The stories associated with the old roadway nicknamed “Zombie Road” are many. Located outside of St. Louis, the original name of the road was Lawler Ford Road and it was constructed in the late 1860s. It was originally built to gain access to the Meramec River and the railroad tracks located alongside. It started to be referred to as Zombie Road as early as the 1950s.
When the road was used more frequently, the narrow, winding lane running around two miles through dense woods still had an eerie vibe. Strange shadows and areas of half-light together with the inability to see what was coming along the next curve and the narrow width made it a dangerous bit of road.
Eventually, it fell into disrepair and was abandoned and mostly unused. The secluded location made the Lawler Ford Road a destination in the 1950s as a local hangout for area teenagers for parties, drinking and making out.
Today, most of those who come to Zombie Road come for a different reason. Over the years, the road gained a reputation for being haunted. Based on the legends and stories, those with supernatural curiosities began to visit the area.
One popular story, and the reason for the name, is that of the “Zombie killer,” a creepy guy who lived in a shack in the woods and would attack young lovers looking for a place to be alone.
As the years passed, the chilling stories continued, including ghosts, vanishings and strange noises.
One of the most spine-tingling may be the frequently re-told story about the ghost of a person who was hit by a train and now haunts the area. This legend becomes more chilling with the real story of Della Hamilton McCullough.
Mrs. McCullough was the wife of a local judge who was hit by a train and died in 1876. Since there are no other records of anyone being killed by a train in this area at that time, it is widely believed that Mrs. McCullough may just be the actual famed ghost from the legend.
The area around Glencoe once served as a resort community until the mid-1940s. A lot of the houses were converted for year-round residents but some were left abandoned and decaying. These ruins contribute to the creepiness of the road, and may be the former homes of apparitions that visitors encounter.
Near the old shacks and ramshackle homes located along the beach area at the end of the trail, one ghost sighting includes that of a mysterious old woman who yells at passersby from a house. Upon investigation, the woman is never there.
There was another story of sightings of a specter believed to be the ghost of a boy who fell from the bluffs along the river and died and whose body was never found.
A long history of the original Indian tribes who once lived in the area also explain why sightings of Native America ghosts have been reported, in fact it is possible that at least parts of Zombie Road originated as an Indian trail.
In the late 1800s train tracks had been extended along the river, passing through what would later be Glencoe.
While only a few remnants of the original railroad remain, the old lines can still be seen at the end of Zombie Road. Here lies the setting of the stories of the railroad ghost.
Several accounts of a translucent figure in white have been reported. The figure walks up the abandoned line and then disappears, or it glows with a bluish-white light and disappears upon approach. Could this be Della McCullough?
Besides the wandering spirit that is believed to be Della McCullough, it is possible that some of the other restless ghosts may be those of accident victims along the rail lines. Over the years the sharp bends in the tracks at Glencoe were the site of frequent derailments, to the point of that part of the service being discontinued.
While unsettling feelings and the sensation of being watched that many report could be explained away by the spooky surroundings alone, the eerie sounds, inexplicable noises and disembodied footsteps cannot completely be ignored.
So how do you find Zombie Road? It is located in Wildwood (formerly Ellisville, and Glencoe), and can be reached by taking Manchester Road out west of the city to Old State Road South. When you turn down Ridge Road to the Ridge Meadows Elementary School, you will find the road just to the left of the school. Although for years it was marked with a sign, today only a chained gate marks the entrance.
Now paved and remade into a modern day bike trail and jogging path, the notoriously popular 2-mile stretch is now known simply as Rock Hollow Trail.
Check out this great video by YouTube user, Kyle J. Wood's DarkCastle2012…
Whether or not you believe this road is haunted, would you be brave enough to walk down it at night?