The following essays explore the history, nature, and culture of the Southern Appalachian region.

Toy Workshop at Macedonia 1975.jpg

Appalachia and the quest for ‘a viable alternative’: The macedonia Cooperative Community, 1937-1958

By Luke Manget

In the spring of 1937, a Columbia University professor of education named Morris Mitchell arrived in the mountains of north Georgia with a vision for a new way of organizing rural life….


Do Panthers Scream?  Coming Face to Face with the Eastern Cougar Phenomenon

By Luke Manget

I remember well the noise that I heard that summer day in 2003 as I hiked down the Jacks River trail in north-central Georgia.  It sounded like a cat’s scream, like a Bengal tiger’s scream straight from a David Attenborough nature special...


Do Mandrakes Scream? Exploring the cross-cultural work of plant mythology in Appalachia

By Luke Manget

In 1903, Clifford Smyth, a correspondent for the Atlanta Constitution, ventured deep into the mountains of eastern Kentucky to find and interview some of the “sang diggers” that supposedly lived in isolated communities and exhibited peculiar habits and customs...

Maple Sugar Production 1840-1900.jpg

The wild man of the woods

By Luke Manget

In 1877, a party of gold miners traveling through the Globe Valley in Caldwell County, North Carolina encountered what they described as a “Wild Man”. Although they only got within 40 yards of the man, one miner claimed that this “peculiar specimen of humanity” appeared to be a “giant”—six-foot, five inches...


"galackin" in Western North Carolina

By Luke Manget

We could smell them before we saw them.  A pungent, skunky odor engulfed us as we neared the top of the ridge.  “Must be galax,” my brother Daniel remarked.  Sure enough, as we ambled around a bend in the trail...


Tapping into History With Maps: Maple Sugaring in southern Appalachia

By Luke Manget

This map tells a fascinating story: the rise and fall of the maple sugar industry.  Due to effective branding by the modern industry, most people associate maple sugar and maple syrup with Vermont, but as you can see...


The Shaker Connection: The Origins of the Botanical Drug Trade in Southern Appalachia

By Luke Manget

In the fall of 1850, an enterprising young merchant named Calvin J. Cowles left his home outside of Wilkesboro, North Carolina, and headed north with his brother, Josiah, with a most unusual cargo...