*Update* The Legend of Sugar Flat Road

das kapf

Guys. I’ve never been more disappointed in my life.  I got a hot tip that das kapf – aka the Legend of Sugar Flat Road resided in Chattanooga, TN.  I went to the Ghost Tours of Chattanooga at 57 East 5th Street in Chattanooga and told them I was a wildly famous blogger and they didn’t care one bucks tooth about how much I loved Lebanon’s own Yeti.  They do have a hologram of ye ol head but they no longer own the the legend itself.  Before the lady literally shut the door in my face, she let me know that she sold it back to someone in Lebanon and now it’s haunting the woods of the Cedars of Lebanon Park.  Can’t wait for Spring y’all! Stay tuned for the next update.


The Bloody Past of The Read House Hotel

When I started working for the Tennessee Wildlife Federation, my eyes lit up with joy when on my first day I was handed a history book of the Federation’s story since 1946 titled Sportsmen United: the Story of the Tennessee Conservation League. To my surprise, what I found on the first page sent shivers down my spine, “On February 12, 1946 in a room in Chattanooga’s new Read House, fifty-three men from around the state gathered to build a new organization on the ashes of an old one.” 

My jaw dropped. I had recently been researching the Read House; however, not for its ties to the state’s conservation efforts, but for it’s haunted history.  The Read House stands in a location that has served as a hotel of some name or another for almost 170 years.  Beginning as the Crutchfield House built in 1847, it, like every other ornate building with a nice porch, was used as a civil war hospital by Union troops in 1863. Thomas Crutchfield purposely built the hotel in front of the Western & Atlantic Railroad stop in Chattanooga, which made it all the more convenient for trainloads of mutilated soldiers with body parts dripping off to arrive by the hundreds.

Just a few years later in 1867, Chattanooga was immobilized by a flood that covered the town of then 5,000 people.  One report tells of steamboats from the river floating all the way to 5th St. The Crutchfield house flooded up through the first floor, and what the waters didn’t destroy, a fire shortly after finished. A prominent Doctor, John T. Read took over and rebuilt the hotel as The Read House, where the most elite travelers would stay.

In fact, legend has it that one such traveler never left. Her name is Annalisa Netherly and like any good ghost story, she is shrouded in mystery. Some say she arrived sometime in the 1920’s with a suitor. The version I like the best goes that the gentleman she came to town with caught her with another man and was so angry he “neatly” decapitated her while she was bathing in room 311. In another version, Annalisa is a prostitute who was murdered by a soldier. Yet another, and the most dull, is she committed suicide with no back story.

Countless guests and employees have seen her, and all know one thing for sure: Annalisa doesn’t like cigarettes or men. She appears to many as a woman in white, and most often manifests herself to children. Another tragic detail is that Annalisa is pregnant.

Annalisa still makes it her business to keep out unwanted guests to room 311 so if you want to see her, leave your smokes at home.


Down the serenely winding roads of an almost European looking corner of Chattanooga, Tennessee is a well-known sculpture garden in the Arts District.  There stands a striking sculpture of Icharus that looks as though he could sail off the side of the cliff into the muddy Tennessee River below.

Some know that Icharus, whose hubris was his downfall, flew too close to the sun with wax wings and fell into the sea where he drowned.  What many don’t know is that directly under where Icharus stands frozen in time, is where a living legend first appeared to the Cherokee people across riverbank.


Uktena is the name belonging to the horned serpent, a ‘monster’ which was once human but turned into an Uktena in an attempt to kill the sun.  He failed, like Icharus, but still lives among the people.

The great horned serpent is said to have a diamond on his head, with scales that appear to be ablaze.  The crystal clear diamond has a red streak through the center and can be likened to the Holy Grail quest of Christian traditions.

Only one warrior has ever captured the U’lun sunti (the diamond), but many have tried.  With the diamond, the rightful owner can peer into the future and bring great luck to the people.  But- do not, dear friends, go in search of the Uktena for yourself for as the story goes, it will bring instant death to White Man, and death to the family of the Cherokee  person who sees it.

(From Myths of the Cherokee  by James Mooney,
Nineteenth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology 1897-98, Part I. [1900])