Have you ever noticed how many places are named for the devil?
There are at least thirty-seven in Connecticut and more than forty in Massachusetts alone (home, as our “Special Report” this month discusses, of Salem).
There are names such as “Devil’s Lake”: in North Dakota (probably the most well-known), Oregon (in Lincoln County, on the coast), and Wisconsin (Devil’s Lake State Park). There’s Devil’s Tower in Wyoming.
Who knows how many smaller sites bear the dubious cognomen. “You would think that the spiritual would overrule the demonic, based on the early settlers’ religious bent, but hundreds of hellish names are written large across our landscape, making it seem like a literal Hell on Earth,” complains National Travelers Traveler. “There are Hell Gates, Hell Holes, and Hell’s Half-acres. There are Devils Slides, Devils Playgrounds, Devils Postpile, Devils Golf Courses, and Diablo Canyons. Yellowstone National Park is rife with these names.”
In Canada: “Devil’s Lake” (Alberta) and there may be other smaller lakes or places so designated, typically rooted in local folklore or geographical features that might have seemed eerie or unusual to early settlers or indigenous peoples.
In California, adjacent to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where solid rocket fuel was first engineered, is Devil’s Gate Dam, so assigned due to an uncanny rock formation that from some angles looks like a profile of a demon. The land was used by a rocket scientist and practicing occultist named Jack Parsons for rituals before every rocket test.
Notes a blogger: “The rock really does look like Satan: protruding chin, pointy nose, stern eye socket, stumpy horn. I stare down the gated tunnel at its base, half expecting a gnarled, old wanderer to crawl out. But nothing happens. Moreover, I don’t feel anything out of the ordinary, other than the disappointment that I’m surrounded by a patchwork of sloppy graffiti and a floating collection of discarded spray paint cans.”