Devil’s Tramping Ground

Hannah is a good friend of mine from high school who attends University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Her family is from North Carolina and knows the local area well. 


There’s this place not far from where my sister lives in Chatham County that’s called the Devil’s Tramping Ground. It’s this huge circle in the middle of a forest where everything is just dead, like this huge barren circle carved right out of the woods. It’s pretty big, I dunno, fifty feet maybe, and literally nothing will grow there. Not even grass. A perfect circle. Weird right? People say it’s where the devil walks at night, just pacing around in circles plotting how to bring more human souls down with him to hell. Apparently it goes all the way back to the Revolutionary War… I dunno I always thought it was kinda stupid, just another ghost story you know, but one time I went there with her and just seeing that circle I got kinda creeped out. But what was even weirder is that we brought Rosie (their dog) and she started acting really strange… whimpering and stuff. Rosie’s normally pretty chill but she wouldn’t shut up, wouldn’t go anywhere near the circle. I don’t normally buy into that type of crap – and I still don’t think it’s cause that’s where the devil goes every night to plot the downfall of humanity – but the way Rosie was acting kinda convinced me something about that place isn’t right.”


There have always been legends surrounding crop circles – UFOs, aliens; strange urban legends have often been used to describe strange phenomena in nature. But the fact that this perfectly barren circle appears within an otherwise heavily wooded area is even more eerie, and calls for a legend more extreme. And what could be more extreme than assigning it as the place where the devil ascends to every night to plot the demise of the human race? The devil is closely associated with fire, destruction, death, so attributing the inability of any natural life to grow there to Satan is not a far stretch. Yet the Devil’s Tramping ground is not simply a legend about the circle – this patch of land, bare since the time of the Revolutionary War, contributes to the legend of Satan himself, emphasizing his pure evil and desire for destruction as he has paced there night after night for hundreds of years.

Supposedly dating back to the Revolutionary War, the stories surrounding the legend of Devil’s Tramping Ground have been many, and have drawn people from all over local counties to this patch of land in the hills of North Carolina. In modern day, though individuals may hold strong superstitious beliefs, the overwhelming perspective on ghost stories and similar phenomena is, generally, that belief in such is laughable, almost stupid. Hannah expressed a similar view on the Tramping Grounds before having visited it, and I found it interesting that while her skepticism wavered slightly upon seeing the circle for the first time, it wasn’t until she saw the reaction of her dog that she trusted her own animalistic instinct of fear. Do the Tramping Grounds actually carry an eerie aura, or does the legend surrounding the barren circle create a sense of fear in the visitors, which further perpetuates the legend’s survival and legitimacy.