North Carolina Ghosts and Legends North Carolina Ghost StoriesNorth Carolina Ghost Stories and Legends
The Brown Mountain Lights

The mysterious lights of Brown Mountain are most likely to be seen in the autumn on cool, clear and dry nights.




Brown Mountain is a low ridge in Burke County that is a showcase for one of the last, great unexplained phenomena in the world. During the night, usually in autumn, mysterious glowing orbs can be seen to rise up off the mountain, hover and wobble about fifteen feet up in the air, and then disappear. There's no denying that the lights are real. They have been observed by countless witnesses and photographed on many occasions. But what they are is still unkown.

Explanatins have varied over the years. The Cherokee were aware of the lights, and claimed that the lights were the souls of Cherokee women searching for their men who had died in a great battle between the Cherokee and the Catawba that took place on Brown Mountain. Other legends say that the lights are the the ghostly echoes of lights that appeared during a search for a murdered woman in the 19th century.

scientific explanations have been offered, from swamp gas to the reflections of automobile headlights from the valley below, but every explanation offered up so far seems to be too easily disproved. The lights have been seen since before automobiles existed, so headlights are hardly an explanation. The swamp gas theory seems to bed crimped somewhat be the distinct absence of a swamp on Brown Mountain. A conclusive theory has yet to be formed, but it is interesting to note that Brown Mountain, like North Carolina's other famous Ghost Light the Maco Light lies along a fault line. Perhaps the Brown Mountain Lights are a side-effect of the enormous pressure beneath the earth.

Whatever their cause, people still flock to see the Brown Mountain Lights, but spotting them is never guaranteed. Reportedly, your best chance to see the lights comes in October and November, after all the leaves are off the trees.