Considered an informal rite of passage, legend tripping is a practice that combines morbid curiosity with a sense of adventure. Many adolescents and teens participate in legend tripping without even realizing that they’re picking up the mantle from the previous generation.
What exactly is legend tripping? It’s an adventure that you might call a “nocturnal pilgrimage”. It’s when people decide to visit a particular location that is infamous for something eerie or bad happening there. These thrill seekers will head to a notorious spot associated with murder, horror, tragedy or supernatural events. In effect, it’s about investigating in person, the very heart of urban legends and folklore hotspots. Legend trippers often document their daring, ill-advised journeys. This is out of a need to confirm that the dark tales associated with these spots are real. Grab your flashlight, abandon any sense of risk analysis you’ve developed and check out the top legend tripping spots in America.
6. Legend Tripping: The Pope Lick Monster
Location: The Fishersville Neighborhood of Louisville, Kentucky.
People who have lived around Louisville, Kentucky, long enough to hear about the legend of the Pope Lick Monster know to avoid a trestle bridge crossing the creek in the city’s Fishersville neighborhood. This railroad trestle bridge is where a creature who is made from parts of a man, a goat and a sheep is said to live. But it’s not that the monster will come out and grab you. No, his methods are far more sinister.
According to local legend, the Pope Lick Monster uses a combination of voice tricks and hypnosis to lure his victims down to his trestle. As a result, this is where they meet their deaths from an oncoming train.
There are several theories regarding the origins of the Pope Lick Monster. Some say he was a mistreated circus freak with an axe to grind. But others claim he is the dark reincarnation of a Kentucky farmer who sacrificed goats in exchange for otherworldly powers. The existence of the monster is uncertain. But there is no question that the trestle where he supposedly spends his time plotting ruin is a terrifying place.
Several deaths have occurred at the Pope Lick trestle over the years. In fact, the people who have died at the spot have all been hit by trains. This is just as the Pope Lick Monster legend warns. The list of tragic deaths at Pope Lick Creek includes a 15-year-old girl in 2019, a 26-year-old woman in 2016 and a 19-year-old man in 2000. However, local authorities believe that the tragic deaths have more to do with the fact that legend trippers incorrectly assume that the train tracks cutting over the creek are out of use.
5. The Legend of Stull
Location: Stull, Kansas
The last thing that you’d expect to find in a sleepy settlement tucked away among the cornfields of Kansas is a certified portal to hell. However, that’s exactly what people have been claiming about Stull, Kansas, since the 1970s. It all has to do with the Stull Cemetery.
Rumors about satanic activity happening in Stull can be traced back to an article in the student newspaper of the University of Kansas. This article claims that the devil appeared in Stull twice a year. Rumors about Stull’s cemetery being one of the seven portals to hell quickly circulated. One rumor even says that Pope John Paull II redirected his flight path when visiting Colorado to avoid flying over Stull. Another rumor claims that The Cure canceled a Kansas performance once because the venue was too close to Stull.
There’s very thin evidence that’s there’s anything about Stull that makes it a hotbed for demonic activity. However, that hasn’t stopped legend trippers from continuing to flock to Stull Cemetery. The spot got a pop-culture boost in 2013 when Ariana Grande visited Stull while on tour. The singer later told reporters that she underwent a demonic attack during her visit. People who visit Stull report seeing demonic faces in the darkness, hearing odd noises and suffering from memory lapses.
4. Legend Tripping: The Witches Head (Hexenkopf)
Location: The Hills Near Easton, Pennsylvania
There’s a spot in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley takes legend tripping to the next level. Perched 1,030 feet above sea level, a peak called Hexenkopf that is the highest point in Northampton County is supposedly a hotbed for witchcraft and demonic activity.
Adding to Hexenkopf’s allure is that it contains some of the oldest exposed rocks in the county. In fact, stories surrounding Hexenkopf come from the area’s German settlers who relied on witchcraft to explain negative events. It is believed that a local land owner would climb to the top of Hexenkopf to perform spells to bring about magical cures. The stories evolved to claim that a group of local witches would sneak out to the high rocks to perform rituals in the night while their husbands slept.
It’s not entirely foolish for legend trippers to believe that there might be something supernatural happening up there. After all, the peak does sometimes emit a glow at night. Those who watch the peak closely claim that the glow signifies that witches and demons are up there doing their work! However, a more reasonable explanation might be that the rock of Hexenkopf has a high mica content. This can become luminescent under strong moonlight.
3. The Hornet Spooklight
Location: Hornet, Missouri
Legend trippers are attracted to the Hornet Spooklight of Missouri like moths to a flame! Positioned in a small border town between Missouri and Oklahoma named Hornet, The Hornet Spooklight is a mysterious light of no known origin. It appears in a small stretch of land known as the “Devil’s Promenade”.
Those who have seen the Hornet Spooklight in person say that it appears as a single ball of light. Others see a cluster of tightly bound lights. The bouncing nature of the light has caused some witnesses to assume that it is a person cutting through the darkness carrying a lantern. Pinning down exactly where to see the light is a challenge for legend trippers.
It’s not just legend trippers seeking spooky highs who are fascinated with the Hornet Spooklight. Multiple researchers have actually devoted time to trying to solve the mystery behind these widely witnessed lights. In fact, the lights are seen so frequently that few people deny that “something” is happening in Hornet. The question is whether the occurrence is natural or supernatural. The popular belief is that the lights are manifestations of a Native American couple who were separated by death. Others have a far more mechanical answer.
In the 1960s, a professor from the University of Arkansas determined that the source of the light was a fixed object. However, the source was never properly identified. Dr. Allen Rice from the University of Central Oklahoma also conducted an investigation into the phenomenon years later in 2014. Curious to discover if the mysterious light was actually the product of distant headlights bumping along the hilly roads surrounding the town, Dr. Rice set up an experiment. Ultimately, he was able to recreate the light’s appearance using headlights on a particular junction of State Highway 137.
2. Legend Tripping: Black Aggie
Location: Druid Ridge Cemetery in Pikesville, Maryland
Next, we’ll turn our attention to a statue that was once placed at the grave of General Felix Agnus in Maryland’s Druid Ridge Cemetery. Designed to embody grief, the Black Aggie statue quickly became the subject of lore following its arrival at the cemetery in 1926. Legend firstly told that the souls of everyone buried at the cemetery would congregate at the statute after nightfall. It was even believed that anyone who crawled into the lap of the foreboding Black Aggie would be terrorized by the spirits of the cemetery. Some even claimed to have seen the statue come to life at night.
Unfortunately, the Black Aggie of Druid Ridge became such a popular spot for legend tripping that it was removed. There were multiple break-in incidents at the cemetery after dark. Today, the Black Aggie rests at the Dolley Madison House in Washington, D.C. The bare pedestal that once held the dark damsel still remains in front of the gravesite of General Agnus.
1. The Devil’s Tramping Ground
Location: Bear Creek, North Carolina.
Finally, a strange phenomenon in the woods of North Carolina makes one wonder if the devil stopped in the Tar Heel State before making his way down to Georgia. Located deep in the woods of the town of Bear Creek, the Devil’s Tramping Ground is a curious patch of ground where nothing seems to grow. This dusty circle is barren of all grass, trees or signs of life. It shows up as a stark contrast to the lush forest that surrounds it. Legend says that this 15-foot circle of earth is where the devil likes to dance.
Mysteriously, there is no known explanation for why this perfectly circular patch of barren land exists. But locals have been trying to get to the bottom of the mystery since 1882. People who have camped out near the Devil’s Tramping Ground to catch a glimpse of devilish moonlight dances have reported seeing red eyes glowing in the dark and sounds of footprints in the night. However, most people who make the trek to this notorious spot encounter little more than bottles and cans left behind by legend trippers.