Devil's Backbone and Bake Oven

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The Devil’s Backbone, a rocky ridge about a half mile long, sits adjacent to the Devil’s Bake Oven, a larger rock about 100 feet tall near the river’s edge. The formations have been used as landmarks, lookout points and hiding places throughout history. River pirates used it as a hideout in the 1700s and early 1800s. Later, the Bake Oven was the site of an iron works and the homes of its officials, and the setting for a ghost story. The superintendent’s daughter fell in love with a man of whom her father disapproved, and he forbade her to see him and confined her to the house. She pined away for weeks and finally died of despair. Her spirit is said to linger at the site of her house. Witnesses have seen her misty apparition and heard moans, wails and screams. Their house was demolished and its wood was used to build a railway station, but afterward her ghost continued to appear.

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Geographic Information

Brunkhorst Ave
Grand Tower, IL 62942
United States

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37.64210765331864, -89.51453590401803
Jackson County, Illinois
Nearest Towns:
Grand Tower, IL (1.4 mi.)
Altenburg, MO (4.0 mi.)
Gorham, IL (5.5 mi.)
Frohna, MO (5.9 mi.)
Old Appleton, MO (11.3 mi.)
Alto Pass, IL (11.9 mi.)
Pocahontas, MO (11.9 mi.)
Murphysboro, IL (13.0 mi.)
Longtown, MO (14.3 mi.)
Harrison, IL (14.4 mi.)


Please note: It is your responsibility to acquire appropriate permissions before investigating any location listed on this site. Private property should be respected at all times, as should all posted signs concerning trespassing, hours of operation and other local regulations. Many "ghost hunters" have been arrested because they failed to contact property owners and/or local authorities ahead of time.

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Comments (2)

  1. Live nearby and end up there at least once a year and have slept there. A wonderful area to camp or picnic. Never heard or saw anything unusual.

  2. Moved nearby just over a year ago. The first trip to Devil’s Backbone park I made was in broad daylight but I was overwhelmed with a spooky sensation. Hairs on my arms n neck stood up and I experienced periodic chills. Later when I told a long time resident about my trip I finished my tale saying I felt some thing or things maybe there. He very seriously said u bet they r and they have been a long time now. He went onto explain that castle rock, used by lewis& clark wasn’t the only one of its kind. There used to be a few of the rock formations across the river. He told us that when the explorer ships slowed to pass between those rocks, the Indians/pirates lay in wait on top and ambushed, robbing, killing many innocent people there. I believe it as the energy here is so strong.

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Disclaimer: The stories posted here are user-submitted and are, in the nature of "ghost stories," largely unverifiable. makes no claims that any of the statements posted here are factually accurate. The vast majority of information provided on this web site is anecdotal, and as such, should be viewed in the same light as local folklore and urban legends.