Vampirism has roots going back to the ancient world. Belief in such creatures has spanned continents and millennia. Many people are surprised to learn these long-held superstitions found their way into the deepest parts of the Appalachian Mountains.
In the 1890s, a European named Rupp moved to Big Stone Gap. The recluse had no interest in being a part of the community. He secluded himself in a tiny cabin over a mile back into the woods. He lived there for what seemed like forever.
Locals began to notice people disappeared in that area, and at alarming rates. A number of animal carcasses turned up drained of blood. A popular traveling salesman made his regular trip through the region, but his body was found drained of blood.
Suspicion eventually fell on Rupp. The disappearances of people and animals always occurred somewhere around his shack. A group of curious men decided to pay Rupp an unexpected visit.
Rupp was out when they arrived, but they had to see things for themselves. The windows were too grimy to see inside. One of the men in the group gently nudged the front door open. A number of human body parts were scattered around the cabin. The table and counters were bloody.
Rupp was never seen again, but legend claims his ghost haunts the woods around his tiny cabin. Animals and humans are still known to disappear in the area, even today.
Sadly, the truth isn’t remotely as sensational. Big Stone Gap actually had a sizable newspaper, which began formal publication in 1892. The Big Stone Gap Post published its first issue in 1890. There is no mention of anyone named “Rupp” or any of these events in the area. There were plenty of disappearances, but most were due to human misdeeds.