Johnson County, Tennessee

This rock outcropping, also sometimes known as "Screaming Rock", is said to be haunted by the ghost of an old fiddler who used to play here many years ago. The rock itself seems to emit a high-pitched screeching sound on cold winter days, but short of a natural explanation, the sounds are said to come from the phantom fiddle of Martin Stone. It was here that Martin used to sit and play a fiddle that would charm the rattlesnakes.... and in so doing, met an untimely death.

It was said that Martin was so noted as a fiddle player that he was the center of attraction at dances and parties all over Johnson County. He supposedly could make babies stop crying, tame animals and make sick people well again. He also had another talent... it was reported that he could also charm rattlesnakes.

On Sunday afternoon, Martin would climb up onto Fiddler's Rock and start to play. Witnesses claimed that rattlesnakes would come out from under the rocks and lay in the sun while the fiddle played. Then, when a number of snakes had gathered, Martin would reach for his shotgun and kill as many of the snakes as he could. One day, a neighbor found Martin's lifeless body on Fiddler's Rock. Somehow, he had not reached for his shotgun quick enough for his body was covered with snake bites.

To this day, locals avoid the area around Fiddler's Rock, believing, thanks to the strange sounds that fill the air, that the place is haunted.

Johnson County is in the far eastern corner of Tennessee and Fiddler's Rock is located over a ravine near the top of Stone Mountain between Mountain City and Laurel Bloomery.

Copyright 2001 by Troy Taylor. All Rights Reserved.

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