the early days of the pioneers through the coal boom after the Civil War.  The culmination of traditional folktales in Appalachia is the very thread that connects family roots.

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Frankie Silver: Unjustly Hanged or Guilty of Murder

It’s the most famous, dramatic trial in North Carolina history, a murder mystery that shocked a small community in Mitchell County.  In 1831 a beautiful young girl named Francis “Frankie” Silver had just turned 18. She had a toddler named Nancy and a husband who was well-known in their small town for his love of drinking and consorting with other women.

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Granny’s Wisdom: The Magic of Wild Medicine

The Southern Highlands of North Carolina is part of the Appalachian chain that extends from Georgia all the way up into Virginia.  Europeans moved to this area during the late 1600’s with the Scotch-Irish and Germans traveling from the northern states down the Great Wagon Road.

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The Sin of Being Psychic: Spiritual Insights from a Psychic Christain

Many people have a misconception about psychics:  Fakes, charlatans, or witchcraft practitioners. I’m going to go out on a limb here and come out of the closet with some of my own insights in the matter.

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Phoebe Ward: The Mysterious Hag Witch of Northampton County

The legend of Phoebe Ward, the hag witch of Northampton County, North Carolina, became widely known when her story was brought to the big stage in Elizabeth A. Lay’s folk superstition drama When Witches Ride. This native folk play was one of the first productions presented by the Carolina Playmakers in 1922.

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