Shadow People and Mysterious Lights: The Haunted Forests Of Alabama

April Killian

There's no doubt that Alabama is a beautiful state. Natural treasures abound here from the northern border all the way to the gulf coast. Part of the beauty of our state lies within our thousands of acres of forests. Alabama is home to 23 million acres of forested land. That's almost 70% of the state! We have 4 national forests and 6 state forests that give us close to 700,000 acres of public land and to explore. There you'll find trails full of natural wonders, breathtaking views, wildlife....and ghosts. That's right, nature isn't the only thing you might encounter in the forests of Alabama. We have our share of spirits that inhabit our woods.
Haunted ForestPhoto bykjpargeter (freepik)

Bankhead National Forest
This national treasure has been called the "land of a thousand waterfalls." Miles of trails meander through rugged limestone bluffs with swift streams and waterfalls seemingly around every corner. It's near a section of this national forest called Kinlock Falls that a family once lived who saw such tragedy and violence during the civil war and the years of upheaval afterwards, that the matriarch of the family is said to still inhabit the area keeping watch over her land. She was known in the community as Aunt Jenny Johnston. She lived near Kinlock Falls with her husband and nine children and is buried nearby. The story of her haunting the area is one that has been passed down for generations. Although many legends about her differ, they all center around the tragic deaths of her husband and oldest son during the civil war. Some tales say the two were killed by Yankee troops while protecting their home and the gristmill and supplies at Kinlock Falls. Other versions say it was a Home Guard of Confederates that killed the pair. Whatever the cause, Aunt Jenny was said to spend the rest of her life protecting her homestead and seeking revenge on the men who murdered her loved ones. Legend says that her spirit is there to this day. People have seen strange glowing orbs in the woods around her old homestead and Kinlock Falls. A few terrified hikers who found themselves on her former land after sunset, were said to be greeted by the appearance of an angry woman dressed in period clothes from the 1800s who yelled at them to "get off my land!" Be careful if you venture near Kinlock Falls at night. 
For more information about Bankhead National Forest, see the website here

Nancy's Mountain Trail
Nancy's Mountain is located in Haines Park - a 680 acre nature preserve in south Alabama roughly between Tuscaloosa and Mobile. The legend of the mountain, like many in Alabama, center around the tragedy and grief of the civil war. Nancy was a woman who lived on the mountain with her husband and their only son. The nearby Alabama River was the main mode of travel in that day via riverboat or ferry. As the war began, Nancy's son enlisted in the Confederate Army and set off on a riverboat early one morning to find his fate. As the days and weeks went by, no word was ever heard of their son. Nancy fell into a deep state of despair not knowing if her son would ever return. Each evening she would walk to the river to see if her son had found his way home. She was known to be a very beautiful woman and often wore a long white dress. As time continued with winter soon approaching, her husband set out to find their son. Word was brought back to Nancy only a few months later that her husband had been found frozen to death lying on top of the unmarked grave of a Confederate soldier near Lookout Mountain, Tennessee. It was likely the grave of their son. After that painful news, Nancy all but disappeared. Locals said she could be seen in the evenings walking with a lantern to the pier on the river, still having hope that her son or husband would return. Campers and hikers often say she can be seen to this day - walking down the mountain in her long white dress with her lantern in hand....still searching for her loved ones.
For more info about Haines Island Park, visit here
Ghost on bridgePhoto byCocoparisienne (pixabay)

Cheaha State Park
One of the most rewarding hiking trails in Alabama lies within the borders of Cheaha State Park. Pinhoti Trail will take you a little over six miles to the peak of Cheaha Mountain and repay you for your work with a breathtaking view from Alabama's highest mountain peak. It's on the way down, however, that something else might just get your attention. Around two miles from the trail entrance is a primitive shelter built for hikers or campers atop Cheaha Mountain's smaller twin, Blue Mountain. It's at this familiar rest stop many people have had strange things happen. Things they can't explain. Campers have reported hearing strange scratching sounds in the corners of the shelter - and yet, found no mice or other small scavengers. The scariest part are the the shadows that people have seen there. For decades, visitors have reported seeing what look like the shadowy silhouettes of humanoid figures darting about around this section of the trail after dark. At some point, a former camper wrote a warning on the wall of the shelter: "SHADOW PEOPLE LIVE HERE!" Beware, you've been warned! If you visit there and see a dark figure darting away in the corner of your eye, you'll know the warning was true! For more information on Cheaha State Park, please visit their website here. 

Tuskegee National Forest
Inside the Tuskegeee National Forest in eastern Alabama, lies the very popular Bartram Trail. The trail is close to 9 miles long - but it's a moderate hike that most people can make. The trail goes through some boggy areas where the trail has been elevated slightly as a boardwalk so hikers can stay out of the mud and water. It's in these areas that hikers have reported the feeling that they were being followed and some have actually heard footsteps on the boardwalks behind them. Several have reported hearing voices in the nearby woods as they walked - only to stop and listen closely to hear nothing. From all accounts, these incidents even occur in the daytime hours. I can only imagine how creepy this trail must be at night! There are local urban legends that the area is severely haunted from a cult of devil worshippers who performed rituals near that part of the trail.  For more information about the trail, visit the Tuskegee National Forest website here.

*Bonus Spooky Alabama Articles (click to read):
Places in Alabama Too Terrifying To Visit!
The Infant Ghost of Colbert County, Alabama
Urban Legends of the Shoals, Alabama
Haunted Alabama Backroads and Bridges

Click "follow" to see my future articles about the Tennessee Valley, my home state of Alabama, and my hometown in the Shoals, Alabama. I write about nature, current laws and events, and delve into the weird and paranormal from time to time. To see my past articles, click on my photo and scroll down. If you have a topic you'd like to see me write about, email me at: As always, thanks for reading! Please share! 

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April Killian is a native of Florence, Alabama and writes about her home state of Alabama and the Shoals area. She is the mom of many pets and 3 adult children. Along with writing, she sells vintage items online and conducts estate sales in her area. She is a lifelong supporter of charity work, loves life, and tries to be a positive force in this world in everything she does! Her writing passions include: family and social issues, nature, humor, the paranormal and anything interesting or weird! Click on "follow" to see more of her articles in the future!

Florence, AL

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