FORENSIC FOLKLORIST: "I'm excavating [folk] practices from older generations," says Byron Ballard, known as Asheville's village witch. Photo by Machaela Treadway

Byron Ballard keeps Appalachian folk magic practices alive

Known as Asheville’s village witch, Byron Ballard practices what she calls “hillfolk hoodoo,” a form of Appalachian folk magic. Ballard came by hoodoo naturally, growing up in a poor community in the mountains of Western North Carolina where hoodoo was practiced. She laments that the practice is disappearing: “Local hillfolk are no longer practicing hoodoo, […]

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Get outside for winter activities

Are you packing on those extra pounds after gorging on office holiday cookies and sugared paraphernalia? Are you spending your evenings hiding under your blankets and waiting for spring? Then you may be missing out on the great outdoor events Western North Carolina has to offer. We’ve rounded up some options for activities and great-outdoors clubs that will keep you moving well into the early […]

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Distant energy healing resonates in the Asheville area and beyond

Many practitioners of the healing energy arts — including reiki masters, sound healers and shamanic practitioners — say they can “send” healing energy to a client anywhere in the state, country or world. In fact, the nine practitioners interviewed by Xpress report sending out healing energy to such distant places as Kazakhstan, Syria, Russia, Japan, India, South Africa, Peru, Hong Kong and Singapore

Amalia Rowan's 478 votes as of Dec. 8, put her in tenth place among 88 US applicants to participate in the Fjällräven Polar 2015. She must move into first place to secure her dogsledding dream. Image from Rowan's profile page

Asheville native hopes to battle water insecurity by dogsledding

Asheville native Amalia Rowan doesn’t know the first thing about dog sledding, but if her crowdsourcing plan works, she’ll be flown overseas to participate in a guided 300-kilometer expedition through Norway and Sweden next April. “I have to try new things, test myself, get dirt (or snow) under my fingernails,” reads her event application profile. Rowan’s […]

Riverbend Malt House co-owner Brent Manning, left, expanded his production from less than one ton of malt per batch to four tons while working with Sara Day Evans, right.
“Our experience with Accelerating Appalachia was definitely a positive one,” says Manning. “We learned a lot and we got tied into an amazing network of people in our area that we, frankly, had no idea were available to us.” Photo by Pat Barcas

Accelerating Appalachia helps nature-based entrepreneurs get funding

Last year, Accelerating Appalachia orchestrated the transfer of about $505,000 in investment funds toward sustainable, nature-based ventures in Western North Carolina. This year, the Asheville-based nonprofit — the region’s first social-impact business accelerator — partnered with impact investor Reinventure Capital for 2015 and recently invited businesses to submit funding applications online. Submissions for 2015 are due by […]

Photos by Taylor Taz Johnson

Visions of Tibet: Asheville photographer shares rare images of monasteries

Taylor Taz Johnson trekked through the Himalayan mountains of South Asia with Dr. Hun Lye, the founder of Asheville’s Urban Dharma Buddhist Center. They were granted unprecedented permission to photograph inside some of the most isolated religious institutions in the world, braving military interrogations along the way.

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Video captures Great Smoky Mountain National Park during peak fall color

The “More Than Just Parks” project aims to capture the beauty of all 50 National Parks in order to raise awareness for there value. This video marks “the culmination of two weeks exploring Great Smoky Mountains National Park,” according to the project’s website.  Brothers Will Pattiz and Jim Pattiz, founders of Sea Raven Media,  produced […]