Mysterious Moon-Eyed People – Ancient Subterranean Race In Conflict With The Cherokee

Ellen Lloyd - - The Cherokee recall a white-skinned race that lived on their lands before they arrived. This group of very unusual beings was known as the Moon-Eyed people.

Cherokee legends tell the Moon-Eyed people were of small stature and had pale, white skin, blond hair, and blue eyes. They were called Moon-Eyed because they had very sensitive eyes and were unable to see in daylight. They could, however see very well at night. Since these mysterious ancient people were blinded by the Sun, they were forced to live in underground caverns.

Mysterious Moon-Eyed People – Ancient Subterranean Race In Conflict With The Cherokee

Fort Mountain stone fortification ruins. Image credit: Wikipedia

The Moon-Eyed people were physically totally different from the Cherokee, and when these two races encountered each other, war broke out.

The Moon-Eyed people were first mentioned in a 1797 book by Benjamin Smith Barton. Later documentation tells of similar accounts, such as an 1823 book, The Natural and Aboriginal History of Tennessee, which tells of a band of white people who were killed or driven out of Kentucky and West Tennessee.

Mysterious Moon-Eyed People – Ancient Subterranean Race In Conflict With The Cherokee

Who were the mysterious, ancient Moon-Eyed people?

According to the Cherokee, the Moon-Eyed people lived in Appalachia until the Cherokee expelled them. The Moon-Eyed people are said to have built some ancient structures in the area. One of them is Fort Mountain in Georgia. It is an 850 foot long zigzagging stone wall that is 12 feet thick and up to seven feet high.

The age of the wall has never been properly determined, but according to some sources it was built around 400-500 AD.

Who really built Fort Mountain is still a mystery. Cherokee legends tell the ancient structure was raised either by the Moon-Eyed people or Madoc, a Welsh prince who came to America in 1170.

Former Tennessee governor John Sevier wrote that the Cherokee leader Oconostota told him in 1783 that local mounds had been built by white people who were pushed from the area by the ascendant Cherokee. According to Sevier, Oconostota confirmed that these were Welsh from across the ocean.

The identity of the Moon-Eyed people is unknown. Who were these mysterious, small pale beings who lived underground? One theory suggests these people were of Welsh origin, being descendants of Madoc's colonists. An ancient structure almost identical to the Fort Mountain can be found near DeSoto Falls, Alabama. It's possible it was built by these Welsh settlers after leaving Fort Mountain.

Mysterious Moon-Eyed People – Ancient Subterranean Race In Conflict With The Cherokee

This marker tells the tale of two legends that surround the fort. It is located near the stone tower. Credit: David Tibbs/HMDB

There are two Cherokee legends that could shed some light on this ancient mystery. One legend reveals that the Cherokee defeated the Moon-Eyed people and drove them from their homeland during a full moon. Another version tells the Cherokee chased the Moon-Eyed people away from their home at Hiwassee, a village near what is now Murphy, North Carolina, west into Tennessee.

Moon Eyed People

According to both Cherokee legends, the Moon-Eyed people went underground. That's all we know. The Moon-Eyed people and their fate remain an unsolved ancient mystery. After all this time, we may never find out what happened to the white-skinned race because the truth lies buried somewhere in antiquity and may never be unearthed.

Nevertheless, the legend of the Moon-Eyed people and their encounter with the Cherokee is truly fascinating.

Updated on March 22, 2022

Written by - Ellen Lloyd –

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