Elkmont Ghost Town
October 2, 2023

The Smoky Mountains have a rich history, and with that history comes a number of tales and legends that have been passed down for generations. You may be surprised to learn that a number of these legends include spooky ghost stories. If you’re looking for a fright, here’s a list of some of the most popular Smoky Mountain ghost stories to read and share this spooky season!

1. Elkmont Ghost Town

cabin in elkmont

One of the most popular Smoky Mountain ghost stories revolves around the Elkmont Ghost Town. In the early 1900s, this town was a logging community filled with wooden homes where the loggers lived. Elkmont became a tourist destination by the 1910s, and visitors from the city built more cottages and clubs in the forest village. When the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was created, the residents of Elkmont were required to leave. The National Park Service decided to preserve 19 of the 70 buildings in Elkmont.

The buildings that remain standing have become known as the Elkmont Ghost Town, and this abandoned town is a popular site for visitors to the national park. Many people who visit the Elkmont Ghost Town describe feeling a profound chill upon entering certain buildings, even in the heart of summer. In the Wonderland Hotel in Elkmont, some people have even reported hearing strange noises and feeling like they were being watched.

2. Lucy of Roaring Fork

The Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is a 5.5-mile scenic drive through the Smoky Mountains. According to one of the most-told Smoky Mountain ghost stories, a local spirit may haunt this popular drive. The legend states that a young woman named Lucy died in a cabin fire in the early 1900s. A man spotted her walking down the road barefoot on a cold winter night. He offered her a ride and fell in love with her. When he went to her parents to ask them for her hand in marriage, they informed him that she had tragically died not long ago. According to legend, Lucy still wanders barefoot along the road near where her cabin burned down, looking for a ride.

3. Cades Cove’s Glowing Orbs

black and white photo of a cemetery in the Smoky Mountains

You may not have known that Cades Cove is home to some of the most well-known Smoky Mountain ghost stories. If you have ever driven along the Cades Cove Loop Road, you have likely visited one or more of the historical cabins and churches in Cades Cove. These churches have cemeteries around them where dozens of early settlers were laid to rest. According to legend, as twilight falls and visitors exit the Cove, these graveyards come to life. Some people have claimed to see glowing orbs floating over the graves. It’s speculated that these balls of light are spirits hovering over where their bodies are buried.

4. The Cussing Cover

One of the spookiest Smoky Mountain ghost stories on this list is the legend of the Cussing Cover, which tells the story of Basil and Mavis Estep. This couple lived a simple life in a cabin in Cades Cove long before the creation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Mavis was born during a thunderstorm and held a superstitious belief that she was destined to be killed by a lightning bolt. Because of this fear, she never allowed Basil to buy a metal bed for their home. However, Mavis eventually passed away due to a persistent illness. On her deathbed, she made Basil swear that he would never sell her handmade quilts or place them on a metal bed.

Basil was eventually remarried to a much younger woman named Trulie Jane Lawson. They ended up sleeping on a metal bed, and one cold night Trulie Jane asked Basil if they could sleep with one of Mavis’s quilts. She chose the quilt that Mavis called the “Cussing Cover” because it contained a piece of a shirt that Basil wore during their first fight. Later that night, Trulie Jane was awakened by a flash of light that knocked her to the floor. The room filled with smoke and a burning smell. She found that Basil had been charred to a crisp and the metal bed had disintegrated. Strangely, the Cussing Cover was in perfect condition and nothing else in the cabin was damaged.

More Haunted Places in the Smoky Mountains

These are some of the most popular Smoky Mountain ghost stories that have been passed down over the years. If you’re interested in learning more about haunted places and spooky stories, check out this list of places in the Smoky Mountains that might be haunted!