Banner photo of Larry Eugene Meredith, Ronald Tipton and Patrick Flynn, 2017.

The good times are memories
In the drinking of elder men...

-- Larry E.
Time II

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Mystery of The Devil's Road: A Frank march Adventure

Frank first heard the legend several years ago when he moved into Delaware. Even though he had grown up to the North in Pennsylvania not far from the center of the stories, he hadn't heard them before. In Northern Delaware trips to "The Valley" were something like teenage rites of passage. Frank's own kids experienced this. Frank never had.

Now Frank is a curious fellow, much like his cats, but it took a long time to ever act on these mythos. Decades in fact, yet lately he felt compelled to see for himself.

It isn't that he believed any of it. He doesn't believe in ghosts and such and he felt these things were easy to shrug off. Strange growing trees and mystery vehicles could be easily explained. He'd seen many odd and spooky trees in his life, especially along the banks of the Brandywine and the narrow country roads thereabout. And mystery cars could be teenagers playing pranks on more gullible teenagers.

So on this April morn Frank decided to find the so call "Devil's Road" and take a look. You will notice despite all his professed skepticism he did decide to make his drive on a Saturday MORNING rather than a Saturday (or any) NIGHT. It wasn't he had any apprehension about the tales he had heard or fear of things that go bump in the night (or morning as this case was), but only the road was in unfamiliar territory and he needed to have good light to find it.

At this point you probably should hear the basic details of the legend.

There lies up in the wooded hills in Pennsylvania, just across the Delaware border a place called The Valley and the Cult House. The rumors persist this was yet another duPont Estate, but a sinister one, where malformed children from family inbreeding were stored away from public view. Other tales speak of Satan worship being conducted in this house, thus the name Cult House, as well as stories it was also a gathering place of the Ku Klux Klan. Dead animals, warning signs and the usual accoutrements further surround these fancies. The M. Night Shyamalan film "The Village" was supposedly shot in the woods about the Cult House, although from scenes Frank saw, it could have easily been shot in the Brandywine Creek State Park where he often hikes.

Two other persistent aspects of the legend are the Skull Tree and the Mystery Vehicles. The photo on the right is the Skull Tree as taken from Weird Pennsylvania by Matt Lake and published by Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Frank had hoped to see this tree and photograph it if he could.

Allegedly, a mother left her baby at the base of the tree to die and the roots absorbed the child and formed the skull face. Claims are made that if you stop here in the night you will hear a baby crying. If you look you can see the form of a skill in both the heavy root structure at the base of this tree and also within the large hollow on the right. Frank did not find the tree or the Cult House for reasons explained later.

The Mystery Vehicles are another commonly reported feature of Devil's Road. If a person drives down the road too slowly or lingers in the area of these legends, a black (in one reported instance, the vehicle was red) pickup or SUV will suddenly appear and chase the loiterer down the road.  No matter how one tries, though, the face of the driver can never be seen.

And so with these rumors and tall tales in mind, Frank decided to investigate. The first trick was finding Cossart Road. This did not seem too challenging. It was said teens went out Montchanin Road to where it intersected. Montchanin Road is Old Rt. 100 and actually passes right by Brandywine Creek State Park then runs to Baltimore Pike at Chadds Ford. So after his morning walk, Frank headed down Old Rt. 100.

Old Rt. 100 is a narrow twisting road following along the Brandywine. In Pennsylvania, where Frank grew up it was called Creek Rd. It also has a plentiful share of spooky misshapen trees along it's twisting route.

However, the entry to Cossart Road was not found and Frank ended up in Chadds Ford. So thank heaven for Google Maps, for he knew Cossart ran from Old Rt. 100 to Rt. 52 where it ended just below the Fairview Inn from studying Googles overhead shots. (The portion of map on the left shows the area where the cult house is to be found.) Otherwise, Frank would have never found the road. It has no street signs, not at either end or along its length when it crosses roads. An oddly, unmarked byway, even though there are homes here and there along it.

Thus Frank now entered from Rt. 52. The road was very narrow and soon seemed strange. Now long after turning in, he saw something black in the very center of the street. As he came nearer, this black object raised a head and he saw it was a very large black bird. It stared at him a bit before it finally flew from his path. Certainly this was a foreboding omen.

A bit further and now a white van sat motionless in the road. Cossart is very narrow, barely wide enough to allow two vehicles to pass and Frank wondered whether he could get around this van. He also wondered why it was sitting there in essentially nowhere. But then it began to drive away and he was able to continued unimpeded.

As strange as it seems, Frank was getting a bad vibe from the area around him, an unease. He was getting nearer the enchanted area and here and there were objects narrowing the road. First a small evergreen, like a Christmas Tree cut in half appeared. One half on the left and the other on the right and both intruding onto the road surface.  Then there was a long canvas-like bag, perhaps six feet long, filled with something and also lying on the road.

Beyond all this Frank came to his presumed destination and snapped the photo seen at the top of the post and turned on a video. At this point the rain began streaming down and after a half minute his camera batteries died ending any filming.

On normal days if such a thing had happened, Frank would have pulled over briefly and reloaded the camera. Why didn't he this morning?

Because at that moment a black pickup suddenly appeared behind him, even though this was daytime, not night, and it followed him all the way out of Cossart to Old Rt. 100.  Frank recalled the stories and he wondered if it would continue behind him on 100. At the dead end of Cossart, Frank turned right. He looked in his mirror to see if the pickup followed, but it seemed to go left instead, except it didn't go left afterall, it was simply turning around and going back into Cossart Road.

It makes you wonder, doesn't it? It certainly made Frank wonder and someday he will return and explore further. Someday...when he can take some friends along.

The short video Frank shot before his batteries died is below.

At the end of the video you can see the white van in the distance. It turned out to be a Verizon FiOS truck, obviously lost.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi! The first night that we drove on the road ( February 20, 2010), entering from route 100, we got to the house with the security camera on the gate, and when we passed by and continued on Cossart, we were chased by am older model black pick-up truck. The driver tried to push us and would fall back and then come at us over and over again with his lights off. Then put on the lights and try to push us off of the road. I am a careful driver and just continued to go 25 miles per hour, trying to not act scared and keeping control of my car. The black truck is REAL, and what that driver was doing was definitely illegal.Cossart is a public road, paid for by Pa. tax payers. I am sure if this nonsense continues out there, that someone will get hurt. Be careful if you go back. I would just love to get a mini convoy to make a ride on the road coming from rte. 52 and rte 100 at the same time. Hopefully that black truck will end up in the middle and we can find out who this annoying person is.