The Legend of Dark Hollow
East Tennessee is rich in many things. We have beautiful mountains, abundant wildlife, mountain-inspired music and wonderful storytelling.
Of these, two of my favorites are the storytelling and the mountain stories that have evolved over the last 200 years. Most of these mountain stories have a basis of fact to them, but over time they have been changed and embellished until we have the stories we have today.
October is a month of scary stories. Who doesn’t like to hear a terrifying story as you are sitting around a campfire? Because of this, this column is concentrating during the entire month on some of the more famous scary stories. I hope you enjoy them.
We will start with the most famous story from the Roan Mountain area, The Legend of Dark Hollow.
Around 1920 In Roan Mountain…
Victoria Carter came to Roan Mountain sometime during the early part of the 20th Century, and little did she know that she would change the town forever.
From all descriptions she was a beautiful lady. She had raven black hair and a personality that made you think you were the only person in the world.
One of the people I interviewed that knew Victoria said her eyes were mesmerizing and were the most beautiful eyes they had ever seen. They said she was attractive but her eyes stood out about her. They described her as the type of lady men love to fall in love with.
After Victoria came to Roan Mountain, she took a job as a live-in maid. She cooked, cleaned and watched their children in exchange for a place to stay, food and a small salary.
The problems she encountered early and often were she was very flirtatious, and she really enjoyed the company of men. This did not sit very well with most wives.
Usually she would take a job and be able to keep that job until the wife became jealous, then she would be forced to leave. She would move on until she found another job at another home with another flirty husband.
Finally, the people of the community decided that something had to be done about her, so they organized a meeting to discuss their “Victoria problem.”
Please understand that the people who came to this meeting were some of the most important people in Roan Mountain. They were church goers, businessmen, farmers and an assortment of townspeople who wanted to see Victoria on the next train out of town.
The meeting was led by the wives in the community, and they said that the town of Roan Mountain had no room for her type of person. Her partying ways were not fit to be in the same community as the God-fearing residents of the community and something had to be done about her.
Eventually, they decided to meet her and make her leave town. Three people were sent to get her, and she came when she was told there was a party taking place in an area known as Dark Hollow. She went with them expecting to have a good time. Little did she know she would die before the night was finished.
Victoria was taken to Dark Hollow where she met the rest of the group. Words became heated, jealousy raged and tempers flared. The group demanded she board the next train and get out of town. The town of Roan Mountain was not a place for a lady like her, and the group demanded that she leave the town forever.
To this demand Victoria said “n.o. She was not going to leave, and they could not make her. She had found a home in Roan Mountain and liked the community. She was not going anywhere just because a group of nosy community members wanted her to leave.
She did not leave, but what happened next would change Roan Mountain forever.
Be sure to pick up a copy of our next column when we finish the story of the Legend of Dark Hollow.