Judaculla Rock

This is one of those examples of one of my ghost/folklore books turning into a historic trip. This rock is off the beaten path because if a lot of tourists were to go there and maybe try to touch it, the history would all disappear. It is a large soapstone rock in the middle of a field. There are a couple of signs to it, but it is not well advertised as far as the road signs go, and for good reason. The funny thing is, no matter how much I have looked into it, all the research on it has it dating back somewhere between 3000BC and 200BC. Quite a date range there. It is said that the petroglyphs (rock carvings) on it are so old that the Cherokee have to speculate what they mean. The story goes that a huge slant eyed giant by the name of Judaculla was leaping from the mountains and put his 7 fingered hand down on one side of this rock. There is a carving on it that looks like a 7 fingered hand, but as far as it belonging to a giant, especially one that can leap over mountains, I am not so sure. Of course, we had to stand at a distance from it, so it may have looked smaller than its’ actual size. No one can get close to it or touch because the erosion is so significant. That is why they can’t take samples to date it either. It’s location, other than just looking up regular GPS coordinates, is near Caney Fork Creek (that feeds into the Tuckaseegee River). It’s in Cullowhee, near Sylva, NC. The rock is owned by Jackson County. There are many carvings on this rock. It is completely covered. There is one corner missing where at some point in history some women took some of the rock to make a bowl out of. Some of the Cherokee believe Judaculla drew these carvings and it is a map of rivers and mountains. Others think it was a map of where the Cherokee had places of refuge to hide, showing roads and valleys. It does look like a map of some kind, but I can’t decide if it is rivers or roads either. There is so much detail with all these carvings. It could be the stars. The same giant that is said to have left his hand print here is said to hold meetings on a mountain known as the Devil’s Courthouse near Asheville. It is on our list of travels as well because there is a waterfall there, a cave where these meetings are said to take place (also where the devil is said to hold court), and the peak of this mountain is over 5,700 ft. Sounds like beauty to us, so it is on our to do list! Judaculla Rock is a fascinating historical petroglyph rock that is full of mystery and was fun to check out. The Cherokee believe it is sacred and some claim to have heard ghosts near by (although maybe they were hearing them from the cemetery up the road?). It is amazing that the age of this rock and its’ carvings can not be pinpointed, even by the Cherokee. So, either it is older than their lineage from the area, or they are really good at keep the family secret of this rock. Either way, the sad part is, once the erosion has taken a final toll one day, all we will have is speculation and photographs of this magnificent rock and the place where it stands. You can find the exact GPS coordinates on Wikipedia I think. I am not sure where else. I am also not sure which one of my ghost stories I read about Judaculla in. There is more than one. He is a very prominent giant in folklore of WNC.

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