Devil’s Pulpit: a strange rock with a sinister reputation lurks within the crimson waters of this Scottish glen

The real name of the gorge in Scotland is Finnich Glen. The name Devil’s Pulpit comes from a rock formation that looks similar to that of a church pulpit, even if the red coloured water seemed more satanic than saintly, to early visitors. Originally, the name “the Devil’s Pulpit” referred only to the rock that sometimes pokes above the rushing stream, and some say it is where the Devil stood to address his followers, with the crimson current swirling at his feet. Others say Druids held secret meetings there, hidden…

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New Jersey Devil’s Tree: an allegedly cursed tree that represents a town’s reckoning with a racist past.

Drivers near the corner of Mountain Road and Emerald Valley Lane in Bernards Township, New Jersey, come upon a tree that rises from the brush that, at sunset, becomes a dark silhouette against the field that stretches just behind it. Known simply as the Devil’s Tree, the oak is believed to have disturbing powers, cursing anyone who harms or simply touches it. By all accounts, it is at least two hundred years old and, according to the locals, everyone in the vicinity of Bernards Township seems to have a story…

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Hellhound on my trail: the lost guitar of Robert Johnson

Most people have heard the story, in one form or another, of the legendary Delta Blues guitar player who went by the name of Robert Johnson. According to the legend, on a dark October night sometime in the late 1920’s, he traveled to the intersection of Highway 8 and Highway 1 in Rosedale, Mississippi and struck a deal with the Devil himself. As story goes, when Johnson arrived at the crossroads the Devil was sitting on a log by the side of the road, accompanied by a hairless dog, described…

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Pozzo del Diavolo: was this cave created by Hercules’s wrath, the devil, or volcanic activity?

We are in Italy, in Lazio region, above Vico Lake in the beautiful beech forest of Monte Venere, part of the UNESCO’s Primeval Beech Forests of Europe transnational network of protected sites. At 507 meters above sea level, Lake Vico is the highest volcanic lake in Italy and the beech forest of Monte Venere is among the lowest in the country (most beech forests are located above 900 meters). Thanks to its peculiar natural characteristics, the lake offers a rich variety of plant species and different environments, allowing the life…

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The curious history of the Milan area that remained immune to the plague: an eccentric marquis, a witch or simply coal?

Before 1630 Milan had over one hundred thousand inhabitants. In 1632 there were forty-seven thousand. In the middle there was the most violent plague epidemic in the history of the city. In the peak period, the so-called “black death” killed nearly 1000 people a day. The Italian Plague of 1629–1631 was a series of outbreaks of bubonic plague which ravaged northern and central Italy. Often referred to as the Great Plague of Milan, it claimed possibly one million lives, or about 25% of the population. Historically, it seems that German…

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The Lucifer of Liège – Belgium

Even though the original structure of St. Paul Cathédrale de Liège goes back to the 10th century, it’s been built over a few times, and today it is mostly comprised of 13th and 15th century architecture. It became a Roman Catholic cathedral in the 19th century due to the destruction of Saint Lambert Cathedral in 1795. The Liège revolutionaries considered it a symbol of the power of the Prince-Bishop. Thus, once the revolutionary mood had passed, another church had to be chosen to replace the destroyed cathedral and the collegiate…

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The Devil Heads that loom over the village of Želízy in Czech Republic.

A macabre sight awaits hikers exploring the pine forest above the village of Želízy in Protected Landscape Area Kokořínsko in Czech Republic: two enormous demonic faces carved into sandstone blocks, who stare visitors with their empty eyes. Created by Vaclav Levy (1820/1870), the sculptor founder of modern Czech sculpture, in the mid 1800s, the about 9 meters tall stone heads are known locally as Čertovy hlavy or the “The Devil Heads” and have been a local attraction for generations, while other carvings by the artist including artificial caves and scenes…

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