Whitney went to watch a meteor shower with friends in an isolated area in Kentucky; however, the trio soon saw strange, unusual orbs of light that had nothing to do with the falling stars. Let’s hear about strange lights in the woods, and other ghost stories from East Kentucky, with Appalachian Forager, today, on Homespun Haints.

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About the guest: Whitney Johnson

Whitney Johnson, known as the Appalachian Forager, smiles while holding a morel mushroom in a forested area. She is wearing circular sunglasses and a black tank top with the 'Appalachian Forager' logo, and has a backpack on, surrounded by green foliage and trees.
Whitney Johnson, Appalachian Forager, tells us ghost stories from East Kentucky about strange lights in the woods and more.

Appalachian Forager (Whitney) is a full time forager, content creator, and Appalachian ambassador. With over 1 million followers across her social media, she has used her platform to shine a lovin’ light on Appalachia and to teach the world how to be more self-sufficient while responsibly utilizing the goodies that Momma Nature provides. 

Born and raised in eastern (by God) Kentucky, she developed a passion for all things outdoors as a young holler baby. Foraging is her forte, especially mushroom hunting, but she does not discriminate against any wild edibles. She also picks plants and herbs to wildcraft a plethora of skincare and wellness products. She fishes. She hikes. She gardens. She cooks like your mamaw. She is a proud Appalachian spreading the love and wondrous things the region has to offer via her down-to-earth, educational, and quirky videos on TikTok (@appalachian_forager), Instagram (@appalachian_forager), and Facebook (Appalachian Forager). 

Her accolades include being named Appalachian Arts and Entertainments Awards’ Best Social Media Influencer, Appodlachia’s Appalachian of the Year and Content Creator of the Year, as well as being featured in numerous news segments and articles, including multiple appearances on The Weather Channel. Whitney continues to be a hillbilly force to be reckoned with; spreadin’ pride for her region, preachin’ girl power, all while keepin’ the old ways alive… with a dash of humor.

You can find her at appalachianforager.com, or follow her on TikTokInstagramYouTube, and Facebook. Or visit her as a vendor at several events around east Kentucky.

Snake Charming

Can you tell the difference between a scuhry snek and a happy helpful snake? Can Becky’s puppy tell the difference? We’ve talked before about the infamous Appalachian snake charming fiddler…will Becky be the next one?

Listen to that throwback from season 4 of Homespun Haints here:

The Gartwhinzean Hotel in Powmill, Scotland

Whitney recounts a spooky experience she had while on a high school trip to Scotland, at the Gartwhinzean House Hotel. We’d love to visit and find out more, but the Gartwhinzean has since been shut down and boarded up. If you’re into abandoned haunted places, here are some photos of the abandoned Gartwhinzean House in 2009.

What were those strange lights in the woods?

Whitney witnessed a mysterious moving orb of light during a meteor shower. The light moved almost like a sentient being, and totally unlike a headlight or a meteor. Was it a supernatural orb, like the one Becky’s mom saw outside her bedroom window? Could it have been an alien presence, brought by the astronomical event? Was it a ghost car under the water? Or is there some mundane explanation for these strange lights in the woods that we’re missing? And why did they completely forget to whip out their phones to document the mysterious lights? Wouldn’t that be your first response?

There’s a good chance you might’ve missed the story about Becky’s mom’s orb…it was part of our first Christmas special. Listen now if you missed it:

A Haunted House in the Holler

Whitney then brings us further back in time, to tell us ghost stories from growing up in east Kentucky. Specifically, we revisit the night a full-body apparition disappeared from her friend’s porch in a streak of white light. Sleeping over at that same house, Whitney experienced terrible night terrors (only in her friend’s mom’s bedroom) full of sleep paralysis demons chanting, as though preparing her for a ritual of some sort. Other paranormal things happened in the house, like intense loud window shaking for no discernable reason.

What could’ve motivated Whitney to move into this haunted house she had such spooky encounters in during middle school? interestingly, the paranormal activity significantly receded after her friend’s mom moved out. Could it be that her friend’s mom was haunted, and not the house? Or was it all due to the gifted book of dark magic? How DO you dispose of a haunted grimoire?

The Catfish Man of Morgan’s Creek

Who is the mysterious creature bearing the head of a catfish haunting Morgan’s Creek? Several locals have told of seeing a humanoid being with a man’s body, and the elongated, wide-mouthed head of a catfish. Papaw, uncle, and dad spotted it while hunting. Apparently there’s a Lawrence County, Kentucky, history book that documents several first-hand accounts of Catfish Man sightings, as well as other ghost stories and local legends.

Have you seen the Catfish Man? What is he? Do you think he’s just a very unfortunate-looking dude who lives in the woods? Or could he really be a cryptid…something supernaturally half man, and half fish? How does this tinge your enjoyment of fantasy creatures like mermaids? Because he sure sounds like the opposite of a mermaid to me.

How to make tomato pie

Plant 30 ‘mater plants in your garden. When you have too many, layer slices of tomatoes into a pie crust, intersperse layers of cheese, mayonnaise, fresh herbs, top with more cheese, and bake it. Apparently, it’s so good, you’ll feel like you’re sledding down a hill on a greased tomato, having a spooky day.