Skull Creek

2/28/05: This is definitely a nostalgic blast from the past.  I wrote this up while sharing "ghost" stories with a friend on-line.
When I was a freshman in college, some of the older students in my dorm started talking about this place they referred to as "Skull Creek."  They described it as a bunch of roads in the middle of nowhere that satanists visited all the time.  I started getting really excited about the place and wanted to see it.  However, they were content to talk about having been there and even to wonder about the state of things now, but I literally had to dare them to go there before they would budge.

Finally, we all piled into two or three cars (by this point several people had come into the dorm's lobby and were in on the story), and we all drove out there.  I was going to a relatively small, rural university at the time, and we went beyond the town's limits to an area that was pretty remote before we reached the mythologized location itself.

The place was essentially a "subdivision that never was."  The developers had paved the streets and had apparently cleared the land, but it had all grown back to varying extents.  You could drive through this extensive labyrinth of winding roads and never really be sure where you were.  Some places had piles of debris where people had taken to dumping trash in the middle of the road, so much so that you couldn't drive past it at all and would have to turn back.

But that's just the creepy bit.  The hard evidence of strange things were there as well.  For instance, there were loads of satanic artifacts throughout the complex, although one might just as easily explain some of these details away as high school kids goofing around or possibly even frat guys inventing secret ceremonies.  However, there were a lot more signs that something weird was going on than could be attributable to mere "hobbyists."

For example, there was a huge pentagram painted in the middle of the four-way crossroads at the center of the "subdivision."  At the points of the pentagram were the melted down piles of wax where candles had been placed.  In the center was a charred pile of... something.  On another occasion when we revisited the area, we once found a white goat's leg.  There were other parts of this animal as well, but we didn't examine them very closely.

Another time we tried to enter the "subdivision" from another road, only to find that the bridge had been burned down.  This wasn't something accidental or an act of vandalism either.  The bridge was made of wood with a paved surface across the top, two lanes wide, and originally built to withstand regular traffic.  Somehow either the city, concerned citizens, or someone else went to a lot of trouble to tear this entrance up.

For whatever reason, we got out and walked around the area just beyond the damaged bridge.  On the other side, we found a dead cat that we all agreed looked very strange.  We couldn't figure out what was weird about it until we realized that it was completely without fur.  Whether it had been shaved or skinned, who knows?  I couldn't say how it died either since it was extremely desiccated.

There were, of course, numerous urban legends about the place as well, some with a degree of truth to them, incidentally.  For example, there had been a domestic murder case in which a woman disappeared.  The husband was charged, although the body had not been found.  The search included that area, although I don't know of the outcome of the case.  However, it was said that the police believed he buried the wife's body in the river bank at the back of the complex.

We actually went out to that region.  Although we tried never to leave our cars, there was one very strange area that lead to the river that required a bit of a walk.  The road came to a dead end due to the placement of piles of mud in the middle of the road, but beyond that was a huge circle, completely paved.  One might think it was a cul de sac, but it was far larger than that, completely without any reasonable explanation for its existence.  Apparently, kids did frequent this area on dirt bikes and made trails beyond this portion through the woods to the river.  We only checked it out once.

During this time (~1992 through '94), David Duke (former Klansman, failed politician, etc.) was reportedly in the region.  He supposedly frequented the huge country bar ("Robert E. Lee's") in town, and was always surrounded by bodyguards.  It was said that he and his "gang" used to go in the area for target practice.  Again, this could be legend, but truth can be stranger than fiction, so I won't discount this either.

Other stories told to me include run-ins with mysterious vehicles that chased them around the streets.  It is certainly a nerve-wreaking experience to find one's way out already, never mind if you think you're going to be kidnapped and become a ritual sacrifice.  The layout of the subdivision was hardly the systematic configuration you might expect in a subdivision.  This was likely going to be an up-scale neighborhood (which would explain why the development never progressed), and was probably designed to be more estate-oriented than filled with track houses.  We attempted to map the place, but it was impossible to accomplish with just a pen and notebook while driving around.  (Update: I have tried viewing this area via Google Earth as recently as January of 2007, and it is still not online.)

Oddly enough, in a distant part of the complex there was a small country cemetery, apparently owned by someone other than the would-be land developers.  I think that was the reason the roads were never closed off other than the one with the burned-out bridge.  Of course, you can imagine how freaked out we were when, on our first visit to this bizarre place and after seeing loads of strange things already, we find ourselves driving past an old cemetery in the middle of nowhere.  We all turned and looked at one another like, "Is this for real?!"

I know the cops patrolled it with regularity because I tried taking a girl there to fool around one night (my only visit to the area after a sunset) and had a cop come up the road ten minutes after we were there.  A few years later I found that they had finally put up large gates in front of the two entrances (the burned bridge being the third entrance at one point).  Still, I don't know how people were supposed to visit the cemetery now.

But get this: The name of the waterway at the very back of the complex?  "Skulls Creek."  Everyone called the area by this name, which I thought was pure urban myth.  A couple years later, I was looking at a map of the area and found that to be the actual name!  It's even on my GPS software.  Creepy...

I recently recovered a lot of my writings from my college years, and found among things this an account of one of our trips out to "Skull Creek" written somewhere around 5/28/93.  Some editorial comments are inserted rather than resculpting the whole piece to provide context more easily supplied parenthetically.

I just got back from Skull Creek for the first time this semester (5/28/93) and, although it wasn't that great a trip, I finally got to take a few pictures.  It started when Tym [a guy who lived in my dorm] came up and wanted me to take him to a travel agency where he could get a plane ticket for his trip to Mexico over the summer.  I told him I would if he would go to Skull Creek with me; something I had been wanting to do for a while by then.
I certainly didn't want it to be just the two of us, the two of us, especially since all my previous trips I've had a few other friends with me.  First I called Cathleen [an ex-girlfriend, now friend], since she and Tym were friends, but she wasn't there and neither was Ellen [a girl I was dating at the time], so I figured I would get Tanya and Jennifer [who also lived in our dorm], since they were friends of Tym and mine also, but before I did I called back Ellen who had just come in and told me she had a lot of homework to do (which unfortunately I had kept her from over the past week).  I thought about getting Elena [a friend from the dorm with whom I did a lot of exploring], but the way she and I are at the present made me include her in the "last resort" category [I don't recall the issue here, but Elena was rude to Cathleen in the past, and that didn't cut it with me].

As I was in Tanya and Jennifer's room I saw Toni [another friend from our dorm] coming up the sidewalk, so I went out and took a picture of her and told her what we were doing and invited her along.  She said it might be fun, so the five of us were off.

We started out at the blocked entrance behind [the local high school that was on the adjacent property] and looked around and threw glass bottles onto the pavement where no one was sure to go.  Next we went to the first real entrance and meandered though the streets narrowly avoiding the piles of potentially tire-flattening trash.

Despite the sights we saw last time [animal parts, for example], there was nothing there to really hold my companions' attention even though they were all new to the place.  In fact, Tym didn't get out of the car the whole time thanks to the fears instilled in him by Jason [a friend of his (also from our dorm) who had been there before].  However, we did manage to go to a few different places (many of which turned out to be dead ends) where I hadn't been before.  A few of the new things we did find were two portraits of demons heads drawn in a very cartoonish manner.  The first one we encountered was just "Saten" [which was how it was spelled] with some indecipherable writing under his picture and the second looked like the "Ghost Rider" comic book character with riding goggles surrounded by flames with the same gibberish neatly sprayed underneath.

Eventually we got to the main crossroads of the place and I showed everyone (and took a picture of) the pentagram at the beginning of the road that was [supposedly] dynamited where the giant cul-de-sac was.  Down the road was an abandoned-looking car to which we all (with the exception of Tym) started walking.  I took a picture of the holes in the road and the girls examined the car. The only thing they found of note was a pack of cigarettes from which Toni removed the proof of purchase so that she could get a Marlbaro tee shirt.

We went back to my car and drove through to make sure we had covered everything as I always seem to do in that place and finally left and went back to the dorm.

I recently scanned in some of my old pictures, and found a few from our Skull Creek explorations.  See below...

Here is the burned-out bridge at one of the entrances to the "subdivision that never was."  It must have taken a lot of effort to get the wood lit well enough to burn all the way through.  I'm not sure if the city did this or if vandals were to blame.  The city did seal off the other entrances some years after we were there last.

This is the pentagram and some of the "Satenic" (sic) graffiti.  Those are car tire tracks, just to give you a frame of reference, so that would make the circle about ~10' in diameter.

As you can see, there had been a fire in the center of it.  Other times later on we found burned down candles around the circle at the points of the stars as well as animal parts.  Fraternity stunts or the real thing?  Who knows?.

The story was that this section of the road was dynamited, and it made large sections of the area nearly impossible to access without something on the order of a jeep.  I had a Honda Civic, and there was no way to get through some of these areas except to leave the car behind to check things out on foot.

Copyright 1993-2007 Alexplorer. Photos circa 1993.
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