Near the town of Morganton, North Carolina, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains lies the so-called Brown Mountain.
Interestingly, as far back as the early 1900’s, people have observed a ghostly phenomenon in the skies around the mountain that has become known, not coincidentally, as “the Brown Mountain Lights”.
However, some of the earliest reports of these ghost lights came from Cherokee and Catawba Indians, but also settlers and Civil War soldiers, and thousands have witnessed the spectacle, which is ongoing to this day.
Ghost hunting is a popular sport among paranormal enthusiasts, especially in the South, where many people pay to take tours of haunted houses or spooky graveyards in the hopes of seeing some supposedly ghosts that haunt them. And in fact, in this area, for believers there is a better chance to see a ghost since Southern land is known to be haunted by the restless souls of its tortured past. However, even though the ghosts are there, they often do not want to be seen and many paying visitors often walk away disappointed (and surely with the lightest wallet).
Not so for the Brown Mountain Lights that, unlike most ghosts, they are anything but shy.
The best time to see them is reportedly in the fall months from September to December.
The ghostly lightshow is so dependable that overlooks have been constructed on the highways around Brown Mountain to give visitors a place to stop and see the lights, like Mile post 310 on the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Brown Mountain Overlook on NC Highway 181, or Wiseman’s View, near Linville Falls.
In any case, to this day, no one has been able to figure out exactly what causes the phenomenon of Brown Mountain Lights. They have been blamed on the reflections of locomotive headlamps, campfires, moonshiners, UFO’s and all other manner of physical anomalies. Also the US Geological Survey has conducted investigations into the curious phenomenon, but has never found a plausible reason for them to exist.
According to the legend, two warring Indian tribes fought on Brown Mountain hundreds of years ago and the lights are said to be the ghosts of the wives of the warriors that died in the battle. But as with most ghost legends, it depends on what version of the story you heard.
In popular culture, the lights were the inspiration for the bluegrass song “Brown Mountain Lights,” by Scotty Wiseman, later performed by The Hillmen and also the Kingston Trio and the Country Gentlemen. In this version, the light is being carried by “a faithful old slave/come back from the grave” who is searching for his lost master.
In addition, the 1999 episode “Field Trip” of the paranormal drama show The X Files centered around a mysterious case of missing hikers that were found dead in the vicinity of the Brown Mountains of North Carolina. The episode mentions the Brown Mountain Lights, and the show’s main character Fox Mulder believed it was due to UFOs.
One thing is for certain when it comes to the Brown Mountain Lights: most efforts to see them will be rewarded. So if you’re ever in the area near the mountain, stop by one of the many overlooks on a dark, clear night. What you will see just might surprise you….
Images from Web – Google Research