Also published in the book "Weird Missouri"
ZOMBIE ROAD: Where Urban Legends Ring True

Within the urban sprawl of St. Louis lies a remote area called “Zombie Road”.  Urban Legend tells a
variety of eerie tales which include being host to ritualistic and occult practices which spawned
inhuman and demonic entities while other tales tell of those who met their peculiar demise and still
roam this desolate road in the afterlife.  

With centuries of erosion forging a transversal path through the bluffs along the “River of Death”, so
named by those who use to call this their home centuries ago, this area has seen many come through
its natural carved corridors to a crossable ford in the River below.  Its flint enriched bluffs offered an
abundance of the raw materials necessary to make the tools and weapons needed for survival
through time.  

Some say this is called Zombie Road because the railroad workers who once worked here rise from
their graves at times to roam about.  Some insist that they have heard old time music, seen anomalous
moving lights and other ghostly sightings from that forgotten era.  Another tale tells of a patient
nicknamed “Zombie” who escaped from a nearby mental facility never to be seen again.  His blood
soaked gown was later found lying upon the old road later named after him.  

Other tales include one of an original settler who met their demise upon the railroad tracks.  Another
includes a pioneer who lost his wife in a poker game then went back to his homestead and took his
own life.  Many still report seeing these lonely spirits even today.

During the age of Prohibition a nearby town housed speakeasies and the summer homes of well
known gangsters.  Tales tell of individuals who were dealt a bad hand by such public enemies
resulting in their permanent placement within the ground or bordering river to never be seen again.

The bordering river has tragically delivered many to the other side through the years.  Children and
adults alike have taken their last living breath within its dangerous waters before being found
washed up on its shores.  Even during this new millennium, several children met their demise one
day within its banks.  

The railroad still shows “Death hath no mercy” as many have met their final fate upon its tracks.  Local
lifelong residents can still remember multitudes of tragic occurrences dating back to the 1950’s.  One
of these occurred in the 1970’s when two teens were struck by an oncoming train.  Some of the local
residents were used in search parties to find the body parts scattered about the area.

During the 1990’s a mother and her five year old child were crossing a bridge when an oncoming train
met them.  The mother’s last action was pushing her five year old child off the bridge.  The engineer
was able to stop the train and save the child.  Although the mother died, this is still one of the
happiest endings to a story this area will provide  

More recent past has seen this area become refuge for those wanting privacy to practice the occult
and other rituals.  Who can really know what true doorways to the darkness or unknown were opened
here.  This area also became a beacon for teens looking for thrills.  In the 1970’s a group of teens
engaged in a practice called “huffing”.  While using a can of cooking spray to “huff” one of the boys
fell unconscious and took his last living breath.  Other such drug related deaths have been noted as
well over the years.

During the 1960’s a couple in their late teens were on top of the bluffs overlooking the road below.  
The male somehow lost footing and during the fall caught his face in a fork of a small tree growing out
from the side of the bluff.  His face and scalp remained while the rest of him fell to his death upon the
road below.  Others have also met their demise from the high bluffs above.

The area has also seen its share of suicides and murders.  In the 1970’s a hunter stumbled across a
car still running at the end the road.  Closer inspection revealed a hose running from the exhaust
pipe to the inside of the car with the driver slumped over the steering wheel.  

One can agree that there is no lack of legends or tragedies surrounding this area which can explain
the bizarre and eerie encounters of those who visit.  I was one who became truly intrigued and
attracted by such lore and was determined to either prove or disprove the Urban Legends
surrounding it.

Missouri Paranormal Research (now a division of Paranormal Task Force, Inc.), the paranormal
investigative team I belong to, investigated this area on several occasions.  Our visits converted
many true skeptics into true believers of the paranormal.  I was one of those the first time and even
remarked “This was going to be like Winnie the Pooh looking for a ghost in 100 Acre Woods” prior to
descending onto the old road.

Within an hour several people observed a human sized shadow figure as it descended upon them
from a small bluff nearby.  It then ran onto the road, stopped, then disappeared into the darkness of
the night.  Throughout the night others heard unexplainable voices, were touched by the unseen and
witnessed the unexplainable.  This was one night that everyone could conclude that indeed some
Urban Legends actually are real!

Gregory Myers, President
Paranormal Task Force

ZOMBIE ROAD:  Where Urban Legends Ring True
by Gregory Myers
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