Cheap Land For Sale At Dumpling Gap

A few years back I was looking for some real estate to develop into vacation cabins. I am a long distance trucker but I make my home in East Tennessee. By chance I heard a man at one of the truck stops in Kentucky talking about a track of land on a mountain top way back in the hills that was for sale real cheap. He said there was some kinda scary tale about the place and nobody would buy it. I was intrigued. The next weekend I had off I made the trip up from Knoxville to talk to the owner and take a look at the land.

The old man that owned the place was easy enough to locate so I called him up and made an appointment for the next weekend. We met at the local McDonald's and over coffee discussed the price. I ask him why he was selling it so cheap. This was 150 acre tract that backed up against a section of the Danial Boone National Forest so there were miles of woods all around it. He told me he was just getting old and his children had all moved away, he said he didn't need it and the money would come in handy. I ask to see the place.

We rode about 15 miles out of town, along the river, turned up a paved side road that went forever and then turned to gravel, after a few miles on that we turned off on an overgrown rutted tract and went about 2 miles where we parked in a little flat bottom at the foot of the hill. I have to tell you that this was some of the prettiest country I ever saw. The hill sides were full of Oak, Maple, Walnut, and every other kind of timber you can think of. The timber was huge, looked like it had never been logged. The creek was clear and pristine. I saw deer, wild turkey, squirrels, quail, and rabbits. Birds were singing everywhere. This was an outdoor man's paradise.

There was still some mist on the mountain that the sun hadn't yet burned off when we arrived. He said we have to walk up the trail to get to the top so we set off. The path wound back and forth up the face of the mountain. I noticed as we climb higher that it got quieter. There were no animals scurrying around and no birds singing. The old man, who had been gregarious before was now quiet. I looked back at him when I stopped to rest at one point and I seen him searching the trees around us and looking worriedly around. I ask was anything wrong and he said no but he needed us to hurry because he had another appointment. We went on up. The trees broke into an open place and the view was panoramic, The valley was a mile or so below and I have never saw a more perfect place for a cabin. In my mind's eye I could imagine five or six log cabins I would build and just how I would make a better road. I told the old man to get the deed ready, I wanted this land. We made our way back don the mountain to our truck and headed back to town. Two weeks later I was the proud owner of 150 acres of prime mountain property on Dumpling Ridge.

I couldn't hardly wait to start developing this property. I took a 2 week vacation from my truck driving job, bought a tent and camping gear, a chain saw and a bunch of other tools I thought I might need, kissed my wife goodbye and headed for Dumpling Ridge. I got into town to late to set up camp that night so I stayed in the only hotel in town. The next morning I went to the local men's hangout at McDonald's for breakfast. Some of the fellows had already heard of me and my purchase of the property. As we began to get acquainted one of them ask me if I was not afraid to go camping way up there all alone. I said I was not as I had my 357 magnum deer rifle with me and plenty ammo. He kinda shook his head and said that there was some things a deer rifle wouldn't kill. I ask what he meant b u that. He said “Well, I guess I ough'ta keep my mouth shut”. I told him I needed to know what he was talking about.

He told me there was an old Indian legend about the place and that it was haunted. I told him tell me about it and he did. He said that way back before this country was settled by white men that the Cherokee hunted here. He said that they wouldn't hunt in that area because there was a bad spirit there. When the white settlers came through the Cumberland gap that an old Cherokee chief told them about the place and to not go there. However, one day a scout found the place and it was so pretty he decided to settle there. He was the great, great grandpa of the old man I bought the land from. He took his wife and family up there and started building a cabin. They got out of food and was real hungry so he took his old hog rifle and went out to hunt for deer . When he came back his wife was sitting tied up to a chair beside a big cook pot. The two little children were no where to be found. There was scraps of meat and bones in the pot. She told her husband that a blue devil cooked them and made dumplings, ate and left. She said he told her when he was hungry again she would be next. They never did know who killed the children and tied her up. She went crazy and went around crying and wringing her hands and warning everyone about the blue devil. A few months after this she hanged herself. He husband moved back to town and never again went back up on the mountain. He remarried and had other children. That land has been in the family ever since and nobody will live on it, hunt on it, or buy it.

I laughed and said that was some tall tell but I didn't believe in spirits, ghost, and devils. I finished my breakfast, got my truck gassed up and headed on up to Dumpling Ridge. I parked in the bottom and made several trips back and forth packing up all my camping gear and tools. I set my tent up in a good spot with the front looking out at the beautiful view. I hung my supplies up high in a tree to keep the black bears out of it. I set up my Coleman lantern and camp stove. Got a good cold beer out of my cooler and rared back in my camping chair and enjoyed the beautiful September day. It was warm but you could feel the crispness too. I had never been happier. After supper I sat by a little camp fire and watched the moon rise and the stars come out. Then I got in my sleeping bag, zipped up and went to sleep. The night passes uneventful and I woke up at the crack of daylight pumped and ready to get to work with my chainsaw.

After breakfast I started up my saw an began clearing brush and small trees. I worked real hard until about 10am and decided to take a break. I was sweaty and tired but I felt energized when I looked around at all I had accomplished. I started back after I drunk me another good cold Bud. I worked on until lunch time and stopped to eat a bologna sandwich and some chips. I just had started back my chain saw when I thought I heard something like a squeal coming from up higher on the mountain. I shut off my saw and listened for about 4 or 5 minutes. Heard nothing. I started up the saw again. I heard the noise again and a loud crash. I shut off the saw again. I figured it must be a bear. My gun was over about 50 yards away by the tent. I started to quietly creep over that was while eyeing the tree line on the mountain above me.

All of a sudden there was the awfullest sound I ever heard. It sure as heck didn't come from a bear! It was more like a bellowing screech mixed with a woman screaming and before I could react and even think about running for my gun it came crashing through the trees and with impossible speed was tearing across the clearing strait at me. I instinctively knew to not move a muscle, not make a sound, not even breath! I was mortally terrified. Every hair was standing on end. This thing was at least 7 foot tall. I am 6 foot 2 inches and I was looking up. It has smooth bluish skin, there was not a hair on it above the waist line. It had a face like a cow but flatter with black horns that curved toward each other across the top of its head. It had legs like a horse but stood upright and had arms kike a man except the muscles were huge. There were 3 inch long , razor sharp, black claws on it's 4 fingered hands. It's eyes were bulging and blood shot and it spelled like rotten eggs. I knew it was a devil out of hell. I thought shore my time had come. Still I never moved. It came right up to me and squatted down and smelled my feet, then he moved up to smell my crotch, then on up to sniff around my face.

Still I never batted an eye! How I managed that I will never know. It backed away about 10 feet, turned and slowly walked back the way it had come into the trees. I waited about 5 seconds after it disappeared and I tore out down the hill for my truck. The path was a whole bunch of switch backs but I never took the path. I cleared a new one strait down the hill, swinging from tree branches and leaping over whole brier patched and tearing thru others without even feeling the pain. I could see the truck through the trees . I was almost there. Then, I heard it coming! There was that hellish bellowing scream and I could see whole big tree tops shaking coming right down that hill behind me. I made the edge of the clearing where the truck, running and digging in my pocket for the keys. I was praying “ Lord don't let me drop my keys”. I dug my keys out on the run. Thank God I didn't lock my truck. I jerked open the door to get in and low and behold I dropped my keys, they slid under the truck. I jumped in and grabbed the steering wheel and leaned out and down as I ran my left hand under the truck and lucky I snagged my keys. I slammed the door and pressed lock as I put the keys in the ignition and turned them. The engine was grinding but didn't start. I was praying in earnest when the ignition caught and roared to life. I jerked it into gear and slammed the gas all the way to the floor. The truck leaped forward just as the blue devil reached the back and I heard his long claws connect and the metal shriek. I was doing 60 down the rutted track and trying to maintain control when I looked back thru the mirror devil was within 10 feet of the truck. I pushed the truck with everything I had and finally came out on the gravel road and nearly turned over, I made the curve onto the road on two wheels! I got up to 70 and the thing was still coming but I had gained a few yards on him now. When the gravel turned into pavement I hit 100 and gradually I lost sight of it. I drove as fast as I could to and through that little Kentucky mountain town and on to Knoxville.

I have 4 big gouges on my pickup and a head full of snow white hair for my hair turned snow white overnight! I also have some real cheap land I will sell you up in Dumpling Ridge, southeastern Kentucky! Real cheap!

Short story written by Glenna Combs 9/16/19

Glenna Combs