Today we are going to be exploring a strange and bizarre road located in southeastern Pennsylvania, near the Delaware border, known throughout local legend as the Devil’s Road. Normally named Cossart Road, this strange and small stretch of backwoods, is home to strangely warped trees, alleged cult activity, a rich incestual mansion and so much more.
This place even inspired the creation of the movie The Village.
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Today we are going to be talking about the road that inspired the horror movie, The Village; so buckle up.
This road stretches for several miles through the woods of Chadds Ford, PA, located just north of the Delaware border. Cossart Road is the road’s true name. However, due to the reputation of general eeriness and stories of evil history, it has become infamously known as the Devil’s Road. You may not have heard of this location, but if you are from the surrounding Philadelphia or Wilmington areas, then you most certainly have heard stories.
Cossart Road, or The Devil’s Road, is incredibly narrow and in some areas can only fit one single car at a time. It rather creepily winds its way through the heavily wooded area of the Brandywine Valley. But what makes this road all the more bizarre and creepy, is the strange phenomenon involving the trees that line the road. The trees seemingly bend themselves away from the roadway. Despite knowing that they have never cut to grow this way.
This strange phenomenon seems to go against the natural growth of trees, which typically grow in order to follow the sun, but here they do the opposite. As you move away from the location, this odd event stops. There really isn’t any good explanation as to why this is occurring. Furthermore, why it centralizes in such a particular area.
Before we get into some of the stories and rumors, there is one more aspect to the Devil’s Road that needs discussing; and this is it’s relation and proximity to a mansion in the woods, reportedly owned by the regionally famous and wealthy DuPont Family. Similar to the road itself, the mansion got its name due to stories and rumors, becoming the Cult House.
The Cult House naturally housed a cult of some kind, as the story goes, but the nature of its ceremonies remains vague even by standard accounts. Those who believe the stories to surround the DuPont family believe that family members would marry their cousins in the house so that the family’s wealth would stay in the family. Then using the surrounding location to hide any inbred babies these unnatural unions produced. This is where another key tree phenomenon comes into the story, being the Skull Trees. These are trees whose roots and bark seem to morph into the shape of what resembles a human skull. As the rumors go, these trees are where the inbred infants were buried.
The more common rumors fall back on the old favorites for locations such as these, being Satanists and the Ku Klux Klan. Which I’m sure you’re more than used to hearing, for locations and roads that travel through the woods. To further add to the rumors, the Cult House’s windows are cross-shaped. Or by some accounts, inverted cross-shaped.
To add to the House’s strangeness, there is a sort of Guard’s house or garage on the location; which people who venture along Devil’s Road can confirm. On several accounts, people have reported being followed or stalked, by red pick-up trunks that come from this Guardhouse. Most of the tailing is done at night, with the truck’s headlights off. No real reports of people meeting violence, or ran off the road. Most commonly have the Truck following them for several miles, before stopping and turning back towards the Mansion.
Many people also report a lot of odd behavior that is often the KKK, cult activity, or just disturbed youth. These are oftentimes reports near either end of the road, as well as close alongside it. Dead and mutilated animals, often raccoons, are found gutted, hanging on the gate of the mansion, or simply piled together.
Furthermore, asides from having unknown individuals in Trucks chase them; those who drive through the Devil’s Road often describe odd gatherings of people in the evening or late at night. While others witness large bonfires, distant screaming, and lights being on within the Mansion. At the moment it is not all too clear who, if anyone, currently owns the mansion.
No record of this exists, of course. No house is along Cossart Road that even remotely resembles the Cult House. Furthermore, no photographic evidence of it exists either. The Du Pont family did own some land in the area though.
The Black SUV and Red Truck stories. No record of this exists either. It actually became a common prank for teenagers to stake out the area late at night and chase people down the road in their cars. The trees around the alleged Cult House area, also frequently vandalized with graffiti. The low-quality criminal activity became so bad that local officials removed the Cossart Road sign and put up many “No Trespassing” posts. The road is therefore very difficult to find. Any modern accounts of people witnessing the big black cars are mainly trespassers engaging with the cops.
As for the “Skull Tree”. The tree in question is no longer on the property. After people frequently vandalize the area. However, there is validation to the theory of the Skull Tree is a burial ground.
In August of 1978, the bodies of James Johnston (18), Dwayne Lincoln (17), and Wayne Sampson (20) are found along Cossart Road. Each was shot and killed by the infamous Johnston Gang, one of the more notorious gangs that operated in the area at the time. Their murders actually led to the eventual disbandment of the gang. Along with the arrest and conviction of its members. Locals say the bodies of the victims rest under the skull tree.
It is after the time of the murders that legends about Cossart Road and the Cult House began popping up. So it’s likely this horrific crime may have some influence on the accounts. Some locals say it is the ghosts of the three boys that cause the trees to turn away from the road.
Haunted or not, Cossart, ”Devil’s Road” is probably one of the creepiest areas of Delaware or Chadds Ford to visit. But remember to be aware of your surroundings, don’t break any laws and enter at your own risk.
EP 52 – The Devil’s Road & Cult House. Produced by Shane Cummings; Audio Editing & Research by Shane Cummings.
Intro & Outro music “Creepy Regrets” by AnMo.
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