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The Devil’s Road and the Cult House

There’s a wood in southeastern Pennsylvania, right on the Delaware border, whose legendary status has even made it into a summer blockbuster movie. True, the movie in question, The Village, was written and directed by a local boy, M. Night Shyamalan. But when an A-list Hollywood director brings a wood full of misshapen trees into the Cineplex, you know the legend has legs.

The Devil’s Road winds a couple of miles through the woods just north of the Delaware border in Chadds Ford. It is better known to map-readers as Cossart Road, and has enjoyed a reputation for its general aura of evil for decades. It’s particularly famous in the triangle of towns between

Wilmington, Philadelphia, and Coatesville. But although the exact location is often misreported as somewhere in northern Delaware, all the stories agree on one point: The trees that line this narrow, winding avenue bend away from the pavement as if recoiling from something unspeakable.

Further into the woods, they say, up a densely wooded hillside, stands a massive stone mansion known as the Cult House, which Delaware residents insist was once owned by a member of the DuPont family. The Cult House naturally housed a cult of some kind, as the story goes, but the nature of its ceremonies remains vague even by the standards of the local rumor mill. Fans of plutocratic conspiracy theories spin wild stories of DuPont family members marrying their cousins in the house, so that the family’s wealth would stay in the family, and then using the place to hide any inbred spawn these unnatural unions produced. The less fanciful rumors fall back on the old favorites: Satanists and the Ku Klux Klan. The house’s windows are said be cross-shaped (or among the camp that believes in the Satanist rumors, inverted cross-shaped).

But it’s getting harder and harder to explore the Devil’s Road. For one thing, the street signs have been removed from Kennett Pike, so it’s easy to miss the Cossart Road turn, or to mistakenly turn into a private road called Cossart Manor Drive a few miles up the Pike. Even if you find the road, you’ll find it liberally posted with “No Stopping” and “No Trespassing” signs on the trees. The legend of the road has been repeated so often in the past forty years that literally hundreds of noisy explorers would belt up the road by night, disturbing the residents, spray-painting everything in sight, and driving recklessly. The usual obnoxious behavior was bad enough, but it escalated into vandalism and dangerous stunts such as cross burning, that forced the township and police into a strong reaction. A barricade went up with no trespassing signs and threats of heavy fines. Police and private security guards began regular patrols along the lane, which probably accounts for the many tales of visitors being chased down the road.

So we’d advise people to tread with caution when they think about treading down the darkness of the Devil’s Road. Don’t pull over on the dark and winding road, unless you want to get rear-ended by some other thrill-seekers or ticketed for parking in a no-stopping zone. And certainly don’t start tramping through private property if your fear of being arrested is greater than your fear of mysterious places. After all, you can always get a good look at the woods in The Village instead of in real life.

Cult House

When I was in high school, there was one particularly prevalent story about a mansion located in the woods of the Brandywine Valley. This house was actually just north of the PA border. Everyone called it Cult House.

Now, I'm not sure how this rumor started. I do know that some of my friends' fathers could remember the same story, involving the same location being told when they were in high school.

According to local legend, this mansion is supposedly owned and operated by a "Satanic Cult." In some versions, the "Cult" is associated

with a prominent Delaware family involved in the chemical industry. The window panes are in the shape of inverted crosses. The trees that line the road running along the side of the house grow at a very distinct angle away from the house (in some areas away from their main light source!) Most interestingly, there is a "guard house" on the grounds that houses a fleet of red pickup trucks. If you drive past the house too often, one or several of the trucks will come out of the house and chase you away. No matter how close it gets, you will never be able to catch a glimpse of the driver's face. There is one particular tree along the road that runs past the house that has exposed roots. The roots form the perfect shape of a human skull. It is said that years ago, police found the remains of a sacrificial victim nestled inside the tree. Reports conflict on whether the victim was human or animal. According to the legend, a human sacrifice is performed on the grounds every Halloween.

Well, that's the rumor. Here is my personal experience with "Cult House" (I have been occasionally driving by the place with friends and researching its history for about 7 years now.) The window panes actually are in the shape of inverted crosses. This seems to be not necessarily intentional––it may just be how those particular panes are shaped. The trees do grow at an extreme angle away from the house. I've never seen trees grow so off-kilter before. In some places they do seem to grow away from the main light source. This phenomena stops once you get about 1/4 mile past the house. There is a guardhouse and there are red trucks. They have actually followed me before on two occasions. The first was at night, and the truck's lights were off. This is amazing, because there are no streetlights, and the trees allow in no moonlight. I couldn't understand how the driver was able to even stay on the road! I was behind it at first. The truck pulled over and waited for me to pass. It then pulled out and followed me until I was several miles from the house. I had one passenger in the car, and you can imagine the state we were in. We were scared to death, but REALLY excited!

The next time was also at night, but with a different friend. After we had driven past the guardhouse several times, we noticed that we were being followed by a red truck. We hadn't seen it even come onto the road. We never saw the driver's face. Again, we were followed until we were several miles from the house, then the truck just pulled over to the side of the road. Again, the headlights were off. I have never seen anyone entering or exiting the main house or the guardhouse. I know the trucks are housed at the guardhouse, because at least 5 are usually visible in the driveway. The "skull tree" does look frighteningly like a human skull. I have never found any newspaper accounts confirming that remains of any kind were found in the tree. I have been able to find absolutely no evidence of sacrificial rites being performed during Halloween or at other times, according to local records.  

I have also, up to this point, been unsuccessful in trying to dig up deeds, or any type of records of transfers for the property.  –Deena Haiber

On Bended Tree

There is a legend about a road nicknamed Devil’s Road, located off of Route 202 by Concord Pike. As rumor has it, there is a house or church used to perform satanic rituals and such.  At the beginning of the road, there are two arrow-shaped pickets known to many as The Gates of Hell.  On this road, the trees are bent away from the church, and there are many trees spray painted with the numbers 666, and many other disturbing words and images. There is a gate to the side of the road, and off that road behind the gate is the church. I have been on this road many times and the only strange thing I saw was on Mischief Night (the night before Halloween), when myself and my friends saw shadowy, orange lights lighting up the house. I am pretty sure that it was candlelight, but we did not want to make any assumptions.  –CiCi

Devil Worship and Dead Animals

Driving down the road toward the mansion, we noticed a pile of dead animals, mostly raccoons, slit from throat to genitals and completely gutted. It was like there was just a frame of the animal left. When we finally approached the mansion, I was even more disgusted. Hanging from the black iron gate were more carcasses like the ones we’d just seen. It’s also said that if you go at night, you can hear the Satanic worshipping that goes on inside, word for word. Fortunately, we were there during the day.  –Brooke Meadows

Chased by Satan on His Very Own Road

Satan Road, as it is affectionately known, is a condemned road off route 100 in Delaware. Its entrance is easy to miss, despite the bright orange warning signs, because of the way 100 bends and because of the overgrowth of the area. The state has attempted to blockade the road with signs that threaten a $1,000 penalty to trespassers, but this has not stopped nosy teens. 

The entryway and most of the first half of the road is so overgrown with trees and vines that it resembles a tunnel. Once you start down the road there is no turning back. It is very windy and despite being a two-lane road is uncomfortably narrow for even a single car. About halfway down the road you come around one of the bends and you see it plain as day and indisputable: The Cult House. All the trees near it grow up a few feet then they all turn at an angle so sharp that they are almost parallel to the ground, always away from the house. It’s not just two or three trees; it’s every tree for several hundred feet. To the right of the road is a wall of rock covered in pentagrams. The house itself sits back from the road and very few have the nerve to walk up to it.

The Satan worshippers wait for your arrival at the entrance to the road in a black SUV. As soon as you start to slow down and turn they turn on their headlights, pop out from hiding, and chase you out to a bridge on route 100.  I myself have been chased once by the SUV and have seen some sort of eerie bright blue flash when we were about to enter the road that scared us enough to not even bother with the road that night.  –Greg H.

Run When You See the Whites of Their Eyes!

I hail from the great town of Broomall, Pennsylvania, Delaware County. If anyone has written from my area, its probably been about 'Satanville'. Located just off of Route 1 just past Concordville and just before the Brandywine Civil War museum. All my life I'v heard the stories about the place. Sometimes call 'Hells House', it is actually an old church in the middle of a field, not easily accessible. You go down this road where the trees bend completely away from the road. Legend has it that the Devil, in a fit of rage, let out a earpiercing scream down the road one night, and from that point on the trees have grown away from it. Furthermore down this road is 'Skull Tree'. A tree that looks like, well, a large human skull. Now comes the tricky part, finding the church. We followed the road around for at least 2 hours until we found the gate leading back to the church. Of course, the road is completely littered with KKK and devil worshipper graffiti. The gate was secured with a fresh padlock, and the path leading back to the church was extremely overgrown, thus my Bronco would not have fit, you definitely need a jeep or just to go on foot. Just around the time of finding the gate, a car passed us. The drivers faces were completely white with dark hair, sporting the gothic look. Their eyes, we're also white. Like perhaps they were rolled up all the way. Needless to say, we were outta there like a bat out of hell.

Numerous people, including close friends have been there. Usually you get chased away by black pick up trucks or black broncos that chase you to the exit before veering off.  –Steve

Tuning In To Satan’s Signal

I've heard a story about a Bible inside a black church on Devil’s Road. It won't let you take it out, because it gets too heavy. I've also heard that there’s a certain radio station that plays music that they play in the background during their rituals.  I heard the station once--it was faint and hard to pick up. Some say they broadcast it on only a powerful enough signal so the worshippers hear it and go to meet up.–Dan A.

Chased off of Devil’s Road

I have been on Devil’s Road numerous times, at least a hundred. I have been up to the Devil’s House. The roof is lined with metal crows all facing in the same direction, and there is a white cement bench in the front yard with a demon’s face perfectly carved on it. People really do chase you out of there. I remember one time around 2 PM, I was driving with one of my friends on Devil’s Road and a black SUV sped up behind us then turned into the woods. There was no dirt road or anything; it just turned right into the woods, then the next thing I knew he was coming full speed right towards us. One time when there was a full moon I could see a fire and the outlines of about 12-15 people standing in a circle around it. Then I got chased off by two Bronco SUVs. –Stephanie

Weird Pennsylvania

 

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