A very popular sort of tale present in a great many urban legends is that of the mysterious Satanists and cultists that gather behind closed doors and in the remote creepy wilderness to carry out their strange rites and rituals. Such stories are numerous, and so ingrained in the local lore of some areas that it is often hard to know where fantasy and reality become entangled, or whether any of it is true at all. Yet these places exist out there at least within the lore, haunted, cursed, and supposedly inhabited by dark, hooded forms with agendas we may never understand. Here are a few of the creepier such places, where cloaked Devil worshippers are said to reign supreme, and dark forces simmer beyond our awareness.
If you were around the area of North Massapequa, New York in the 1980s, you may have heard of a local legend very prominent at the time revolving around a spooky old house located at 214 Daniel Rd., which through a string of odd events and lore accrued various sinister nicknames such as the “Satan House,” “Hell House,” and “Devil Worship House.” The structure itself is rather imposing, a large red brick, gothic looking building with numerous windows that are perpetually covered with curtains, an intimidating wrought iron fence, and a yard overgrown by trees and weeds, all ringed by an unusual maroon colored sidewalk which is said to have once been black. In the 80s it was said that there was a hearse constantly parked in the driveway, that the curtains were always drawn, and that no one seemed to actually live there other than insidious visitors that would arrive from time to time in black robes and hoods to file into the home for purposes unknown.
Considering this spooky appearance and ambiance it is perhaps no surprise at all that various grim tales would be born from the house. The dark figures were long said to be Satan worshippers, and that within those brick walls they would carry out arcane rituals and even human sacrifices. The house is also said to be quite haunted, and that whenever a car drove by there would be candles lit in one of the upstairs windows, one for each passenger in the vehicle. One resident of the area at the time told Weird New York of the Satan House:
This house looks just like the Addams Family house. They have big metal gates and velvet red curtains all throughout the house. On most nights you can see and hear them chanting through the windows. They burn candles and have pentagrams all over the windows in the house. They even have a red sidewalk (I don't know how the town allows that). They also have a hearse that they keep parked in the driveway. I don't know much about the people that live inside. Rumor has it that they are a Satanist cult and that Anton LaVey, who is kind of like the god of the Satanist cult, has actually been inside this house and has done lectures and sermons there. The house is well known on Long Island. Any time you drive by you are almost always going to see a car load of people driving by to take a peek. I have seen the people who live in the house and they are very scary looking. They dress in black and are very gothic looking with their black makeup and the black clothes. They look like stereotypical gothic people.
Such tales were apparently so pervasive in the area that the house became rather notorious, drawing in curiosity seekers looking to get a peek of something strange. Another resident recalls:
I remember the Devil worshipping house well. If memory serves correctly, it was in North Massapequa. The sidewalks were painted black and there was always a hearse parked in the driveway. I visited many times with friends when I was in high school. The story we had always heard was a very ominous one. Supposedly, the devil worshippers kept a candle burning every night in one of their windows. If you were to drive by one time, you would see this lone candle. But if you went for a second lap in your car past the house, the number of candles would be adjusted to match the number of people in your car––instead of one, there would be two, three, four, or five, depending on how large the crew you brought with you on that particular night was. We tested the legend, and it turned out to be true. When we went by for our second lap, the number of candles had indeed changed according to our carload. This was incredibly frightening––it meant that the devil worshippers were watching you!
It is hard to know how much of any of this is real and how much of it is pure urban legend spawned from the creepy demeanor of the place. In more modern years the house is supposedly occupied by a fairly normal, if a little eccentric, family who are well aware of the legends and mostly try to deter people from snooping around. Long gone is the hearse that one sat squatting in the weed choked driveway, but the house is apparently just as eerie looking and imbued with rumors as it has always been, to the point that police apparently patrol the street during Halloween to keep the deluge of macabre curiosity seekers away.
Another ominous locale said to be prowled by hooded Devil-worshipping weirdos is a place rather fittingly called The Devil’s Tree, in Port St. Lucie, FL, at a little park called Oak Hammock Park. The park is mostly known for its dock for fishermen in the area, but a lesser known local legend gravitates towards a gnarled old oak tree that stands in one overgrown area. This tree is said to have been the final resting place of two victims of the notorious, monstrous serial killer Gerard John Schaefer, an ex-policeman believed to have brutally mutilated and murdered at least 30 young women between 1971 and 1973, although he was only ever convicted of two. It was these two victims, two teenaged girls named Collette Goodenough, and Barbara Ann Wilcox, who in January of 1971 Schaefer raped and killed at the tree, hung them by nooses from its twisted branches, and then buried them beneath it after having defiled their lifeless corpses over a period of days.
For years the murders were unsolved, until in 1977 the skeletal remains were found at the tree by accident when two fishermen saw bones poking up through the ground. It was after this finding that the Devil’s Tree began to propel itself into spooky legend, with numerous reports of seeing ghostly figures lurking nearby, or of hearing mysterious disembodied cries and wails. Most mysterious of all is that the tree also is said to have become a favorite haunt of hooded Devil worshippers, who will conduct strange rituals near it in the light of the moon and dance and cavort about it, and who are also said to have the ability to vanish at will. Indeed, reports of these hooded figures congregating here and even chasing people away allegedly became so numerous that a priest came here to exorcise the area and place a large cross near the tree in 1992, although the cross is apparently constantly knocked over by someone or something. Interestingly, another popular tale about the tree is that it has resisted all efforts to cut it down, proving to be impervious to chainsaws and axes. Is there anything to any of this or is it yet again just spooky urban legends?
Moving over to the state of Utah we have another mysterious place steeped in such lore. Out in the small town of Kaysville, in Davis County, Utah, there once stood a huge, 20-foot tall stone cross with a large “K” inscribed on it that towered over a remote rural, hilly corner of the area near the Kaysville Cemetery. The so-called “Kay’s Cross” is already mysterious in that no one seems to really be sure of who built it or why, and so it has gone on to birth plenty of scary stories of its own. Among the various phenomena associated with it, the cross is said to glow at night, to have a spectral old woman loitering around it, to be prowled by ghostly dogs, and to be able to burn the hands of those who touch it.
One very popular piece of lore concerning the cross is that it was once the scene of a horrific murder, with a local rancher killing his wife and then hanging himself here right over the blood soaked ground, although there is no real evidence that this ever really happened. Most intriguing of all is that it is purportedly a favorite haunt of Satan worshipping robed figures prowling the area chasing people away and conducting animal and human sacrifices at the cross. The tales of these hooded mystery men and other bizarre phenomena in the vicinity apparently forced someone to do something about it, because in February of 1992 the cross was blown to smithereens with explosives by a perpetrator who has never been caught. Only the broken ruins of the cross remain now, but this has purportedly not stopped the weirdness that permeates this place, and one local told Weird Utah:
In Kaysville, UT there is a place known to some of the locals as Kay's Cross. It’s a field with a lot of trees and there are some small houses around. Over the years devil worshipers and such would go there and do animal sacrifices and other weird things. To get these actions to stop the town members blew up the cross. This was a very long time ago, but at night weird things still happen. I have seen tall figures in black that seem to hover and teleport, glowing eyes, and clothing and tents that have been ripped apart. My friend has a story about sitting in his car with one of these black-cloaked figures coming towards them, and the car wouldn’t start or lock.
Who are these mysterious figures? Where did they come from and why are they here? Do they even exist at all? Who knows? Perhaps even more well-known than any of these places we have looked at so far is tucked away in a rural area of the US state of Kansas, where there lies a sinister patch of land called Stull Cemetery. Its eerie, quiet atmosphere and rural setting have perhaps understandably bred many dark legends and stories, and the intense paranormal activity and hauntings associated with it has earned it the nickname “America’s Most Evil Graveyard.” Here is a place also long associated with Satanic cults, witchcraft, and shadowy figures carrying out bizarre rituals and human sacrifice by moonlight.
There is all manner of bizarreness and dark stories reported from Stull cemetery. There was once a tree here from where witches were supposedly hanged, and witches were also said to use this place for dark masses. Hooded figures are reported from here all of the time, said to be Satan worshippers up to nefarious business, and if the stories are to be believed there is even an actual portal to Hell to be found on the premises. Sitting at the black heart of this supposedly evil place was once a decrepit, long abandoned church which may have once been elegant but is now mostly a feral, skeletal shell and collapsed piles of weed choked rubble.
While it may not look like much now, this church had for over a century been said to be an actual portal to Hell. The local legend apparently originates in 1850, when Lucifer is said to have used the church to emerge into the cemetery from Hell and summon up the restless spirits clinging to it. From that point on, the Devil supposedly began to pass through the gate twice a year, once at midnight on the Spring Equinox and once on Halloween, and over the years was said to have even fathered a child with a witch living in the area. This abomination is said to have been born with “wolf hair” and to have been badly, hideously deformed. The horrific child soon died and its alleged grave can be seen even today, right beside a twisted old tree that is said to have been a place where they hung suspected witches during those days.
The church itself fell into disrepair long ago and its roof collapsed in the 1920s, yet it was widely claimed by witnesses to repel rain, and that despite not having a roof the interior would remain completely dry even during intense downpours. Frightened locals eventually mostly tore the building down, but the old church was said to still be used by Satan, and up until the late 1980s hundreds of rowdy people would show up at midnight on the Spring Equinox or Halloween in the hopes of getting a glimpse of something strange, causing so much damage in the process that in the years since the cemetery has been off-limits to the general public. Even so, there are still numerous sightings of strange things going on at the church, such as floating lights, fleeting, shadowy figures that vanish into thin air, and rings of flame that seem to spontaneously form from nowhere, with no discernible material they could be burning from. One of the most famous spooky stories surrounding Stull Cemetery is that when Pope John Paul II visited Colorado in 1983, he supposedly had his private plane take a completely different route so as to fly all the way around Stull Cemetery, such was its repulsive evil. It is another eerie, although uncorroborated, tale for an already eerie place. One local says of this place:
One of the most important legends is that the church serves as one of the seven portals to hell. The devil reportedly makes a personal appearance in the cemetery on Halloween at midnight to visit the grave of a witch with whom the devil had a child. Their child is said to materialize in the surrounding woods, taking on the form of a werewolf. Visitors who have made midnight trips to the cemetery have fallen victim to various mysterious phenomena—many of them have reported experiencing missing time. They have found that although according to their watches they have spent several hours in the cemetery when all they remember is next to nothing!
For those who dare to camp out behind the church for a night or two, they will hear weird and awful noises! People who are brave enough to are encouraged to spend the night behind the church to avoid patrols performed by local police that occur every hour or two. People are encouraged to bring lots of extra batteries for their flashlights because they will have lots of problems with their flashlights going out mysteriously. It would also be a good idea to bring warm clothing, a tent and a cell phone (not to mention, telling a friend where you will be in case the devil tries to take you down to hell with him)!
The church is apparently now no more, having been bulldozed to the ground to take its secrets with it, leaving only twisted rubble behind. Speaking of gates to Hell, the state of Pennsylvania also has its scary location haunted by Devil worshippers and with its own supposed portal to dark realms. The tales orbit a remote area near Valley Creek Road, in Downingtown, where there is a meandering path or road allegedly locked with seven iron gates that leads to an abandoned mansion swallowed up by the woods. It is at this mansion where there are said to be bullet holes riddling the walls and unidentified graves out in the yard, and the road has long been said to be patrolled by cults and Satanists decked out in black hooded robes. There are apparently mysterious clearings in the woods that are used by Satanists and witches to conduct various ceremonies, and the whole area is often whispered of as being cursed. In Weird Pennsylvania, one Marcus Malvern Jr. has said of this creepy place:
Most local adventure seekers never even locate the first one (gate). For those who manage to find the path, it is said that the sense of evil and overpowering feelings of death will turn even the bravest explorer back by the fifth gate. Apparitions are often seen along these paths. Strange noises and menacing screams are heard frequently. Legends say that if one did manage to get past all seven gates they would be standing upon the burnt remains of the mental hospital, a bona fide passageway to Hell itself.
These are just a few of the many places that are said to be host to cultists, Devil-worshippers, and witches, and all of them seem like they must surely be pure urban myths and legends, but it is enough to make one wonder if there is any grain of truth at all to these tales. Are there really cloaked, hooded figures skirting about the periphery, up to grim and mysterious business that we can only guess at, or are these just solely the residents of the realm of our imaginations? No matter what one may think, such stories continue to pervade many areas, and will likely remain intertwined with local legends for some time to come.