Haunting Tale of Devil’s Footprint Lives on in Ipswich, Massachusetts
Editor's note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England contributor and may contain the individual's views, opinions, or personal experiences.
Ipswich, Massachusetts, is known worldwide for its sweet and tender clams. You can find Ipswich clams on menus of fine restaurants around the world.
Ipswich is also known for having one of the most beautiful beaches in the country, Crane Beach, and for more 1st period homes than any other town in America.
However, there's something else Ipswich is known for, and the story has been retold thousands of times to every person who grew up in Ipswich or knew somebody from this grand old town.
It's the story of the Devil's Footprint on a rock in the Village Green, high atop a hill overlooking downtown's Market Street.
As the story goes, according to HistoricIpswich.org, a traveling evangelist from England was making his second stop in Ipswich's 1st Church back in 1740. His name was George Whitefield, and he was quite cross-eyed, but he sure could preach with brimstone and fire.
Whitefield was so loud in his sermon, that people came from all over town to hear his message of the evil Satan. About 2,000 people fill the church, which couldn't fit so many, so Whitefield took his homily outside and stood on a rock for all to hear.
It seems that old Satan was listening, and did not like what he heard. Rumors were that he lived in the old mirror above the pulpit, so he could watch the congregation. But on this day, Preacher Whitefield's condemnation was so volatile, even the devil couldn't take it.
Satan burst out of the church and into the view of the crowd, throwing himself at George Whitefield as a wrestling match ensued. The two wrestled on ground, and the preacher ran up the side of the church with the devil close behind, until the two reached the top of the great steeple.
It was there that the mighty evangelist George Whitefield bellowed to Satan and pushed him from the steeple, landing on the large rock as steam came from everything he touched. Satan never returned to that church.
However, that rock is emblazoned with the devil's hoof print, which you can still see today. If you visit the site, ask any local about the story, and I guarantee they can recite it with as much vigor as George Whitefield in 1740.
Even the local 1634 Meadery has made a special mead to commemorate the event.