Dozens of drownings in the nearby Meramec River over the past century cemented stories that the path and its surroundings harbored bad luck. In the 1950s a myth surfaced that a mental patient named Zombie met his end on Lawler Ford Road after escaping from a nearby asylum; only his bloody garments were ever found.

Soon after, the trail earned the nickname "Zombie Road" — a hangout for teens to stage late-night parties. And in true slasher-film fashion, some of those teens allegedly experienced bizarre and gruesome deaths along the trail — including getting struck by unseen trains, falling from cliff sides and even one tale of a high school student who suffocated after huffing cooking spray.

A schlocky 2007 documentary on Syfy titled Children of the Grave earned the trail even more notoriety. In the film paranormal investigators present photos and videos of "shadow people" who stalk the edges of the trail. The documentary claims that these shadow people are the spirits of children who "suffered horrible, horrible deaths down there," possibly at an orphanage or asylum for the mentally ill.

Mark Twain's Ghost's Ghostwriter
Tim Lane
Mark Twain's Ghost's Ghostwriter
Monkey Business in the Lemp Family
Tim Lane
Monkey Business in the Lemp Family

But there is no record of an asylum ever being located nearby, and the closest orphanage, a Catholic home that burned to the ground in 1885, was located several miles away. Newspapers reported no fatalities from the fire.

In 2010 the trail (accessible near Ridge Meadows Elementary School in Ellisville) was paved and renamed Rock Hollow Trail. But that hasn't kept thrill seekers from congregating along the path. Between January and Halloween of last year, St. Louis county police reportedly issued 83 tickets to people trespassing after-hours along the roadway.

Greg Myers, an investigator with the St. Louis-based Paranormal Task Force (and one of the ghost hunters featured in Children of the Grave), says he's starting to think some of the stories surrounding the path — such as the one about a mass grave of children hidden away in the forest — are pure urban myth. But that doesn't mean there isn't a good deal of supernatural activity on Zombie Road.

"Some areas, environmentally, just keep people there for various reasons," Myers says. "Zombie Road is an interesting place. There's been so much tragedy there over the years, you can see why it releases these energies. It could be vortex or a portal to the other side."

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12 comments
mortimerhorowitz
mortimerhorowitz

I drove down Bubblehead Road one night and some crazy old naked bastard came running out of the woods with ranch dressing all over his ass. He ran up to my window and started beating off until he shot his load all over my car. He then ran back into the woods screaming "woooooooo" like Ric Flair over and over again. Stay away from Bubblehead Road unless you want some crazy old naked bastard to shoot his load all over your vehicle.

JayAitch
JayAitch

When I was a kid we lived on Broadway and Cherokee, right across from the Lemp Mansion and Cherokee Cave; the brewery was by then the International Shoe Company factory.  We walked past the mansion every day going to Shepard Elementary, where I went to school with two kids whose family lived in the servant's quarters on the Lemp grounds.  We moved in 1961; our house and most of the neighborhood on the east edge of Broadway went under I-55 not long after.  The kids always said there was something creepy about the mansion but never anything specific, just a weird atmosphere.  There were places ON the grounds their parents told them to never, never go near.     

rickeybrock
rickeybrock

Interesting story and lots of fun, regardless true or not!

gregory.echelmeier
gregory.echelmeier

There is rock climbing at Zombie Road! Creepy, freaky and desperately difficult bouldering, plus some scary cliffs too! Great article! -Greg E

DeeBee
DeeBee

I graduated from Francis Howell in 1970,  back when it was way out there by itself in the stix, half abandoned Army barracks and half Busch Wildlife woods, and I have absolutely no recollection, none, of ever hearing anybody say anything about Molly Crenshaw.  I was quite active on campus and knew all sorts of people who were into magic and all sorts of witchy stuff (this was the era of Black Sabbath, Zepplin and Charlie Manson) being a teen-bohemian much into the art, theatre and music programs -- and no one ever mentioned anything about a Molly Crenshaw.  First I heard of it, RFT.      

smdrpepper
smdrpepper

Seems as if some have not noticed the meaning of this article.  Its not praising the harassment to the families but rather it shows some of the urban legends and ghost stories from the St Louis area.  Personally I find some of this fascinating to see where some of these stories came from.  I spent a portion of my life in House Springs and that place is nothing more than a bunch of lost graveyards.

anonymous
anonymous

Loved learning about the past of St. Louis, real and/or imagined. Well done, and lots of fun to read about these legends. Thanks for the holiday treat!

christmas
christmas

I have lived in the Bubblehead house for 8 years.  I didn't know about the legend when we bought the home.  People come by at all hours of the day and night to honk, curse at the "Bubbleheads" and generally be a pain.  I'm sure it is fun for you but what would you think if someone did that to you or your parents home?  It also sickens me to hear that the Crenshaw family has to remove their loved one's grave stone to protect her final resting place.  Try and put yourself in these situations and have some compassion for others. 

mjohns2
mjohns2

The whole Molly Crenshaw story is sad. If I were a Crenshaw descendent, I would be angry and appalled. Your sentence, "None of that stopped the fun" is callous and disrespectful. I speak as a former reporter and journalism major who cares about the reputation and ethics of my profession.

xmas
xmas

 @smdrpepper

 I understand this but it also draws attention to the legends and then more people come down and harrass us.

JamesMadison
JamesMadison topcommenter

 @mjohns2 , it is the new RFT. Mock what is different. Do not confuse journalism and reporting with what the RFT is doing. The RFT is only entertainment catering to a smaller and smaller crowd of adolescents.

 
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