Genesee County Legends: Devil's Rock
Submitted by Philip Anselmo on December 5, 2008 - 5:11pm
As one legend has it, Satan, the Lord of Darkness, had somehow escaped from the underworld and was wreaking havoc upon the earth, surely committing dastardly acts of temptation and damnation and otherwise maligning the terrestrial souls of the time. Fortunately for us, "a patrol of angels nabbed him" and chained him to a massive rock a mile or two outside Batavia on what is now Route 5. Not to be done in, the Devil ran in circles around the rock, using the friction of the chain to break his bonds, which he did. For proof, one need only look at the rock which is worn down around its middle where the chain is supposed to have dug through the mineral. Once free of his bonds, the Devil escaped and, to our knowledge, has not been seen in these parts since.
Genesee County Historian Sue Conklin compiled information on this legend and others about the since-dubbed, Devil's Rock, from a pair of Daily News articles dating back to 1919 and 1950. This mysterious rock can still be seen, along with its mythic chain, about a hundred feet from the department of transportation site in Stafford. Both articles are in her book Supernatural Genesee, which can be purchased at the Holland Land Office Museum.
More scientific and less credulous minds explain the rock's shape as resulting from geological causes. A fascinating letter to the editor of the Daily News from 1919—included in Conklin's book—does just that. Its author, John Gillard, tells us that we need to "go back hundreds of thousands of years ago, to the Tertiary Era." Gillard then explains the rock as the result of glacial shifts at that time.
Yet another theory attributes the rock's origins to a fallen meteor.
What have you heard? Where do you think it came from?