The 4 Weirdest Attractions in North Carolina
North Carolina has several popular tourist attractions centered on the things you would expect the state to commemorate. For instance, you can visit the site of the Wright brothers’ first flight in Kill Devil Hills or Andy Griffith’s hometown of Mt. Airy and its Mayberry-themed attractions. However, in addition to these, you will also find some more exotic and eccentric destinations. Here are the four weirdest attractions in North Carolina.
The Devil’s Tramping Ground
When you arrive at the Devil’s Tramping Ground, you may be a bit disappointed at first. After all, it just looks like a large circle of dirt in the middle of the woods near Harper’s Crossroads. What makes this attraction strange is the story behind it. Local legend claims this is where the devil paces while devising new horrors for mankind to endure. There are reports that anything planted here dies, the soil is completely devoid of any living organisms, compasses spin wildly when in the circle, and visitors feel sick to their stomachs. You can find other, wilder claims online, as well as more scientific explanations.
The Brown Mountain Lights
About 70 miles east of Asheville in the Pisgah National Forest, people have been seeing strange lights over Brown Mountain for centuries. Witnesses include Cherokee Indians, early settlers, and Civil War soldiers, with each group having its own explanation. Thousands have seen them, in recent years reporting them as UFOs. Despite three investigations by the U.S. government and countless other investigations by private individuals and even nearby universities, no definitive explanation has been found. If you want to catch a glimpse yourself, there are several overlooks that give you the right view—just remember that sightings are rare.
Near the town of Sylva, you can find another landmark steeped in legend: a large soapstone boulder covered in ancient petroglyphs. Although the carvings include many Native American carvings, they seem to predate the local Cherokee tribe. According to the Cherokee legend, the carvings were left by the giant Judaculla, who selected a bride from the Cherokee tribe, took her to the spirit world, and, in exchange, guaranteed worthy women and warriors from the tribe eternal life in the spirit world after their deaths. Archeologists have proposed several theories regarding their origin, but none are conclusive.
Cloud Chamber For the Trees and Sky
This Raleigh site is no less strange for knowing where it came from and how it works. The Cloud Chamber for the Trees and Sky was commissioned by the North Carolina Museum of Art in 2003. It operates as an oversized pinhole camera. A small hole in the ceiling of the structure projects an inverted image of the sky above onto the floor of the chamber. Step inside, and you will find yourself looking down at the clouds instead of up at them.
Whether you fancy yourself an amateur historian or find yourself drawn to the unexplained, our state has some strange attractions sure to inspire you. Next time you are looking for somewhere to go or something to see in North Carolina, consider straying from the typical tourist traps for a less obvious destination.