Theories and Tales: Mystery or Science? #1

*Disclaimer: Due to amount of super scariness and sarcasm readers may experience varying side effects

Welcome to this newfound column. In it I will attempt to explain strange conspiracy theories, and even some popular ghost tales. Suggestions are also welcome (so long as they are REASONABLE). If you want an explained story or theory, leave them in the comments. Enjoy, and at read at your own risk!

     It’s about that time again. The leaves are changing and falling, and the air is crisper and cooler. Pumpkins start appearing on porch steps, awaiting their candle host. Everything we see is now Pumpkin Spice scented or flavored (curse thee might Starbucks). This can only mean the coming of… Halloween–one of my favorite times of the year, not because of the candy (though I do enjoy eating Snickers until I puke), but because of ghost tales and lore. Most of these stories date back hundreds of years, and were started when the first European immigrants came to America. Ghost stories are a piece of traditional American culture that started with the old European superstition. One of the most famous North Carolina ghost stories to date is the “Devil’s Tramping Ground”. Though it’s just dirt circle in the middle of the woods, there is a frightening story behind it, and more to this dirt than meets the eye.

     The legend of the Devil’s Tramping Ground… As it goes, a mysterious circle was found in the middle of the woods one day. No grass or plants would grow there, and dogs will cower with their tails between their legs, and refuse to enter the circle. Men that camped there overnight soon went insane, and were traumatized until the end of their days. When people asked them what terrified them so, their only reply was, “The Devil.” Many people went to investigate the circle after these events. They started to notice that the ground seemed singed, and that any objects left in the circle overnight would be violently cast out by morning. Eventually, the townspeople came to the conclusion that it could only be the Prince of Darkness himself that roamed these woods. He surfaces every night, thinking of ways to bring evil into the world. His fiery cloven hooves incinerated everything that grew inside his private wandering grounds. If there are any obstructions in his path he throws them aside with his inhuman super strength. Dogs have been said to have the ability to sense the supernatural, and sensed the presence of a malevolent being. The Devil’s face in it’s natural state is so horrible, that if you’re to look into the face of evil, you will immediately go insane. The people that live in this area, even today, try to avoid this spot for fear that they will cross paths with the Devil. So, if you’re ever driving along State Road 1100 in Chatham County at night, hear a high cold laugh, and see a faint glow moving in between the trees, drive away as fast as you can…  

     So we’ve heard the legend, now for the science. The Devil’s Tramping Ground is a perfectly circular, and mysteriously empty clearing located in the middle of a Pine forest in Bear Creek, North Carolina. No plants or trees grow there, and all transplanted plants and seeds soon wither and die. The explanation for this would be that right where the Devil himself walks, there is also a natural salt lick. What a coincidence right?! The salt content in the clearing keeps plants from growing, but over the years appears to be fading, as the circle used to be forty feet in diameter, and is now only about twenty. Grass and other foliage are also starting to pop up in the center of the “Prince of Darkness’” wandering site. The “objects being cast violently cast aside” part is probably caused by local teenagers, as the site can frequently be seen full of empty cans and slim jim wrappers.

     Though this legend may not be as interesting as it seems, something supernatural started it. Something cast out those sticks and branches all those years ago, and those men saw something horrible enough to make them insane. To discover the answer you’ll have to go visit the ground’s themselves, much like the townspeople all those hundreds of years ago. Be careful though, because if you ever see a shape moving around at night in the pine forests of Bear Creek, run away and never look back…

 

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