Photo courtesy of Myamericanodessey
If you've ever been to North Dakota, you might've realized it's not the busiest, most exciting state in the country--unless you know where to look for some seriously messed up history, and of course, ghostly legends. North Dakota has many different urban legends about ghost sightings, underground haunted tunnels at the state university, hauntings on the air force base. However, the most popular paranormal rumor to come of North Dakota would have to be that there's a gateway to hell in Tagus, North Dakota, complete with hell hounds and a demon train that runs at night.
Yeah, it's a lot, but a very interesting story, nonetheless.
The sleepy town of Tagus, North Dakota was founded way back in 1900, forty miles west of Minot, which would later become the home of one of the largest nuke bases in the world. Originally called Wallace (but later renamed to Tagus so as not to mix up the town with Wallace, Idaho), this small railroad town had a max population of 140 people in 1940. Nowadays, it is mostly a ghost town with many abandoned buildings, creepy car yards, and a an old church under which is a direct stairway to Hell.
Any local of Tagus will tell you all the suffering this poor town has been through. It has been the site of a lot of vandalism, apparent devil worshipping that was the cause of the old church in town burning to the ground in 2001. The story goes, Tagus, for whatever reason, was the place to go if you wanted to party. One Tagus local even tells about a time back in 1980's how three hundren kids showed up on Halloween night to celebrate by trashing the town before the sheriff put a stop to it. The old church was also said to be the home of satanists who performed rituals through the '80's and '90's. Human sacrifice, bestiality, slaughtered babies and kittens---horrible things happened inside the church.
Many people say there used to be an upside-down cross scrawled in paint on the door, and inside the church there was a stairway that spiraled down into the ground---all the way to Hell.
Visiting Tagus and finding the site of the staircase is a difficult task these days. Though Tagus is mostly abandoned, the residents are fiercely protective of their land and anyone who might want to come back to vandalize property, the kind of activity Tagus is a hotbed for. Locals have even been said to chase people out of town. The land where the church once stood is now plowed over, so it's tricky to tell where one could hear the screams of the tormented, but if you stand close to the site, legend has it, you can.
Also, if you're brave enough to stick around, it's said you can catch a glimpse of a ghost train come through, carrying glowing tombstones. Be careful, though. Legend says hell hounds wait for anyone who visits, ready to tear them into ribbons.
Honestly, it's hard to say if the stories are true. I feel, in these cases, it's a question of going to check out the situation and experience the phenomenon yourself--if there is any. Many curious ghost hunters still visit Tagus and the site of the old church. If you do go visit Tagus, though, please remember to be mindful of the locals and the property. Over the years, they've dealt with enough, and you might get some North Dakotans sending hell hounds after you.
7 Chillingly Haunted Places in North Dakota | Ghosts and Ghouls (ghostsnghouls.com)
The Legends of Tagus, North Dakota | Ghosts of North Dakota
The Gateway to Hell in Tagus, North Dakota | My American Odyssey
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