Places in Alabama That Sound Too Terrifying To Visit!

April Killian

Alabama has some truly creepy sounding places. Some are towns and some are rural areas where the name dates back to early settlers - but all can be found currently on Google Maps. Would you take a midnight drive alone to some of these places? Take a look at the list and tell me what you think in the comments!

No Head Hollow
Located in rural Colbert County in Northwest Alabama. Comes complete with a "No Head Hollow Road." Reminds me of the proverbial and terrifying headless ghost story! Of course, it could be purely a geographical name referring to the headwaters of a creek - or it could be where some poor chap way back in history lost his noggin.

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Victorian Headless PortraitPublic domain (Wikimedia commons)

Murder Creek
Located in deep south Conecuh County, Alabama - almost to the Florida state line near a town called Burnt Corn (you can't make this up any better). Murder Creek has a place in history dating back to the Revolutionary War period. It was documented in the book: Albert James Pickett's History of Alabama, and Incidentally of Georgia and Mississippi, from the Earliest Period (1851). Here goes the story:

1788: About this time, a bloody transaction occurred in the territory of the present county of Conecuh. During the revolutionary war, Colonel McGillivray formed an acquaintance with many conspicuous royalists, and, among others, with Colonel Kirkland, of South Carolina. That person was at McGillivray's house, upon the Coosa, in 1788, with his son, his nephew, and several other gentlemen. They were on their way to Pensacola, where they intended to procure passports, and settle in the Spanish province of Louisiana. When they determined to leave his hospitable abode, McGillivray sent his servant [slave] to guide them to Pensacola. The presence of this servant would assure the Indians that they were friends, for it was dangerous to travel without the Chieftain's protection. Colonel Kirkland and his party had much silver in their saddle-bags. Arriving within a mile of a large creek, which flows into the Conecuh, they met a pack-horse party, about sunset, going up to the nation. They had been to Pensacola, on a trading expedition. This party consisted of a Hillabee Indian, who had murdered so many men, that he was called Istillicha, the Man-slayer—a desperate white man, who had fled from the States for the crime of murder, and whom, on account of his activity and ferocity, the Indians called the Cat—and a blood-thirsty negro, named Bob, the property of Sullivan, a Creek trader of the Hillabees. As soon as Colonel Kirkland and his party were out of sight, these scoundrels formed an encampment. The former went on, crossed the creek, and encamped a short distance from the ford, by the side of the trading path. Placing their saddle-bags under their heads, and reclining their guns against a tree, Kirkland and his party fell asleep. At midnight, the bloody wretches from the other side, cautiously came over, and, seizing the guns of Kirkland and his men, killed every one of them, except three negroes, one of whom was the servant of the great Chieftain, as before stated. Dividing the booty, the murderers proceeded to the Creek nation, and, when the horrid affair became known, Colonel McGillivray sent persons in pursuit of them. Cat was arrested; but the others escaped. Milfort was directed to convey the scoundrel to the spot where he had shed the blood of these men, and there to hang him, until he was dead. Upon the journey to that point, Milfort kept him well pinioned, and, every night, secured his legs in temporary stocks, made by cutting notches in pine logs, and clamping them together. Reaching the creek where poor Kirkland and his men were murdered, Cat was suspended to the limb of a tree, the roots of which were still stained with the blood of the unfortunate colonel and his companions. While he was dangling in the air, and kicking in the last agonies, the Frenchman stopped his motions with a pistol ball. Such is the origin of the name "Murder Creek. In counter narration, the Native American peoples who attacked the travelers most likely only did so to defend the enslaved people owned by the murdered travelers. Because of these Native Americans, three enslaved people became free men."

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Wooden Bridge Over Murder Creek near Burnt Corn, AlabamaBruins 79 (CC 4.0 Wikicommons)

Dismals Canyon
Don't let the name fool you on this one. There's nothing "dismal" or dreary about this place. Located in Franklin County, the Dismals Canyon is a beautiful and unique natural forested area with geographical features like no other place in the world. Where the depressing name came from is more of a mystery. According to the Encyclopedia of Alabama:

Dismals Canyon is a maze of meandering canyons, huge boulders, caves, and grottoes, all bisected by the flowing waters of Dismals Branch Creek. The area was designated as a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service in 1975. How the canyon got its name is uncertain. The early Scots-Irish settlers may have named the canyon after a similarly rugged region in Scotland known as "Dismals." A second theory suggests that the settlers named it thus simply for its dark labyrinths and gloomy passages.

"Gloomy" passages? Maybe - as the sunlight is heavily filtered through the thick canopy of old growth forest. Simply "the Dismals," as it's known locally, is also home to the Dismalite - and no, that's not some weird religious sect. The dismalite is the larvae of the Foxfire Fly: the only native bioluminescent insect in North America. These little guys glow in the dark with a bright bluish green hue to attract flying insects at night - which they trap in their own sticky goop and then eat. Carnivorous glowing larvae - only in Alabama...yep. The Dismals is a great place to visit and is open for daytime and nighttime tours where you can see the Dismalites glowing on the canyon walls. For more info, visit their website here.

Devil's Backbone
There are a couple of places in Alabama that go by this name, maybe more. Of the two I found, there is one in Colbert County in northwest Alabama and one in south Alabama known as the "Devil's Backbone Mining District" or "the Diggings" in Tallapoosa County. I've been to the Devil's Backbone in Colbert County and it's easy to see why this creepy name was given to the area. It's a rugged outcropping of rocks along a natural ridge - like a huge vertebrae sticking out of the earth. The early settlers had a great imagination, for sure, and this seemed to be a popular name back in the day for such rocky areas of high elevation. One search on Google maps and you can find hundreds of places across the United States named the "Devil's Backbone." There is also a Devil's Den in Alabama, a Devil's Gap, Devil's Step Island Gap, Devil's Hollow, and Devil's Branch. If it's true that the "Devil went down to Georgia," he must have stopped over in Alabama and named a few places on his way.

Coffin Hollow
This is yet another creepy name I found on Google Maps in Franklin County, Alabama. Although it's on the map, it seems that locals are not familiar with that name. It could be a throw back to early pioneer names - perhaps in reference to someone who built coffins or because there is an old graveyard in the area. I asked a local group on Facebook if anyone knew the history of the area. One local told me this: "I was raised on the property joining that land and have never heard that term before. I think Google Earth's landmarks could be off on that one." He could be correct - but it is on the map and sounds creepy, nonetheless! Do you know the history of this name? Leave a note in the comments!

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Old Coffin Shop at Gainesville, AlabamaAltairisfar (creative commons wikimedia)

Booger Tree
Okay, so maybe this isn't as creepy as it is just funny (juvenile humor alert)...but it is an actual place in Winston County, Alabama. According to official data it's an unincorporated community near Haleyville. The creepy factor could be related to the fact that southerners, back in the day, called anything spooky or unknown such a ghost or spirit a "booger." They also used "booger" to refer to a bigfoot type creature or the Alabama White Thang which has supposedly been spotted in the area. I wrote about this creature in a previous article "Unknown Cryptids, Creatures and Mystery Animals of Alabama" (read it here). Booger Tree, Alabama has it's own Facebook Page and thankfully the internet never fails us. Someone commented there, "This is snot the type of place you usually go." There is also a Booger Hole and Bugger Bottom in Alabama. Take your "pick."

Screamer
Sounds like a great horror film, right? Screamer is another unincorporated community (we have a lot of those down here) found in south Alabama in Henry County close to the Georgia State line. According to WTVY News 4, "It’s an area rich in history and a present-day recreational mecca." But what about the crazy name? Digital Alabama lists two reasons: firstly, sound carries extremely well in the area and early settlers could hear the Native Americans around them easily. Secondly, the name could come from residents hearing the sounds of steamboat whistles from the nearby Chatahoochie River. The real origin of the name, like the number of licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop, the world may never know!

Dark Hollow
Sounds creepy and mysterious. I found several places in Alabama named Dark Hollow. There is one in my home county of Lauderdale and one near Crossville, Alabama. The one near Crossville seems to have a very nice camping, hiking and recreation area. Check out their Facebook page here. I see nothing dark - just typical beautiful outdoor Alabama scenery. The name, however, would make for a great mystery or horror novel!

Pushmataha
You may wonder why this one made my list. First, some background: Pushmataha is yet another unincorporated community in Alabama. It's located in Southwestern Alabama in Choctaw County almost on the Mississippi State line. It was named after the famed Native America Chief of the Choctaw, Pushmataha. According to wikipedia, "Many historians considered him the "greatest of all Choctaw chiefs". It also says "Pushmataha was highly regarded among Native Americans, Europeans, and white Americans, for his skill and cunning in both war and diplomacy." Now for the creepy part. Interpretations vary as to the meaning of Pushmataha, but scholars agree that the primary translation of the name is associated with a connotation of "ending"...as in "death." In fact, many scholars interpret his name as "the messenger of death." That's why it's on my list!

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Pushmataha Choctaw Chief 1824Charles Bird King (public domain)

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April Killian is a native of Florence, Alabama and writes about her home state of Alabama and the Shoals area. She is the mom of many pets and 3 adult children. Along with writing, she sells vintage items online and conducts estate sales in her area. She is a lifelong supporter of charity work, loves life, and tries to be a positive force in this world in everything she does! Her writing passions include: family and social issues, nature, humor, the paranormal and anything interesting or weird! Click on "follow" to see more of her articles in the future! https://www.buymeacoffee.com/Aprilkillian

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