North Carolina Legends: 7 Mythical Creatures in NC Folklore
The Tarheel State is home to dozens of creepy urban legends and spooky mysteries. You may not realize all the mythical creatures that have taken root in North Carolina folklore, ranging from fairies in the Mountains, to mermaids in the Piedmont, to our very own version of the Lochness Monster down by Charlotte.
The Uwharrie Forest even has a well-researched Bigfoot legend. Many North Carolina legends date back to Revolutionary War documents, or even stories from the indigenous tribes that lived here before Europeans settled. Let’s explore seven famous mythical creatures and how their legends have shown up in North Carolina history.
1. Fairy Crosses in the Blue Ridge Mountains
Fairy crosses date back to the Cherokee legends of the “Yunwi Tsundsdi” or “Little People” who lived in Appalachia, out by Lake Lure in Western North Carolina. The Cherokee referred to these small humanoids as spirits or fairies who often revealed themselves to children. These kind-hearted, but mischievous, fairies were known for using their magic to help lost children find their way back home.
The Yunwei Tsundsdi vanished around the same time European settlers began moving into the mountains; however, Cherokee legend states that the fairies can still be found near rivers and bodies of water. Sometimes, legend says, you can hear them singing or drumming in the woods of Appalachia. A special stone called Staurolite can be found near these bodies of water, which has unique properties that ensure it always forms a perfect, tiny cross. The Cherokee believe this mystical stone is left behind as a talisman, blessed by the Yunwei Tsundsdi.
The Staurolite can still be found in the mountains. I once wandered near a remote waterfall deep in the woods outside Boone — where I saw glowing blue butterflies prancing near the water, and swear I heard singing as I picked up a fairy cross.