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

Friday, December 21, 2012

Driving the Devil's Road Redux

A year and three-quarters ago Frank March drove down the Devil's Road. We told of that adventure on these pages. This included a short video that also was shared on YouTube. Just a little diversion was all it amounted to.

One has to know the Urban legend of the road. (I suppose Urban legend is a misnomer; it's pretty rural about there, but no one said "Rural legend, do they?)

The gist of it is that a cult house hides in the woods somewhere along the route. There are tales of Satanism, of KKK meetings and also that this was the dumping ground for a number of monstrous children produced by duPont family inbreeding.

There is also the side story of the skull tree, so named for the appearance of its trunk and roots. 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.

The third aspect of this whole Devil's Road folderol is the mysterious vehicles that will suddenly appear to chase away any intruder. These are usually described as black pickup trucks or SUVs.

Here is my original video.

Now these many months later the video drew a response:

"None of this is true. I live literally a few feet from the road and I have driven up and down it and walked it at all times of day. I also know most of residents that live up and down it. There is no "cult house"... it simply doesn't exist. However there is a farm half way down it with another house and gate just opposite from it. They do have their own security and cameras on the grounds. If they catch you the cops are usually called immediately. Anyone following you is probably someone screwing around. I know Ive scared my fair share of people down there. The supposed "cult house" is a house in the distance on a hill and it isnt even on Cossart rd. At the bottom of the hill where the trees bend and the skull tree is.. where its suppose to be. But at the top of the hill is just a field. Nothing more. Oh and the skull tree was filled with concrete and taken down because of vandalism."

This is how the Skull Tree looked originally .The baby supposedly left in that hole between the roots.

You can see the skull imagery by imagining that hole and the one to its left as eye sockets. The triangular hole at the base forms the nose.

This is how the tree looked after the holes were filled in with cement. 

People coming by at night wrote graffiti around the base (hopefully none of which you can read in this picture).

According to the comment I received the tree has since been taken down. It is kind of a shame actually. Legends should continue.

(Both photos taken from "Weird Pennsylvania".)

Also according to the comment, none of this is true. Yet, there is a house and there is a tree. They exist. Cults and gangs and women who desert babies all exist. I don't believe in ghosts, spooks and disembodied voices, such as the dead baby's cries being heard if you stand near that tree. But other than that there is nothing in the tales that isn't possible, if improbable.

Why did I once drive down the Devil's Road. Like the proverbial cat, to satisfy my curiousity. You don't live in this area long befoire you hear tells of "The Valley", of "Devil's Road" and of the "Cult House". It is a rite of passage for high school kids to visit the road late at night and scare each other. Even my own children did it. So, with my own bizarre taste for spooky things, I also wanted to experience it.

The first trick was even finding it. I had ofter heard Beaver Valley Road mentioned, but these things weren't on Beaver Valley Road. (By the way, that's beaver, not Bieber -- one spooky thing at a time.) I learned they were on Cossart Road, but where in the world was that? It is actually a road running between Centerville and the Chadds Ford area, but don't look for a road sign saying Devil's Road or even Cossart, for they took down all the street signs, which only adds to the intrigue.

But I found it.

I admit, on the dreary, rainy day I transversed it i found it very spooky indeed. There are a lot of spooky roads in this region. I have driven Old Rt. 100 between Chadds Ford and West Chester probably more than a 1,000 times in my life and stretches of it are just as spooky as can be. It is also lined with oddly twisted trees that seem to reach for you as you pass.

I would have given less notice to Cossart Road if it hadn't been for the black pickup. Yes, just as in all the legends a black pickup suddenly appeared behind me as I reached the point of the alledged cult house. It trailed behind the rest of the way to the end of the road.

Coincidence is how I figured it in my mind. Black pickups are hardly a rarity around here. However, when i exited the road I saw the black pickup do a U-turn and go back up Cossart and that gave credence to all the wild tales.
The Commenter on YouTube said: "Anyone following you is probably someone screwing around. I know Ive scared my fair share of people down there."

You mean people living there have nothing better to do. I wasn't some kid snaking through there in the night. I was an old man driving the speed limit through in broad daylight. (Well, perhaps with the rain, slim daylight, but daylight none the less.) I've heard the residents are tired of the invaders of their peaceful road. If so I would advise them to put the street signs back up and stop scaring their fair share of people by following. All those things do is perpetuate the myth.

Besides, I prefer the myth to the reality anyway.

By the way,  M. Night Shyamalan filmed "The Village" in the fields and woods along this road, one of my favorite movies.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I’ve driven Cossart so many times and nothing has happened until last night. Last night was thanksgiving. We noticed someone behind us flashing their headlights and we’re questioning it but not scared. Then two cars were driving on the other side of the road, the front one flashed their lights. We drove past them and two more cars were coming, same thing, headlights flashed. It’s like they were signaling to each other. Once we passed those cars, the car behind us turned his lights off for the rest of the road. They didn’t hit their brakes, they kept their speed up with us. It’s like they weren’t there when their lights went off. Once we got to the end of the road, the car just turned around and went right back down Cossart. The whole thing seemed weird and threatening. There’s no signal on the road back there either so if something bad were to happen, who could we call?