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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Back in October of 2015 I published an article called The Legend of Devils Garden. Devil's Garden is/was located in Hutch, Kentucky and for many years it was a popular swimming area. The Legend surrounding how the area got its name is one that seemed to be full of mystery and death. As I was researching the original article I could not find a lot of information. Then I stumbled across several websites that told the tale of accidental murder, a cover up, strange disappearances and finally after 15 years, a confession.  

There appears to be only one problem with this legendary tale, its just not true. I do not know where this fantastic tale originated or who started it, but it was an interesting story. At the time I had doubts about the authenticity of the story but it seemed believable just unverifiable and after all I read it on the internet so it had to be true, right?

I'm pleased to now be able to set the record straight and bring you the REAL story about Devil's Garden. It may not be filled with murder and mystery, but it is still very interesting.

Recently, the 2015 article caught fire, and somehow or another it caught the attention of the current owner of the popular swimming area, Mr. Barnett. We exchanged several emails, and I finally got the real story.
Photo courtesy of Wade Barnett. Taken in the 1950's
Mr. Barnett consulted with his mother to find out the date the swimming area was built. Mr. Barnett's grandfather, his mother's father, started building the pool in 1947. His name was Oscar.
Oscar was on the swim team at the Berea College and had decided to build an identical pool on his property and wanted to turn it into a pay to swim area and build a business.
The swimming area started out as a concrete pool that had a concessions stand and a "kiddie" pool. The kiddie pool area was very shallow and made for toddler age children.
Somewhere around 1972, Oscar built a new pool a few hundred feet from the original location, complete with the sand bottom and beach like sides. The design with a sand beach bottom pool was done for safety, capacity, and beauty reasons.

The original pool was operated by Oscar from 1947 to 1972 and the new pool was run from 1972 until 2003. What caused the closing of the pool can be linked to terrorism. Yes, you read it right, Terrorism. After the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, the federal government cracked down on the ability to obtain certain substances. Chlorine gas was used to chlorinate the water in the swimming area. This chlorine was a necessity for sanitary purposes. After the government crackdown, you could not obtain chlorine gas. Several other methods of "chlorinating" the pool were tried but none of them were cost effective.The pool was never re-opened after the summer of 2003. So see, terrorism has far reaching effects on our everyday lives, even if we are not in the direct target zone. There was a loss of jobs and of a popular gathering site. It is no comparison to the loss of lives, but it is a good example of the unseen effects of terrorism. Currently the swimming area is nothing more than a grew up pond with cattails and weeds growing everywhere.

But what about the origins of the name Devils Garden? 

Photo courtesy of Wade Barnett.
The name comes from an area of the Cumberland Mountain located behind the pool. This particular section of mountain was named the Devils Garden by the Civil War soldiers who had traveled through the area. The soldiers said anything that rocky and rough had to be the Devils Garden and the name just stuck.

Once the original pool was built, Oscar let several of the area children swim in it for free to
see how they liked it. He also asked the kids to help him name it. The kids liked the name of Devil's Garden since the pool was actually filled from the crystal clear branch water coming from the Cumberland Mountain located behind the pool. The water actually came from the Devil's Garden area of the mountain. So, really the local children named the pool.

Back in the good ol days, Oscar also ran a small grocery store located below the pool and it was called the Devils Garden Store.

Mr. Barnett, the Grandson of Oscar, actually ran Devil's Garden for several years after his Grandfather passed away.

During our emails, Mr. Barnett, assured me, concerning the "legend" story, that  no one ever drowned at Devil's Garden.

So, there you have it, the Real story behind the naming of Devil's Garden. It may not be as mysterious as the untrue legend but it is still very interesting to learn the true history of the area.

I would like to thank Mr. Wade Barnett for taking the time to share the original origins of Devil's Garden with me, without him this post would not have been possible.


This post by Thomas Marcum, Thomas is the founder/leader of the cryptozoology and paranormal research organization known as The Crypto Crew. Over 20 years experience with research and investigation of unexplained activity, working with video and websites. A trained wild land firefighter and a published photographer, and poet.

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  1. I used to swim there all the time up until the closing. It had a swing that you could do flips off of and he sand beach was really nice. Goddamn you Bin Laden

    1. My family lived back there. I went to the pool before it was a pond and after. The story of the murdered teen was around when I was a little girl.
      Then the story was he hit his head on the diving board and his friends buried him in the woods behind the pool.
      Oscar's wife, Delia used to make hamburgers and fried bologna sandwiches in the store.


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