Category: North Carolina

‘Zombie snakes’ in North Carolina are a lot less scary than they sound

Sorry, horror fans. Zombies still aren’t a thing — even in snake form.

The North Carolina Division of State Parks and Recreation posted a Facebook item about a “zombie snake,” sending some people into a frenzy. But that sounds a lot more threatening than the creatures really are.

They’re actually called the eastern hognose snake. And as the parks division said, these nonvenomous snakes are harmless.

They do, however, exhibit some strange behavior. When threatened, eastern hognose snakes often play dead by rolling onto their backs and opening their mouths.

“It will flip on its back and convulse for a short period and may defecate and regurgitate its food,” the Florida Museum of Natural History says.

“It will then remain motionless with its belly up, mouth open, and tongue hanging out. It may play dead for several minutes before cautiously turning over, looking around to see if it is safe before crawling away.”

The snakes are usually about 20 to 33 inches long and have a slightly upturned, pointed snout, according to the Florida Museum. Their coloration varies between yellow, tan, olive, brown, gray, orange or reddish brown with dark blotches.

Legend says the eastern hognose can mix venom with its breath and kill a human from 25 feet away. But the Florida Museum points out the snake’s breath is harmless.

So, if you stumble across one of these “zombie snakes,” feel free to enjoy the show without fearing for your life.

It’s a boy! Birth photo showing mother’s surprised reaction goes viral

It’s a boy! Birth photo showing mother’s surprised reaction goes viral

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — A photo showing a North Carolina mother’s surprised reaction to her newborn son has gone viral.

Winston-Salem photographer Lauren Jolly captured the moment last December while working with Nancy and Will Ray.

Jolly said the couple had waited to learn the sex of their first two babies at birth, but opted to find out early during the third pregnancy, and they were told it was a girl.

When the big moment finally arrived, Jolly said she rushed to the birth center just in time to photograph the baby’s speedy arrival.

“She delivered her baby in the tub and then carried ‘her’ over to the bed,” Jolly recalled. “About 10 minutes later, they prepared to cut baby’s cord and Nancy exclaimed, ‘What is THAT? Is this a boy baby?!’”

Jolly said Will looked closer to confirm, and fell to his knees.

“We were all in shock and couldn’t stop laughing,” Jolly said. “I’m so glad I was there to capture this moment – that’s the magic of birth photography!”

Nancy posted the image to her Instagram page where it currently has more than 6,000 likes.

“I will forever advocate for birth photography because this is one of my very favorite photos of all time. Thank you @laurenjollyphoto,” she wrote.

Jolly told WGHP that she knew it was a great story, but she never expected it to take off the way it has.

Missing Maine brothers found safe in North Carolina; father arrested

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine – Police have arrested the father of two missing boys from Maine after they were found safe in North Carolina, the Presque Isle Police Department announced Tuesday.

Officers found Joel Strother and the two boys, 12-year-old Joel Strother II and 10-year-old Carter Strother III, after receiving “many tips from all over the East Coast.”

“Because of you all sharing this information and getting the word out, we had a very happy outcome!” Presque Isle police said in a statement, thanking Facebook users who shared their posts. “The information came from a single tip of someone who saw our shared post and decided to call!”

Presque Isle authorities said they first started looking for Strother after he broke a custody agreement and took the children out of state. The children hadn’t been seen for weeks before they were located in North Carolina, according to WMTW.

The boys’ mother, who lives in Presque Isle, told police she hadn’t heard from Strother or the children during that time.

Officials declined to publicly release further information about what led to the arrest or what charges Strother faces.

North Carolina man opens up after brutal attack on daughter outside Taco Bell

ARCHDALE, N.C. – A North Carolina man is working through many emotions following a stabbing attack on his daughter.

“I sat and watched my daughter cry in pain, and I couldn’t do anything to help her.”

That helpless feeling is one Johnathan Lambert has been experiencing for nearly a month since his daughter was brutally attacked.

On March 31, Johnathan’s 19-year old daughter Celestial was stabbed six times in the parking lot of a Taco Bell in Archdale.

Police said Tyvonne Upshur, 41, allegedly used his car to try to run over Celestial and her family, including her mother and sisters, as they left the restaurant. The car managed to run over Celestial’s foot before smashing into a power pole.

Johnathan Lambert said he then saw Upshur sprint out of the car and begin stabbing his daughter in the neck and back.

“One of the stab wounds caused her to have a spinal cord injury, so it’s going to take her a while to recover from that,” he said.


Upshur had known the Lamberts prior to the March attack. He had met them a year before and had become a regular member at their Archdale church.

Johnathan Lambert described himself and his family as strong evangelists on a mission to share the word of God with as many people as they can.

They spend much of their time together leading worship services at area churches and singing at nursing homes.

Johnathan said Upshur began attending their church after speaking with two women inside a Walmart.

“He had said he had been looking for a new church. That’s actually how he started attending our church,” he said.

Upshur is said to have visited “just about every function” the church put on. This included fellowship dinners, worship services and church grounds workdays.

While he was heavily active in attendance, Johnathan explained that Upshur often made people uneasy.

“I can say the man had some strange things,” he said. “A lot of people felt like he made them uneasy, especially the lady folks – my daughter in particular.”

Celestial was 18 years old when she met Upshur. Many have described her as having an infectious smile, a welcoming personality and a singing voice that could melt the soul of any hardened person.

It was those qualities that drew Upshur to her, but Johnathan said it was Upshur’s madness that drove him to more disturbing behavior.

“He did make several attempts to express his desire toward her. She, of course, ignored it and used every opportunity to let him know that. He had actually sent my daughter flowers asking to date her… she sent him a letter saying that she was not interested… he was old enough to be her father,” he said.

For Upshur, that was not enough. Family friends said that in his mind, Upshur and Celestial were meant to be together.

Before the attack, Johnathan and his family led worship at a nursing home. He said Upshur was in attendance and even spoke to him afterwards. The two talked about Johnathan’s recent mission trip.

“He said, ‘How was the service?’ And I said, ‘It was good,’” he said. “He said, ‘I’m glad to see everyone made it home safe.’”

Johnathan said Upshur would attack them with intent to kill his daughter just minutes after the exchange.


“Before I could get over to where he was, he had stabbed her six times,” Johnathan said. “It was obvious his intent was to get rid of her.”

Johnathan rushed to pull Upshur off his daughter, who was bleeding from multiple stab wounds.

He called Upshur the devil as the man struggled to get away.

“Someone in their right mind is not going to do what this man done,” he said.

Johnathan said he heard Celestial’s voice in the chaos, saying “Lord God, save his soul.”

Celestial thought she was dying and told her parents she loved them, Johnathan said.

“And then she said ‘I love you Jesus, I’m ready Lord. I’m ready,’” Johnathan said.

But Johnathan wasn’t ready to let go of his daughter.

“I said, ‘God’s not done with you yet. You’ve got more souls to win,’” he said.

Emergency crews arrived on the scene and rushed Celestial to the hospital. She immediately went into surgery where doctors worked to close up her wounds.

Doctors said Celestial told them she couldn’t die “knowing that this man would go to Hell for what he was doing to me.”

Johnathan said those words made him realize his daughter was blessed.

“When you hear that come from someone, the heart of a young adult is more concerned for the person who committed the crime against them… you realize that they get it. They understand God’s grace,” he said.

Celestial survived the surgery and is expected to recover from the multiple stab wounds she received. Her father said she will soon enter rehab, but that it could take a year for her to fully recover.

In that time, Johnathan said he’ll be on his own journey.

“Do I think I’m the person to go win this man, or try and save this man? I’m not there yet. I hate to confess this… I don’t think I’m there yet,” he said.