I have spent vacations visiting and camping in the Branson, Missouri area. Branson is one of the best family vacation areas in the United States. Each year, tourists visit the local shows, campgrounds, golf courses, shops and other local attractions. In the Ozarks of Missouri, like many communities, Branson has it’s list of myths, legends and paranormal activities. This article examines some of those stories for authenticity.
Legend 1. The story of the “Goat headed Man”
In the early 1800’s, there was a hermit that lived in a small cabin by himself. He was often seen stealing vegetables and chickens from local farms. Most individuals kept their distance from him, because he was touched in the head. One day a local farmer and his son noticed the disappearance of their goats and chickens. Thinking it was a wayward wild animal, they decided to stay up and shoot the creature as it came around. In the middle of the night, they heard something outside stirring up their goats. The farmer shot at a strange shadow, with his shotgun. As they approached, what they thought was a wild animal, they noticed that it was the hermit. They had blown his head blown off. The two buried the headless hermit deep in the woods and told nobody about the incident. To this present day, people have claimed to notice a man with a goats head wandering through the woods. This legend is just a myth, but there is a moral to the story. “Never try to get ahead, when you are hungry.”
Legend 2. The plane crash on Dewey Bald Mountain
In the early 1990’s, a plane crashed on the north face of the mountain. Individuals have claimed to see figures near the crash site hitchhiking and looking for rides back to the local airport, where the plane was suppose to land. Then in 2006, four people were killed in a plane crash in the town, not on the mountain. Some individuals like to claim the two plane crashes or connected. There is one thing wrong with this legend. The plane crash in the early 90’s never happened. This is just an urban legend. As for hitchhikers, there are many in this area of the Ozarks.
Legend 3. The Winoka Lodge of Blood
Located near lake Springfield, the lodge was originally owned by the Schweitzer family. It became a Girl Scout Lodge in 1920. The property was mistaken, as the site of a horrible murder scene in 1977. On June 12 of that summer, three girl scouts were murdered at a nearby camp, in Oklahoma. The Winoka lodge was closed the next day, do to the neighboring incident. Since that time, the lodge has been said to be haunted, unjustly so. Some refer to it as the lodge of blood. This urban legend is just a myth, that has closed a great camping location. This is a good example, of how some urban legends are created.
Legend 4. The Mountain Maid of the Roaring River
Jeanne Wallace came to the Branson area from New York City. She is said to be a descendant of William Wallace of Scotland (Braveheart). She moved into the area in 1892 and stayed until she passed away in 1940. Nobody knew her true age. Jeanne had a special gift, that she received from her father. It is said, that he had a sixth sense. Jeanne, much like Edgar Cayce, would not charge for her readings. She considered it a gift from god and would use it only for good. One time, she told a lady the right horse to bet on, at a local horse race. That lady won over $1200. When asked, why she told her what horse to bet on? Jeanne replied, you need to know the whole story, of that ladies life. One time a non-believer arrived at her log house. She met the man at the door and said, “you are a non-believer. He confirmed that he thought Jeanne was a fake. She quickly replied, I won’t give you any information except that you will an automobile accident, when you are 50. True to the fact, he did have a serious accident and recalled her warning, the year he turned 50. The Mountain Maid died in a fire in 1940. Sadly, she could read everyone’s future, but her own. There is some fact to this urban legend. Jeanne Wallace did exist.
Legend 5. Sycamore Church Road
The burnt remains of an old house had been paved over by a new road. The Sycamore Church Road was the name given to the new road. Legend has it, that a house was burned down by high school students partying in it, in the mid 1990’s. There are several rumors to the story. One rumor had the entire family, living there, dying in the fire. The other rumor, that is more common, is that an insane girl was kept locked in the house. Her room was the only room, that had bars on the windows. The girl eventually escaped, from her room, and murdered her mother and father. She escaped into the woods never be found again. The house remained vacant, until it burned down. Years later, the ruins were paved over to make the Sycamore Church Road. Individuals, that drive over the location, claim that it is a cold spot. They claim to feel cold air only at this point on the road. This legend is unverified.
These are just a few of the urban legends and myths, of this favorite family vacation area. If you decide to vacation or camp in this Ozark area, you can now consider yourself informed on these past events.
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