The Appalachian Trail, or “AT” as it’s more commonly known, is a hiking trail that spans roughly 2,200 miles and passes through fourteen states from Maine to Georgia. Since it’s completion in 1937, it has seen close to 2 million visitors per year. Most only spend a day hiking a portion of the AT, while the more adventurous visitors have traversed the entire 2200-mile span of the AT. Around 2,500 people per year hike the full trail. Over the years, the AT has been the subject of many frightening legends. Here are five popular tales from The Trail.
A Cherokee legend from somewhere around the Tennessee/ North Carolina area, Spearfinger is a woman with a long sharp fingernail on her right forefinger. Made of stone, her feet crash like thunder as she walks through the forest. Victims can hear her approaching footsteps and see the birds fly away in fear. She use her long sharp nail to cut open her victim’s bellies and eat their livers which left her mouth and face permanently stained red with blood.
The Scorched Man
This legend comes from 2011 when a man was on a week-long hike on the AT. On his first night in the woods, he built a camp fire and then went to work setting up his sleeping bag. When he turned around, he was startled by a man standing next to his fire. His body was not only completely burnt but was still smoldering. The hiker quickly packed up his gear and ran back towards his car. Frightened, he lost his way and emerged from the woods on a strange road. Along the edge of the road, he saw a recently burnt house and a fire chief standing outside making notes on a clipboard. He told the fire chief what he saw thinking it may have been one of the fires victims. The chief told him that was impossible since the entire family that lived in the house had all burned to death.
The Pierce Pond Ghost
Up in Maine, there is an excellent fishing hole on the AT known as Pierce Pond. After spending the day fishing, a fisherman set up camp and lit a fire to cook up that day’s catch. As twilight set in, the man saw the silhouette of someone approaching his campsite, walking along the edge of the water. The strange figure didn’t get too close before it faded into the night. Not thinking much of it, the fisherman ate his meal and went to sleep. The next night the fisherman saw the strange figure approaching once again. This time it got even closer, pausing and looking at the fisherman before disappearing once more. The next night the same thing happen, only this time the figure was even closer, so close that the fisherman could almost make out his blurred facial features. He paused even longer this time. The fisherman could see that there was a sinister expression on his shadowy face. Then, just like the last two nights, the strange man disappeared into the darkness. That night the fisherman stayed awake, huddled next to the perceived safety of his fire. The next morning, not wanting to see how close the stranger would get on the forth night, the fisherman packed up his gear and headed home. He never went back to Pierce Pond again.
Ghosts of the Civil War
During the Civil War, three major battles were fought around the Maryland portion of the AT. So many lives were lost during these battles that it is rumored that many of their spirits still haunt this section of the trail. To this day hikers report seeing the eyes of the dead staring through the trees during the night. There are also those who say they can hear the screams of wounded soldiers crying out for help.
Dudleytown, Connecticut is also known by another name, “Village of the Damned”. The town was founded around 1740. According to the legend of Dudleytown, the town’s founders were direct descendants of English nobleman Edmund Dudley. Edmund found himself on King Henry IV’s bad side and was beheaded for treason. It is said that after the beheading the entire family was placed under a curse which followed them across the Atlantic and into their new home of Dudleytown. The town lasted for roughly sixty-years and struggled the entire time until it was abandoned for good around 1800. Only a few buildings remain and those are on private property just off the AT where access is strictly forbidden.