In North Carolina, locals here take folklore and legends rather seriously. It is for this reason that I hesitate to write the story you are about to read.
On March 12, 1972, Lord and Lady Lucerne rented Cabin 26, thankful to escape the high profile lives they had in Europe. In the mountains of North Carolina, they knew they could hide in the silence and serenity of the hills and blend into the accepting nature of the locals of Blowing Rock. What they did not know is that one can never leave everything behind.
On the evening of the 12th, Lord Lucerne told his young wife Camille that he was going to take a stroll around the lake near the cabin. He was anxious to listen to the sounds of the night without the company of bodyguards or throngs of citizens reaching out to them. This was heaven.
Camille kissed her husband of four years on the cheek, and watched as he strolled towards the water. She was happy to see him beginning to relax so quickly. The times back in Europe were tense. Here in Blowing Rock, the world was new and almost Eden-like. He turned the corner and she closed the door to the cabin, and went to unpack.
Several hours later, Camille had not heard from her husband. He had never gone out into a public setting, so she had no idea of how long he should be away. It was just then that her life changed forever. Lord William burst into the cabin; his eyes wide, his face white with fear. She begged him to tell her what had happened outside. What had he seen or heard that frightened him so badly?
He slowly began to explain what had happened out in the woods as he walked around the lake. As he spoke, her heart began to beat more quickly. Each of his deliberate words impacted her as though she had been out in the darkness with him. She listened intently until he suddenly stopped – quiet. He seemed to be listening to his own words as they hung heavily in the room. Could she?
Together they slipped out of Cabin 26, and began their walk towards the lake under the moonless sky. Whatever had happened to Lord William Lucerne the night of March 12, 1972 would forever remain a mystery. Lord William and his beloved Lady Camille walked out of the cabin and into North Carolina legend that night. Their cabin was never visited again.
The royal bodyguards searched all over the property of Swiss Mountain Village and the surrounding area for weeks before sadly returning to Europe. It is said by the locals that the ghosts of the native Cherokee tribe took the royals in revenge for the loss of their own Princess in a battle fought on this land in 1889. Others believe that Lord and Lady Lucerne plunged into the lake that now bears their name to this day. They had made it known that they disapproved of the situation back home, yet the King would never change his mind. Could this have been their escape? Still others believe that the couple used their influence and power to buy the Swiss Mountain Village, and lived in reclusion for the rest of their time.
Whatever the cause, one thing remained clear; their visit has changed SMV forever because now, if you look – you will see evidence of their ill fated visit. Lake Lucerne now bears their name, and there is no longer a Cabin 26. It was changed in respect for the only visitors known to have become – unknown.
This is the Swiss Mountain Village legend as recalled by some of the elder folks. Repeat the legend all you like. But show respect for Lord and Lady Lucerne, and their memory. They may still be here!