Mysteries of the South
Ghosts, Legends, and Unexplained Phenomena in Dixie
Charles River Editors, Sean McLachlan
The American South has given birth to many of the nation’s great stories and legends. From the earliest Colonial times, it’s been a place of mystery, replete with disappearing colonies and strange apparitions in the woods, but the South’s long and proud history has always had a darker, and stranger, side to it. One of America’s most famous mysteries was its first. Despite the fact he had left over 100 colonists at the island of Roanoke in 1587, John White returned to literally nothing, with all traces of the settlement gone and no evidence of fighting or anything else that might have explained the disappearance of the inhabitants. White found the word “Croatoan” carved on a tree nearby, which he figured might mean the colonists moved to a nearby island, but he was unable to conduct a search expedition there. The Spanish also searched for the colony in hopes of wiping it out themselves, but none of the Europeans could find Roanoke’s colonists or explain what happened to the “lost” colony. The fate of Roanoke has fascinated people for over 400 years, and there is no shortage of theories regarding the disappearance of the colony. In addition to the possibility that the settlers moved to Croatoan Island, most theories speculate that they were either wiped out by nearby Native Americans or assimilated among a tribe. Future settlements in the area would survive and start to flourish, and that would bring more mystery and unexplained phenomena. Tales of monsters and ghosts lurking in its woods and old houses, and strange monuments that may be from a forgotten civilization, puzzle local investigators. All the while, the early inhabitants themselves were always superstitious, whether in Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, and eastern Louisiana. Mysteries of the South: Ghosts, Legends, and Unexplained Phenomena in Dixie profiles a sampling of strange, unexplained, and just plain odd stories of the South that have fascinated people in and around the region for centuries.