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 26, 2014

Devil's Road Revisited

We, the Little Woman and I, took a ride after dinner one day recently. We had eaten at one of our usual spots and I decided to check out a couple places we used to go regularly, but haven't in quite a while (read years). One was the Four Dogs in Marshallton. It was a favorite chow-down tavern, but one day as we drove the Strassburg Pike we were stopped by a bridge being out. It wasn't so much out, as in collapsed or anything, but it was under construction and they had closed off the road and sent us off on a detour. It is pretty country in this particular part of Pennsylvania, but we weren't out for a scenic tour. We were hungry. We twisted this way and that and never did find our way around to the Four Dogs, thus we drove off elsewhere and ate late. We didn't attempt to go back there until now, and yes, the road is now open.

Having established that we could retry the place if we so wished, I turned about and took some more back roads out past Longwood Gardens and checked on Manny Hattens. We were frequent diners upon their high top tables a time ago as well, but then felt their quality slipped and we slipped away. They have also slipped away and are no longer serving, although there is a new restaurant at the location.

This little research on old dining habits complete and with twilight darkening as we came back down Baltimore Pike towards Chadds Ford, I decided to take my wife down the Devil's Road. She had never been there. It now being not quite night, but not light anymore either, it should prove a sufficiently eerie time to introduce her to the legendary "Valley".

Of course, I had never heard of "The Valley" or "Devil's Road" growing up since I lived in the northern environs of Chester County in those more formative years, but I sure heard enough once we moved to this part of Delaware thirty-plus years ago. Apparently if you grew up around here you were expected at some point to take a midnight run to The Valley. The experience was a rite of passage that a lot of people around here shared and talked about.  Even my own children made the jaunt to The Valley during their high school years.

So what's the deal? It's an out of the way place full of spooks and legends, our own little Sleepy Hollow with mysterious SUVs and Pickup Trucks instead of a headless horseman, with tales of deformed children, ghostly murdered babies, KKK rallies, Biker terrors and some kind of cult up in the woods. It has eyewitness claims of strangely twisted trees, chases by invisible drivers and skull-like trunks, all flung along an extremely narrow little road called Cossart.

Added to all that history, M. Night Shyamalan filmed his movie, "The Village" along it. The picture at
the beginning of this little essay is a scene from that movie. The photo on the right is in the area I believe the  prop village was erected and the action took place. I will tell you it is a favorite movie of mine. A number of critics didn't like it, but the critics had turned on Shyamalan. Personally I think it is a better picture than "The Sixth Sense" (which I also like a lot) because it has more depth and a deeper meaning. The critics, being intellectual elitists caught up in their own sense of importance and superiority of taste failed to grasp this. They dismissed it as just another of Night's trick endings, but then even went on to criticize the reveal as coming too soon, which it had to in order to put emphasis on the real lesson of the film, the one the critics so caught up in their Aha Moment, dismissed as Shyamalan just up to his usual tricks, failed to see .

But this is not a movie review, just a short narrative of taking my wife down Devil's Road for her first time.

I admit, my first time wasn't all that long ago (2011), when I tried to film the excursion only to have my camera fail as I started. I wrote about that dreary day and the Black Pickup, whose driver I couldn't see, that followed me out of the road and then turned back up it, giving truth to the many legends told over the years.

This time I did no filming and this time it was growing night. Nobody followed up. Even the street sign was up in Centreville marking the entrance to the road. In 2011 the street signs had been removed to hide the road. Three years ago I didn't even know where "The Valley" was. I thought it was somewhere on Beaver Valley Road, which is nearby. Somewhere I stumbled after a number of attempts on the location and then I Google mapped the road. Good thing, because there were no street signs up at that time. It was kind of a hidden, narrow opening off Route 52. If interested, you can read that account (and watch what video I managed) HERE -"Mystery of Devil's Road: A Frank March Mystery. It is a very narrow road, with barely enough room for cars to pass by each other.

I know the residents who live along Cossart Road don't really like all the attention. They have had plenty of the midnight drive-thoughts and minor vandalisms, but at the same time I kind of hate to see these old legends die. Nobody has really ever settled the rumors either it seems. They did, I heard, cut down the "Skull Tree" where the ghostly baby supposedly could sometimes be heard crying and they posted most of the land to keep people out.

There is this defaced tree on the right  along the
bank in the general area of where the Cult House is claimed to be, but this isn't quite the Skull Tree, which I have pictured on the left for comparison.

Now as to the Cult House, the place where the trees shrink away in horror and where claims of deformed children, results of incest, were kept hidden away from the world, itself remains hidden away from the world.

(I would love to hike up into the woods there and see for myself, but I wouldn't go alone and I would go a bit fearful of arrest.)

If the Cult House does indeed exist, I would think it would be in this area pictured on the right. This is maybe halfway along Cossart. It seems the only parcel of land heavy enough with woodland to hide a large house. The other fields and hills don't seem as likely, especially since most have home owners living upon them.

If you drive along Cossart into this stretch you will find a padlocked gate on the same side as all these trees. There are some keep out signs too.

The drive behind the locked gate turns to the right as you enter and runs parallel to Cossart for a bit and then dead ends. It gives the appearance of being some sort of dumping site. There is trash all along the side of this drive.

But if you look down to the right of the right photo, near where this junkyard driveway enters off of the road, you can just barely make out the beginning of another drive, one seemingly somewhat overgrown, that disappears into the forest.

Following the direction of this old trail up the hill
through the trees you will find a rather large house.

You will also notice how the trees begin to take a slightly warped shape, as if pulling away from the house.

Could this be the Cult House?

I'm not claiming it is. I'm just speculating based on satellite images of the only area that would be a likely candidate for such a place.

Now people read these Blogs. perhaps someone is familiar with this big house in the woods on the hill. Maybe they can explain if anyone lives here or what the history of this building is. If  people want to kill rumors and legends then the best thing to do is shine lights on it, not remove street signs or have people be chased by mysterious vehicles or cut down strange trees. This just adds credibility to the suspicions and attracts more of the curious.

At any rate, now my wife has been down the Devil's Road none the worse for wear…but I'm still curious.

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