Excerpt 9 – The House of the Gnome

The following is one of many entries from the Phantoms Fill The Southern Skies book. I am producing it here from the original manuscript file for visitors to sample and see if they would be interested in the full text available on Amazon.

Please respect the copyright owners – Jeff Lawhead, J.S. Lawhead and 23 House Publishing – and do not reprint or reproduce any portion of this text on any monetized formats and without permission. Reproduction for hobbyist or academic interest (as well as “fair use”) is ok as long as sources are explicitly cited. Contact me at Meteo.Xavier@gmail.com for any permission inquiries regarding this or any other excerpt.


From South Carolina, we travel to its northern brother to find a town called Murphy in Cherokee County. The site of Murphy is no stranger to stories and legends of bizarre creatures, as they have been said to exist there since the days of the Cherokee Native Americans when they referred to it as Tlanusi-yi – the home of the giant leech Tlanusi that was said to live in the Hiwassee River near Murphy. Of the modern folklore, there are stories of clocks that growl at you, microwaves that cook without aid of electricity and several more, almost routine, stories of haunts you can find in most towns, but one house is said to have them all beat with a very strange visitor you can only find in Murphy: The House Of The Gnome.

Probably the best account of this elusive creature was a story said to take place in the 1950s when a family with two boys moved into a three story house that, previous to their entry, had no history of abnormal activity. Indeed, once it began, it began slowly… waiting almost a month for the family to get settled in their new house before the two boys started hearing strange laughter coming from the hallways. Then, in the following weeks, there were loud knocks on their bedroom doors from someone demanding their attention, yet the hallways would always be empty when they went to see who was keeping them awake. Then there were soft footsteps and shuffling heard on the staircase and third floor of the house. The boys went to their parents and told them all about the sounds they were hearing. The parents, as parents usually do, laughed and reassured them that there wasn’t anything weird going on in the house – it’s only making the same noises every other house in the country makes on a regular basis.

It was true, the boys had next to nothing to go on but noises, and there wasn’t any history of death, murder or ritual in the house, so it couldn’t be haunted. Yet the noises continued unabated. Something was in that house, but what?

Then one day, one of the boys was listening to a record player in his room when his brother and a visiting friend came tearing in, hyperventilating, saying they found the creature that had been making those noises and it was in the bathroom. He laughed at them and humored them as he made his way to the bathroom, but he wasn’t laughing when he opened the door and found a small humanoid figure, barely over 2ft. tall with a twisted-up face and arms so long that they just couldn’t be real, staring and laughing right back at him before bolting out between his legs and disappearing in one of its many hiding places.

From there on, the “Gnome”, as they called it for lack of a better word, would turn up at the oddest of times throughout the months and always scamper away before anyone could get their hands on it. They heard his little laughter in the hallways and his constant dashing and jumping in the walls and rooms they couldn’t see it in. Finally, when their father finally saw it for himself in the master bedroom, he decided enough was enough and the family moved out one week later.

Decades later, the house was said to be cursed by this gnome, or whatever it was, as no one would stay in it long enough to find out what it was… and what it wanted.

Not much more of this creature seems to be known, but there is a similar legend also coming out of Murphy, North Carolina that ties back in with the Native Americans that lived there before it was settled. The Cherokee used to tell stories of a race of small, bearded, humanoid men with pale skin they called The Moon-Eyed People. They were pale and nocturnal beings as the sunlight was too bright for their eyes. The Moon-Eyed people also came from Hiwassee before it was Murphy, and they were often in conflict with the Native Americans until a major skirmish with either the Creek or the Cherokee tribes forced them to retreat from their homeland up into the mountains. They dug themselves into the caverns and rock, and presumably still survive there today with mounds and small walls built throughout the Southern Appalachians.

Is there a connection between the two legends? Could this gnome be some sort of otherworldly “answer” to the persecution of the Moon-Eyed People? It is just a bit too coincidental that two different legends about similarly structured beings would exist in one town, but as there are further tales of little people and monstrous versions thereof existing throughout the state of North Carolina, there may be a whole untapped reservoir of history, folklore and crypto-anthropology/zoology that we’re missing out on.

Maybe instead of looking back at history for answers to our mysteries, we should start looking down?


Images used in this post do not belong to me or 23 House and are not part of the original manuscript. They were pulled from Google Images or Snappy Goat and only serve as graphical decoration. They are not being used for any monetizing purposes whatsoever.