Posts tagged “Southern

Southern Weird: Altamaha-ha

The more you look, the more it appears that good old Nessie seems to have a very large family.

Headed south this time to the waterways of southern Georgia.

It might be the fact that people tend to find dinosaurs fascinating that leads to the numerous sightings of lake and water monsters around the world. Ultimately, dinosaurs are mysterious. We don’t know exactly what they looked like, so it would be pretty cool to see one, for instance, a Tyrannosaurus Rex still around. At least I think so.

Perhaps that’s why people are eager to claim that something unexpected might be living in the waters, shy and only glimpsed by the locals, never seen up close or clearly. Altamaha-ha, Georgia’s own mysterious aquatic inhabitant, is no different.

Altie, as it’s also called, sounds like what might be called a sea serpent, one that only lets a little of itself be seen, if at all, and maybe that’s by accident. It makes its home in McIntosh County, Georgia. Altie is said to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 feet long, though some reports do allow for a shorter distance. If Altie is prowling around in the waters of Georgia, a green hide might let it stay hidden.

What might Altamaha-ha be? Is it an alligator? Is it, perhaps, an alligator gar, as Hank Bart of Tulane University believes? The possibility always exists that it’s a known animal, but how would that account for the size?

Are the dinosaurs of our imaginations just shy, and is Altamaha-ha one of them?

Could there be more than one of Altie?

And, if there is, where did they come from?


Southern Weird: Wakulla Volcano

What’s that smoke rising above the swamp? Has the peat caught fire, or is something very strange going on here?

We’re heading down to Florida with the tale of the Wakulla Volcano.

Florida is a pretty cool place. It contains the oldest city in America, offers a lot of vacation options, and has a climate that allows people to take advantage of those vacations pretty much year-round.

It also has no shortage of swampland.

Swamps are fascinating. They’re deep and dim and mysterious. Swamps capture the imagination, because they are places where interesting things can hide.

And Florida’s swamps may have once hidden something very interesting indeed.

Smoke and what might have been flame were being seen in Wacissa Swamp, but in 1840, it was no new thing. Legend says the Seminole people had seen it for years, this smoke that seemed to have some mysterious source. What could have been burning this much to be visible from Tallahassee and even the Gulf of Mexico? A camp, maybe, inhabited by anyone from pirates to escaped slaves?

It was 1865 before the mysterious sight was called a volcano.

And from what I can tell, it did indeed appear to be one. What else would smoke and a bright glow be, to be seen that far away without being a widespread and deadly fire? And it isn’t as if Florida is a dry part of the country. A little later, in the 1870s, the theory that it might simply be a geyser or hot spring came about, but those would not negate the possibility of a volcano.

A New York Herald expedition sent to find it was unsuccessful, to say the least, because the volcano was never found and the man sent from the paper died.

It probably seemed that this phenomenon would be a part of life in Florida for a while.

Until August 31, 1886, the day an earthquake hit Charleston SC.

An interesting thing about earthquakes on the east coast is that, for geological reasons, the tremors are felt quite far away. In this case, Lake Jackson in Florida drained (which isn’t unusual for that particular lake). After the earthquake, according to the story, the Wakulla Volcano disappeared.

Of course, there are reports at this point that conflict. Other accounts say that the smoke returned in the 1890s.

And then come the later stories, of evidence that could only have been left by a volcano. Of course, there is also the possibility that this was all very simply a peat fire.

But what if it wasn’t something so simple? Why would an earthquake have shut it off, only for it to reappear a few years later? Was a peat fire burning, or was it being maintained?

Could the Wakulla Volcano have a perfectly rational explanation that is still different from the current theories?

I encourage you to look into the Wakulla Volcano. I got this idea from Weird US, but there are plenty of sources out there.

The Wakulla Volcano seems to have been certainly something to see, and the true explanation might be something we never expected.

Our Weird World: Pieces

Perhaps it’s a strange curiosity you see along a new route you travel, or maybe you’ve passed it many times, but never enough for your brain to quite reconcile the utter oddness of those pieces left behind in such strange ways.

I can’t say that it is only one place that has me thinking of this topic. There are a few places I know well enough that it caused me to take a little more notice of lonely chimneys and a random houseless stoop that borders a sidewalk. It’s also not uncommon, here in the South at least, to see the side of an old barn or even an old house peeking through trees, the structures left to fall apart on their own. They usually do, if they aren’t simply torn down by the owner.


This barn once stood in Wilson County. It has since been torn down or fell on its own, though the land is still actively farmed.

The latter do not concern me all that much. 

What really gets me interested are the places such as I’ve seen near South Hill, VA. There is one spot I’ve passed there before where there are two chimneys (or perhaps one) and no house beside. In another town, quite literally, there are three steps leading into an empty lot. A place once dwelt in. I believe (and I may be getting the exact location wrong, though I have seen this) that on the road between Wilson NC and Raleigh NC, if you go through Knightdale, there is a single, small stone structure that appears to have been a fireplace. 

What are these places? Of course, they were once homes, but why was so much erased, only for tiny pieces to be left? Were they actually erased? Might something truly strange have happened there? Logic asks us to simply believe that a wooden wall is simply more easily conquered than stone.

Perhaps it is as easy.

But first, consider any exception to how we believe the universe behaves. What about the vanishing house in Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery? The strange noises and unsettling frequencies that mimic hauntings? Or perhaps the disappearances of whole people groups

There might be a mundane explanation for each and every example.

But what if there wasn’t? What if the universe utterly refused to play by the rules that we decided must apply?

It’s a truly interesting question, indeed.


Door to the Stars: Launch Complex 34

Screams echo, distant memories etched in time, voices left behind by speakers long-dead…or are they something else?

Man first stepped on the moon on July 20, 1969. We would only go a handful more times before keeping ourselves fully grounded on Earth.

As with most great accomplishments, we tend to see the results as a much bigger thing than the work put in before. The guts, blood, sweat, and sacrifice.

January 27, Launch Complex 34, Cape Canaveral. The crew of Apollo 1 were engaged in a test for the mission, not due to launch until February 21. In a tragic moment, something (and they really don’t know what) ignited inside the cabin. The craft was quickly and violently consumed in flame. Gus Grissom, Roger Chaffee, and Ed White were unable to escape, and died inside. Launch Complex 34 was used until 1968 and then decommissioned.

The plaque at the site.

Today, you can visit LC-34 on one of the tours and see the part of the structure that’s still there. It serves as a memorial to the men who were lost as the human race pushed to stand on other worlds.

Of course, because of the deaths, it’s not without its ghost stories.

The stories are much the same as any other. Screams of the dying. Weird happenings, and the rumor that NASA closed it because of strange things going on, horrors too great for the general public. The last bit seems to be unfounded, and I couldn’t find any reason for it to have been closed other than the recent government shutdown.

But suppose there are screams at Launch Complex 34, just not from the dying. Not echoes, but a real true sound with a mysterious source. A source as real as you and me, as physical as we are, but not something we can see so obviously. Like the Seneca Guns, there aren’t many answers.

If we could find where the noises are coming from, look through a gap, imagine what we’d find there. Who we’d find there, staring back at us.

What might be hiding at Launch Complex 34?


All the weird legends and ghost stories that turn up about North Carolina always end up being about the Western part of the state, in the Mountains.

I intend to change that.

So welcome to Weirdly Awesome NC, delivering an attempted daily dose of Eastern North Carolina pics, stories, legends, and just plain old stuff. Of course, this isn’t to say I’ll completely exclude Western North Carolina, but when our side has Blackbeard and a hydrogen bomb buried deep underground, things can get pretty odd around here. Feel free to leave some links in the comments to other stuff you’ve come across, even if it’s not in North Carolina! I’d love to know about your weird findings. I also plan to have Twitter, and I’d be ever so delighted if you’d follow me.

Now grab a pint of Eastern NC BBQ and join me back here soon for one of our oddball offerings.