Behind a rusty, broken gate at the top of the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi in Eagle Point Park (Clinton, Iowa) is an ancient set of steps plagued with tragedy and wrought with mysteries and fables. Locals call them the “Thousand Steps”, and they were built in the 1930’s along with the rest of the neighboring park to allow access from the top of the bluffs to the beach below. Although originally used frequently by families and other people looking for a scenic hike, the stairs soon fell into disuse and began to decay- becoming filled with holes, structural cracks, and covered in slippery moss, making them very dangerous to use.
But of course, nothing compels children to do something more than being told not to do it.
In the 1960’s, it soon became a right of passage to descend the stairs and live- which many children and adults did successfully, but many others did not. Dozens of children died attempting to master the stairs every year all the way the 70’s, when attempts finally slowed and with it, the death toll until it was down to one per year, where it remains at today.
However, an obviously dangerous set of steps does not a legend make – it’s what began to happen after the many deaths that make the steps so intriguing. Frequent reports of ghost sightings, the confirmed discovery of human remains and even rumors that the sight used to be a Native American “Indian” burial ground began to circulate and gain credibility over the years.
The steps still stand today, as dangerous and mystifying as they were 50 years ago. If none of the legends are true – the burial ground, the human remains, or the ghosts – the death toll still stands. More than 20 people lost their lives on those steps, and the question remains… Who is the next victim?
There is a site located in Quinton on the outskirts of Salem that was home to an African-American Church when slavery was still intact. The church was built in the woods by a pastor named Berry. It was burned down twice. The first time no harm was done to anyone, the second time the entire congregation died, including Berry. There are many stories surrounding the burned down church and remaining graveyard, which also became a teenage drinking spot along with a supposed cult meeting ground.
They say on many nights if you go out there, you can see the church fully intact and burning and you can see and hear the parishioners dancing and praising. [bctt tweet=”They also say you can hear metal scraping and people screaming. ” via=”no”]Berry himself was also buried here and his grave is marked by a stone with his name, but for some reason he was buried farther into the woods and no one can ever seem to find his gravesite. –Shannon (From http://weirdnj.com/weird-news/berrys-chapel/ )