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Devil’s Pulpit

When people first hear about Devil’s Pulpit, they might assume it is a place of fright and horror. A cold, dreaded place filled with fear and uncertainty. But what if I told you Devil’s Pulpit, found in southeastern Calloway County, Kentucky near New Concord, was a serene and peaceful place, filled with natural beauty and wonder?

Devil’s Pulpit

Devil’s Pulpit is located about 200 yards off Deerberry Lane in the Blood River bottoms. This rock formation sits up high on a steep hill overlooking the valley below. Situated at about 500 feet above sea level, the pulpit rises 130 feet above the river and provides a great vista. The only sign of civilization is a communications tower in the distance. Various types of trees can be seen everywhere, with a few of them even growing on top of the rock.

But why would such a place be known as “Devil’s Pulpit”? There certainly isn’t anything frightening about the hill. In fact, it reminded me a little of the Smoky Mountains (partially because it was 35° and spitting snow when I explored it). However, according to local legend, something terrible occurred around these famed rocks.

The Legend of Devil’s Pulpit

It was 1861, and the US was at the start of the Civil War. The Union forces were notorious for killing farm animals that belonged to the locals.

Devil’s Pulpit

A New Concord girl, who was about 13 years of age, loved her mare. She cringed at the thought of seeing her beloved animal murdered by the South’s enemies. After seeking a safe place to hide her horse, she found a spot on a hill near some large rocks. A couple of the rocks were situated perfectly to provide refuge for her adored animal.

Everyday, the girl would visit the mare to bring it food and water and provide it company. As the months went by and the war got worse, her pet remained sheltered. One day, when she went to the rocks to visit the mare, she was shocked to find a wounded Union solider near the rocks. He was too weak to find food or water, and the locals certainly wouldn’t provide help. The girl felt very sorry and began to take care of him.

Everyday, she would take sustenance to the soldier and would clean his wounds. Over time, the two fell madly in love. Shortly thereafter, the unthinkable happened – she got pregnant. Now, getting pregnant out of wedlock was frowned upon in the 19th century. But getting impregnated by a “Yankee” was earth-shattering.

She decided to keep it secret as long as she could, before her and her lover would run off. She wouldn’t mind running away, for her father was abusive, especially after the death of her mother. He became suspicious after noticing his daughter spending a considerable amount of time away from the house.

One day, he trailed his daughter to the pulpit. When he arrived, he was horrified to find the Union soldier there with his arms wrapped around his daughter. Shocked and extremely nervous, the girl told her father she was going to marry her lover and that she would soon be the mother of his child.

In a rage of fury, the father pulled out a large knife and killed the soldier. The girl screamed in agony but was soon silenced by the same blade. The father disappeared, and no one ever saw him again. Afterwards, the locals named these infamous rocks “Devil’s Pulpit” because of the transgressions that took place there.

Whether or not if this is true, we may never know.  But it does provide a good reason as to why this place is known as “Devil’s Pulpit”.

Location of Devil’s Pulpit

Today, the pulpit provides a beautiful setting with ferns and moss-covered rocks and trees as far as the eye can see. It is located at 36.5585143, -88.1682928 in the woods off Deerberry Lane.  It is located on private property;  at the time, we thought it was on government property since it was very close to a wildlife refuge and property owned by the Tennessee Valley Authority.


This article originally appeared in the print edition of Four Rivers Explorer in 2007.

Long Creek National Recreation Trail

The Long Creek National Recreation Trail, located very near and in between Honker and Hematite Lakes, is paved and handicapped-accessible. This trail is ideal for individuals who use wheelchairs or have a tough time getting around.

The trail is very scenic. It has a printed guide at the trailhead so users can spot and distinguish different types of habitat along the way. At only two-tenths of a mile and completely flat, anyone can enjoy a taste of this environment.

The back of the trail is a loop that parallels Long Creek, the stream that empties Hematite Lake. The “right-of-way” along the trail is mowed and maintained, so users have an opportunity to explore some of the area around the creek. As we were walking toward the creek, we spotted a gorgeous Green Snake Rough. These insect-eaters are completely harmless and can be handled, but we didn’t bother and let him on his way.

Beautiful, harmless green snake seen along the trail.

Walking further around the loop we saw movement in the grass and heard a “plop” in the water nearby – another snake, but we didn’t see what kind it was. At this point, we had seen three snakes in the last 15 minutes, so we decided to be on the lookout. We aren’t “herpers” and have no experience with snakes.

Not 25 feet further, I spotted a five-foot long Black Racer. This one startled me because of his size. He didn’t move or seem bothered by us as we walked on with a careful eye on the critter.

After the loop, we headed back down the trail to the car. It was a great little hike that netted us some awesome wildlife viewing. However, if you don’t like snakes, you probably don’t want to take this trail. Chances are you’ll spot one or two, or even four!  Maybe check it out in the winter?

Submerged Energy Lake Bridge

When I was a kid, I thought it would be neat to be an archaeologist.  I suppose that is why I find some of the remains of “past civilizations” fascinating in the Land Between The Lakes.  But the society that is evident in LBL today was from 50 years ago, not 5,000… a period which most archaeologists might enjoy.  In fact, many people remember what it used to be like in LBL before TVA took over.  But for folks like me, we don’t have the memories… but we see the evidence and hear the stories.

Sometimes I waste time browsing satellite maps of the lakes and surrounding area.  I’ll educate myself with seemingly useless information, but sometimes I’ll find something that I have to go see for myself.  One day I spotted a bridge that appeared in the waters of Energy Lake.

The old Kentucky 289 bridge, typically underwater, on Lake Barkley.

During summer pool the bridge is covered by water.  Two signs posted on the bridge warn boaters of the potential hazard.  Believe me, if the signs weren’t there and your boat ran over the concrete structure, you would be in trouble.  We went out to the mouth of Energy Lake (Crooked Creek Bay) at the end of LBL Road 154 (by the way, there are a ton of backcountry camping opportunities around this area).  At the end of the road, there it was… about 100 feet from the shoreline.

The bridge is about 160 feet long, one-lane and is made entirely of concrete.  I suppose it is a fish attractor because there were several anglers out there fishing around the bridge.  The structure used to be a part of Kentucky 289, a state-road that paralleled Lake Barkley prior to the creation of the lake in the early 1960s

The old Kentucky 289 bridge, typically underwater, on Lake Barkley.

Location of the Old Bridge

Silo Overlook in Land Between The Lakes

This was the former Silo Overlook while still in operation. Thanks to Bryan for sharing.

Prior to the Land Between The Lakes being taken over the by US Forest Service from TVA, one of the more popular attractions in the park was Silo Overlook.  It was located on the shores of Lake Barkley near Honker Lake at the end of Mulberry Flat Road (GPS 36.908W, 88.016N).

The structure was an abandoned silo that rises about 40 feet from the ground.  It was converted into an overlook with a wooden incline built to the top.  Folks could walk up the top of the silo for beautiful views of Lake Barkley.

Sometime in the late 1990s, or perhaps during the Forest Service/TVA transfer, Silo Overlook was abandoned.  We aren’t sure why but can speculate that is was for safety and liability reasons.  The access road has been barricaded and closed to vehicular traffic, but you can walk down the old road to the remains of Silo Overlook.

The first portion of the walkway/incline has been removed to keep people off of the silo.  The rest of it is in terrible condition with all the wood deteriorating.  Extensive renovations would be needed if Silo Overlook were to ever open again.

While there, we also explored the shoreline of Lake Barkley and took some photos of some interesting objects.  As always, if you can provide any insight into these objects or the silo (especially if you have old photos of Silo Overlook open), please share them with us by emailing info@explorekentuckylake.com.  We’ll credit you on this page with any information provided.

Thanks to Bryan for the photo at the top showing Silo Overlook’s glory days.  The remaining photos shown here are from our trip in November 2008.

The old Silo Overlook.
The old Silo Overlook.
Looking up at the old silo.
Wood is deteriorating at Silo Overlook.
What would have been the view, but has since grown up quite a bit.
The old Silo Overlook.
Navigation marker.
Walking along the shores of Lake Barkley near Silo Overlook.
An old pipe, surely abandoned, comes out from the banks of Lake Barkley and disappears into the waters.
From the shores of Lake Barkley, what appears to be an old wheel sticking up out of the water.
The old parking lot at Silo Overlook.
The barricade across the access road to Silo Overlook.

Vampire Hotel in Land Between The Lakes

The only photo we have been able to come across of the “Vampire Hotel” in LBL. If you have some photos of the original structure, please share them with us!

“Vampire Hotel” (moniker) is an abandoned structure near Kentucky Lake in the Land Between The Lakes.  The stone and concrete structure was partially torn down in the 1960s with the creation of LBL but part of it remained.  It was one of just a handful of remaining structures in LBL not completely removed.  Throughout the 1990s, it had become a popular hangout spot with locals – some of whom were less than reputable.

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Ghost Stories & The Paranormal of LBL

Written by Lindsey Harlan and Sara Rashid, this article originally appeared on Explore Kentucky Lake’s Explorations in October 2010.

In small towns, stories spread like wildfire, and when those stories carry a wicked or spooky twist, it is not shocking that those creepy tales become legends. Our corner of the world is no different. While we like to think of our area as a little slice of paradise, with all the Native American and Civil War history in this region, not to mention the unpopular relocation of many residents during the creation of Land Between The Lakes, it is no surprise that a few eye-brow raising stories have been spun over the years. If you add to these historical events the legend of the Beast of LBL, the Phantom Trucker, the “Vampire Hotel” and the countless cemeteries tucked within these hills, LBL can become a haven for the creepy and weird.

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Danville L&N Railroad Bridge

Upon the creation of our Explorations section of Explore Kentucky Lake back in 2002 (which has evolved to this standalone site, Four Rivers Explorer), I had no idea at the time that this partially-removed railroad bridge and the “big building in the middle of Kentucky Lake” were related.  So at that time, I did two different articles, only later realizing that these two structures are related.

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Old Danville Transfer Elevator

We’ve always enjoyed experiencing and seeing the oddities of the Four Rivers region. That’s why this site, Four Rivers Explorer, exists.  But before we began this site, we had a section of our main tourism site, Explore Kentucky Lake, that was dedicated to the unusual and lesser-known aspects of our area.  We called the section “Explorations”.

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Great Western Iron Furnace

The Great Western Iron Furnace.

The remains of this limestone slab furnace are all that is left of The Great Western Iron Works. Great Western opened in 1855 and in a 34-week period produced 1,350 tons of iron. The production of high-quality iron required twenty bushels of charcoal, 800 pounds of ore, and 80 pounds of limestone.

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Pilot Knob

My husband and I had the opportunity to get away for the afternoon without our small children.  We set out for an exciting exploration of an area we had not had many opportunities to investigate:  Camden, Tenn.  We had heard that there was a wonderful place to view Kentucky Lake at an overlook called Pilot Knob.  Obviously, this was right up our alley.  What we didn’t know was that the Tennessee River Folklife Center was located nearby.

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