Growing up, I heard this story while in the Boy Scouts. After the Internet came of age, I looked it up to make sure it’s what I heard. In central NC, there was a location called the Devil’s Tramping Ground. It is a barren spot in the woods where legend has it that the Devil paces in a circle trying to think of ways to punish humanity. If you throw an item in the circle, it sits outside the circle the next day. I was told that someone once pitched a tent and slept in the circle only to find themselves outside of it the next morning. This was one of the more popular NC urban legends next to the Maco Light which was also told to us as scouts.
Brian Wurtzel from Jacksonville, NC
More information about The Devil’s Tramping Ground in North Carolina
Stories about the ring are well known in local communities which include the disappearance of objects left within the ring overnight. When dogs are brought close to the area, they become agitated and upset, making a fuss by yipping and howling and not wanting to go near it. Strange events have occurred to those brave enough to spend the night within it’ s boundaries. Nothing has grown within the 40 feet (12 m) ring for a hundred years. Locals tell the story that this is the very place the devil himself can rise from the fiery depths of hell, and come to earth.
Chatham natives say that the Devil goes there to walk in circles as he thinks up new means of causing trouble for humanity. 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 the name of wrong. Boy scouts say that those who camp and spent the night there woke up with their tents a few miles away. Some have tried to stay awake all night but they are lulled to sleep by a soothing voice and melody to make them fall asleep, then wake up a few miles away from the circle. If they do stay awake inside the circle all night long, they lose their minds, can not recall the experience and are never sane again. Many people have reported seeing strange shadowy figures in the tree line watching them. There have also been reports of satanic rituals taking place in the circle.
In his Tramping Ground, The Devil spends his nights pacing around and around in a circle and turning his bitter mind towards ways to bring human souls to damnation. It’s the scorching heat of his cloven hoofprints that kills the vegetation and has rendered the soil barren. He angrily brushes aside anything left in his path, tossing aside even the heaviest objects. He walks this particular spot in his natural state, showing the face of the fallen angel. The site is so horrible that no man can see it and remain sane. The Devil drops the illusions he hides behind when appearing before men.
Ancient coins have been found in and near the circle.
The Devil’s Tramping Ground is approximately 50 miles south of Greensboro, NC. From NC 421 South turn right onto State Route 902 and go about 7 miles. Turn Left on Devil’s Tromping Grounds Rd. (Not Marked) An official DOT “green sign” now points toward the site. Follow for 1.7 miles and you should see a gravel path on the left. The Devil’s Tramping Ground is about 150 feet down the dirt path.
So if you’re driving on State Road 1100 in rural Chatham County at night and you pass a curve in the road where there’s a narrow path leading off into the woods, you might see a figure moving between the trees. Be warned and drive away as fast as you can.