Mooresville native and high school history teacher O.C. "Chris" Stonestreet IV picked the perfect time to release his latest book.
Drawing on the local tale of a mysterious creature said to terrorize area farmers, Stonestreet's "Curse of the Wampus, And Other Short Spooky Stories of Piedmont North Carolina" ($11, Amazon) is off the presses just in time Halloween.
The book is Stonestreet's fourth but his first not written about the Revolutionary War.
"Almost everyone in Mooresville has heard a 'tall tale' or two if they have grown up in the area," said Stonestreet, a history teacher at Mooresville High School and Central Piedmont Community College. "Occasionally, these stories get passed down and become greatly exaggerated at times.
"As a youngster, I heard tales about a mythical creature that killed local livestock called the Wampus. This cat-like creature terrorized Mooresville, Shinnville, and other areas of the South over the past century.
"Naturally as a kid, one is drawn into the lurid tales; and as a child does, took things as fact. As I grew older though, I wondered if any local (or any famous ghost tales of the Piedmont North Carolina for that matter) had any actually truth to them?"
Added Stonestreet, "After I became teacher and researcher into local history, people began forwarding me emails asking questions about local legends. Interestingly enough, I found out over the years that there is always a kernel of truth to almost every legendary tale. Everything from the famed 'Girl at the Underpass' to the Wampus.
"However, the truth is usually in buried under layers of exaggerations and additions to the original story which has accumulated over the many decades."
Stonestreet described his new book as "ten tales of ghostly and paranormal events in and around the Mooresville area."