Alright, folks. It’s time to get into the spooky, fun-filled spirit of Halloween. Instead of focusing on the big metros that often grace our lists, we wanted to spotlight some of the smaller, unusually named communities that have haunting names.
But instead of just listing these small towns, we’ve gone a step further by explaining how (most of) these towns got their names. Some will frighten you. Okay, that might be a stretch. At any rate, this here is prime (albeit random) Halloween knowledge that you’ll want to share on October 31st!
- Bad Axe, MI: Back in 1861, two surveyors set up camp in the area and came across a badly damaged axe. To mark the site, they made a sign that read “Bad Axe Camp”, hence the city’s name was born and was officially established in 1905.
- Bat Cave, NC: This is the home of Bluerock Mountain, otherwise known as Bat Cave Mountain. It features a cave that houses several species of – you guessed it – bats! Fun fact: This mountain is reportedly the “largest known granite fissure cave in North America”. Sorry, it’s not open to the public.
- Black Creek, GA: The origins of this tiny Savannah town have been buried six feet under, which is far beyond Google’s reach, apparently.
- Casper, WY: Commonly referred to as “The Oily City”, Casper’s name originated from Lieutenant Caspar Collins who was killed in 1865 by enemy forces. Nope, that’s not a typo, folks, at least not on our part. The change in spelling is due to a typo that was mistakenly submitted when the town name was officially registered with the state of Wyoming.
- Cape Fear, NC: Widely recognized as the name of a 1962 thriller (and its 1991 Martin Scorsese remake), Cape Fear is a tiny town halfway between the larger metros of Raleigh and Fayetteville. Cape Fear’s name dates back to a 1585 expedition in which a ship became stuck behind the cape. The crew was afraid they’d wreck, giving birth to the name Cape Fear.
- Dead River Township, ME: Town history: Missing. Reward: Non-existent. Sorry.
- Deadwood, OR: This small town takes its name from nearby Deadwood Creek, an area known for a series of wildfires caused by dead timber snags along the water.
- Frankenstein, MO: Sorry to burst your bubble, but this small town does not take its name from the popular square-headed monster. It’s actually named after Gottfried Franken in honor of the land he donated to build a church back in 1890.
- Pumpkin Center, CA: We’ve uncovered the grim truth. How odd that this town is just 13 minutes away from Bakersfield? RIP, pumpkins.
- Sleepy Hollow, NY: Located on the coast of the Hudson River just minutes from White Plains, Sleepy Hollow was known as North Tarrytown up until 1996. At that time, residents voted for the name change in honor of local author Washington Irving’s story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”.
- Slaughter, LA: The name of this small and fairly new Baton Rouge town comes from an award-winning fictional novel by Michael Ondaatje. Buddy Bolden: Coming Through Slaughter, is largely based on the legendary New Orleans jazz musician.
- Slaughters, KY: A simple bet is how this town earned its name. Augustus G. Slaughter won a card game, ultimately winning the right to name the town as well as the local post office where he served as postmaster from 1860 to 1865.
- Tombstone, AZ: During the late 1800s, U.S. Army scout Ed Schieffelin searched the area looking for “valuable ore samples”. Around the same time, three army officers were killed by Indians. Schieffelin’s friend told him, “The only rock you will find out there is your own tombstone.” Ed continued his search, eventually locating a stash of silver ore. He named this spot Tombstone, which became the name of the town. It’s since been dubbed “The Town Too Tough to Die”.
Would you ever move to a town with a spooky name?