The First Gate of Hell by Star Cat
For a nice little town in southern Pennsylvania, York seems to be unusually blessed with portals to the underworld. One local legend speaks of Seven Gates of Hell in a wood on the outskirts of a town that some signs call Hallam and others call Hellam. If you go through these seven gates, you will go straight to hell, they say, but they insist that nobody has ever made it past the fifth gate.
The gates begin in the woods off Trout Run Road, which was once the scene of a tragic asylum fire. But if, as the church tells us, the road to hell is wide and well-traveled, and Weird PA has some doubts about this York county portal. The first gate is hard enough to see, standing as it does half-hidden by the undergrowth at a bend in the road. As if to confuse the issue, there are two other gates right beside it. But it’s the middle one, a buckled iron pipe affair with a loose, rotten frame, that they call the First Gate. The other two are merely distractions. And the remaining six gates? Well, here’s the catch: Gates Two through Seven are invisible during the day. But by the half-light of night, you can find them by squeezing past the first gate and tramping through the undergrowth of the protected forest behind it. (Of course, in the dark, it’s hard to see even the no trespassing signs liberally posted on trees, so the gates will be an even more obscure goal.) To your left, you find a large circular clearing that at least one coven of Wiccans use for their meetings and ceremonies. The gates stand deeper in the woods.