Backbone Ridge

Published on 26 June 2023 at 12:30

Over the hill

Back a hundred years

Grandpa told a story

Of Backbone Ridge


Some people met

They were called a cult

They found a guy

And cut his throat


They went right through

His head fell down

Laid in the woods

‘Till the kids came ‘round


The kids found something

Shaped like a ball

Kicked and played

Until the dinner bell called


The police got word

Of the sin that wrought

The sheriff rode down

And the leader he shot


The sheriff went to trial

For that big loud blast

But he got off innocent

“‘Cause he couldn’t’ve ridden his horse that fast.”

Behind the Poem...Legends

*WARNING - This story is a little gory.*

This is a story that my father-in-law told my husband and I, and his grandfather told him. Backbone Ridge is an area behind my father-in-law's childhood home, where this story takes place. Why landmarks can't have happy names like "Rainbow Ridge" or "Pretty Overlook Ridge"? We talked about it, we don't know. But it sounds like this one is justified. 

I may have some details off, but the thought is that sometime around a hundred years ago (we're assuming given this story goes 3 generations back) there was a cult that hung around there for years. They did all the cult-ish sounding things like sacrifice animals and yell and dance around fires. One night, instead of an animal, they decided to use a man for their sacrifice - they kidnapped him, cut off his head, and burned the body. For the next day or two, the kids that would go play back there poked at it and kicked around the head on the ground, as you do. 

When word got back home and the police department found out, the sheriff went right down to his house, grabbed his gun and took off on his horse. He met the leader of the cult at his door, shot him, and rode back home. Someone found the dead man, and immediately went back to the police office with it.

The sheriff was soon put on trial, but the jury reasoned that there was not enough time between when the officers found out about the sacrifice and when someone found the leader dead for the sheriff to have ridden there and back. Either the sheriff took off galloping hard, or the jury didn't mind his deed all that much (more likely a combination of the two). 

And that's the end. The sheriff was let off innocent, and the man's death was justified. So, how much of that story do I believe? No idea. But my husband's family has all KINDS of stories about this town. They've been living here for at least 4 generations now. It's pretty neat to be able to drive by somewhere and have a story behind almost every spot. And I'm glad we're getting to learn some of them (like this one) before they're forgotten.

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Liberty Jensen • Writer

Liberty is a donations manager, finance student, and full-time drinker of coffee. She enjoys poetry, her cats, and spending time with her husband.

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