Western NC Weird: Disappearances

I’ve decided to make this week’s post a special jaunt, headed west towards the mountains of North Carolina.

Deep in this culturally rich part of our country, you almost feel like you’re being watched, because you’re just a visitor. You’re not from the old roots, and you can love it all you want, but maybe you won’t stay. The very land feels haunted with a sad, beautiful history, stained by the forced migration of an entire people group, the Cherokee. There’s a little town up in Jackson County called Cullowhee. It’s unincorporated, and there lies Western Carolina University, one unique feature of which is a body farm, used in forensics to study the decay of cadavers under various conditions. I mention the university because it’s a landmark. The body farm lends a little atmosphere to this tale of strange disappearances and an old way of life.

If you were to take a drive just a little bit southeast of Cullowhee, in what would most likely be a 15 minute trip, you’d come upon a place called Tuckasegee. It’s also unincorporated, though there’s a post office and a couple of churches nearby. Tuckasegee is not itself a single town as we’d think of it; rather, it’s made up of a few scattered communities. People mostly live there, but a convenience store makes its home in the tiny place. One of the communites, which I won’t specifically name here, is where I set my tale.

Folks in the mountains can be wary of strangers. It’s a tiny town, and if you’re new, you stick out very sharply. They’re nice enough, but they protect their own.

I’m not sure how the robbery happened. It could be someone actually broke into the house. Or maybe, as the stereotype goes, the door was just left unlocked that day, like every day. But a group of men broke into someone’s house and stole the usual goods, electronics, appliances, stuff like that.

Sometime later, the men were found dead, shot, in the driveway.

No one saw anything.

It wasn’t long before some investigators came poking around in the community, looking for answers, ready to deliver a guilty verdict right there in town, just like on tv.

But when you’re that deep in the mountains, it’s easy to disappear without a trace.

It’s likely we’ll never know what became of those men. Roads are treacherous in the mountains, especially the deeper you go in, and it’s easy to get lost or pitch your car off the very edge of the highway. Perhaps that is behind this disappearance.

But no one saw a thing.

Then again, there is that body farm.

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