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This Haunted Tunnel In North Carolina Is Not For The Faint Of Heart

On the freezing cold morning of December 30th 1882, a group of 30 convicts (belonging to a chain gang) entered a boat on the eastern side of the Tuckasegee River. The water was frigid, and heavy puddles from a rainstorm the night before sloshed on the boat as it begun to make its way to its destination, the 700-foot long Cowee Tunnel. The tunnel was constructed prior to the railroad line to keep up with construction.

As the men began to grow weary of the large puddles of water forming in the boat, and a cable line attached to the boat pulled them nearer to their destination deep within the wild and untamed mountains, some passengers became fearful the boat was beginning to drown. Police guards yelled at the men to calm down, but the panic had been sparked and the prisoners began to push towards the front of the boat. With constant, back-and-forth commotion, the boat capsized into the frozen river.

Today, the Cowee Tunnel is somewhat hard to access, but can be found along the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad. The Cowee Tunnel Disaster is indeed one of the greatest tragic occurrences in Western, North Carolina.

Do you have any experience with the Cowee Tunnel? Any stories or spooks you’d like to add?

If you love a good North Carolina ghost story, and looking for an easier to access haunted location, take a drive down this haunted road.

Emory Rakestraw
Emory was born and raised in North Carolina. She enjoys writing, photography, filmmaking, travel, wine and cheese. You can find more of her work on emoryrakestraw.com