The Devil's Tramping
Ground is located in the community of Bear Creek - just a mile down the
road from Harper's Crossroads in Chatham County, NC.
1. The Devil goes there to walk in circles and thinks up new ways to cause problems for humanity. This continuous tramping by the Devil's hooves has irrevocably scared the land.
2. Hundreds of years ago, Indians roamed the Great Flats (dense woods pot-holed by black mud trails, and an army of ticks) and periodically met here for war dances. Their feet danced away the vegetation of this now spiritually sacred spot.
3. Two Indian tribes battled one another on the Grounds and a leader, Chief Croatan, was killed and buried in the exact middle of the circle. The Great Spirit thus keeps the ground bare in memorial to a great fallen chief.
4. Chatham residents claim that the bare circular path was made by the hooves of circling horses used to grind cane from an old molasses mill.
5. There is buried treasure in the circle. No one knows where this legend began, but vandals have tried to find it none-the-less, defacing the Grounds with deep holes in the past.
6. A large tree once leaning over the circle was used for hangings and the spot is forever marked. That existing tree, long burned down by arsonists, is now nothing but a ragged stump.
7. The circle is what is left of an old natural "salt lick" used by animals until it was reduced to virtually nothing.
8. Celtic Druids visiting America in the 1100s used the location as a ritual power point to raise earth energies for their magical rites.
9. A UFO landed here and radiation caused the ground to go sterile.
10. The site is connected to the
Apocalypse. The Devil's Tramping Ground is located on Highway 1100. In
Hebrew 1100 corresponds to the "Jackal", another name for the Devil.
Chemists also testing the soil have proved the Tramping Grounds consists of sterile dirt with no bacteria. The acid soil has no nutrients and will not sustain any encroaching vegetation except one struggling variety of grass.
However factual, the bare spot - though becoming smaller over time - is persistently rounded on all sides. There have been no conclusive scientific answers to this mystery.
ECHO was invited on this investigation by Anne Poole, psychic detective and member of the Rhine Institute in Chapel Hill, NC. The investigation was filmed by Art Director Ryan Theisen for the Duke University Art Center and will be shown publicly at the Fearrington House (Chapel Hill) on June 8, 2006 at 8 pm as a segment of a three-part documentary project. It may be aired on the UNC channel as well.
Sonya Holley and I attended the taping. We reported whether or not there were unusual scientific characteristics we could document relating to the Tramping Grounds. We also attempted to locate potential paranormal phenomena on the land such as glowing lights, movement of objects, footsteps, and unexplained voices or noises which have been reported inside or near the circle for many years. We were interested in explaining any paranormal activity as due to natural energy fields, possible vortices, or geological and environmental anomalies in the area itself.
Other persons attending consisted of Co-Producer Laurie Jarzemsky and three other females (Taylor Nebold, Caitlin Moseley, Shannon Sweeney) who participated as skeptics or believers whom Ryan interviewed throughout the evening while events transpired. Josh Eggleston, Cameraman and Co-Producer, brought along his lab Jackson who is almost completely blind from cataracts to see if the canine would react oddly inside the circle or the surrounding area. Historical reports often claim that dogs act frightened or refuse to enter the area all together by many eyewitnesses experiencing paranormal phenomena there.
Filming began immediately upon
our approach to the area. Our first look at the Devil's Tramping Grounds
revealed that over time it had become much smaller than the 40 foot
diameter patch described in most books and articles.
The barren circle consisted of dark brown-black dirt with a mixture of clay and sandy-colored rock pebbles. It was extremely hard underneath and getting tent pegs into the ground was a challenge. A smattering of grass clumps and a few weeds encroached here and there, but nothing continuously green grew in the majority of the center spot. With all the activity at the site from people coming and going, it is doubtful that any plants could get a foothold in any event.
A narrow path also lead away from the circle and deep into the rear woods quite a ways before forking off and petering out into nothing but deer paths. Ticks were a major problem so going into the woods was not advisable. Four tents were set up around the circle and the circle center cleaned off so a new fire ring could be established. Throughout our paranormal investigation, Sonya and I were documented or interviewed.
We established with a compass that there were no unusual magnetic disturbances in the area. The device registered true North bearings without fail and cell phones, said to be inoperative on the spot, worked just fine for everyone. EMF meter readings were nonexistent inside the circle and the adjacent woods as well.
Jackson, the blind dog, approached the circle without any hesitation and walked the rear woods with the group upon our first arrival. He did not balk or show signs of intense fear throughout the investigation. However, he did get anxious around 9 pm and was sequestered in a closed tent where he whined or occasionally growled up until about 2 am.
We were dowsing behind this tent at one point and getting active rod responses and documentation when the growls began. It's possible that Jackson simply heard us and wanted to get out, but growling was not an appropriate response as the dog had been in friendly contact with all of us previously. According to Josh, this was not usual behavior for the placid and easy-going lab. Still we can't discount the fact that it wasn't common for the animal to spend the night in the woods with strange people and a campfire blazing.
Sonya and I walked around the camp with cameras and went onto the path leading back toward the Great Flats. Just as we got behind the girls' tent on the SW corner of the circle, Sonya felt a male energy behind her, then dissipate toward her right side. I took a photo at 10:02 pm, and there is an orb to her right. This was our first paranormal experience of the evening of the evening as sensitives.
At 10:27 pm, Laurie was cooking hotdogs over the fire when she jumped and stated that something had touched her left hand. We saw no obvious insects around her. She was very agitated about it and said that the touch was quite firm. I snapped a photo and there are three orbs around her head. Orbs appear no where else in the photo.
Around midnight, Sonya, Ryan, Josh, and I went into the rear woods via the path to get EMF readings and photos. Though we got no EMF activity, we did encounter a very cold spot several yards into the trail. This was so pronounced that we could see our breath for about 40 seconds. The cold evaporated and this is the only time a sudden temp drop with visible breath vapors occurred that evening. The cold spot dissipated after about a minute. The Dew Point and ambient air temperature of the area did not correlate with us experiencing such a localized patch of frigid air.
There were no unusual sounds or unexplained voices heard by anyone until around 12:30 am. After I returned to camp from the woods, I bent into my tent to retrieve my dowsing rods. As I did so, Josh asked me, "Is that your phone?" I pulled out of the tent and told him that my phone (inside my purse also inside the tent) didn't ring. He was totally befuddled and asked me if I was sure. I was sure and asked him why he thought it was my phone. He responded that as I stuck my head into the tent he distinctly heard a muted male voice with what sounded like a heavy New Yorker accent say, "Answer the phone." I explained that I'd heard nothing and that my phone rings with a cat's meow sound, not a human voice of any kind. We have no explanation for this event, but Josh was obviously disturbed by the phenomenon. I did not have my recorder on as I went into the tent so any possible EVPs were not captured during this event.
After this, I dowsed from about 1 am until 1:45 am. Contact may have been made with two Native American women and one black woman. Digital photos captured some very nice documentation of an orb near the rods. It is interesting to note that three females might have talked to us and three orbs appeared around Laurie seconds after she was "touched" by something.
Next Ryan played a CD of Native American music I'd brought as a trigger test in the center of the circle. Sonya and I took photos and were getting some interesting orb photos that must be discounted as nothing more than particulate matter from the smoking fire. Quite suddenly thunder and lightening began in the distance and minutes later we had to stop the music when raindrops started to fall.
Ryan decided instead to film Laurie quickly reading the chapter about the Devil's Tramping Grounds from John Harden's book about North Carolina mysteries around 3:30 am. A single glowing orb appeared in one photo during the reading as the storm moved closer and the air became charged with ions. By this time the fire smoke was minimal. Sonya and I retreated to our tent before a hard rain shower pummeled the area for a couple of hours.
Around 5:30 am, several of the girl campers were very excited as they reported seeing a bright white light bobbing in the woods among the tree branches. They also said they heard footsteps in the woods from many directions though they could see nothing approaching. This was not confirmed as paranormal phenomena. It may have been a local inhabitant with a flashlight as we were visited all evening by people just driving up and coming into the camp.
Chairs were set up in a specific arrangement inside the circle before everyone retired to bed. Reports of objects being thrown out of the circle if left there unwatched were tested to see what would happen by the time we got up in the morning. Nothing was moved or tampered with. No other phenomena occurred before everyone left the Devil's Tramping Grounds. We are reviewing audio tapes for EVPs.
To see our dowsing photos, click below.