‘Feral Cannibals’ Feared To Live In U.S. National Park Where Five People Have Vanished

'Feral cannibals' are feared to be living in a notorious national park where five people have mysteriously disappeared. 
Credit: Alamy & Find A Grave

‘Feral cannibals’ are feared to be living in a notorious national park where five people have mysteriously disappeared. 

For centuries, there have been claims of ‘wild people’ living independently in the wilderness and away from civilization.

The theory that ‘feral cannibals’ are living in a U.S. national park has only increased over the years, with many discussing it on social media.

One person pens: “Too many people go missing. This is one explanation for what may have happened.”

Another adds: “I have always felt afraid in national parks, like I wasn’t alone and now I know why.”

“Too many people disappear in national parks under very weird circumstances for something like this not to be happening,” somebody else comments.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Five people have vanished in the national park. Credit: Alamy

YouTuber Donnie Laws claims on his channel: “The first reports of any wild man in the U.S. was around 1877, in Western North Carolina. Some gold miners ran into one as they were going to work in the mines.

“They followed it to a cave and found a whole bunch of bones of all different types of animals. They don’t say if there’s any human bones but that’s what they found.”

Just under 20 years later, a newspaper would report on another ‘wild man’ discovered in the same area. He would reportedly be sent to an insane asylum – never revealing who he was or where he had come from.

Meanwhile, Brian Jeffrey from the Black Mass Paranormal podcast, alleges: “Recently there has been an increase of reports of these people.

“They are supposedly known to set traps to capture lone hikers in the mountains. They have targeted the elderly and children specifically.”

Dennis Martin
Dennis Martin was six years old when he vanished in the national park. Credit: Family Handout

One of the most well-known disappearances in the national park is the story of a six-year-old boy named Dennis Martin.

The child disappeared in 1969 while on a family camping trip. Despite extensive search efforts, he was never found.

16-year-old Trenny Gibson disappeared at the national park in 1976 while on a field trip with school.

12 years after the vanishing of Dennis Martin, Thelma Pauline ‘Polly’ Melton, 58, would vanish.

She had gone hiking with friends and walked a few yards ahead, never to be seen again.

There have also been disappearances at the national park in more recent years.

Thelma Pauline 'Polly' Melton
Thelma Pauline ‘Polly’ Melton disappeared while hiking in the national park. Credit: Find Me A Grave

Christopher Cessna, 45, was alone in the area when he vanished in 2011.

In the following year, Derek Lueking would set off on a hiking trail and when searchers attempted to find him, they reportedly came across a chilling note on the dashboard of his car that said: “Don’t look for me.”

On his podcast, Jeffrey claims there have been dozens of reports in which people see ‘hairy, n**ed men’ in the area.

“There was a couple that had parked their car and got out to go to look at a waterfall, climbing up the side, they saw a man completely n**ed,” the podcaster alleges.

“They described him as ‘hairier than average from the waist down, with his face covered in blood.'”

Derek Lueking
Derek Lueking has been missing since 2012. Credit: National Park Service

The national park is the thickly wooded Great Smoky Mountains National Park, between North Carolina and Tennessee. There are hiking routes that include the Appalachian Trail.

Despite the rumors of ‘feral cannibals’ in this national park, there is little evidence to back these claims up.

As Ferber Resort states: “More importantly, there is no evidence, reports, or even official documentation and digital capture of feral people in the National Parks. It might all be a hoax or just plain theories formulated due to the fear of strange places.”

Whatever the cause of the disappearances, Laws claims locals will never let their kids out of sight in the park.

“You do not let your children run off into the dark woods by themselves. That is a complete no-no,” he explains.

“You don’t have to meet a wild man or a bigfoot. He could just meet a bear or a bobcat or any animal.”

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Written by Kyra Hall

Kyra is a content editor at IGV who specialises in film, TV and celebrity news. She has a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a masters in Documentary Production from Nottingham Trent University. Kyra previously worked as an intern at ITV Tonight and a freelance filmmaker.