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Big and Little Lyons Falls

Big Lyons Falls and Little Lyons Falls at Mohican State Park are notable for their colorful legends. Local folklore attributes the name of the falls to two historic characters, both named Lyons, but unrelated to each other.  

One story names the falls after Paul Lyons. A few different stories have grown around the name of Paul Lyons, a self-reliant pioneer. What is certain is that there is a grave marker bearing his name on the trail leading to the 80-foot plunge of Lyon's Falls into Clearfork Gorge. Legend has it that Paul was a recluse who lived in the area with his milk cow. One dark and stormy night, Paul realized the cow had wandered off into the woods, and he went to find it. He could barely hear the sound of the bell around the cow's neck over the moaning of the wind. He followed the faint clanking into the darkening woods to the edge of the falls. He could see very little in the driving storm and lost his footing on the slick ground, falling 80 feet to his death. Folks say that on dark nights, the sound of the cowbell can be heard on the trail to the falls, and the figure of a man waving a lantern can be seen at the top of the cliff. 

The other folktale paints a gruesome picture of Thomas Lyons, a dreaded renegade reputed to be the ugliest man alive. Lyons was infamous for his legendary necklace of 99 human tongues, and his boast to make it an even 100 before he died. Before he could achieve this grisly feat, Lyons was ambushed and killed on the old stagecoach road passing through the forest near the cave. 

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