View Full Version : Dancing With Mr. D... Devilish Places
No, I haven’t gone over to the dark side and no, I am not trying to play the devil’s advocate....
but this morning while sifting through my negatives I realized that some of my most powerful and interesting images are from locations that have an association with the devil.... so far I have various viscera, a cauldron, a fist and my personal favorite... a ‘Devil’s Eye’.... ours is a pool of water with a sinister upwelling near the centre... makes for interesting effects with long exposures.
Now it seems to me that this identifying of various aspects of the devil as he intrudes into the
landscape from his subterranean abode is an international cultural phenomena and scattered
over the globe are an assortment of anatomical parts..... the elbows, claws, vertebrae, horns,
paws & thumbs, architectural features.... towers, bridges & gates and let’s not forget the
furniture... chairs, beds & tables.
Now I find these landscape features are usually visually powerful & mysterious... just the kind of subject I like to photograph. I wish to add to my small collection of ‘demonography’ and am interested in compiling a list of ‘hot spots’..... often these places are named and known to locals and do not appear on the maps.... so any locations (worldwide) that you know of that relate to this theme would be sincerely appreciated. Also, does anyone know if someone has done a photographic book on the subject.
Thanks in advance for your kind consideration...
PS... please no e-mails pretending to be the prince of darkness.... I mention this only because I
am still recovering from a few very.... er ah...... ‘interesting’ e-mails in response to my
mentioning my ‘porn for geologists’ series in a posting last year!
I know of Devil's Hole, Nevada and Devils Tower, Wyoming. Are those the type of locations you are referring to?
...the Devil's Postpile (basalt columns) in California. On the other hand, there was an episode of "Long Way Around" on Bravo TV with Ewan McGregor where he and his buddy (on a motorcycle trip around the world) visited a church in Kostnice in the Czech Republic...parts of the church (which was erected over a cemetary) were decorated with the bones of the dead. Not exactly devil-related, but very weird...here's a website.
Yes Eugene, that is precisely what I had in mind.... along the lines of the Devil’s Marbles in
Australia and the Devil’s Arrows in Yorkshire.
Dim..... the most amazing skeletal sculpture I have ever encountered... thanks for the link.
I recall a show in Santa Monica about a year ago which included a number of black and white photographs from 4x5 negatives of geographic features named after the Devil. It is a good show, but I can't remember the guys name now.
A search of the USGS database reveals 1,586 features in the United States that are named after the Devil. That should keep you busy for a while. The names and locates of these features can be found by repeating the search at:
Devils Golf Course, and Devils Cornfield are both in Death Valley. If you ever get down this way look me up. If you get to Devil's Golf course, look for my Minolta Spot Meter F that I lost there.
This is an excellent although somewhat diabolic project. You should internationalize it in order to get a taste of how the Devil looks like in Europe.
If you travel to France you'll find many places were the Devil , "Le Diable" is alive and well.
Just try a web search with the following keywords.
pont du diable (devil's bridge)
crête du diable (devil's ridge)
cime du diable (devil's peak)
Devil's peaks and ridges simply refer to frightening landscapes in the Alps of the Pyrenees.
Devil's Bridge is related to several legends about cheating with the Devil. We have our own in the Jura range.
"Cancoillotte" itself, a unique local semi-liquid cheese is a diabolic experience in itself. Worth the travel, as the Green Michelin Tourist Guide could mention.
And quoting form memory, I remember the Diavolezza Mountain Hut in the Bernina Range (Swizterland). Can't remember what was actually diabolic about the hut itself. More an alpine hotel than a hut, BTW. But from there the landscape over the North Face of Piz Palü is... simply diabolic.
Theres also the Devil's Racetrack in Death Valley and loads of places named Diablo(Mt. Diablo for one) all over California. Theres Devil's Bathtub in the High Sierra, a nice hike from Edison Lake, and a place on Highway 33 in Central California called Hell's or Devil's "Something- or- Other"(Half acre? Corner? Kitchen?) used to be on roadmaps but I haven't seen it on a map in years. I recall visiting the area once out of curiosity---a great place if you're a rattlesnake! I'm not aware of anyplace named after the Infernal Revenue Service;-)
There is the Devil's Nose in Equador and the Devil's Horsestable Cave in Hell Holes conservation area in Ontario.
David A. Goldfarb
When in New York, you can do some street photography in Hell's Kitchen and then wander up to Spuyten Duyvil.
Does a Coupe de Ville count??
Don't forget Devil's backbone in Utah, and this place in Portugal:
Look partway down the page.
There's the Devil's Punchbowl near Victorville, Ca.
"...identifying of various aspects of the devil as he intrudes into the landscape from his subterranean abode..."
What do you mean "he", Kemo Sabe?
Don't forget the Devil's Highway (US 666) in the corner of New Mexico north of Gallup. In Fort Worth used to have a section of town called "Hell's Half Acre". Was where all the bars and whores and flop housed were. It was torn down to build the convention center there is downtown.
Thank you everyone for your great suggestions.... there are certainly some amazing places... it is
interesting the concepts that we impose upon the landscapes that surround us... makes me
wonder if I have ever ‘truly’ seen a landscape.
.... Coupe de Ville.... sounds like hell on wheels to me.....
Being an east coast lad at heart, there is, of course, the Devil's Tramping Ground in Chatham County, North Carolina
http://www.welcometonc.com/detail/250.cfm (http://www.welcometonc.com/detail/250.cfm). This site http://deviljazz.tripod.com/ (http://deviljazz.tripod.com/) has a good page of references to writings on the phenomenon, both book and periodical. Pop-up blocker helps, though.
The Devil you say?
Kerry L. Thalmann
I'm sure I can think of many more if I put my mind to it (seems early settlers of the American West blamed the devil for just about every ominous looking geographic feature and/or plant they stumbled across). On the central Oregon Coast there is:
Devils Lake, The Devils Punchbowl, The Devils Churn
Further south on the Coast:
The Seven Devils
Somewhat related - on the Oregon/Idaho border:
On the Rogue River:
And in Lassen National Park"
Devils Club, Devils Snare
Kerry.... it is interesting that in the area where I live the geography was fully named by the
indigenous peoples before the arrival of the settlers in a system that was certainly much more
positive and revealing of the nature of the landscape. Much of this is lost of course as the names
were part of an oral tradition. However, often places named by the settlers that include
reference to the devil coincide with the older culture’s places of power.
One of my favourites is the Devil's Beeftub in the Scottish Boarders. A great place to lose a cow.
Then there's always the town of Hell in Norway, but learning some basic Norwegian will induce a comedown.
Devil's Playground, on the Pikes Peak Highway at about 13,000 feet above sea level.
I think it's interesting how un-Devilish most of these places are. I suppose the people who named them felt very much at the edge of the earth.
In a county park near my hometown there's a glacier-formed pond, basically a hole in the top of a hill, called the "Devil's Bathtub". A pretty spot but difficult to photograph, as the slopes that lead down to the water are covered by second-growth forest.
666 is no longer in existence. It was changed to 491 a couple years ago and most of the 666 signs were stollen soon after the change was official. Devil's claws make for cool still lifes.
Cime du Diable.
Photo by Jean-Marie Solichon.
South-Eastern France, backcountry of Nice (Alpes Maritimes )
I noticed a lot of mountains named for His Toastership in this thread.
I've been reading Paul Gallico's Three Legends to my 6 year old and in the foreward Paul comments on the story Ludmilla, about a cow in Liechtenstein where Gallico spent some time. Apparently they often have an inversion layer going on, seperating the lawyers and industrialists in the Rhine valley from the simpler mountian folk who tend sheep and cattle in the alpages. Gallico says that in the valley it is grey, overcast and money is what matters, while up on the mountains angels, witches, ogres and devils are sometimes observed in spiritual combat in the rareified atmosphere. The mountaineers see the industrialists as being blinded from reality by the clouds while the industrials see the mountaineers as simple and supersticious. Gallico comments that those who live in rugged lands are the ones who can best see the supernatural. Maybe thats why the Devil gets recognized by natives in rugged otherworldly places?
Nice story anyway.
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