Stranger Than Fiction


stranger than fiction in Appalachia

Remember the rock I told you about Chitter finding in the creek after a big rain a while back? If you missed that post go here to read it and then come back.

Over the weekend The Deer Hunter, Chitter, and I were out in the garden tilling and planting for the first time this year. I was sowing a lettuce bed when I heard The Deer Hunter say “Hey look at this. Looks like that rock you found could have come out of it.” Chitter ran over and got the rock from him. She said “Me and Chatter looked for that rock and couldn’t find it. We remembered finding it a long time ago in the creek and then when I found the other one Chatter said it would be cool if it fit but we couldn’t find it.”

Chitter ran into the house to get her prize rock. The Deer Hunter said “There’s no way it will fit.”


unique rocks in Appalachia

I was only half listening to them both. We had been working all morning and I still had a dozen things on my list to complete before the day was over. Suddenly I heard Chitter throw the door open on the front porch and run to the railing. She was screaming “It fits! It fits! It’s the same rock!”

She brought the rocks down to us and they really did fit. Hard to believe finding 2 pieces of the same rock over several years, then reuniting them in the front yard. I said “That is too weird. I mean what are the chances?”

Really amazing story right? Well it gets better.

After we teased Chitter about maybe going out to buy a lottery ticket while her luck was running I got back to planting. The Deer Hunter and Chitter continued to talk about the rocks and the unlikely possibility of finding the two pieces over a  span of years and then putting them back together.

Chitter said “You know there’s another rock that sort of looks like these. You know that one up on the porch?”

rock with coon track in it in nc


Rock with print in it-don’t ask me why but it makes me think of a small animal sticking its paw in wet concrete and then trying to get it out.

The mention of the rock on the porch jogged my memory. I said “You mean that one that looks like something put its footprint in it? I thought that rock looked similar to the one you found the other day but I never got around to saying anything to you about it.”

Chitter ran up on the porch and quickly came back with the larger rock. Guess what? That rock fit too!

The girls found the large piece of rock with the print in the creek about 6 or 7 years ago. I’ll let Chitter show you how they all fit. (just click on the video to start it and then click on it again to stop it-you can also click the small arrows on the side of the video to see photos of the rocks)


One rock broke into three pieces in a creek
Two girls find three rocks over a span of 7 years in a creek
One girl puts the rock back together in the yard

I’m still not sure what to make of this unlikely event…all I know is the Stamey Creek if full of magic and I sure am glad I live beside it.


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  • Reply
    April 13, 2020 at 10:47 am

    This story pleases me <3
    I drag rocks home too.

  • Reply
    Rob Simbeck
    January 17, 2018 at 8:20 pm

    Love it!

  • Reply
    March 31, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    Great Story, i like it.

  • Reply
    March 28, 2017 at 9:57 pm

    Hi Tipper,Because of what your blog is all about I do belive this is just another drop in the bucket for the up coming story teller in your family,you all are truely blessed.Jean

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    March 28, 2017 at 9:04 pm

    I am not a geologist but …. I think the rock is quartz and it has unusually large quartz crystals in it. The crystals created planes of weakness within the larger stone which caused it to break apart.
    The finding of the pieces and the saving of them means you all notice things and find treasures to be enjoyed in the everyday. As to realizing those three pieces belonged together, well I’ll have to think about that for a bit. But I think it says something very good.

  • Reply
    March 28, 2017 at 8:16 pm

    …and the Hand of God continues to show us all the wonders of the world He created for our pleasure and enjoyment…
    It’s the small things in life that He wants us to share and love…
    Thanks for sharing…!!

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    March 28, 2017 at 7:23 pm

    These girls of yours are so observant! I think mountain magic is certainly happening on your hill and in your creek.
    My Mom loved rocks…Everywhere I turned there would be a rock of some sort of shape or color…I asked one time why she kept a rock (about fist size) on her coffee table another one on her side table?
    She said, “Well, reminds me of home (NC) and you never know when you might need one!” She wasn’t fond of guns, but let me tell you she could throw a rock accurately even at her late age of life! I often wondered if she though, is someone invaded her home, she could wield a knock-out blow!
    She would rather crack her black walnuts with a good rock and rock base than a hammer. She also said she had picked up so many rocks in her past years it just seemed natural to lean over and pick one up she loved!
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS…she also had found fossils thru the years…I could not bare to throw any away and they are stuck around her on our place nowadays!

  • Reply
    March 28, 2017 at 6:31 pm

    Very cool!

  • Reply
    March 28, 2017 at 4:53 pm

    I LOVE rocks and rock hunting. Bro Tom is better at finding odd rocks than I am, though I’m very good at finding arrow and spear heads than he is. Over the years, he’s found several rocks in NC that look so much like baking potatoes, we put on in sister Cindy’s potato basket to see how long it would take her to discover it’s a rock. Because it was a holiday, and she was making mashed potatoes for the holiday dinner, it didn’t take her long.
    If I had found these, I’d be sending pictures of them to the state archaeological department to see if it’s important to anything they’re working on.
    I’ve been following the Roanoke story about the missing settlers on tv, and they’ve found many clues in rocks that they’re currently testing with modern means to weed out the authentic messages carved on rocks from the fake ones.
    Ya never know.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    March 28, 2017 at 4:37 pm

    Tamela – I don’t know a lot about geology or geography but I do know enough to know that glaciers never reached far enough south to have caused the marks in Chitter’s rock. Stamey Creek and Tipper’s garden are at 35.0° N. That’s only a few hundred yards north of the NC/GA state line. That the Southern Appalachains were not effected by glaciation is one of the main reasons for its extraordinary diversity of plant and animal life.

  • Reply
    March 28, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    There are sermons, lessons, novels imbedded in this story! I will be pondering this for quite some time!

  • Reply
    Leslie Haynie
    March 28, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    That is so cool.

  • Reply
    March 28, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    totally amazing. I sent this to a friend who collects rocks. what a story

  • Reply
    March 28, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    That is amazing! I wish everybody had a creek running thru their property, like most folks of the Mountains. My computer won’t open some videos but I heard the stories at the Martin’s Creek thing, Friday night.
    Pap and Louzine taught their offsprings well and to observe nature’s things. …Ken

  • Reply
    March 28, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    I’m a very (emphasis on the very!) amateur “geologist” and my guess is the scratches might have come from glaciation. (I still love the folklore, though.) This rock is a composite, possibly granite with large intrusions, possibly “plucked” from a larger rock as the glaciers moved. There are many erosional processes that could have led to this whole sequence of events; but, I hope Chitter sends her video to some geology professors (easy to find online) and see what they say – bet her video will show up in future geology classes! So cool.
    And – for what its worth, knowing the science behind it doesn’t change the miraculous power of God’s hand in creation. Science is just God gradually revealing his work to us so we can better understand it and grow wise enough to use and manage it so that it can be a blessing for others. Unfortunately, some of us just don’t learn.
    In the meantime, the rest of us can appreciate and be in awe of God’s many wonders – – and this is certainly one of them!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    March 28, 2017 at 11:20 am

    You know what is even more amazing than the rock fitting back together is that a girl in her very late teens would be in the garden helping Mom and Dad. Maybe you ought to market that Stamey Creek water.

  • Reply
    Paula Rhodarmer
    March 28, 2017 at 11:12 am

    This is so amazing and interesting. I hope we get more information. It almost looks from the picture that there might be another piece or two for Chitter to find.

  • Reply
    March 28, 2017 at 10:17 am

    That is an amazing story! I’ve heard a lot of incredible “find” stories, but this is the very first three-part story! Just a suggestion: if you put a picture on twitter and ask for input from geologists, I bet you’ll learn more about the origin of the rock.

  • Reply
    March 28, 2017 at 10:11 am

    I think there must be some deeper meaning to this. It is much to in-depth to be a mere coincidence.

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    March 28, 2017 at 9:49 am

    That’s about the coolest thing I’ve heard in a while!! I’ll get my buddy who is a geologist to give it an official name and let you know.

  • Reply
    Michael Cass
    March 28, 2017 at 9:42 am

    In a rocky bed of the Green River, near where I live in Saluda, N.C., there are prints that have been known for generations as “The Devil’s Tracks.” I don’t think your discovery has anything to do with the devil, however. I think it is a witness to the wholesome truth that everything is connected to everything else.
    The way John Donne said it was, “No man is an island.” The way Paul said it was, “Everything coheres in Christ.” The way Wendell Berry says it is,
    Being, whose flesh dissolves
    at our glance, knower
    of the secret sums and measures,
    you are always here,
    dwelling in the oldest sycamores,
    visiting the faithful springs
    when they are dark and the foxes
    have crept to their edges.

  • Reply
    Brian P. Blake
    March 28, 2017 at 9:26 am

    Rock on!

  • Reply
    March 28, 2017 at 9:19 am

    Obviously, it’s the stone faries,naiads, and wood nymphs at work again.

  • Reply
    March 28, 2017 at 9:13 am

    I don’t know what to say! That story makes “finding a needle in a haystack” sound as easy as pie.

  • Reply
    George Pettie
    March 28, 2017 at 9:13 am

    Astounding that you would randomly find and recognize those three rocks over several years.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    March 28, 2017 at 8:37 am

    Tipper–Now I’m hoping against hope that there’s a knowledgeable geologist, amateur or otherwise, among your readers who can tell us what type of rock this is.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 28, 2017 at 8:31 am

    That is so cool! Chitter showed me the rocks yesterday. I couldn’t believe how they clicked into place when she put them together. Wonder how old that rock is and how it got broken. It’d really amazing!!!
    Chitter the rock hound, you go girl!

  • Reply
    Ed Karshner
    March 28, 2017 at 8:30 am

    Ok. My mind is blown. I’m going back to bed!

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    March 28, 2017 at 8:26 am

    What a fascinating story! Truly amazing!

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    March 28, 2017 at 8:15 am

    Wow, that is amazing.

  • Reply
    Candy Davis
    March 28, 2017 at 5:37 am

    Now that is a good story. But I still can’t figure out how an animal print can get in a rock like that!

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