Roasting fluffy marshmallows around the blazing firepit or sipping mugs of rich cocoa by the crackling fireplace at your cozy cabin rental in Pigeon Forge, storytime begins… And we’re not talking about the latest gossip or memory of times past. No, it’s time for chilling tales from the shadowy hills filled with Appalachian apparitions — aka ghost stories of the Smokies. If you crave good ole ghoulish gabs and spooky spins of local legends, you’ll appreciate these 5 Great Smoky Mountain narratives filled with ghostly encounters, unexplained phenomena, haunting heartbreak, supernatural creatures, and mysterious disappearances.
1 — I Love Lucy…of Roaring Fork
Did you hear that? Listen closely for the subtle sound of hoofbeats carrying through the foggy forest. A young man rides alone. Hours pass, and as he leads his horse to drink from the Roaring Fork stream, a young woman pacing along a nearby Gatlinburg road catches his eye.
Curious, the man sets his sights towards her. Realizing she was barefoot and seemingly lost, he offers to take her home. As she climbs onto the horse, she gently whispers her name — Lucy. Conversing into the evening and camping together that night, the man adored her by daybreak.
Upon reaching her house, he knocked at the front door until her parents answered. After explaining their journey together and his growing affection, he requested their daughter’s hand in marriage. To his surprise, the parents revealed that their beloved daughter Lucy had passed away almost 2 weeks ago…
It’s said that a barefoot woman, young in age, can still be seen wandering the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail.
2 — Abandoned at the Altar
Imagine a beautiful wedding adorned with fragrant bouquets, silky ribbons, and handmade furniture. Set in the 1930s, it’s being held at a wealthy lodge-like hotel — The Greenbrier. Lydia is the bride-to-be, and as she makes her way down the aisle with 100s of eyes staring at her stunning gown, the groom doesn’t blink.
Reaching for her beloved’s hand, her smile quickly turns to sorrow as he dashes past her and through the nearest door. His nerves (or perhaps the guilt of a terrible act) had overwhelmed him to the point of breaking Lydia’s heart. Requesting time alone to breathe, Lydia walks into the rafters with a rope in hand…
Mere days after the suicide, the former groom was found mauled to death in the Smoky Mountains. All signs pointed to a cougar attack, even though cougars had not been seen in the area for decades. Rumors among the wedding guests spread that Lydia’s spirit had taken revenge.
To this day, staff members at The Greenbrier (now a restaurant) have reported sightings of a woman in a dazzling white dress roaming the halls…
3 — Quilt While You’re Ahead
There once was a married couple who lived in a cabin in Cades Cove, now part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Mavis, the wife, enjoyed quilting and made many bedspreads for her husband, Basil. Born during a rumbling thunderstorm, Mavis believed fate would steal her life with a bolt of lightning and so refused to slumber on a metal bed frame.
One dire day, she was struck by a deadly illness instead. As a final request, she asked her husband to keep her handmade quilts and, above all, never place them on a metal bed. Just months after making this promise, Basil remarried a woman of a much younger age. With the past pushed quickly aside, he bought a metal bed frame to share with his new bride.
Not long after, Basil’s young wife asked to use one of Mavis’ handmade quilts on a chilly evening. Without a second thought, he arranged one on the bed. That very brisk night, the wife was suddenly flung to the floor with a thunderous bang and a monstrous flash of light! As her conscientiousness returned, and smoke fled the home, she looked up in horror at a scorched corpse along with a disintegrating metal bed…and an untarnished quilt.
Now known as the Cussing Cover, the handmade quilt was bought by a collector in the Smokies — and never placed on a metal bed again.
4 — The Legend of Spearfinger
Cherokee legend tells of a shape-shifting creature called Spearfinger who dwells in the darkness of the Smoky Mountains. Surviving off human livers, this monster changes form into an animal or person to lure her prey close. Particularly fond of children, she commonly disguises herself as an old woman. Though it’s difficult to hide her bloodstained mouth…
As her name suggests, Spearfinger has a long pointed forefinger of obsidian on her right hand that has the power to remove livers without scar or trace. And her tough skin is covered in a stony layer, protecting her from harm. Once within her grasp, there is no escape. Death comes swiftly to those unlucky enough to lose their liver to this vile ogress.
Although, she does have one weakness — her heart. Only, it’s not where it should be, but rather, it beats in her right hand that she clenches tightly. After taking so many Cherokee lives, legend claims the tribe eventually trapped Spearfinger in a deep pit and killed the sinister being…or so they say.
Moral of the story? If you see an old lady with a hidden hand on a hiking or biking trail who beckons you to come closer, maybe give it a second thought.
5 — Lantern of Noland Creek
Deep beneath the waters of Lake Fontana lies restless land previously settled by early pioneers with abandoned cemeteries and homesteads nearby in the Noland Creek area of the Smoky Mountains. With so much loss and forgotten memories, it’s no wonder this place is a hotspot for paranormal activity.
Here begins the story of a young farm girl who loses her way in the surrounding forests. Calling out to her father for help, the daughter slowly becomes more disoriented as an eerie mist washes away the landscape. Frantically searching for his daughter, the father cries out in agony at the thought of never seeing her again and so continues searching into the night with lantern in hand.
Sadly, the desperate father was found dead soon after without a trace of his lost daughter. Many believe the daughter and father were reunited long ago, tending to their new farm in the afterlife. While some say he’s still looking for her by lanternlight…
Over a century later, reports of a mysterious lantern leading lost hikers to safety in the Noland Creek area still pop up every now and then.
Swap Ghost Stories at a Pigeon Forge Cabin
Ready to visit the places where these haunting narratives take place? Pigeon Forge TN Cabins has the perfect pick for your horrific — we mean terrific! — vacation in the Great Smoky Mountains. With cabin rentals ranging from 1-16 bedrooms, you can make it a spooky weekend with friends or your entire extended family!
Plus, our cabins feature ace amenities to keep everyone comfy and entertained — like king suites, a fully equipped kitchen, a steamy hot tub, a private indoor pool, a home theater, and a rec room! No matter the group size, we know who’ll have the best Smoky Mountain ghost stories to tell around the firepit or fireplace (wink). Book online with ease or give us a quick call at 1.866.513.7885 to plan your frightfully fun vacation in the Smokies.