East Tennessee History: The Legend of Dark Hollow Part 2
East Tennessee is filled with frightening stories that fill the listeners’ imaginations with images of ghosts, spirits and the supernatural. Many of these have an element of truth about them, but they have been embellished to entertain the listener. Other stories play on our fears of death and the unknown.
We will conclude the most famous story surrounding Roan Mountain in today’s column. The Legend of Dark Hollow…
In the early part of the Twentieth Century, a young lady named Victoria Carter came to Roan Mountain. It wasn’t long until the women of the community became jealous of her eyes, figure and long black hair. She liked to party and to flirt, and this did not sit well with many in the community, especially the wives and girlfriends.
It wasn’t long before several people of Roan Mountain became determined to get rid of Victoria Carter.
A meeting was held and a plan was made for four people from the group to go and get Victoria and invite her to a party in the Dark Hollow section of Roan Mountain. There they were going to beat her and whip her until she agreed to leave Roan Mountain on the next train out of the town.
She was taken by the group of citizens to Dark Hollow where she was stripped of her clothes, had her hands tied and her bareback whipped with limbs from the trees. She still refused to leave the community.
A man stepped from the crowd holding a large knife. He did not intend to kill her, only to scare her. One of the women pushed him into her, and Victoria was cut on the top of her chest and left shoulder. It was not a mortal wound, but it scared her, and she started screaming for help.
Not far away a lone traveler was making his way up a narrow mountain road, and he heard her screams. He stopped and listened and yelled back “what’s going on up there!”
When the gathered crowd heard his voice, they knew that they were caught. They were some of the most prominent men and women in Roan Mountain and now they were going to jail for assault and kidnapping.
Someone in the crowd grabbed a fence railing and hit Victoria in her temple to keep her quiet. Then, they waited and listened.
The man on the road was listening too, and after a few minutes, he turned and went on his way, no doubt thinking that what was happening in those woods was none of his business.
With the danger gone, the citizens turned to look at Victoria. A trickle of blood ran down her temple as someone checked her pulse. She was dead.
Now the little group was in a panic. They had just killed someone. They were all going to jail for murder. Then a voice of reason came from the crowd. They didn’t have to get caught if they worked together.
They decided to never tell anyone what had happened and then they designated four of the men to hide the body and not tell the rest where it was hidden.
Ben Franklin once said, “three can keep a secret if two of them are dead”, and that is the case here. Someone told someone, then someone told someone else and before the sun had burned off the dew from the pastures, most people in Roan Mountain knew about the murder. It wasn’t long before the sheriff heard about it, and came to Roan Mountain to search for Victoria’s body.
They searched for her for the better part of a week but came up short. Finally, they gave up the search and said she probably had just left to parts unknown and this was just a story someone had invented.
No one will ever know what happened to Victoria’s lifeless body. Some say she was buried here or there, but though we don’t know what happened to her body, many native Roan Mountain residence can tell you where to find her.
Drive through Dark Hollow in the dead of night and look out your window, and you may see a woman who is arrayed in white, walking through the woods. As you watch she turns to you and then just disappears. If she does this, don’t be concerned. Others have seen this before you.
Or you may see a figure dressed in a white dress standing in the road as you come along the curves of Dark Hollow. When you hit your brakes to keep from hitting her, she disappears like a vapor. Don’t worry; you can’t kill the dead.
Or you may feel someone on the back of your motorcycle with you, or in the back of your truck or see someone standing on your car hood as you travel those curvy roads of Dark Hollow. If this happens to you, you are not imagining things.
I know many people who have seen this white vapor-like figure in those woods, and they all will tell you they know what they saw, even if we don’t believe them.
Some say this is a type of fog or gas that comes from the hollows at night. Others say it is someone’s overactive imagination or a little too much alcohol.
After hearing accounts of people that have seen this figure, I think I know what they are seeing in Dark Hollow. It is just Victoria Carter getting revenge on the people of Roan Mountain.