A particular area often acquires s somewhat macabre and mysterious character following a violent death. Such is the case with a spot in Ashe County, known locally as the Devil's Stairs. Not one, but two violent deaths are responsible for this sinister atmosphere. Although the motifs of legends about this place have generally remained the same over six decades, other details have changed quite noticeably. The economic and cultural development of Ashe County has had a close effect on the evolution of legends about the Devil's Stairs.