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3 min Read
Published October 19, 2018

Appalachian Folklife: The Mysterious Vampire of Big Stone Gap  [Page 2]

The Killings Continued…

A few weeks later, the town drunk went missing. Soon his dead body was found in the woods a quarter mile from Mr. Rupp’s cabin. The town drunk was found with his arm and leg missing and his body also had been completely been drained of blood. A local salesman who traveled around the hills of southwestern Virginia and Kentucky selling odds and ends became the next victim.

He relied on the kindness of local folks in the area for room and board when traveling through the area. The salesman did not check in with the home office of his employer to turn in the previous weeks’ sales. Soon after his disappearance, his body was discovered completely drained of his blood and dismembered.

The town folks were certain the mysterious deaths had to be the work of the strange recluse newcomer, Mr. Rupp.

A group of people decided to gather as a mob and went to Mr. Rupp’s cabin to confront him about the local cattle killings and murders. When the angry vigilantes arrived, Mr. Rupp was nowhere to be found. The group of men broke into Mr. Rupp’s cabin only to find a grotesque and terrifying crime scene of complete horror. Scattered all over the inside of the grungy cabin were body parts of arms, legs, and torsos of animals and human remains.

The smell of the cabin was so overwhelming, several of the men ran outside heaving and vomiting.

The top of Mr. Rupp’s table and countertops in the cabin were covered in blood. The scene was so horrifying to the men, it was reported what they saw and found in that cabin that day haunted the men for the rest of their lives.

After their discovery, the men set fire to the old cabin, formed a posse and set out on a manhunt for Mr. Rupp. Search parties never found Mr. Rupp and it’s presumed that Mr. Rupp may have died while hiding out in the woods. But Mr. Rupp nor his body was never found and the true identity of Mr. Rupp still remains a mystery.

The area of the forest where the cabin used to be located is said to be haunted by the ghost of Mr. Rupp. Animals and people are known to vanish without a trace in the area. Memories of the suspected vampire surface whenever mysterious killings of livestock or humans occur in the Big Stone Gap region. Although folklore changes and evolves over time, further research into these stories uncovers the roots of real events that occurred.

Unfortunately, heavy research in old newspaper archives did not result in any news about the events in the area. However, if this legend is based on true events that were not published, it is my conclusion that Mr. Rupp fits the category of a cannibalistic serial killer instead of a blood-sucking vampire.

Do you love all things Appalachia? Then you might enjoy Decades After Disappearing: History Lurks Under Lake Norman and Frankie Silver: North Carolina’s Most Famous Axe Murderer.

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  • Hope Thompson


  • Trying to educate the world one SLICE OF HISTORY at a time! Hope Thompson is a freelance journalist focused on hidden history, Southern & Appalachian folklife, and Native American culture. She is a native of North Carolina and has been writing for this space for four years. She currently works in state government finance and owns a graphic design business. All my articles.

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