Table Rock Middle School

Burke County Ghost and Legends

Brown Mountain Lights


As far as mountains go, Brown Mountain in Burke County  is one of the most famous mountains in North Carolina.  On certain evenings soon after dark, when observed from the eminence of Linville or Wiseman's Gap, small but brilliant lights can be seen on it, bobbing up and down for a minute or so, disappearing, then reappearing in another place until finally they are gone. They were first seen about 1850 long before the day of trains and electricity and automobiles.

One legend tells of a girl who lived on the mountain with her father.  Every night her sweetheart came from the village to see her, but one evening he never came. After that, she would search by torch light each evening and after her death the light of her torch could still be seen.  

Another legend concerns a wicked man named Jim, whose sweet-tempered young wife Belinda was to have a child.  Jim was courting Susie and began to speak harsh words and be cruel to Belinda.  One day neighbors noticed that they had not seen Belinda for some while.  Jim said she had gone to visit her kinfolk, but the neighbors were suspicious when they discovered bloodstains on the floor of the mountain cabin.  Their suspicions were further heightened when an indigent stranger drove away with Jim's horse and wagon.  They believed the stranger had helped Jim kill and bury Belinda, and Jim was paying him off in this way.  Soon afterward the lights appeared, bobbing up and down, seemingly to guide searchers looking for Belinda.  Finally, under a pile of stones in a deep ravine they found the skulls of a woman and a baby.   Jim left the county and was never heard from again, but the lights stayed on, reminding evildoers that their crimes will be revealed.

Apart from the legends, scientists have provided many explanations for the mysterious Brown Mountain Lights, none of them satisfactory.

There are many stories and tales of the "Brown Mountain Lights" and if you would like to know more or you want to visit the places where they can be spotted click Western North Carolina Attractions for details.

Frankie and Johnny


The ballad of "Frankie and Johnny" has a colorful history that includes Burke county.  The one legend told is that of Frances Silver (Frankie) and George (Johnny) her husband.  To hear this version of the ballad just click on Frankie and Johnny and to read more about the history of this legendary story click on ballad history.



The recent report of a "Bigfoot sighting
is somewhat interesting. The details of this
event can be seen on Is There a Bigfoot in Burke County.


Last of the Mohicans

Burke County has played a part in the movie industry!  In 1992,  Last of the Mohicans was filmed, in part, in Burke county.  A full-scale fort was built next to the Linville boat access on Lake James.  When the film was completed the fort was destroyed and the land replanted with trees.  Many of the extras who played settlers, British soldiers, and Native Americans were locals from Burke and surrounding counties.  Don't miss the rare video footage of the gun training with the movie extras.

One Second After

One Second After is a 2009 novel by American writer William R. Forstchen. The novel deals with an unexpected electromagnetic pulse attack on the United States as it affects the people living in and around the town of Black Mountain, North Carolina.  Burke county is one of the areas mentioned. The book reached the number 11 position on the New York Times Best Seller list in fiction on May 3, 2009.

The option for the film rights to One Second After was sold to Warner Bros., where it is being developed into a motion picture.  So, stay informed as Hollywood will once again be looking to Burke County for local talent and movie extras.  Lights, camera, and action coming SOON!

Burke County Fame

Bluegrass Music


Bluegrass music is still a part of the Burke county area.  George Shuffler is an innovative guitar player and an early practitioner of the cross picking style. Mr. Shuffler was born in Valdese.  During his career Mr. Shuffler played with The Bailey Brothers, The Stanley Brothers and Ralph Stanley's Clinch Mountain Boys. He was a 2007 recipient of the North Carolina Heritage Award.

According to our student survey, at least, one student plays a "fiddle" and for those of you who don't know, if you call it a "fiddle" the sound coming out is most likely in the tradition of BlueGrass.  This Table Rock Middle student had participated in a "Jam Session" during Halloween weekend.  Our hat is off to this young fiddle player and I feel certain his/her family is proud.  This is a nice indicator that some of the Burke County traditions are being kept alive by the young.

Table Rock Middle Dancers

The students at Table Rock Middle School have the moves during an after school dance.  For those of you who need to brush up on your dance moves enjoy the "Stanky Legg" clip.  Look out America's Got Talent here come the Table Rock Middle School Dancers.

Alfreda Gerald

Did you know that Morganton has a true "songbird?"  Her name is Alfreda Gerald and she is most famous for her professional opera voice.  She has also been involved in R&B throughout her career and a nice sample of her rich sound can be seen here as she sings Only Human with George Howard.  She has most recently traveled with the famous Yanni on his Tribute Tour, providing lyrics to his wonderful music.  The final viewing of Morganton's Alfreda Gerald can be seen as she sings "The Prayer."    

Reflections Band

Burke County has a prominent Hmong community, and within that community are local and national superstars.  The Hmong Reflections Band, which one Table Rock student's father started with his brothers, has been entertaining crowds since 1996. 

Below is a video of one of their latest releases for the film Lus Cog Tseg.