Campers looking for lovely scenery, adventurous hiking, and a chance to meet the Devil himself will find no better spot that Harper’s Crossroads in Bear Creek, North Carolina. Called the Devil’s Tramping Ground, a forty foot circle lies in the middle of the woods. No ordinary circle, black, seemingly burned into the ground, the hole is described by locals as being the place the Devil rises to survey the state of the world before his imminent return.
The locals’ stories have continued for over one hundred years. They say the Devil comes in the night and tramps around in a circle. As he tramps, he paces, thinking of new ways to cause trouble and strife in the world. His tramping and ugly black energy create the black, perfectly circle ring.
No animals are noted to ever cross the threshold of the ring. Dogs yip, howl, and whine when urged to go near the circle. They will dig their feet into the earth to avoid going near the circle. Horses act similarly. People report seeing strange shadows in the trees, seemingly keeping watch over the circle. Satanic rituals are also rumored to occur at the site.
The ring is round and barren. About forty feet in diameter, it lies in the middle of the pine woods of Chatam County. No plants or vegetation grow in the circle. When seeds are planted, they never grow. When transplants are placed in the circle, they whither and die. For over one hundred years, no single person or scientist has been able to find the cause.
Soil scientists have come from far and wide to run soil samples. They have researched the chemistry. There is no answer. When they look at soil within the circle and compare it with soil outside the circle, where vegetation freely and healthily grows, they can find no significant differences. Geological teams have researched and are unable to determine why life is incapable of growing within the boundaries of the Devil’s ring. There seems to be no explanation for why the hole remains dark, empty, and lifeless.
The lack of vegetation is not the only paranormal occurrence related to the Devil’s Tramping Ground. Brave explorers have interacted with the circle to determine just how far the evil and unexplained goes. People have placed objects in the circle overnight and find them missing in the morning. They report that it doesn’t matter how big the items are, they either disappear completely or are found miles away. Even unfortunate campers report placing their tents there overnight, just to wake up with their tents miles away from the circle. Rumors about overnight campers also involve stories of going crazy after spending the night in the Tramping Ground ring. Some have even reported waking up in the ring with no memory of having traveled there.
Science seems at a loss to explain the bizarre activity at the Devil’s Tramping Ground. It seems that campers and travelers would be wise to heed the warnings sung by Tommy Edwards and the Bluegrass Experience in “The Devil’s Tramping Ground”:
“Now don’t go near that evil spot,
Where Satan walks around.
In the heart of Carolina,
At the Devil’s Tramping Ground.”