From unsolved natural mysteries, hills that don’t follow the rules of gravity, and a cabin covered in mugs, North Carolina is home to some true oddities. Some of these places are downright scary while others are a good time and observation of creative talent. Check out the 15 weirdest places in North Carolina.
1. Devil's Tramping Ground, near Bennett
The Devil’s Tramping Ground is a 40-foot diameter circle completely absent of life. Nothing will grow here. Leave something in the circle, and legend says it will be thrown out the next day. Apparently, the devil needs plenty of room to dance at night.
2. Brown Mountain Lights
It is aliens, ghosts, or just some type of ‘marsh gas?’ For over 100 years, no one has solved the mystery of the Brown Mountain Lights. Appearing after sunset, the lights change in size, color, and shape. Legends link the lights to ‘ghost maidens’ searching for their loved ones after a great battle of The Cherokee and Catawba. See them for yourself.
3. Judaculla Rock, Sylva
Rooted in Cherokee folklore, this mysterious rock has petroglyphs dating back to 2000 B.C. Native Americans claim it to be the work of a slant-eyed giant named Judaculla. He lived in the area, controlling all the game, and most of the inhabitants. Rather Judaculla’s footprints, a hunting map, or ancient Native American carvings, the rock is quite a mystery and has perplexed archaeologist since first discovered. Ghost stories surround the rock and an unmarked graveyard lies a few hundred feet away. You can see the rock for yourself in Sylva.
4. The Moon-Eyed Structures
These mysterious stone structures can be found throughout the southern Appalachian region and no one knows how they came to be or who built them. One theory is that they were built by the 'moon-eyed' people whose legend starts with the Cherokee Indians. They came into contact with the ‘people’ who had extremely pale, white skin and could not see in the daylight. The moon-eyed people were completely nocturnal and lived in caves underground. Whether or not you believe in the moon-eyed people, its still mysterious how these structures came to be.
5. Gravity Hill
While some non-believers say Gravity Hill is simply an illusion, others adamantly defend the legend and the tragic story of Gravity Hill. It's said that one night on Richfield Road, a young mother and her child were driving and her car stalled. As she got out and attempted to push the car up the hill, a truck came along, hit, and instantly killed both mother and child. Today, put your car in neutral at the bottom, and you will be pushed up the hill. Also, if you put baby powder on your hood, you will see handprints when you get to the top.
6. Acid Park, Wilson
Between unique urban art, and urban legends, Acid Park is pretty interesting. Legend claims a young woman was driving home on LSD, crashed her car, and died. Her father says in her last moments, he saw what she saw, and he set out to create it with Acid Park. In truth, these "whirligigs" are told to be "driving entertainment" by creator Vollis Simpson, whose daughter is very much alive and well. Oh well, the story does add to the intrigue of this random place. And truth be told, there's no way it's not kind of creepy at night.
7. Old Davis Hospital, Statesville
While the Old Davis Hospital will soon be torn down, its still one of the strangest spots for spotting ghosts in North Carolina. The old Davis Hospital operated from 1950-1980. After the hospital shut down, the building still remained, but in dilapidated form. The brave souls who have visited the hospital have left with reports of dark figures in corners, cries of children, large thuds in the hallway, screams, chills down their spine. What ISN’T scary about an abandoned hospital?
8. Bentonville Battlefield, Four Oaks
While a popular location for Civil War reenactments, some scenes at Bentonville are reenacted by the dead. As the location of the last major battle in the Civil War, and largest land battle in North Carolina, Bentonville is a unique place to visit. Stories of phantom gunshots, cries from the woods, and distant marching have been reported in the area. With so much death and destruction, it is all but assumed some souls would still linger.
9. The Great Dismal Swamp
What is beautiful by day becomes terrifying at night. This massive swamp encompasses 112,000 acres and runs through both North Carolina and Virginia. With large cypress trees, miles of swampland, and dark water disappearing into the distance, it’s easy to see why this beautiful, mysterious landscape inspired Harriet Beecher Stowe; whose novel focused on the stories of runaway slaves named Maroons inhabiting the area. While popular for water sports during the day, between the ghost stories and the wildlife, I wouldn't want to be left by myself here at night.
10. Shangri-la Stone Village, Prospect Hill
Using rock blasted from his own land, Henry L. Warren set out to create this gnome-sized village after his retirement. Henry would work tirelessly with a cigarette in mouth and a Coke in hand. Over nine years he created the Shangri-La Stone Village which included a theatre, a gym, a hotel, even a water tower. Sadly, Henry was working on a hospital at the time of his death. This little slice of history remains in good condition and can still be viewed. Just follow the arrowhead path constructed by Henry himself.
11. Cloud Chamber for the Trees and Sky, Raleigh
Nature is overrated, or, can it be experienced better? This cloud chamber answers that question. This small mound of bricks, mossy roof, and enclosed light-sealed inside make it a sight to see, from the inside. One small hole in the roof chamber acts as a camera obscura. Meaning, this optic trick projects a mirror image of the area lit, thus projecting trees, clouds, and a Carolina blue sky throughout the small enclosed section of the Cloud Chamber. Personally speaking, it seems like a medieval genius of the art-lamps I had as a child. This one-of-a-kind object can be experienced behind the North Carolina Museum of Art.
12. Creation Museum, Taxidermy Hall of Fame, and Antique Tool Museum, Southern Pines
It seems the owners of this Christian bookstore couldn't decide on which 'theme' they were going for, so they did a bit of everything. Home to over 200 realer-than-life animals, that have won national taxidermy awards, this 'museum' is something to see. Read up on...creationism...or browse antique tools. Really, I don't think you'll find much boredom here.
13. Land of Oz Theme Park, Beech Mountain
The Land of Oz Theme Park was added to Beech Mountain as a unique idea to keep attracting tourism. The park was once bustling, but slowly interest faded and the park eventually was forced to close its doors. Today, the Wizard of Oz theme park sits silently on the side of Beech Mountain. Once a year, the streets of Emerald City light up for the Autumn in Oz Event.
14. Castle Mont Rouge
You never know what you might stumble upon on a walk through the woods, but what about an abandoned castle? Castle Mont Rouge is the work of Robert Mihaly. While Mihaly was starting to finish the interior, his beloved wife passed away, and too devastated to go on, he stopped all construction. Today you can find the dilapidated castle, that could be beautiful and magical with the right finishing touches, in Rougemont.
15. House of Mugs, Collettisville
I sure do love mugs, but Avery Sisk has collected over 25,000 and now proudly displays them in his cabin. You can find this attraction in Colletsvllle off of Old Johns River Road.
What did you think of our list? Any place you would add? Tell us in the comments.
Note – since this article was published, Old Davis Hospital has been torn down.