I just finished binge watching the first season of the Netflix original Stranger Things (SPOILER ALERT: It’s fantastic however unless your further out of the loop than I am, like the Zombie Road area(1), you’ve probably already seen it and are thinking “My carby goodness(2), Fin. How are you so behind?”) and it got me thinking about my own encounters with the paranormal and ask most St Lousians about the subject and they’re likely to mention either Lemp Mansion (another story, for another time) or Zombie Road.
The infamous Zombie Road (formerly the Lawl Ford Road, now apart of the Al Foster Trail) has gotten notoriety since the 50’s as a “creepy little hang out in the woods” however there’s a lot of good reasons why the little road is creepy as hell at night. One being that there is like no light back there. On a full moon night, you might be able to see the shadow of the tree line which is cool as all get out since light pollution is making it increasingly hard to find places where one can really understand palpable darkness, since experiencing darkness that thick I can appreciate a healthy fear of the dark. Another reason the place gives me the fantods is all the death. There have been several recorded incidents of suicide, people being run down by trains, people falling in the river, and one particularly strange incident in the 70’s where a teenager boy lost his footing and got caught on a fork shaped branch on his fall to his demise. The forked branch managed to rip his face and scalp off leaving behind a grotesque mask. Top it all off, there are stories about run away mental patients, dead barge works roaming as zombies, sightings of human shadows in the woods, vengeful Native American spirits (it’s believed to originally be a trail used by Native American peoples and when the Pacific Railroad company came through it likely didn’t end well for the Natives).
Naturally, being an (increasingly) rebellious boy and growing up in the dreadfully dull West County (much of it is the picture of suburbia) there wasn’t much to do OTHER than investigate places like Zombie road. However, now it’s gotten much riskier with the cops issuing up to 1,000$ trespassing tickets now. I guess kids have Pokemon Go now, but think of all the Ghost type Pokemon you could capture down there! Anyway, one night me and a friend decided to go explore and see for ourselves what Zombie Road had to offer.
I don’t remember much now, ten years later, but I do remember getting down there and walking for a good 20 minutes not really hearing anything or feeling anything unusual until we decided to leave. As soon as I said, “Man, this is kind of lame. Lets go.” both my friend and I heard a deep WHOMP. Similar to the sound of a grocery bag full of ground red meat and water exploding on the ground. This got our attention. So we decided to continue further down and we heard an extremely loud/deep hammering into the ground. As if someone was repeatedly dropping a giant tamper and the sound was getting closer. We kind of got wigged out by this point and decided to make our way out when I was assaulted by what I can only assume was a bat in the face.
I’ve pissed my pants literally, sober and intoxicated, many times in my adult life. This wasn’t one of the incidents, but it’s an honourable mention. After that was a blur of running through the pitch black back to the car. That was the last time I went to Zombie Road, day or night.
Have any good Urban Legend experiences to share? Feel free to leave a comment below explaining your encounter with the esoteric.
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- This is a really bad local-vernacular based joke, “the loop” generally refers to a trendy St Louis attraction The Delmar Loop and I live, currently (I move a lot, on average 1.1 moves per year), in the Webster Groves area and further “out of the loop” would be Zombie Road aka the Al Foster Trail all the way out in Wildwood which is in the dreadful West County area.
- Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM)