2013 may be the year of guest blogs here on Haunt Jaunts. At least it’s shaping up that way to start out the year. The other day I wrote about how we can look forward to a guest blog from author Kathryn Hohmann. We’ll also be welcoming a Twitter friend of mine, Michele Montour, who contacted me about Stull, Kansas.
Prairie Ghosts has an elaborate write up on the Stull Cemetery (see “Stull Cemetery – Gateway to Hell?“). It’s actually a good article that presents both sides of the story.
And what is Stull’s story?
It all seemed to start with a newspaper article in the 1970s.
In November 1974, an article appeared in the University of Kansas student newspaper that spoke of a number of strange occurrences in the Stull churchyard. According to the article, Stull was “haunted by legends of diabolical, supernatural happenings” and the legends asserted that the cemetery was one of the two places on earth where the devil appears in person two times each year. It said that the cemetery had been the source of many legends in the area, stories that had been told and re-told for over a century.
The piece also went on to say that most students learned of Stull’s diabolical reputation from their grand-parents and older individuals, but that many of them claimed first-hand encounters with things that could not explain. One student claimed to have been grabbed by the arm by something unseen, while others spoke of unexplained memory loss when visiting the place. Like many other locations of this type, the tales of devil worship and witchcraft also figured strongly into the article.
The kicker is that the residents of Stull denied ever hearing the stories before.
Michele has a tale of her and her brother going to the town. I won’t spoil it, since she has agreed to tell it, but I’ll tantalize you with this: she got a very bad feeling from the town.
One of my questions to her early on in our exchanges was “Is this town getting a bad rap?”
Because if there’s one thing I know from all my haunt jaunting, stories have a way of taking life unto themselves. As I told Michele, I don’t know that I’d be very friendly towards outsiders either who came searching for the Devil and other accounts of urban legends in my town. (Michele has some things to say about the residents of Stull, which I’m not sure she’ll put in her guest blog or not, but let’s just say they didn’t give her a warm fuzzy feeling at all.)
Prairie Ghosts addresses the reputation the town’s residents now have too:
As time passed, the local residents grew more irritated that vandals and trespassers were wreaking havoc in the cemetery where their loved ones and ancestors were buried. Finally, a chain link security fence was installed around the grounds and although the area is still regularly patrolled, the visits have died down somewhat, at least outside of October. In addition, there have been the signs posted against trespassing here and locals have made it clear that visitors are not welcome.
Another thing is the town gets a bad rap about is how it can affect air travel. In fact, there’s a story about the Pope and Stull. Prairie Ghosts debunks that:
One of the strangest stories about Stull supposedly appeared in Time magazine (it didn’t) in either 1993 or 1995 (depending on the version you hear). This story claims that Pope John Paul II allegedly ordered his private plane to fly around eastern Kansas while on his way to a public appearance in Colorado. The reason for this, the story claims, was that the Pope did not want to fly over “unholy ground”.
Whether it’s just urban legends based on some unfortunate deaths and happenings that took place in Stull, or there’s something to it, this small Kansas hamlet sure has a big, bad rep. I’m looking forward to reading Michele’s guest blog about her experience there and more of Stull’s history, and I hope you’ll enjoy it too.