The Devil's Tramping Ground is a camping spot located in a forest near the Harper's Crossroads area near Bennett, North Carolina. It has been the subject of persistent local legends and lore, which frequently allege that the Devil "tramps" and haunts a barren circle of ground in which nothing is supposed to grow. It was reported that two local hunters were spotted near the circle talking to a very strange looking man "It looked like his face was falling off," said one of the local campers. It has frequently been noted on lists of unusual place names.
Stories about the ring are well known in local communities. These include the disappearance of objects left within the ring overnight, dogs yipping and howling, not wanting to go near it, and strange events occurring to those brave enough to spend the night within its boundaries. It has been alleged that nothing has grown within the 40 foot ring for a hundred years. Legend says that this is the very place the devil himself can rise from the depths of fiery hell, and come to earth. It's at this place that the devil is supposed to walk in circles on certain nights and bring his evil into this world.
John William Harden (1903-1985) of Greensboro, N.C., journalist, newspaper editor, author, and advisor to North Carolina governors and textile executives, had this to say of the Devil's Tramping Ground:
"Chatham natives say... that the Devil goes there to walk in circles as he thinks up new means of causing trouble for humanity. There, sometimes during the dark of night, the Majesty of the Underworld of Evil silently tramps around that bare circle-- thinking, plotting, and planning against good, and in behalf of wrong. I have heard that boy scouts spent the night there and woke up with their tents a few miles away. There were also some guys who tried to stay up the whole night there. They fell asleep, though."
Legend says that people who stay the whole night in the circle are never sane again. Many people have reported seeing strange shadow like figures in the tree line watching them. There have also been reports of satanic rituals taking place in the circle.
Basis in Fact:
The camping spot is in fact mostly bare, but does include some vegetation (visible in photo above also). Objects as well as campers have repeatedly stayed within the circle overnight. The site is often littered with broken glass and beer cans, as well as "spooky" spray-painting on nearby trees, suggesting that local youth are more likely the nighttime "trampers".
In Popular Culture:
The Devils's Tramping Ground is mentioned in two horror novels by Poppy Z. Brite: Lost Souls and Drawing Blood. Both these novels take place, at least in part, in the fictional North Carolina city of Missing Mile; the inspiration for which is taken from Duncan and Chapel Hill, NC and Athens, GA.