Fairy Crosses (Murphy, NC)

The Cherokee County Historical Museum is home to Cherokee artifacts, tools, over 700 dolls donated by local resident Louise Kilgore, and a...



The Cherokee County Historical Museum is home to Cherokee artifacts, tools, over 700 dolls donated by local resident Louise Kilgore, and an effigy of the Moon-Eyed People. It's also home to lots of fairy crosses.

So are fairy crosses really made by fairies? Cherokee history expert Billy Ray Palmer told us two different Cherokee legends that explain the formation of fairy crosses.



According to the first legend, once the Europeans settled here, they tried to convert the Cherokees to Christianity. At first, the Cherokees resisted because Christianity had so many rules. "You can't do this. You can't do that." Once the missionaries learned they needed to work with the Cherokee's already existing culture, they began to get Christian converts. In 1821, Sequoyah completed the Cherokee syllabary, which enabled people to read and write in Cherokee. The first book translated with the Cherokee syllabary was the Bible. When the Cherokee read the story of Jesus being crucified, they cried. Their tears turned into fairy crosses.



The second, and Palmer's favorite legend, involves the Little People. The Cherokee believe in Little People, which are two-foot tall "people" with extremely long hair that wear colorful clothing. The Little People play with the Cherokee children and protect them. If a child gets lost, the Little People find the child and bring him back home. When the Cherokee were marched to Oklahoma, the Little People remained behind and they cried. Their tears turned into fairy crosses.



So which is true? Neither, sadly. Fairy crosses are natural rock formations called staurolite. They contain aluminum, iron, and silicate.

But they're still pretty cool to look at!

What To Know Before You Go

GPS Coordinates: (35.086809, -84.032981)
Location: 87 Peachtree Street, Murphy, NC

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