AboutThe Devil's Tea Tables are rock formations located in West Virginia. The state, because of its geography, is home to all kinds of beautiful unusual rock formations such as these. The tea tables consist of a narrow column of rock which supports a flat stone slab above it.
People refer to these formations as "The Devil's Tea Tables" not only because they look like giant stone tables but also because some believe that the devil himself visits them. It is said that when the devil is around a heavy mist will shroud the tea tables and hide him. The stories associated with these rock formations are yet another example of West Virginia's wild and wonderful folklore.
The Legend / Folklore
"One day two men were traveling down the Elk River in a boat. It was a beautiful day and they had finished work, so they took their time. A magnificent tea table formation that they had often passed came into view. One of the men wanted to stop and hike up to it. Since they had time, the hiker's friend was happy to stop. He agreed to sit and wait with the boat.
When they reached the tea table, they saw that it was hidden by an odd mist that clung on it and nothing else. The man's partner didn't give the mist a second thought and jumped from the boat as soon as they got to shore. The one started scrambling up the slope, while the other sat back and kicked his feet up. He figured it would take his partner a half an hour or so to get there and back. The man waited and waited and waited.
Hours later his partner stumbled back down the hill, climbing into the boat without a word. His eyes were empty, devoid of life. He never recovered. He spent the rest of his life an empty shell of a man for he had stumbled upon the devil himself.
He'd had the horrible misfortune of interrupting the devil having tea. The devil had loomed before him and looked at the man with cruel and merciless eyes. Then the devil had reached down and, with a mere pinch of his finger, he pulled away the man's soul. He crumbled it up and sprinkled it into his cup of tea like a bit of sugar. Then the devil waved the man away and returned to his tea. This was not the first time someone unwittingly stumbled upon the devil, and it sure won't be the last. So take heed. If you see a devil's tea table, admire it from afar. If a mist surrounds it, look away and run!"
The Devil's Tea Tables Poem by James Ball NaylorO monster rock! Firm-poised it stands
Upon a base of crumbling shale.
'Twas shaped by Satan's cunning hands
In ages past- so runs the tale-
And served Hell's demons, great and small,
As table to their banquet ball.
Though countless years have rolled away
The Devil's table stands today
As firm as when, with hellish glee,
The black imps held their revelry.
It seems the feeble flut'ring breath
That issues from the lips of death-
The faint and fickle summer breeze
That stirs the blossoms on the trees
Could shake the great rock's slender base
And hurl it from its resting place.
And yet the strongest gales that sweep
Across the torrid Indian deep,
The Polar winds- the fierce cyclone-
Are all too weak, combined alone,
To cast the monarch from its throne.
Beyond the blue Muskingum's bed
It rears its gray and wrinkled head.
Though aged, still erect, sublime
It gazes on the march of time,
And towers above the verdant sod,
A monument to nature's God.
When years on years have hurried past
Until God's dial marks the last,
Oh! May the grim old rock still keep
Its vigil on the stony steep.
Monsters and Ghosts of West Virginia by Eric Turner and Issac Mckinnon