October 31, 2008

Mysterious and Spooky?

A friend of mine found this thing (on the ground) while walking in the woods of Chatham County, North Carolina. He couldn't identify the object. He asked me. I didn't know. I went in search of the answer. Can you guess what it is? The first hint: It's about the size and weight of a cantaloupe. (You can click the photo to enlarge)

While you're thinking about it, I'll share a little story with you. The following story comes from North Carolina Legends by Richard Walser.

The Devil's Tramping Ground

In a wooded area in western Chatham County is a well-worn path that forms a ring forty feet in diameter. The path itself is a foot wide. The center of the circle and the ground outside the path are lush with grass and other plant life, but nothing grows in the foot-wide track. At sunset, when rocks or similar heavy objects are placed in the pathway, they are found the next morning to have been brushed aside. In fall and winter, when rabbit hunters roam the surrounding countryside, their dogs perform joyously until the chase nears the barren circle. Then the dogs tuck their tail between their legs and slink away. They will not go near the spot.

Soon after the first settlers came to Chatham County, they discovered the strange site, which soon became known as the Devil's Tramping Ground. This was before 1800.

Though no one ever saw him stalking there, it was believed to be the haunt of the Foul Fiend, who came at night to tramp around and around and around in a circle, his head lowered, his expression intense. It was during these hours that Satan planned his evil schemes to undo mankind. At the first light of morning he was gone, winging his way like a bat across the world to carry out his nefarious purposes. Yet so scorching had been his footprints on the ground of his circular pathway that the soil became infertile, and the nocturnal retreat of the hellish Prince of Darkness was shunned and avoided.

Leave your guess about the "thing" in the Comments section below. I'll provide more hints within the Comments section throughout the day...or until there is a correct answer!

Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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