The Mystique of North Carolina’s Bat Cave
Bat Cave, North Carolina is an unincorporated community that sits along the Henderson County/Rutherford County border in North Carolina. Bat Cave received a boost in popularity when the movie Batman starring Michael Keaton came out in 1989. People sent letters to the Bat Cave Post Office just to get the Bat Cave postmark.
The bat cave that from where Bat Cave gets its name is not open to the public at this time as it is home to various species of bats including the rare Indiana bat which is an endangered species.
The cave itself is the world’s largest augen gneiss granite fissure cave that is over a mile long and the entrance hallway in the cave is 300 feet long and 85 feet high and sits on the side of Bluerock Mountain.
There are differing legends as to how and when the bat cave was discovered. The oldest of these legends dates back to the American Revolution. The legend involves some English prospectors that had mined some gold somewhere near Chimney Rock and were transporting by wagon to the port in Charleston, SC to be shipped back to England. Shortly after they left Chimney Rock they ran into a party of Cherokee Indians. The English prospectors stumbled into the bat cave when trying to get away from the Cherokee and buried the gold in one of the caverns. The prospectors planned on retrieving it later. The Indians found the cave and they killed all of the prospectors except for one that escaped. He never made it back to retrieve the gold.
One of the legends also has it that the bat cave was an important hiding spot for “the Underground Railroad” around the time of the Civil War in the mountains of western North Carolina.
The last legend of the bat cave had the bat cave being discovered by Confederate soldiers when trying to escape the Union Army. The Confederate soldiers later used the bat cave as a place to hide guns and ammunition.
More information on Bat Cave can be found on the website of the Bat Cave Preserve, North Carolina Nature Conservancy.