This book terrifies me to this day. I used to check it out of our library when I was a kid in the late 70s and early 80s (nobody really monitored what kind of books I was getting each trip) and I firmly believe it still holds up.
The Uwharries (pronounced “uw-har-ees”),named by the Native Americans that originally lived there,are a mountain range that once towered 20,000 feet but now only rise a little over 1,000 feet and cover an area of about 50 miles through North Carolina, sort of in the Charlotte area. The African Americans, Germans and Scotch-Irish folk who populated these mountains left a rich oral tradition that author Fred T. Morgan has taken a fine sample from for this book.
Ghost Tales of the Uwharries features twenty tales; some unsettling, some terrifying, and a few are just plain funny. One, called “The Phantom Family of Five”, is a touching story of a man’s love for his long-dead family and truly jerks at the heartstrings. A particularly violent one is “The Hatchet-Swinging Fire”.
The book is made even more frightening by its illustrations; a series of blunt, choppy woodcuts that get to the heart of the subject matter and do not go into fine detail. They have hovered in my mind for years, sometimes just popping up at the edge of my consciousness when I’m half-awake.
If you’re a stickler for scary tales handed down for generations, this book is a great choice, especially for Halloween. Read them out loud to friends and family on a chilly fall night, and if you’re good at southern dialects you’ll make them sound even more authentic.