; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

The Old Stull, Kansas Cemetery: Portal to Hell

Just west of Lawrence, Kansas is the hamlet of Stull. The Old Stull Cemetery is said to be a Devil's playground and one of the portals to Hell. Though 'Big Red' as never actually been seen, he has supposedly been the cause of several weird incidents, including buildings mysteriously catching on fire; horrific noises recorded; werewolf jumping out of the bushes and a few other unexplained happenings.

"It's just a big old hoax that somebody started and we want it stopped," said the otherwise friendly cemetery-goer, who has had the graves of her relatives vandalized repeatedly. "Go bowling or something ... leave our cemetery alone." The bitter sentiments stem from stolen gravestones, vandalism and obnoxious thrill-seekers who find the need to party in the cemetery while waiting for Satan to appear...now requiring constant patrolling from the county sheriff.

"That first year (on Halloween night of 1988), I tell you, it was terrible. 500 people standing on graves, hoping that devil would come up," stated a local woman "One man wrote and said a relative of mine was a werewolf, and that really made me mad."

On March 29 (Good Friday) 2002, the old brick church came tumbling down. With the much-mythologized church gone, attention turned to preventing vandalism of the adjunct graveyard. A fence was erected along the street and pasted with 'no trespassing' signs. Nonetheless, the stories still continue...prompting the occasional trespassers to venture into the cemetery at night.

Here are a few of the incident attributed to the Old Stull Cemetery:

* The cemetery was supposedly the middle point of some kind of Satanic triangle and was responsible for converting some fundamental Christian kid from Baldwin into a Satan worshipper.

* The devil returns to Old Stull Cemetery, only on the Spring Equinox and on Halloween...because one of his wives is buried there. A permutation holds that the devil returns to visit the gravesite of his infant son, who was born of the Devil and a witch. The child was so deformed that he only lived for a few days and the body was buried in Stull. Some say that his ghost may walk here, as there supposedly was a photo taken a few years ago that shows a “werewolf-like boy” peering out from behind a tree.

* The devil has been appearing here since the 1850’s and insist that the original name of the town was “Skull” and that the later corruption of that into “Stull” was simply to cover the fact that the area was steeped in black magic.

* In a 1995 trip to Colorado, Pope John Paul II redirects the flight path of his private plane to avoid flying over the unholy ground of Stull.

* Reports of abundant paranormal phenomena from residents in the town: raps and banging; voices-often reported to be the voice of an old woman; weird clocks and indoor windstorms; ghostly children playing at night in the cemetery; time shifts and discrepancies, inexplicable loss of memory and disorientation.

* Before the church was demolished, it was said that bottles thrown at the walls would not break. A permutation held that if the bottle didn't break you were going to hell; if it broke, heaven (some said vice versa).

In November 1974, an article appeared in the University of Kansas student newspaper that described 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 article 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.

There was one story told of two young men who were visiting Stull Cemetery one night and became frightened when a strong wind began blowing out of nowhere. They ran back to their car, only to find that the vehicle had been moved to the other side of the highway and was now facing in the opposite direction. Another man claimed to experience this same anomalous wind, but inside of the church rather than in the graveyard. He claimed that the sinister air current knocked him to the floor and would not allow him to move for some time. Incidentally, it is inside of this same church where “witnesses” say that no rain would fall...even though the crumbling building had no roof.

In 1980, an article appeared in the Kansas City Times that added further fuel to the rumors about Old Stull Cemetery and the abandoned church. The article was quoted as saying that the Devil chose two places to appear on Earth every Halloween. One of them was the "tumbleweed hamlet" of Stull, Kansas and the other, which occurs simultaneously at midnight, is someplace on the "desolate plain of India." From these sites, according to the article, the Devil gathers all the people who died violent deaths over the past year for a prance around the Earth at the witching hour. The article adds that he appears in Stull because of an event that took place in the 1850’s, when "a stable hand allegedly stabbed the mayor to death in the cemetery’s old stone barn. Years later, the barn was converted into a church, which in turn was gutted by fire. A decaying wooden crucifix that still hands from one wall is thought to sometimes turn upside-down when passersby step into the building at midnight..."

In 1999 a paranormal researcher received an email signed 'Ryan' referencing the the portal to Hell:

"There are 'stairs' that lead somewhere down. They are behind the church on the right side of the church if you are facing the church. They aren't easy to find, however, because they are well covered by the grass that has grown on top of the lid that covers them. It is not easy to find them, it took a friend and I about 3 hours of snooping around. We came upon this about 6 years ago. If you really want to see or hear awful and weird stuff, if you can, try to campout behind the church for a night. Do this behind the church to avoid the patrol that do drive by there at night every hour or two. Take a flashlight and plenty of batteries, because you will have a ton of trouble keeping the flashlight working and it will go out a lot, trust me, I know."

Here is an anonymous post on a ghost hunting forum:

On Halloween night of 1999, reporters from local newspapers & TV stations went to the cemetery to join the curious onlookers, to see the devil make his appearance at midnight, as the legend claims. Sheriff deputies were on hand, but didn't ask anyone to leave until 11:30 pm, when a representative of the owners (the cemetery is on private property) arrived & insisted that everyone leave. The deputies had no choice but to honor the representative's wishes and everyone, including the reporters, had to leave.

If these legends are untrue as the locals claim, why didn't they let these people stay and see for themselves? It may have dispelled the myths. On Friday, March 29, 2002 the old stone church was mysteriously torn down. A man named Major Weiss, who owns the property with two other people, said he did not authorize the demolition.

Today it is advised that if you go to Stull, Kansas, to enter the cemetery at your own risk. The old church may be gone, but the legend lives on.

The following narrative was posted on a Yahoo forum in 2007:

I can't believe I'm seeing this, lol. I remember Stull very well, and thought everyone had forgotten about it. I lived near Topeka for a long time (not too far of a drive to Stull, near Lawrence), and I remember a group of us went to Stull one year around Halloween. Somebody had already cut the bolt on the church door (owners got sick of people messing around there) so we decided to investigate some of the urban legends surrounding the place. Turned out some of the legends had truth behind them. 

First, we were told if you threw a glass bottle against one of the church walls, the bottle would not break. So, we tried it. We got a regular Budweiser bottle and we took turns throwing it against the outside of the church (sounds bad, I know). We tried threw with varying speeds and force, but the bottle would not break. Mind you, we were all football players and one of us was a city-league baseball pitcher, so that damn bottle should have broken, lol. After a few minutes, we gave up and entered the church area. It was definitely creepy and dilapidated, just the kind of place you would imagine as crazy-mad haunted. But we weren't there for ghosts, lol.

The second 'myth' is that one could never reach the bottom of the staircase that leads to the basement. Well, this was also true. We had the intentions of busting this legend, but we couldn't. We took two stop-watches with us, and we all had flashlights and extra batteries, just in case. We started the first watch at the top of the stairs and started down. After 45 minutes we decided that it was becoming ridiculous, so we stopped. It shouldn't have taken more than a minute to reach the stupid basement-that-we-never-saw. We turned around and started the second stop-watch and headed back up the stairs. It only took us four minutes to get to the top again! And we had the watches to prove it. We were not running or hurrying in any way, going in either direction. Now, for the creepiest part of the whole deal. When we got outside of the church again, there was a group of eight guys talking and stretching. They freaked the hell out and almost ran when they saw us walk out. They asked how we got in and we told them that we had just tried getting to the basement, without success. They called us liars and said that they had just come off the stairs barely five minutes ago, then they showed us their stopwatches. They had been going down the stairs for almost two hours, and had turned back only because they were worried about trying to climb so many stairs back to the top. And, as you may have guessed, it only took them four minutes to get back to the top! We showed them our stop-watches and we all decided to freak out together, lol. 

We ended up getting busted by a couple of county deputies for trespass. They let us go when we explained what we had been doing, and showed them our watches.They obviously knew of the legends, but they had been asked by the property owners to keep an eye out for vandals and trespassing. The guys in the other group ended up getting a ticket and fined because they were the ones who had cut the lock in the first place, lol. Anyway, thats my own experience with Stull. Is it a gateway to hell? I don't know, but with the vibe of the place and all the weird stuff that went on there, it wouldn't surprise me one bit.

Yeah...I wouldn't be surprise either.

Kansas City Times

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