Devil’s Tramping Ground Explained

Nothing grows on the Devil’s Tramping Ground due to the high concentration of salt in the soil caused by the naturally occurring mineral licks (also known as salt licks), as discovered by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture. Mineral licks are patches of ground with an unusually high concentration of minerals (calcium, phosphorous, cobalt, copper, sulfur, zinc, iodine, magnesium) and salt that provides the much needed vital minerals for wildlife species to grow and thrive.

It is common to see congregation of wildlife such as elks, deers and moose in areas where natural mineral licks can be found. However, naturally occurring mineral licks are far and few, making it a special sight for anyone who chances upon it, as seen in the case of the Devil’s Tramping Ground.

Stories of the Devil’s Tramping Ground

Located in a private land at Bear Creek, North Carolina, the Devil’s Tramping Ground is allegedly the spot where the Devil ‘tramps’ and kills anything that enters or grows on it. Here, it is said that the Devil visits the circle every night and devises his plan on tearing the soul of every human on Earth, pacing up and down and trampling any life form in the process.

Devil’s Tramping Ground road sign| Image credits: leanneortiz.blogspot.com

The core of the circular spot spans approximately four feet with an outer boundary that stretches over 40 feet in diameter. Today, the spot has shrunk to just 20 feet.

Apart from the story of the Devil, a number of other theories have been retold in local lores. Legend says that this spot was once a meeting place for the local Native American tribes, and that the ground was deliberately made barren to conduct ceremonial dances. Another local lore claims that the Devil’s Tramp Ground was a burial ground for a Croatan tribal chief, and that the gods have preserved the grounds to serve as a shrine for the followers.

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Another popular narrative suggested that the spot was once the landing site of a UFO, and that extraterrestrial radiation (or energy) from the flying craft have made the ground barren.

What happens at the Devil’s Tramping Ground?

Many paranormal activities are said to have occurred on the circular spot. These include dogs howling and barking at the spot, objects left overnight at the circle disappearing, and visitors feeling nausea and weak when standing in the centre of the Devil’s Tramping Ground.

Efforts by the local community to grow plants on the barren ground have been unsuccessful.

Centre of Devil’s Tramping Ground | Image credits: RINDY99, atlasobscura.com

Over the years, several paranormal investigators have conducted various experiments in an attempt to capture paranormal activities on the site. It is claimed that any sticks that are planted upright would be fallen or ‘trampled’, and that any objects placed in the center would be thrown back out overnight. It is also said that any life form that are deliberately trapped within the circular ground would die over the course of the night.

Visitors spending the night at Devil’s Tramping Ground claimed to have experienced paranormal activities ranging from hearing heavy stomping sounds to seeing red glowing eyes.

Why Does Nothing Grow on the Devil’s Tramping Ground?

A commonly accepted explanation of Devil’s Tramping Ground is the presence of a mineral lick as previously explained.

An alternative explanation of the barren ground is human overuse. The Devil’s Tramping Ground is situated within a camping ground, and the frequent use of the area as a gathering spot have led to a high concentration of ash as well as man-made debris such as burnt plastic, broken glass bottles. The toxicity emitted from the burning of these trash combined with the high foot traffic in the area led to the spot to be devoid of any plant life.

However, some experts have argued that neither the presence of the mineral lick or human overuse could have caused the phenomena at the Devil’s Tramping Ground. Given the fact that historical accounts of the Devil’s Tramping Ground dates back to the American Revolution (1765-1784), theorists have concluded that something beyond science’s explanation is at play.

Who Owns Devil’s Tramping Ground?

The Devil’s Tramping Ground as well as the land surrounding it is currently owned by Bob Dowd; the Dowd’s family have owned the land for over a hundred years. In spite of it being a private property, the Dowd’s family have been welcoming of any curious thrill-seekers wants to catch a glimpse of the mysterious patch of land.

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