They got it wrong, all those vampire nuts from centuries past (including the more recent ‘Twilight’ goofballs who somehow made bedazzled vamps the newest tweak in the absurd propagation of monster misinformation). Who knows though, maybe there was a blood-sucking vampire in some remote Romanian village. But here, in Transylvania County, North Carolina, we have a different kind of monster, a nameless monster, but a monster nonetheless.
This nameless monster stalks its prey near the waterfalls of Pasgah National Forest, always around dusk and always on the first night of the new moon. But I’m getting ahead of myself; let me start from the beginning.
Curious things began to happen around our newly established county about one hundred fifty years ago- of course I wasn’t around then but the old timers made sure to pass the stories down, lest we younger folk be caught unawares. The first victim was encountered those many years ago outside of the Baptist church just as it was letting out following Maundy Thursday service. Church-goers were meandering in the churchyard, saying ‘hellos’ and visiting with neighbors when the scream of a child alerted them to the grisly discovery. Those good people of Transylvania County had never beheld anything like what they found that day. There, in the churchyard, lay a weak but still alive, grey squirrel whose fur had been dramatically altered. Drained of all color, it was as if its spirit had been sucked out of him and the shock had left the poor creature’s coat completely white.
That was only the first. Each month for the next 100 years the towns within Transylvania County would come across creatures large and small (one year they had even found a moose) whose fur had been turned white. They would stumble into town from the forest, weakened and on the cusp of life. The townsfolk would nurse the poor animals back to health and within a few weeks they would release the rejuvenated creatures back into the wild.
Today, a century and a half later, people come from all over the world to catch a glimpse of the beautiful and mysterious white wildlife of Transylvania County- never knowing the horrific truth behind the white coats and pelts they strive so hard to see. And you can be sure the community is careful to keep the dark secret of the white coated-creatures from the hordes of tourists who pour in each year for fear of scaring off the only thing keeping many of these towns afloat.
But now, I’ve broken the silence. I am compelled to tell the truth behind the bewitched wildlife of Transylvania County, to anyone willing to listen. I must. The monster, the nameless monster, is growing bolder. Two months ago it left the cover of the forest for the first time in memory. It wandered all the way to the city center of Brevard, taking on of the chickens from Ms. Singer’s coops. And then again, four days ago, during the month’s new moon it returned, this time taking Mr. Anders’ beloved golden retriever, Diego. The poor dog is still not quite recovered and hides behind old man Anders’ legs if even a fly buzzes too loudly. I dread to think of what it could take next month… a stray cat, one of the dairy cows, or worse, an unattended child.
That is why I refuse to sit idly by, like some folks would have me, and let that happen. I have less than thirty days before the new moon, and I hope that by that time my message will reach someone who can help us. So please stranger, take what you have heard from me today and pass my story on. Time is precious and people deserve to know the truth of what is happening in Transylvania County.
The Not So Fantastic Reality:
The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:
ONE: Today we were fortunate enough to stumble upon (quite by accident) a beautiful little waterfall off of the side of the road while driving through the Pisgah National Forest. We had the entire river to ourselves and were amazed at the pristine beauty all around us (See below).
We also pulled over and walked down to Looking Glass Falls. It was awesome in every sense of the word and we weren’t the only ones to think so. Unlike our little waterfall from earlier that day, Looking Glass Falls was crowded with families, couples and everything in-between, all marveling in natures’ own waterpark. We thought about going in for a dip but I wasn’t too keen on swimming knee-to-knee with strangers so we decided to just snap a few pictures and observe from afar.
TWO: After our afternoon of waterfalls, we drove into the town of Brevard, NC for some eats and to look around a bit. Stopping in a quaint little soda shop (the name escapes me) we sat at the counter and ordered cheese-dogs, vanilla cokes, grilled cheeses and an orange freeze… yuuuummmmm-O. The place also doubled as a kind of general store and while waiting for our treats to arrive we looked around and some of the items for sale. One thing that kept grabbing our attention was the appearance of ‘the white squirrel’ on several different souvenir-type items (T-shirts and the like). Apparently, white squirrels are pretty common up there in that part of Transylvania County (I almost want to move there just so I can claim to be from Transylvania) and the town has latched onto this quirk in zoology and adopted it as kind of a town motto: Brevard, NC: home of the white squirrel! They even have an ‘official’ web site just for the white squirrels of Brevard, check it out: http://whitesquirrels.com/
THREE: While making camp at the Swannanoa KOA outside of Asheville, NC we were informed by one of the employees that our only neighbor across the road worked nights and had his golden retriever with him. Well, sure enough as our neighbor pulled his truck out and left for work around 9:30 we heard the golden, who was not pleased to be left alone. He howled and whined for about five minutes, and it was so pathetic and lonely sounding I thought I’d add him to the story.
Love & (White) Squirrels.