Ghost Stories and Tall Tales of the American South

The Ghost of Fiddler’s Rock

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Ghost story of Tennessee’s famed Fiddlers Rock and a local fiddle player who has a bad run-in with some evil rattlesnakes. Adapted from folklore by Craig Dominey. Told by Jim McAmis.

Back in the late 1800s, Martin Stone was the most popular young fiddle player in northeastern Tennessee. For years, he wandered the mountainous backroads of Johnson County, playing at every social event that would have him — church picnics, weddings, barn dances, even funerals. It was a good living, allowing Martin plenty of leisure time to do whatever he wanted.

Fiddle

In the summertime, Martin liked to take Sunday off and sit up on a rocky bluff near the top of Stone Mountain. There, he would play his fiddle and watch the sun come up over the green, rolling hills. Sometimes he would spend all day up there, playing reel after reel until the sun dropped from the sky.

One day, Martin was playing a slow, leisurely tune on his fiddle when a rattlesnake slithered out from under a rock, curled up in the sun, and watched him play. Then another one came out and joined him, followed by yet another. Before Martin knew it, the surrounding rocks were filled with rattlesnakes. Most people would have fainted dead away in terror at that point, but Martin was fascinated. For the snakes made no move to strike — instead, they swayed back and forth to the music like scaly, reptilian metronomes.

As the sun went down and dark shadows filled the valley, the snakes slithered back into their nests. Martin packed up his fiddle with a chuckle, and made plans to come back next week — but with a surprise.

The next Sunday, Martin climbed to the rocky overhang and began to play his fiddle. Again, the rattlesnakes slithered out from beneath the rocks and listened to him, hypnotized. Martin chuckled to himself, put down his fiddle and picked up a shotgun. He began blasting away at the rattlesnakes, picking them off one by one. The other snakes slithered back to their nests in terror.

Martin stopped shooting and laughed heartily as he collected the dead snakes in a burlap sack. This is too easy, he thought to himself — I can make even more money selling rattlesnake hides!

Every Sunday for the next few weeks, Martin returned to the bluff, played his fiddle until the snakes came out, then began shooting. It became a sport to him, and soon he became known around the county as the “Fiddlin’ Snake Man.” Whenever someone wanted a snake skin to wrap around their hat or to make into a belt, or a rattle for their babies to play with, Martin was the man to see.

One Sunday toward the end of summer, Martin returned to the bluff like he had done many times before. As the sun rose, he began to play a soft waltz on his fiddle. Once again, the rattlesnakes wiggled out from underneath the rocks and listened, swaying back and forth to the music.

Evil Rattlesnake

Martin stopped playing, reached for his shotgun — then stopped. Something in the snakes’ eyes caught his attention. On his previous trips, the snakes’ black eyes seemed to glaze over from the soft, gentle notes of his fiddle. But today, the snakes glared at Martin with fiery red eyes, burning with intense hatred. Martin was hypnotized in their glare — as hard as he tried, he couldn’t reach for his gun.

The snakes surrounded Martin and, one by one, began crawling up inside his pant legs. Martin was frozen with terror as he felt their scaly bodies wriggle around his legs, his chest and his arms. All at once, the snakes started biting, their sharp fangs ripping into Martin’s flesh. As their icy venom flowed through his veins, all Martin could do was scream — a horrifying scream that resounded throughout the valley.

A few days later, a search party found Martin’s lifeless body sprawled across the overhang, his fiddle by his side. They looked with horror at the bite marks that covered his skin. Even more of a mystery was the loaded shotgun leaning against the rock, well within Martin’s reach. Why didn’t he try to defend himself?

Empty Fiddle Case

To this day, some Johnson County residents refuse to climb to the rocky overhang at the top of Stone Mountain, which they now call “Fiddler’s Rock.” For in the lazy summer months, when the sun rises over the hills, they say you can hear the faint notes of a fiddle, followed by a high-pitched screeching sound — the scream of Martin Stone, as the snakes take their revenge.

  • THE END –

>Story Credits

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Fiddler's Rock (aka Screaming Rock)

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Fiddler\'s Rock (aka Screaming Rock) 36.349291, -81.745667 Stories: The Ghost of Fiddler\'s RockRock outcropping also known as \"Screaming Rock\" said to be haunted by the ghost of fiddler Martin Stone. Located near the top of Stone Mountain, which can be accessed via Stone Mountain Road off Highway 421 just north of Trade, TN.

 


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24 Responses to “The Ghost of Fiddler’s Rock”


Brendan & Scott:

We both really enjoyed this story we liked it because it got our attention in the intro and carried through till the end. So we never lost focus.

Brendan:

I thought it was still my faverite storie on moonlitroad it had lots of distsriptive word throughout the whole storie even hearing it again and again this is such a brilliant storie.

Thank you Brendan luke Payne

John Ruth:

I’ve been visting this site for quite a few years. It’s like a good friend.

Dan Owenby:

Thanks for a great story! This one will be great around the Boy Scout Campfires!!

DAVID:

interesting story.

patrick:

You guys are doing a great job at keeping the storie telling alive, for that I thank you. I start reading at 12:00 and have found myself still reading at 6:00 before. there are so many more stories still out there. I hope you guy keep biulding.

Blazenka:

this was a very good story…i could picture evrything that happened…scary but good

keelan:

that was the best ghost story ever…i listen to this over and over again

keelan:

the best story ever in the whole world…im gonna tell everyone to go to this website and listen to all ov your stories…i have one more 2 go

Rhoda:

Good on the snakes! I love a story that actually lets the snakes win! After all, they were the ones being mindlessly slaughtered, here.

I should get a fiddle and see if my pet corn snakes like it! Then again, since I can’t play the fiddle, I expect that they wouldn’t. So perhaps not.

james:

cool story spooky

Toby:

Keep building guys, the stories are great! I’ve officially read every one, and I’m hungry for more!

ashley martin:

this is a great story The Ghost of Fiddler’s Rock. it is very interesting.

Laura:

I love this story because i go up there all of the time and its just so mysterious the way the snakes come.I love it!XD

Seth:

freaky. this is why i dont play fiddles

ashley:

this story is ok to me but at the end of the story it get good

Devonte Dubois:

that wasn’t so scary about the ghost

Devonte Dubois:

die, die all of you die

Devonte Dubois:

WOW, that was creepy

Ms Pretti:

This story was creepy && cool at the same time 🙂

maxy man:

wow this was so cool

maxy man:

OMG AWSOME B)

jonhothan:

THIS IS WAY COOL

clarisa:

I really enjoyed the story and I am going to use it as a reading comprehension exercise with my esl students.

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