The Ghost of Hungry Mother Creek

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Fog at dusk in the Thomas Jefferson National Forest

Secret Vistas –
By Glynn Wilson –

MARION, Va. – Listening to a babbling brook running behind the campground in this state park just as the sun went down on Halloween, I could have sworn I heard a small female child crying off in the distance, moaning “hungry mother, hungry mother.”

Back during the pioneer days and the Indian Wars, a tribe of Native Americans attacked settlements along the New River southeast of here, kidnapping a settler named Molly Marley and her young child. Somehow Ms. Marley managed to escape with her baby and survive in the woods eating berries.

But as she grew weak and passed out after a few days, the child wandered off crying, following the creek. When she miraculously made it back to a settlement camp, traumatized, the only words she could utter were, according to the legend, “hungry mother.”

A search party was sent out to find her mother. Unfortunately they found her dead at the foot of a mountain now called Molly’s Knob. Later the creek followed by the child was named Hungry Mother Creek where, sometimes when the moon is full, or on Halloween at dark, you can still hear her cry coming from the woods along the creek, “hungry mother, hungry mother.”

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Hungry Mother Creek, a babbling brook in the snow: Glynn Wilson

© 2015, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.

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