A few of my relatives were raised in the North Carolina mountains. There were a lot of stories that came out of the region but the one tale that each one of us knew the best was that of the demon dog of Valle Crucis. The community of Valle Crucis, which is Latin for "Vale of the Cross" and refers to the valley where three streams come together to form a shape similar to a cross, is rustic and a favorite destination for tourists. But don't let the quaint scenery hide the truth...there is a dark side to Valle Crucis.
There's an old stone church (St. John's Episcopal), located along Highway 194 just on the edge of town, where in the churchyard cemetery the supernatural moves among the venerable graves. St. John's was built in the 1860's and the legends of the hellhound and other strange beings have been told for several generations.
The traditional story starts on clear moonlit Autumn night. Two young men, who were students at a local college, were driving through the Valle Crucis area when they received the shock of their lives.
They were driving along Highway 195 that leads through Valle Crucis at around midnight. As their car passed the old church, the young men saw a large shadow leap out from behind one of the tombstones in the church graveyard. The shadow leaped into the road in front of them. The driver swerved his car to avoid the shape that suddenly landed in his path. He slammed his foot on the brake and pulled his car over to the shoulder of the road, according to the witnesses' accounts.
Both he and his friend were startled to see that it was a massive dog. It was as tall and big as a fully grown man. The fearsome canine was covered with bristling black fur and had large yellow teeth. And most unusual of all, the dog's eyes were glowing. They were not reflecting back the light like a dog's or cat's eyes will sometimes do. Instead, these eyes were really glowing with a weird red light.
One of the young men turned to the other and asked "Do you see that?" His friend said "No and neither do you."
As the unearthly growling beast walked toward their car, the driver took his foot off the brake and hit the gas. The car roared down the winding mountain road and barely made it along the sharp curves. The driver did his best to control the car as the speedometer reached 60 and then 70 miles an hour.
The driver looked in his rear view mirror and his face turned white from what he saw. The ghostly dog was keeping up with his speeding car. It was even gaining on them.
Determined to get away from the nightmarish canine, the driver pushed his accelerator even harder. His car leaped over a bridge just below where the streams meet to form a cross. At that point, the dog stopped following them and vanished from sight.
The two frightened young men drove into Boone and stopped at the local diner, because it was the only place open at that hour. They knew they would not get any sleep that night. They also knew they would never forget the demon dog of Valle Crucis.
Traditionally the tales from this area center around a supernatural canine but there have been other odd sightings including the apparition of a woman near the very same cemetery. There have also been sounds of gunshots and of a female crying. No one has attributed these sounds to any known event but its just another unexplained occurrence typically encountered at the location.
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