Mental Floss

The Quick 10: 10 Evil Destinations

Stacy Conradt
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Looking to plan a vacation this summer but still not sure where to go? Why not schedule some decidedly devilish destinations? If nothing else, it will give you a ton of great puns to go on for the rest of the year. Just imagine the possibilities "“ "I went through Hell this summer." "You should go to Hell." "I've been to Hell on earth, my friends." Comic gold.

1. Hell, Arizona. If you're looking for Hell, you can find it between Yuma and the California state border, but don't expect to find anyone there: Hell is a ghost town. Maybe its citizens wised up?

2. Hell, California, is another Hell that no longer exists. It used to be located in Riverside County, California. Although its residents were few, California played up their connection to the devil's den with punny glee. Newspapers and weather forecasters watched for the days when L.A. was particularly warm so they could say, "L.A. is hotter than Hell today!" and then report the temperatures in each respective town. And road signs used to reference it, including one that warned there were 100 miles of desert between your current location and Indio, California "“ "Right through Hell!"

michigan
michigan /

4. Hell isn't just in the U.S. "“ there's one in Norway as well. It doesn't mean what we think "“ it is thought to stem from the Old Norse word for "overhang" or "cliff cave." Miss Universe 1990 attracted attention when she billed herself as "The Beauty Queen from Hell," although she actually hailed from a nearby town. Still "“ pretty awesome.

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hell /

6. If Hell is too much for you, there's always Half Hell, North Carolina, in Brunswick County.

7. And if "Hell" isn't convincing enough, there's Hell for Certain, Kentucky. It's an unincorporated area that is actually named Dryhill, but since Hell for Certain Creek runs through it, that's what everyone calls it. It's a coal mining community that doesn't find great joy in the name like Hell, Michigan does "“ to them, it's just a name.

8. Satan's Kingdom is apparently a state park also known as Nepaug State Forest. According to NewEnglandTowns.org, it got its name when "An inhabitant of the town invited one of his neighbors, who lived within the limits of this district, to go and hear Mr. Marsh, the first minister who was settled in the town. He was prevailed upon to go to church in the forenoon. In the course of his prayer, Mr. March, among other things, prayed that Satan's kingdom might be destroyed. It appears that the inhabitant of this district took the expression in a literal and tangible sense, having probably never heard the expression used but in reference to the district wherein he resided. Being asked to go to meeting in the afternoon, he refused, stating that Mr. Marsh had insulted him; 'for blast him,' said he, 'when he prayed for the destruction of Satan's kingdom, he very well knew all my interests lay there.'"

davolja
davolja /

10. Finally, this one isn't so bad "“ it's just Purgatory. Purgatory, Maine, that is, in the southern half of the state. No word on why it's called Purgatory, but I'm sure it's a welcome respite from Hell.

So, what weird town names are near you? We have What Cheer, Iowa (said like "whacheer") and when my husband and I lived in Pennsylvania we weren't too far from Bird-in-Hand, Blue Ball and Intercourse (like a 12-year-old, I totally sent all of my friends postcards from Intercourse).

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