Tall Tales From The Great Smoky Mountains – part III

The Origins of “Boogertown”

There are many communities in the Smoky Mountains with strange names, but none of them rival Boogertown. Located in Sevier County, this area is officially known as Oldham, but it is far more famous for its unusual nickname. So, why would anyone choose a name with “booger” in it?

The answer lies in the meaning of the word “booger”. Decades ago, a “booger” didn’t have anything to do with Kleenex. Instead, the word referred to a ghost or hobgoblin. A “booger” was related to the idea of a “boogieman”, a monster who lives under your bed or creeps around at night.

There are a number of stories that supposedly explain the origins of the name Boogertown. In one tale, a Civil War soldier was riding through the area when he saw a pair of mysterious eyes peering at him through the bushes. The frightened man believed that he was being stalked by a booger in the woods. Later, he realized that the eyes did not belong to a ghost, but rather a cow! Nevertheless, the soldier’s sighting of a “booger” gave the town its memorable name.

According to another version of the story, mentioned in Smoky Mountain Living Magazine, there really was some sort of monster haunting the area. Local livestock were being killed by an unseen force, and the townspeople decided that a booger must be responsible. We may never discover the truth behind Boogertown’s backstory, but listening to all of the theories and tall tales sure is a lot of fun!

If you’ve missed the other two tall tales from the Smoky Mountains, you can check them out here and here.


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