The Devil Came Down To Georgia For Catfish
Clay County Georgia - Ray Jenkins, 51, was subjected to an unwanted visitor on the night of May 10th. Most visitors to Mr. Jenkins are drawn by the hand lettered signs which advertise his "U catch 'em/ I fry 'em catfish farm." In the off season Jenkins tends to his small farm plot and breeds his fish which are albino and live in a cave fed spring system. It was from this cave that Jenkins said the trouble began on the 10th.
"It was just about dark and I had just got back from town with some feed for the catfish and I saw that the spring was bubbling more than usual. The fish slither around the top a lot when it's time to feed them but this seemed like more than normal. So I dropped the feed and walked over there and saw that every damn one of those fish were floating belly up in the pool. Dead, every single one of them. I reached down to grab one floating by and then jerked my hand away cause that water was hot! I mean it was boiling, that why it was bubbling so."
That's when Jenkin's heard the voice of his visitor.
"All of a sudden this voice came into my head. 'What's wrong Ray? I thought you liked hot catfish!' And then it started laughing. I looked over in the field and then right under that big oak was this guy standing there. He was looking at me and grinning but I noticed his mouth wasn't moving. He was talking to me in my head!"
Satan left his handprint on Ray Jenkin's tree.
Jenkins described the figure as being 6 feet tall with a normal looking face and wearing a T-shirt and jeans. But the man didn't stay that way for long.
"He sorta leaned up against the tree, put his hand on it to hold himself and just kept looking at me and I could hear his laugh in my head. I was paralyzed with fear and that's when I noticed he was changing. His shirt and jeans sorta just disappeared and his skin started getting darker, turning red. I swear to you I'm not making this up but I saw horns start coming out of his head. Where his hand was smoke started coming up from the tree bark like he was so hot he was burning that tree. I knew I was seeing the devil."
That's when the figure spoke again.
"This time he opened his mouth and said 'I got plans for you Ray Jenkins.' and I knew I had to get the hell out of here so I just ran to the truck and hauled ass down to my brother Roy's place. I told him what happened and then proceeded to get stinking drunk."
Ray went back to his farm the next day with his brother but there was no sign of the devil. The fish were still floating in the now calm water and both he and his brother agreed they had been 'cooked' by heat. When they went out to the oak tree they found the only other sign of the visit. A charred 3 pointed mark on the bark that looked as if it had been burnt in.
I spoke with the brother Roy who was at a loss to explain it.
"Ray drinks sometimes but I don't think he was drunk when he came over that night. Least not at first. I don't know why he would make up a story like this. Why would he kill his fish? There was at least $300 worth of dead catfish we took out of that spring."
Ray has no plans to continue living on the property and has put it up for sale while he stays at his brothers.
"Ain't no way I'm living there. I'm leaving the state just as soon as it sales. Whatever it was is connected up with that cave system and I don't want none of it."
I spoke with Georgia state geologist Ray Archer who is aware of the cave on Ray Jenkin's property.
"It's part of a large system that is spread out through that section of Clay County. It's never been fully mapped and in 1978 2 divers were killed when they were failed to return to the surface on a diving expedition. Other divers went down to a estimated depth of 120 feet but were unable to find their bodies."
-interview with Ray and Roy Jenkins May 15th 1999
-phone interview with Ray Archer on May 15th 1999
photo by Derek Barnes