There is today being issued a Public Safety Warning: Boojum sightings!
Recent activity suggests the 7- to 8-foot-tall monster known as Boojum may be roaming down from its refuge in the Plott Balsams to forage among the good people of Haywood County, NC, for its beloved mountain gem stones and also, perhaps, for Halloween candy.
These recent reports cast a shadowy and frightening spell over the valley as we approach Halloween and it has been advised the only true safety can be found in numbers, specifically in gathering together as a community at the Folkmoot Friendship Center on Friday night for the Spookmoot Kid’s Carnival and on Saturday night for the Halloween Fling & Costume Party. And, should the creature decide to make a rare daytime appearance, on Sunday afternoon for the Catapult with the Catamount Punkin’ Chunkin’ on Main Street in Downtown Waynesville.
The legend of Boojum dates back many, many years and sightings over the years have kept it alive for generations. We may now be in another cycle of high activity. As many Western Carolina residents as possible are urged to gather for safety this coming weekend for the Spookmoot @ Folkmoot festivities. It may be our only hope!
Boojum, it is said, lives among the caves of the Plott Balsams and values the gem stones found there among all other earthly treasures. He is also said to value highly young, pretty women.
In fact, the story is told, he happened upon a young, pretty woman named Annie one day as she bathed in a creek not far from the valley floor. He was immediately taken with her and, illogically as it may seem, she found him not frightening at all. Rather, Annie was taken with his huge, sad eyes.
Much to the dread of her parents, she left the family home soon thereafter to search for this misunderstood creature and found him hoarding one of his many caches of gem stones. The pair actually began a life together and lived happily among the ridge tops for quite some time until, at last, Boojum grew impatient with human relationships and retreated in search of his precious gems.
Annie would roam the mountains relentlessly in search of her big, hairy love – screeching in shrill, animal-like hoots until he answered and would be, for a while, reunited.
Guests as the prestigious Eaglenest Hotel, built in 1900 by Waynesville resident S.C. Satterthwaite, would often hear her tormented cries and would gather on the hotel’s spacious porch to listen. She became known to the hotel guests as Hootin’ Annie and the term, Hootenanny, evolved as a term for a gathering of people.
It is even said Annie was responsible for burning down the Eaglenest Hotel in 1922 because she believed Satterthwaite had captured her Boojum. The fire was set to cover his escape.
If any of this is true, no one knows for sure, of course. But it’s Halloween and on Halloween it’s always better to be safe than sorry. So, good people of Haywood County, gather with your friends and family for good-natured conviviality – and collective security – at Spookmoot. We’ll have a Hootenanny!