How to Approach a Haunted Location
This week’s podcast episode is a little different. I don’t have a story for you. I DO have a location, rumors, and some advice about how to approach a haunted location with respect.
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“Have you heard of Devil’s Creek?” My cousin asked. The name itself solicits sinister imaginings of demonic activity and lures the mind through dark woods and winding holler, promising spine tingling experiences of the paranormal.
Welcome cousin to Haint n Holler podcast. I’m D, your guide through stories and superstitions of the south.
Tonight we’re doing things a little different. You see, I don’t have a story for you. What I do have is a location, rumors, and some advice for those of you who love southern haunts as much as I do and just wanna get some boots on the ground and experience a story of your own.
A small disclaimer before we continue. Here at Haint n Holler, we share information and stories about the paranormal. We do so for entertainment and educational purposes. Our goal is not to evangelize our beliefs in ghosts, cryptis, or other high strangeness nor do we pass judgement on whether or not a location contains any of these therein. Any information you obtain from this podcast, it is entirely up to you what you would like to do with it. Listener discretion is advised.
Devils Creek Road is an 8 mile stretch of road in Corbin, KY. It contained upon it a church and adjoining cemetery with the ominous name of Wolf Pit.
Corbin was established in 1895, and after some back and forth, the name Corbin was decided on after Reverend James Corbin Flynn.
L&N Railroad was what brought commerce and settlement to the area.
The volatile mix of railroad workers with those from the timber industries earned Corbin a reputation for violence in the late nineteenth century.
A notorious area of town was known as “Hell’s Half Acre”, which was on the north bank of Lynn Camp Creek in Laurel County and out of the jurisdiction of municipal authorities.
Corbin was the site of what was considered the “Terrible Calamity”, where on the Evening of October 30th, 1919, an armed mob led by L&N brakeman “Pistol Pete” Rogers terrorized the town by rounding up between 200-300 African-American men, women, and children and forcibly removed them from town on rail cars headed for Knoxville, TN and Louisville, KY.
As you can see, it has a history.
But the history of tonight’s episode doesn’t start there.
It starts with a conversation with my cousin. He knew I was investigating all stories weird in the south and boy does he have some odd ones.
The rumors and stories that came up were just wild. One group supposedly found a severed arm in a ditch and were brought in by police for questioning. Another group were harassed and chased by mountain men on horseback. My cousin himself saw a woman, taller than anyone they’d ever seen, and strange lights in the woods. Then there were the rumors of the living doing unspeakable things in the name of the devil himself.
Drawn in by these stories, I began my investigation.
What I came up with was…well…not much.
I took down my cousin’s rumors and asked him if he could get me any shred of evidence to what had occurred. I also began digging into the paranormal community.
Turns out lots of folks had heard rumors but nothing was holding up to scrutiny. Still, a few teams had the road on their list to investigate. I even found a video online of a group that headed out that way to look into the hauntings, cryptids, and strangeness.
But that was where it ended.
I did have some speculations though.
Devil’s Creek is an odd name for a road in a god-fearing country of Kentucky that sits like a buckle on the United States Bible belt. While I couldn’t figure out the name of it for this location, I did find an explanation for another Devil’s Creek in the midwest. The story was from the late 1800s, around the time when Corbin was founded.
Some men in Illinois talked to the natives out that way who explained they named the river Evil-Spirit River after it had flooded and balls of light moved over the waters in the fog. This was later explained that they were making sugar and water rose suddenly in a flood and carried their kettles of burning sugar down stream to the camp, terrifying the residents. Still the name stuck and was Anglicized to Devil’s Creek.
Whether or not this was the origins of the Kentucky road, I of course cannot claim, but it is interesting to note how history and folktales can braid together and the naming of a place can create just as much of that folklore long after its history and origins have vanished from knowing.
The rumors about Corbin’s road seem to rely heavily on the name.
In the mid 1900s Wolf Pit Church and Cemetery made their home in Devil’s Creek. According to local legend, this wasn’t your typical church. The congregation didn’t worship a God. They were Satanists.
In the 80s pentagrams and upside down crosses began appearing in the area and stories about everything from cultists to ghosts to a bird man were reported in the area.
Strange goings on were recorded in the cemetery and while there is now only a concrete slab where the church once stood, it doesn’t seem to stop the symbols of darkness and events of high strangeness from appearing.
Well, cousin, I can’t tell you one way or another if Devil’s Creek Road or the location of the former church and its still standing cemetery are haunted. In fact, I think there’s a chance that no matter where you go, you’re bound to run into something strange on this planet. As my friend Becca said, “I’ve always found it strange that we assume that spirits wander in the land of the living. We are outnumbered, lovelies. We who are living are actually wandering in the land of the dead, and they are prolific.”
What did occur to me while investigating this location, were the actions and behavior of the living.
At the time of this recording, we have just entered fall and October is just around the corner. The season of spooky dealings is at hand and folks are just itchin to get out there and touch the darkness, hoping maybe the darkness will touch them back. I’m by no means judging this desire. Hell, its what I do. However, there is a way to go about your interest and investigation of the paranormal. First and foremost, is respect.
Sadly, I don’t see a hell of a lot of respect when it comes to folks investigating Devils Creek Road.
In 2016 a lot of the rumors have drew in an irreverent group who knocked over 20-30 headstones in Wolf Pit cemetery, damaging many and requiring the families of those interned to come up with funds to have equipment brought in to set them right.
In response to the vandalism, one of those family members pointed out “part of the cemetery is very old, and some headstones date back to the 1800s, where a community once stood. He says the vandals didn’t just deface stones, they damaged pieces of history.”
Taking it back to the rumors of the 1980s, those symbols of the devil found around Wolf Pit Church were likely similar vandalism of would-be edgy teenagers and young adults who should have found better ways of spending their time in the holler.
How to Approach a Haunted Location
If you decide to go to a location that is rumored to be haunted, please consider the following.
- Do not go alone. As my cousin once said, Ghost don’t scare me but people do. The living cause a lot more danger than the roaming dead have ever been credited for.
- Do not trespass. Not only is it illegal, but you might find yourself becoming a ghost when faced with the barrel of a southern citizen’s shot gun. Also there are many locations that are not safe to be in for practical reasons such as being condemned and damaged.
- Prepare beforehand. Have everything you need including bug spray, a jacket, and the other mundane needs. Make sure electronics are charged and you have batteries. All these basic things that would really suck to be without when you need it. Also prepare with information. Do your research before going to a place – this will help you out when trying to figure out what is there creating these experiences in the first place.Plus, it would suck to investigate one location only to find out the haunting is in a different location under the same name but in a town a hundred miles away. Might all sound boring when compared to the idea of running out and talking to a ghost, but it is work that pays off.
- Whether or not you believe in an afterlife, the dead and their descendants deserve respect. If you are are going out to interact with a ghost, consider not disturbing their resting place. Don’t vandalize the location – it is illegal and the immature results aren’t near as creepy as you think they are.
- Leave the location as you found it. Respect doesn’t just stop at humans or the spirits of humans. Don’t trash any place that you investigate. If you bring it in, take it out with you.
- Don’t investigate while intoxicated. Not only is it likely not safe but any evidence or experience you have is now invalid as you cannot distinguish between that experience and your own addled mind.
- Have a check in time. There are many locations that, despite the reach of technology that don’t always have cell service. Let someone know before you go in somewhere and when to expect to hear from you again when you come out. This is especially true if a location is wooded as it is very easy to get lost even if you think you know those trees.
- Provocation has become a popular method of getting the paranormal to interact with you. Ironically, most folks who do this and then get a response such as being scratched, bit, knocked over, or yelled out then act shocked that the spirit is aggressive. As another cousin of mine says often, play stupid games, win stupid prizes. I would recommend that when trying to make contact with a spirit, even one that is rumored to be aggressive, that you at least start out in a civil tone. There have been instances where aggressive spirits turn out to be merely scared or trying to protect their space just as any living person might be when faced with the unknown. Consider treating others, including the extreme other, with the same care as you would like to be treated.
Well cousin, thank you for listening to this week’s episode of Haint n Holler podcast. I do hope you are enjoying yourself and that you will subscribe to hear more. As we head into spooky season, if you have any investigations, experiences, or stories you’d like us to look into, please send us a message at haintnholler @gmail.com. And if you’d like to see how we investigate and what goes on beyond the story, come on over to our Patreon. Every dollar in the offering place keeps the mic recording.
Yall stay safe out there.
1 thought on “How to Approach a Haunted Location”
An excellent piece on the importance of research, preparation, being aware of your surroundings in an investigation, tips for making contact with entities and, perhaps most importantly, treating both the living and the dead with mutual respect. This piece should certainly be entitled “Ghost Hunting 101,” for these are the fundamentals and rudimentary principles that should guide any paranormal investigator and/or a team of investigators.
Being a lifelong resident of Devil’s Creek, I have the utmost respect for the author’s purpose herein. Too many times to count, our community has been plagued by dimwits, disrespectful little punks and self-entitled assholes who either vandalize property or leave behind a pile of garbage for somebody else to clean up, all in the name of trying to catch a cheap thrill or procuring views on a social media platform. To ye vile transgressors, ye shallow malefactors, I sayeth this: the dead judges disrespect with far more scrutiny and bitter contempt than those among the living. Indeed, the sentence imposed upon such violators is likewise far more sinister and everlasting than any penalty that could be imposed by those with living flesh and a beating heart. Cursed is any who defile, disrespect, deface or otherwise vandalize the memorials of those who have departed this life — those who now wander the shadowlands. Verily I say, those transgressors may leave Devil’s Creek, but Devil’s Creek shall never leave you. As Dante coined centuries ago in the Divine Comedy:
LASCIATE OGNE SPERANZA, VOI CH’INTRATE