What do you think of when you hear the word, “foxfire?”  Some confuse it for the web browser Firefox, others of the book series on Appalachian traditions and life, and others just roll their eyes assuming it’s some sort of science fiction thing.  Yet, you will be hard pressed to find people, especially city people, who can tell you the answer to, “what is foxfire?”


Foxfire, also known as “fairy fire,” or “ghost light” is a biolumnescent fungus that exists in decaying wood, and is present in parts all over the world.  It often ‘activates’ when the wood has been stepped on or agitated, causing it to break open, but there have been accounts of people who have walked up on entire trees glowing, undisturbed.

If you are taking a walk through the woods at night, always TURN OFF YOUR FLASHLIGHT.  Breathe as your eyes adjust, and then make sure to look for the faint blue-green glow of foxfire as you step through brush and rotting trees.

I personally have never seen foxfire West of Alexandria, TN at the start of the Cumberland Plateau, but I would be willing to bet that you could find it at one of the Warner Parks if the light pollution is not too strong now.

Where have you spotted foxfire?




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