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Here at Visit My Smokies, we’ve noticed that there have been a lot of rumors lately about what you will find at cabins in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. Some of these myths go back decades and have resurfaced in the past few months, while other stories have recently cropped up on the internet. As the leading source of information about the Smoky Mountain area, we feel compelled to address this misinformation. In the interest of setting the record straight, here are four things you definitely won’t find in a Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg cabin:
As you may know, the first permanent settler in Gatlinburg was William Ogle. Legend has it that Ogle came to the Smokies in the early 1800s to fulfill his lifelong dream of opening up a successful chain of pancake restaurants. Supposedly known as “Flapjack” to his friends and family, Ogle jealously guarded the details of his secret pancake recipe from the prying eyes of his neighbors back in South Carolina. Sadly, William Ogle died from malaria in 1803 before he could launch his pancake franchise.
Nevertheless, many people believe that before he passed, Ogle buried his recipe for the perfect buttery pancakes somewhere in the Smoky Mountain area. Some so-called “experts” insist that the recipe can be found beneath the floorboards of a cabin in Gatlinburg. Should Ogle’s flapjack recipe come to light, they claim it would turn the Sevier County pancake world on its head, surpassing even the most beloved hotcakes served on the Parkway.
We would like to remind readers that this story is patently untrue. There is absolutely no way that a long-lost pancake recipe valued at $10 million is hidden under a Gatlinburg cabin.
Nearly 40 years after his death, there is still a vocal group of passionate fans who believe that Elvis Presley never truly left the building. Now more than ever, the Smoky Mountains are a hotbed of supposed sightings of the King. The dominant conspiracy theory is as follows:
Having tired of fame, Elvis faked his own death in 1977 in Memphis, Tennessee and immediately drove six hours east to the Smoky Mountains. For the next four decades, Presley has lived under the radar, breaking into unoccupied cabins and sleeping there for a few nights at a time. When he gets the urge to perform, Presley earns a little extra money by working as an aging Elvis impersonator at the Memories Theatre.
On the internet, a few vacationers claim to have found evidence that Elvis stayed in their cabin: his signature sunglasses on a nightstand, sparkly capes on the floor, half-eaten peanut butter and bacon sandwiches on the kitchen table, etc.
Visit My Smokies would like to reiterate that this story is completely bogus. Even if you think you heard someone humming the first few bars of Heartbreak Hotel at 3:00 in the morning, Elvis Presley is not in your Pigeon Forge cabin.
It is no secret that the Smoky Mountains used to be home to a thriving illegal moonshine trade. Distilling and selling unlicensed liquor was the only way to make ends meet for many disadvantaged people living in Sevier County. Moonshiners in the area used a number of furtive paths through the mountains to smuggle their white whiskey into town.
Today, the internet is abuzz with rumors that moonshiners dug a series of underground tunnels throughout the foothills of the Smokies that lead to Pigeon Forge. Supposedly, some people have found secret entrances to the tunnels in their cabins and have used these passages to sneak into Dollywood. The most common claim is that the tunnel’s Dollywood exit is located in the Rivertown Junction section of the park, behind The Back Porch Theater.
This is most definitely a hoax. Please do not waste your vacation moving around the furniture in your cabin in hopes of finding any trap doors or secret passageways that lead to one of the most popular theme park in the Southeast.
4. The Ghosts of Civil War Soldiers/ Passengers on the Titanic
Ghost stories are some of the most enduring myths related to cabins in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. During the Civil War, a battle broke out in Gatlinburg when Union army troops took back the city from the occupying Confederate forces. Some people say that the restless souls of the soldiers who died during the attack on Burg Hill still haunt the Smokies, unaware that the Civil War ended 150 years ago.
Another group of ghosts rumored to reside in the Smokies are those who perished during the sinking of the RMS Titanic in 1912. The theory behind their presence in Sevier County is that the spirits lost track of the actual Titanic when it sank to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, so they decided to haunt the area surrounding the Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge instead. The ghosts supposedly visit Pigeon Forge cabins in the dead of night and begin repeatedly chanting the words “iceberg” and “Kate Winslet”.
Like all of the other rumors mentioned in this blog, these ghost stories are totally fabricated. If you hear anyone who is spreading this misinformation, please share this blog with them so they know the facts.
To find some trustworthy information about what to expect when you stay at a Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg cabin, check out our Smoky Mountain Cabin Rentals page. With our search function, you can see hundreds of cabins from a variety of companies in the area. Browse by location, size, and amenities to find the perfect cabin for your next vacation in East Tennessee. We can’t wait to see you in the Smokies!