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Ghost Stories, Cryptids, and Mythical Creatures - from Southern Legends

Ready for some Ghost Stories?

Ready for some Ghost Stories?


We have our share of all sorts of mythical creatures, monsters, cryptids, and ghost stories here in the South. According to legends, we have a number of witches and warlocks, too. If you’re familiar with the southeastern portion of the United States, you can probably see how this region and its people could provide the perfect impetuses for such tall tales and ghost stories. Much of the area is rural, with swamps, deep woods, muddy rivers, and twisted oaks draped in Spanish moss. Such venues are inhabited by some large critters, including whitetail deer, Florida panthers, alligators, a few bears, large snakes, and huge wild boar. Some of the human inhabitants are just as scary, like clannish backwoods folk who are superstitious and can be violent at times. I’m not saying that some of these legendary creatures don’t have a grain of truth about them – I’m sure several began with an actual animal or a real occurrence. Also, I try to keep an open mind about such things. Perhaps there really is a Bigfoot or a skunk ape, and maybe there are other strange creatures that are real. I do, however, find it extremely hard to believe in things like the Pig Man. Join me in a southern tour of ghost stories, cryptids, mythical creatures, and monsters!

Ghosts and Witches and Spooks - oh my!

Ghosts and Witches and Spooks - oh my!

Ghost Stories – Witches

I never can decide which is scarier – ghost stories or tales about witches. I’m leaning towards witches. If ghosts exist, I don’t think they can physically harm living humans. Witches, on the other hand…well, we know they exist. There are numerous individuals who dabble in the occult arts, and some of them live in the South. Many of the slaves brought here from Africa spent some time in the Caribbean on their way to America, and they learned about voodoo there. You still see and hear evidence of voodoo and other forms of black magic, white magic, spells, and curses around here. As for ghost stories, we have lots of those! I’d venture to say that practically every town or city in the Southeast has a couple of supposedly true scary stories. I know we do. In fact, my daughter used to live across the road from a haunted house, and I wrote a true scary story about it. Here are some more ghost stories and folk tales about witches that you might find interesting.

Tennessee was home to the Bell Witch.

Tennessee was home to the Bell Witch.

Bell Witch – Tennessee

This old ghost story originated in Adams, Tennessee, located on the state’s northern border, in Robertson County. A farmer named John Bell, along with his wife, Lucy, and their seven children, lived in a large house on the acreage. Life was good for the Bells until 1817. At some point during that year, as he was checking on his crops, the farmer discovered a strange creature that was a rabbit-dog hybrid. He tried to kill it with his gun, but it escaped.

Beginning that very night and continuing for several years, the family was tormented by a female spirit. It began small at first, just making noises and disturbing items. As it grew bolder, it began to physically assault family members and their guests, with pinches, kicks, and slaps, and it began to speak directly to humans. The entity hated the father but seemed to have a special interest in the youngest daughter, Betsy. Not long after this, Mr. Bell contracted a strange illness and eventually died. The spirit bragged about being responsible for the death. Afterwards, the witch or spirit pretty much left the Bells alone, except for an occasional visit.

Supposedly, there were numerous creditable witnesses to these strange goings on, including none other than Andrew Jackson. An early author who wrote of the account called the being Kate. Other accounts, both oral and written, have referred to Kate as a spirit, a witch, a ghost, a demon, and a poltergeist. Some suggest that the ghostly tormentor was the ghost of someone that John Bell had killed or had cheated in a business transaction.

It’s important to note that several experts in paranormal activity have serious doubts about the Bell Witch story, and some have completely dismissed it as one of the folktales and legends of the South. For example, some of the researchers have stated that they seriously doubt Jackson’s involvement, based on his itinerary at the time. Still, it does make an interesting tale, whether it’s a true ghost story or not!

mountains of North Carolina

mountains of North Carolina

Brown Mountain Lights – North Carolina

My husband is from North Carolina, and he shared this tale with me. It sounded interesting, so I did some research. These lights are real – they’ve been photographed, videotaped, and studied. The Brown Mountain Lights seem to have everyone stumped, including geologists. You can see the lights from several vantage points, and the best time for viewing seems to be on autumn nights. They appear as a series of moving lights, and then they suddenly vanish.

There are several ghost stories that attempt to explain these lights. One is about an old hunter who lost his way in the mountains and died. The lights come from his lantern as he walks the woods, searching for his soul. Another version of this story is that the hunter’s slave went to look for him, and the lights are from the lantern the devoted slave carried – he’s still looking for his master. Another tale relates a battle between warring tribes of Native Americans that occurred in the 1100s. Many warriors were lost, and the lights are their souls. A related story says that the lights are the torches of the women who went out searching for their husbands, lovers, and sons. The shape of the stream near the battlefield adds to the Native American version of the story. Seen from afar, the course of the creek closely resembles the profile of a Native American brave, gazing toward the battlefield. You can see that in the video, too.

The Brown Mountain lights are really interesting, as you can see in the attached video. If you’re ever near Morganton, North Carolina, you might want to see the ghostly lights for yourself. On a clear night, they’ve been seen from as far away as Blowing Rock. The best vantage points are usually considered to be Wiseman’s View Overlook, Brown Mountain Overlook, and Lost Cove Cliffs Overlook.

Brown Mountain Lights Video:

a True Ghost Story

a True Ghost Story

Cemetery Guardian – Ben Hill – Irwin County, Georgia

This is one of my favorite ghost stories, probably due to the fact that I personally knew one of its “victims.” He passed away several years ago, but I’ll never forget this great story Jim shared. He swore it actually happened. When he was in high school, he was a member of a boys’ club, and every year the older members initiated new members with a visit to a cemetery that was reported to be haunted. The cemetery was very old and was located in a heavily wooded area of either Ben Hill or Irwin County. Sorry – I can’t remember which. Anyway, on initiation night, the members set up a scary trek through the woods for the newbies, and it ended at the cemetery. All along the trail, guys who were dressed as ghosts and demons would jump out and scare the new members. Jim and two other boys were hiding in the cemetery itself.

The cemetery was small, probably a private family burial plot, and it was enclosed with a black wrought iron fence. Jim and company were hiding behind a large headstone, and right next to the headstone was a tall, square granite or marble column with four hard edges and a pointed top. When the first group of initiates entered the cemetery, Jim and company jumped out to scare them, and when they did, the column fell. The ground was soft, and the heavy stone left a deep impression in the ground. Jim called on some other boys to help him lift the column and put it back in its proper place, but it was too heavy. They all decided to come back at daybreak with some ropes.

As soon as the sun was up, the boys returned to the scene of the crime. To their shock, the monument was back in place, as if it had never been disturbed. Even more shocking, there were absolutely no footprints from the night before within the iron fence. The boys could see their footprints that led right up to the fence, but they stopped abruptly at the cemetery’s perimeter. Any evidence of the initiation invasion had been completely erased. Supposedly the guardian spirit of the cemetery took care of the plot. This experience frightened Jim and his pals so much that they never went back to the spot. They chose a friendlier place for club initiations after that.

This is one of my favorite Ghost Stories.

This is one of my favorite Ghost Stories.

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Light in the Graveyard – St. Simons Island, Georgia

This is one of my favorite ghost stories. It’s sad and sweet, and it’s also poignant. Even better, it’s supposedly a true ghost story, although I can’t prove that. The story takes place on St. Simons Island, just off the Georgia coast. I’ve visited the cemetery at Christ Church several times, which is where the ghost resides. It’s a beautiful and very old cemetery that includes graves from the late 1700s.

The story says that long ago, there was a married couple who were totally devoted to each other. The woman was terrified of the dark, so every night at bedtime, her husband would bring a lit candle to the bedroom. When the wife took ill, she was besieged with fear of being in her dark grave, so the man eased her fears by promising to bring candlelight to her resting place every night. He kept his promise. For as long as he lived, every night he’d visit his wife’s grave and leave a candle burning there.

After the man died, residents on the island were shocked when they continued seeing the nightly light. According to the legends, the devoted husband-spirit is continuing his labor of love to this day. Some swear they’ve seen the flickering flame pass through the cemetery and stop at the woman’s grave, where it remains until sunrise.

Christ Church Cemetery:

Spook Bridge – Valdosta, Georgia

When I started out as a student at Valdosta State University, I quickly began hearing all sorts of folk tales about the Spook Bridge. The old bridge is located on the Withlacoochee River near Valdosta, between Lowndes and Brooks counties. The bridge is almost a century old, but it hasn’t been used in years – at least not as a traffic bridge. Back in the forties, a big truck tore out almost a hundred feet of the railing, and it was never repaired. When a new bridge was built nearby, the old bridge was pretty much abandoned, and it was closed. In the seventies, it became a favorite haunt of teens and college students, supposedly along with some darker, more sinister visitors.

There are several legends about the Spook Bridge. A spooky old house nearby has added to the mystique. Folktales say that the man living in the house killed his wife by pushing her off the bridge, and her spirit still haunts the area. Most of the legends I’ve heard are even scarier. I’ve been told that witches and warlocks use the bridge in their Black Sabbath rituals, and there are satanic symbols painted on the structure. Supposedly, the bridge is the site of animal sacrifices and the occasional human sacrifice. One of the more interesting legends I’ve heard relates to the satanic motif: I’ve been told that there’s an old well or some other type of deep hole near the bridge that serves as the entrance to Hell.

Spook Bridge:

Ghosts are often described as glowing orbs.

Ghosts are often described as glowing orbs.

Spook Light – Screven, Georgia

Screven is located in Wayne County, a large and very rural county in South Georgia. I lived about five miles from Screven for ten years when I was married to my first husband. I heard about the Spook Light, but I could never get anyone to take me there. From what I understand, it’s back in the woods and is pretty hard to find. Either people didn’t know how to get there, or they’d seen the ghostly light and refused to return. My best friend, who still resides in Wayne County, has seen the light, but she refuses to take me because the experience terrified her so much.

Here’s how it goes: You drive down a dirt road at night and park on the railroad tracks at a specific spot. You turn off your vehicle and wait. An eerie light or lights float down the tracks toward you, sometimes zigzagging back and forth between the two rails. Sometimes there’s one light, and occasionally, three lights are seen. The orbs float about three to four feet off the ground. Of course, at this point, most people are frightened out of their wits, and they’re ready to leave. The problem is that the car won’t start. Just before the light reaches the car, it vanishes, and the car cranks.

The ghost story version says that the light is the ghost of a railroad worker who was out walking along the tracks while holding a lantern. He somehow fell and was run over by a train and was decapitated. He’s still walking the tracks, looking for his head. No one is exactly sure about the real explanation for the lights. Some say it’s swamp gas, and others say it’s light reflecting from some nearby house or farm. I’m still determined to see this for myself! In fact, I talked to my pal about it again tonight, and I think she’s going to take me to see the Spook Light next time we visit her and her family.

Legends are filled with Mythical Creatures and Monsters!

Legends are filled with Mythical Creatures and Monsters!

Monsters – Mythical Creatures

The backwoods and swamps of the southern states are rich with tall tales of monsters. Some are supposedly vicious, while others are sort of “just there.” I’ve had several students tell me about a monstrous creature, called the shredder, that haunts a nearby hunting camp. Supposedly, every few years, a hunter is attacked and killed by the beast. No one who’s seen it has lived to give a description, but according to members of the hunting club, the tracks look like large hooves with claws. This mythical creature can climb, too. It’s reported to have snatched a couple of hunters from their tree stands, ripped them apart, and eaten most of their flesh. The teenagers say that none of this has been reported because local law enforcement doesn’t want to create a panic. Again, according to my students, the victims were reported to have died in hunting accidents. For some more monsters, cryptids, and mythical creatures from the South, check out the following.

Honey Island Swamp Monster – Louisiana

The Honey Island Swamp Monster supposedly lives in the eastern part of Louisiana. Honey Island Swamp covers an area of around 70,000 acres, so that’s plenty of room for several monsters or mythical creatures. The first official sighting of the strange creature was in 1963, although Native American legends told of the creatures for years before the arrival of the white man. The 1963 report was made by a retired air traffic controller named Harlan Ford. Ford had decided to take up the hobby of photographing wildlife in its natural environment, which is how he happened upon the creature. Ford captured a monster on film, but it wasn’t discovered until after his death in 1980. A clip of Ford’s film is included in the video below this section.

I watched the film and have read accounts about these monsters. It looks like a Bigfoot, in my opinion, but eyewitness accounts vary. Some say it’s very Bigfoot or skunk ape-like, in that it walks upright, is about seven feet tall, and has a distinct foul odor. It’s also covered with dark hair, sometimes with a mix of grey and black or dark brown hairs. The eyes have been described as yellow, red, and amber. Okay, so far, it could be a Bigfoot, right? Here’s the difference: the Honey Island Swamp Monster has only four toes on each foot, and the feet are webbed. So…what are these mythical monsters supposed to be? One old legend states that the creatures are chimpanzee or ape-alligator hybrids. It goes on to explain that a circus train was traveling through the local area in the first decade of the twentieth century, and the train wrecked. When it did, some of the monkeys escaped and found refuge in the swamps, where they bred with the local gators.

Honey Island Swamp Monster Video:

South Carolina Lizard Man

This creature is known by several similar names: the South Carolina Lizard Man, the Lizard Man of Lee County, and the Lizard Man of Scape Ore Swamp. Take your pick. Lee County is near the center of the state, and the city of Bishopville is the county seat. The swamp is located near Bishopville and is a tributary of the Pee Dee River. It’s made up of ponds, creeks, small hills, hardwood forests, and pines. In the marshy areas, cypress trees dominate.

The first known report of one of these legendary creatures was made in 1988 by Christopher Davis, who was driving home from work in the dark early morning hours. The monster attacked his car, leaving scratches and ripping off a side mirror. Within the next few weeks, other reports of scratched and damaged cars near the swamp came in, along with more sightings of the creatures. Some experts say that it would have taken an incredible amount of pressure to inflict the kind of vehicle damage that was seen.

The Lizard Man is usually described as having scaly green skin, a spiked tail, and red eyes. It’s about seven feet tall, amazingly powerful, and very swift. It has three fingers and three toes on each extremity, and each digit is tipped with a long, sharp nail or claw. The monster is reported to make grunts and growls. Of course, even with the evidence of the damaged vehicles, there are plenty of skeptics, although most people believe that the victims saw something because some of the witnesses were well respected and credible. A bear with mange has been suggested.

Some Skunk Ape Photos look a lot like an orangutan.

Some Skunk Ape Photos look a lot like an orangutan.

Skunk Ape

One of the most famous monsters or cryptids in the South is the skunk ape. It’s sort of our version of Bigfoot, only this critter has a strong odor that’s reportedly very unpleasant. Most of the skunk ape reports have originated in Florida, but they’ve also been reported in Georgia, North Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Like I said, skunk apes are like Bigfoot creatures, but they’re smellier. Some accounts also say they’re bigger and meaner.

Native American legends included stories of these cryptids. Perhaps the most famous white man-encounter happened in 1822, when two hunters were frightened by the creature. They fled to their homes and shared the information with the other townspeople. A group of men armed themselves and set out to find the monster. After finding large, strange footprints, the men were sure they were on the right trail. That same night, the monster attacked the men as they slept. The hunters shot the skunk ape, but not before it had killed some of the men. Finally, the creature died from multiple wounds. The body was said to have measured twelve feet, with an estimated weight of over 1,000 pounds. It had long black hair or fur covering its body.

Since then, numerous sightings have been reported, mostly in the state of Florida. In 2000, photographs of the monster were sent to the sheriff of Sarasota County. The photographer included a message saying that the “orangutan” in the photo had been stealing fruit from her yard. Indeed, the animal in the photo does look a lot like a large orangutan – but not completely. The photos and letter originated in Myakka City, which is in Manatee County. The two photographs, now known as the “Myakka photographs,” are still being studied by cryptozoologists. You can view the skunk ape photos in the video below.

Two-Toed Tom was a monster gator.

Two-Toed Tom was a monster gator.

Two-Toed Tom – Florida

And speaking of cryptids, have you ever heard of Two-Toed Tom? From what I can tell, these legends and folktales originated in Florida in the late 1800s or the early 1900s. Of course, like many legends, the stories probably began with facts but have been embellished over the years and through all the retelling. This monster gator supposedly terrorized the swamps and rivers of several counties in Northwest Florida and Southeast Alabama.

Most accounts of Two-Toed Tom describe it as a demon-possessed alligator of immense size – up to twenty-four feet in length. The creature’s eyes glowed red, and it was large enough to eat cows, pigs, and mules. It also seemed to have a taste for human flesh. It got the name “Two-Toed” because it had only two toes remaining on one of its front feet. The others had been snapped off by a steel leg hold trap.

Tom wasn’t just a regular gator on steroids. He was immune to bullets and even to dynamite. Tom seems to have some traits of supernatural creatures. Take his size, for example. The largest alligator ever found measured not quite twenty feet long, yet Tom was even bigger. A gator of Tom’s length that was well fed on farm animals would probably weigh close to a ton. And what about this creature’s age? We don’t really know how long alligators can live. The oldest one we know about has lived to be seventy-six years old, and it’s still alive. Some folks believe ol’ Tom is still alive, too, because humongous two-toed tracks have been found as recently as thirty years ago. Let’s say Tom was already a huge gator terrorizing the countryside in the year 1900. It takes an alligator in the wild at least ten years to reach a length of six feet, and Tom was reportedly much larger when the legends about him began. It might have taken twenty-five years for the gator to reach such impressive proportions, so that would have put his hatching at around 1875. If he were still alive in 1985, he would have been 110 years old. And don’t forget the red glowing eyes and his immunity to guns and explosives. Yep, sounds like Tom needs to go into the legendary creatures category.

Lake Monsters

Lake Monsters

Lake Monsters

Like many other areas across the globe, we have our own cryptids in the form of river and lake monsters. Of course, they’re not nearly as famous as Scotland’s Nessie, but they are reported to make appearances from time to time, and when they do, the affected communities are all abuzz with excitement, fear, and fascination. I’ve lived “down here” my entire life, and I’ve never seen a river monster or a lake monster. I have, however, seen what I refer to as a “sea serpent.” Don’t laugh – it’s true. I’m not the only one who saw it. Everyone on the beach that day witnessed this huge creature, and to this day, I have no idea what we saw. It was in the Amelia River, at Amelia Island, Florida. It looked like a gigantic snake as it writhed and coiled just offshore. As far as I know, it never made another appearance. We do have other river and lake monsters that appear more often, however, which really isn’t that surprising. Many rivers in the South are murky because they’re filled with silt, and some of the saltwater bodies aren’t much better. The water might also be almost black because of the amount of tannins in the water. It’s pretty easy to mistake a known critter for something that can’t be explained, whether it be a beaver, a water snake, an alligator, a manatee, an alligator gar, a dolphin, or a large shark.

Altamahaha – Altahama River, Georgia

I used to live near the Altamaha River and spent time there fishing, boating, water skiing, and searching for Native American artifacts. The Altamaha is formed at Lumber City, where the Ocmulgee and Oconee rivers join. From there, it continues almost 140 miles before emptying into the Atlantic near Brunswick. It’s a large river, by southern standards. In fact, I recently read that the Altamaha River is number three on the list of North American rivers according to how much water they dump into the Atlantic.

The woods and marshes that flank the river can be spooky. Hunters love the area, and you hear reports every year of people getting lost. The river itself is home to some large fish, including largemouth bass, gar, catfish, and mudfish. Saltwater species sometimes swim up the river, too, including sharks and sturgeon. Perhaps one of these large species is the source for Altamahaha, the Altamaha River Monster.

Often spelled Altamaha-ha, the creature was first reported in the 1700s, by a local Native American tribe, the Tama. At least, those are the earliest reports that we know of. The Tama could have believed in Altamaha-ha for centuries before the arrival of white Europeans to the area. The Tama describe the creature as being a giant snake. Subsequent reports often describe bony ridges along the back and a crocodilian head. The creature is usually said to be dark gray or grayish-brown, with a pale underside. The river serpent doesn’t seem to be dangerous, as no attacks have been reported.

Altamaha River Monster:

Killer Catfish

I’ve heard folktales about killer catfish for as long as I can remember. These giants are reportedly much larger than a man, and they have enormous gaping mouths that are capable of swallowing a human. These beasts supposedly live at the bottoms of lakes and reservoirs, usually below a dam. When swimmers drown, these whiskered monsters are often blamed.

There’s no doubt that we have some big catfish in the South. The king of all is the blue cat, which can reach enormous sizes. The largest one ever caught on a line weighed 143 pounds and was almost five feet long, but many divers have reported seeing larger fish. The flathead, another species of catfish, get almost as large as their blue cousins. Catfish are opportunistic feeders and aren’t at all picky about what they eat. They’ll consume live critters and dead critters if they get the chance. There have been several reports of these finned monsters attacking scuba divers, and I’m sure that’s where all the folktales about man-eating catfish come from.

Could Normie be a giant salamander?

Could Normie be a giant salamander?

Normie – Lake Norman, North Carolina

I’ve passed by Lake Norman, but I’ve never fished or navigated its waters. My husband, on the other hand, has. He lived nearby for forty years, and he spent a lot of time fishing the lake. Lake Norman is large, with over 500 miles of shore and covering over 30,000 acres. It’s deep, too – over 100 feet in some of the deep holes and 130 feet at the southern end of Cowan’s Ford Dam. Okay, so what known species inhabit the lake? There are largemouth bass, alligator gar, eels, snakehead fish, very large grass carp, and some enormous catfish. Strangely enough, jellyfish have been found here, too. Another interesting inhabitant is the giant aquatic salamander, the hellbender, which can reach lengths of thirty inches.

What does the Lake Norman Monster look like? Reports vary, but the general consensus is that “Normie” has an elongated snake-like body. It’s often said to have four legs or feet, and it often sticks its long neck up out of the water. The size of the monster varies, too, from anywhere to ten feet to thirty feet. Some theories suppose that the Lake Norman Monster could be a hellbender or snakehead fish made huge by exposure to radioactive waste. Normie doesn’t seem to be especially aggressive or harmful. It sometimes bumps up against swimmers and occasionally capsizes small boats, perhaps accidentally.

The Tarpon Lake Monster could be a large alligator.

The Tarpon Lake Monster could be a large alligator.

Tarpie – Lake Tarpon, Florida

Lake Tarpon is located near Tampa. Not a particularly large lake, it covers some 2,500 acres and is about nine miles in length. The lake is a favorite with bass hunters, as it’s considered one of the best trophy bass lakes in the state. Lunker anglers will get a huge surprises, however, if they tie into Tarpie, the Lake Tarpon Monster.

Tarpie is described as being between ten and twenty feet long, with a more or less reptilian body. It’s often reported as a long, dark shape swimming swiftly just below the surface of the water, creating a wake or ripple. Lake Tarpon has alligators, which might explain Tarpie. It could be that the lake monster that people have seen is really nothing more than an extra-long gator.

Is the White River Monster some type of seal?

Is the White River Monster some type of seal?

White River Monster – Arkansas

Another lake monster...errrr…river monster…is the White River Monster. Of course, Arkansas isn’t really in the Southeast, but I wanted to include this one just so you’d have at least one monster story with a definitive ending. ..maybe.

The first sighting of this monster was reported in 1915. You can probably deduce from the monster’s name that it prowled the White River. Anyway, people who lived near the river or frequented it in order to fish filed subsequent reports. Some said it looked like a giant catfish, but others reported something a bit more strange.

Other sightings of the strange creature were reported now and then. In 1937, a sighting was reported by a local farmer in Northeastern Arkansas, near Newport. The man who saw the creature said it was the length of three cars placed end-to-end, and it was as wide as a car. I don’t know how big cars were in 1915, but I do know that had to be a big critter. He also described the river monster as having a gray hide or skin.

In 1971, there was another definitive sighting. Witnesses reported that the animal was the size of a train car and had peeling skin in a shade of gray. They also said it uttered strange sounds, sort of like a neighing cow or a mooing horse. Not long after these reports, some three-toed tracks were found near a wooded area. The tracks measured fourteen inches long, and the brush and small trees along the trail of tracks were broken or destroyed.

So…what is the White River Monster? Experts say it sounds a lot like a big male elephant seal. The physical description pretty much matches, and so do the reported tracks and the utterings of the livestock sounds. The question is…how the heck did an elephant seal make it to the White River? Believe it or not, this cryptid or these cryptids, if there’s more than one, are protected by the state of Arkansas.

Okefenokee Swamp Video:

Okefenokee Swamp – Georgia

There’s just no way I could write about regional monsters and mythical creatures without including a section about the Okefenokee Swamp. According to legends, the vast wetlands is home to hybrid monsters, ghost lights, and water monsters. Ghost stories abound, and apparently, aliens from other planets have a special affinity for the swamp and sometimes use it as a site for human abductions. Who knew?

If you’ve ever been to this swamp, you can see why it’s the source of so many legends. For one thing, it’s huge. Located in Southeast Georgia, on the border with Florida, the swamp covers almost half a million acres. It’s a land of black water, cypress trees, islands, peat bogs, and carnivorous plants. Some of the forests are so dense that they’re practically impenetrable, and there are even areas that have ever been explored. Really, it’s the type of place where you can just picture dinosaurs roaming. There aren’t any dinosaurs, but there are lots of other critters that call the swamp home – alligators, black bears, Florida panthers, deer, wild hogs, bobcats, foxes, rabbits, opossums, beavers, otters, frogs, turtles, minks, lots of bird species, and numerous species of snakes. And, according to some legends, the swamp also contains some mythical creatures, often in the form of hybrids. You’ve heard of werewolves, but in the Okefenokee, some people believe there are werebears and weredeer.

Many reports of strange lights exist, too. They’ve been described as round orbs that dance, bounce, float, and roll. Sometimes they chase human intruders. The lights are undoubtedly just swamp gas or foxfire, created by decomposing vegetation, but they’ve made great sources for ghost stories. Most of the tales usually involve someone who died in the swamp after becoming lost. Getting lost here is actually a fairly common occurrence. At least one man who was lost recently claimed to have been abducted by space aliens before they deposited him back into the swamp after keeping him for several weeks.

Then we have the Pig Man – sort of a cross between a Bigfoot and a pig. The swamp has plenty of feral pigs, but this one walks upright. It’s sort of like a hairy ape with a pig’s snout and a pig’s eyes. Even though this creature has an intimidating, ugly appearance, it’s said to be timid and especially afraid of humans and loud noises like motor boats. As such, you probably won’t get to catch a glimpse of it. And speaking of Bigfoot, the Okefenokee supposedly has a few of them, too, in the form of skunk apes. I guess the wild pigs and the skunk apes sometimes get together and mate, resulting in legendary creatures like the poor Pig Man. Like I said, this sprawling, eerie swamp is the perfect setting for ghost stories, cryptids, monsters, and mythical creatures.


james on June 20, 2015:

Have you Appalachian black cat if I've got a story to tell

Frank on August 31, 2014:

Voodoo actually originated in Africa, not the Caribbeans. Google vodun, a religion still practiced in west Africa.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on August 04, 2013:

Maggie, thanks for the tip!

Maggie Crooks on August 04, 2013:

Good article. Enjoyed it greatly. Next time you need photos, consider The pics are free, and the photographers actually make some money if you use them.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on February 14, 2013:

Thanks, MissJamie! Glad you enjoyed it.

MissJamieD from Minnes-O-ta on February 14, 2013:

This is an awesome hub! Scary and interesting:) Great job.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on February 03, 2013:

torrilynn, glad you enjoyed the read. I've always enjoyed ghost stories, too - especially the non-violent type. Thanks for reading!

torrilynn on February 02, 2013:

I loved reading your hub. I really enjoy ghost stories and even the tv shows such as ghost hunters and ghost adventures. The pictures that you included were great and fun. Thanks. Voted up.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on January 21, 2013:

Oh, so do I, KKgals! And the scarier the ghost stories are, the better I like them. lol

Susan Hazelton from Northern New York on January 21, 2013:

Fascinating. I love reading about ghhost stories and all sorts of unexplained phenom. It is rather spooky but fun. Up, interesting and awesome.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on January 19, 2013:

lol, Doc. You might have to prescribe yourself some sleeping pills! I'm thinking of writing a southern ghost stories part II, as I've been learning about some new ones from friends.

drbj and sherry from south Florida on January 18, 2013:

I know I should not have read this at nighttime, Holle, now I'll have to leave the lights on all night when I go to bed. Very thorough exploration, m'dear. I am bookmarking it to come back and visit again. But not at night.

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