Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Devil of a Day

Posted October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween! I hope your treats are sweet and your tricks are playful and pleasing.

I'm sure we will see plenty of ghosts, goblins and devilish figures knocking on our front doors for candy tonight. Have you noticed how many North Carolina names include the word "devil?" I counted at least 26 geographical names mentioning "devil" across the state. My source is the North Carolina Gazetteer by UNC's William Powell.

It seems the Devil resides mostly in the mountains. Devil's Garden on the Blue Ridge Parkway is known for its rocky terrain full of rattlesnakes and copperheads. A sinister looking rock formation south of Asheville in Transylvania County is called the Devil's Courthouse. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park includes both the Devil's Tater Patch and the Devil's Race Patch.

The Piedmont has its own devilish retreat. Devil's Tramping Ground near Siler City is a circular path where the Devil allegedly walks each night hatching his latest plots of evil.

The Coastal Plain offers refuge to Satan along the Roanoke River in Martin County. A bend in the river is called Devil's Gut.

Dare County has a devilish destination along the Outer Banks. Kill Devil Hills got its name from some homemade rum strong enough to slay the devil.

Today's question: how strong is your knowledge of Halloween history? The Buncombe County Government website has an excellent trivia quiz. I didn't do too well. I barely passed. How about you?

Here's the link:


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  • feistync Nov 7, 2007

    asheville is pretty famous for its ghosts. (see for some stories.) there's even a ghost tour!

  • weasleyes Oct 31, 2007

    There used to be the Maco light in Brunswick County, but I went there twice when I lived in Wilmington and never saw it, although my buddy and I walked down to the train trestle where it is/was supposed to emerge. Legend has it that a trainman, Joe Baldwin, lost his head, while waving a lantern to stop an on-coming freight. President (Grover Cleveland, I believe) visited the site. Once they 4-laned Highway 74-76, I have never heard a report of it since. One of the theories was swamp gas and car lights.

  • Angry Grrl Oct 31, 2007

    Well, there's the Brown Mountain lights, near Morganton:

  • Drifter Oct 31, 2007

    I've only seen one "ghost light" and unfortunately it wasn't the one in NC. It was the Paudling Light in Upper Michigan. Man, that's pretty scary, freaky, and fascinating at the same time. It amuses me that no one's been able to explain it, yet a 'no show' of the ghost is very very rare.

    Does anyone know where the ghost lights of NC are located? I've always wanted to go to them but I've never been able to find out where they are.

  • fishnett5977 Oct 31, 2007

    so Josey you are telling me not to waste my time unless I want to visit the local "lovers lane" right? ;) lol

  • fishnett5977 Oct 31, 2007

    Devil's Racetrack Road outside Four Oaks is one curvy road!!!lol Even worse than Hwy 96 - and it's bad!

  • CestLaVie Oct 31, 2007

    There's a "Devil's Racetrack Road" in Four Oaks, Johnston Co. Do you think they were racing each other up and down the road??

  • Josey Wales Oct 31, 2007

    I went to the Devil`s Tramping Ground a couple of years ago near Pittsboro.
    It was a simple clearing about 30 yards off the road. Nothing there but signs of a campfire, beer cans all around, and evidence of a lot of love-making....if you get the way my smoke is drifting.

  • PikeQueen Oct 31, 2007

    I was rolling at your seriousness* on the set !!! I thought to myself,now that's what my Dad should have said.

  • bleslie Oct 31, 2007

    Toys not ties, please!




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