Collinsville, Illinois. It’s a small town on the edge of nowhere that has a wicked secret.
Collinsville is a small, rural town in Southern Illinois. With a population of 24,000, the town has its share of travelers coming off the highway and into its quaint downtown area in search of rest or a meal. Driving down Main Street, it’s all American flags and ice cream cones, until you get to the outskirts of town.
Main Street runs directly into Lebanon Road. If you turn left onto Lebanon Road., an increasingly wooded landscape and dilapidated houses will escort you to Collinsville’s dark little secret: The Seven Gates to Hell.
The Seven Gates to Hell is a local urban legend that states that if you drive under these seven abandoned railroad trestles in order, at midnight, hell hounds will greet you and escort you into Hell itself. That’s all well and good, but here’s the thing… These trestles are not all right next to each other, and it is very easy to get lost in these twisted backroads.
“Gates” 1-4 are relatively close together, with only two sharp turns, while “gates” 5-7 are quite a distance away from the others. If you take the challenge, be aware that the “gates” are not all on the same road. You will turn onto four different roads to go through all the “gates” in the correct order to complete the challenge. (See map below).
Disclaimer: Please be careful! These are extremely narrow, one-lane country roads with drop-offs, hairpin turns and blind corners. If you decide to take the drive at night, please be aware that it is pitch black on those roads. Take it slow.
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Here’s the other thing… The Seven Gates to Hell is the local legend, but the missing persons and bodies found in the corn and bean fields near the Seven Gates is a very real phenomenon. According to the Illinois State Police, a total of 11 bodies have been found scattered along Lebanon Road. Dates range from the early 1980s until June 2020.
The victim of most notoriety is that of Jane Doe. She was found only forty feet away from Lebanon Road in a bean field on July 20, 1990. Her body had been mutilated, her reproductive organs missing. Most recently, the body of a teenage girl was found hanging from a tree near “gates” 3 and 4. Her body, much like Jane Doe’s, had been ritualistically mutilated.
The word Satanism is whispered throughout the town. The pervading theory is that these murders are linked to the Satanist holiday of The Grand Climax. The Grand Climax takes place from the first week of June to the last week of July every year. They found all 11 bodies in the summer months. I’m not saying it’s true, but it makes for an interesting theory.
That’s not all, either. There is what the locals refer to as “the death house”. Located directly after “gate” 4 on the left, this house is supposedly the epicenter of Satanist activity in the area. The history of the house itself is unknown, although it is said that a family was brutally murdered there some years ago. Signs and gates leading up to the property strongly suggest that you stay away. The driveway is blocked by a rusted gate and the house is not visible from the road.
If you’re brave enough, you can park your car in the mouth of the driveway (be sure to move your car completely off the road because these roads are extremely narrow and locals drive fast around those hairpin turns we had talked about earlier), move around the gate, and climb the hill up to the house. As of this writing, the house is still standing.
Collinsville, Illinois has a dark little secret. If you choose to explore the area for yourself, please be careful. You never know who or what is waiting for you on those lonely roads.