Brown Mountain is located in Stokes County in North Carolina. A couple of the known landmarks of Brown Mountain include Brown Mountain Baptist Church which was built entirely of rocks gathered from the area and the Nancy Reynolds School, which is an elementary public school that was built mostly with monies from the estate of R.J.Reynolds who owned the R.J.Reynolds Tobacco Company. The school caters to grades K-6th.
One of the first sightings of the Brown Mountain Lights took place on September 13th, 1913 and was reported to the Charlotte Daily Observer.The account goes as follows; A fisherman reported seeing mysterious lights just above the horizon, red in color with a pronounced circular shape; he would see these every night. The event was investigated by a US Geological Survey employee, by the name of D.B.Stewart. After an intense study of this area, it was determined and concluded that the mysterious lights were simply those of a train, debunking the mystery in 1922. It does require that we make mention of the fact that even though the sightings continued to be reported and the study had pretty much debunked all mystery of the lights, there is a marker located on the Blue Ridge Parkway, which states that soon after the completion of the USGS study, a massive flood took place, all electrical power was lost and the trains were not even operating for a while, but the Brown Mountain Lights still appeared.
The legend of the Brown Mountain Lights dates back to the year 1200 when the battle between the Catawba tribe and the Cherokee tribe of Indians took place. The wives of the deceased would walk to their husband’s grave with candlelight and would walk back home guiding the way for their family spirits to be able to come home. It is believed that the Brown Mountain Lights are these wives still trying to get their husbands home.
The Brown Mountain Lights became inspiration for Scotty Wiseman’s bluegrass song of the same name Brown Mountain Lights, which later went on to be performed by the Kingston Trio, Country Gentlemen, Acoustic Syndicate, Yonder Mountain String Band, Sunny James and Roy Orbison.
On May 9th, 1999 in season six of the X-Files, in the episode called “Field Trip”, the subject of the episode was The Brown Mountain Lights. By 1993 there had been 347 recorded sightings of The Brown Mountain Lights. If you are visiting the area sometime in September through early November, the best advantage point to view the Brown Mountain Lights is from Wiseman’s View, located 4 miles from Linville Falls, NC.