Sunday Legends: Dance with the Devil

sundaylegends

The young man (or in some cases, the young woman) was driving through a town that he was unfamiliar with. He decided that it was getting late and he should stop for the night.

He found a small hotel, who let him a room and told him that he should stop by the dance that was going on down the street to fill his time until morning. With nothing better to occupy his time he wandered into the dance hall. There he met a beautiful, strange young girl (or strange young man, in the case where the main character is female). The girl was captivating, and he was increasingly drawn to her.

The people at the dance starting shooting him odd looks and keeping their distance but he didn’t care. He thought that they were just jealous. However, the young girl began to act strangely, and the oddness increased the closer that it go to midnight. Even her dancing seemed to grow more frantic.

Finally just before midnight, with her dancing growing more and more intense, he happened to glance down past her pretty clothes. Recoiling in horror, he noticed that she had cloven feet.

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Like the legend of La Llorona, the story of the stranger with the cloven feet is most common in the Southwestern United States. In fact, Snopes suggests that it almost doesn’t exist outside of the region. The story, like all urban legends, has some variations-in some cases the stranger/Devil has chicken feet instead of hooves-but the main theme remains the same. A stranger either encounters someone that they wouldn’t recognize or a stranger shows up in town that other people don’t recognize.  A couple forms; they dance. Eventually attention is drawn to the partner’s feet which marks them as either inhuman or the Devil himself.

Devil in the Dancehall

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