Most Haunted Places in America: Stull Cemetery
Stull Cemetery in the miniscule town of Skull, Kansas has gain quite the reputation over the last century. The cemetery, more specifically the Stull Evangelical Church built next to Stull Cemetery, is said to be one of the seven “Gateways to Hell”.
Such an incredible legend is sure to bring ghost hunters and curiosity seekers to the site, and that it does. Believers claim that the Devil himself appears on the foundation of the old Stull church at exactly midnight on the Spring Equinox, and yet again on All Hallows Eve, October 31st.
Stull Cemetery is said to be haunted, but by whom? The legends of Stull seem to be mostly associated with the Devil and the occult, witches, black magic, that sort of thing. None of these legends can really be proven as there is no documentation of anything of the sort actually occurring in Stull, Kansas.
Then again, the townspeople refuse to comment on the truth or falsehood of any of these Stull legends, making it seem just a little bit suspicious. Maybe they are covering up a mischievous past? Or maybe, as many claim, they are simply trying to live out peaceful lives without disruptive travelers wreaking havoc on their tiny town.
Factual History of Stull, Kansas
Around the year 1850, a very small community was established near Lawrence, Kansas called ‘Deer Creek Community’. Most of its settlers were Pennsylvania Dutch. In 1857, the tiny community grew to a total of six families.
Residents established the Evangelical Emmanuel Church in 1859. They began raising funds and, by 1867, had enough to construct a church out of stone. A plot of land had been donated by Jacob Hildenbrand as a foundation for the church and an adjacent cemetery.
A post office was erected in 1899. The town’s postmaster went by the name Sylvester Stull, and the town was renamed after him. Thus Deer Creek Community became forever more known as Stull, even though the post office was shut down in 1903.
In 1907, another religious organization – the Stull United Church of Christ – was formed, and in 1913 a framed church was built in town of the same name.
Stull, Kansas was chartered for growth in the 1920’s, with plans for a bank to be built and an electric railway to be established running through the town, past Lawrence and all the way to Emporia. For some unknown reason, the plans were abandoned.
Stull has yet to become an incorporated town to this day, and has an invariably miniscule population of a few scattered homes. Some of its biggest buildings today are the United Methodist Church and the adjacent Bait Shop.
Legends of Stull Cemetery
As far as the urban legends go, we cannot validate any of them. Documented reposts show that only two tragic events occurred in Stull, Kansas, both in the early 20th century.
One refers to a young boy whose body was found incinerated in a pasture after his father had burned the field to generate better crop growth the following year. The other factual tragedy of Stull, Kansas was the mysterious hanging of a man from a tree. Reports state the man was reported missing, only to be found hanging from a tree by the old Evangelical Church at Stull Cemetery a few days later. None of these events are mentioned in any of the Stull Cemetery “hauntings”.
Most of the remaining legends are likely to be absolute falsehood, thought up by local male high school and university students looking to scare their girlfriends. In fact, many past attendants of the Douglas County school districts and local universities have admitted to just such story-telling now some 50 years after they manufactured the fictitious tales.
Among the unconfirmed legends is one haunting that is said to have happened to two young men who parked their car on the highway and went into the graveyard, only to be startled by an unearthly wind. They ran back out of the cemetery only to find their vehicle facing the opposite direction and parked on the other side of the highway.
Another story of a strange, furious wind tells of a man who entered the church and was struck down by the gale wind. He claimed he was unable to get up, as if the wind was holding him down, for quite some time.
One legend states that Stull was formerly known as “Skull”, because of course the Devil himself appears there twice a year, being one of the seven “Gateways to Hell” and all. This story is dissolvable, however, since we know that Stull was first Deer Creek Community, and was named Stull after the first and only postmaster.
The most ridiculous legend surrounding the haunting of Stull Cemetery, which is absolutely false, is that the Pope avoided flying over the “unhallowed grounds” in the mid 1990’s, directing his pilot to take a wide semi-circle around the area during a flight to Chicago. The story goes that this event was actually published in Time Magazine; one version says it was published in 1993, another says 1995. In reality, the story was completely made up – never published in Time or any other magazine.
Some say that, even though the roof that once covered the church no longer swathes the floors, rain will not fall within its viscera. Proving this legend is irrevocably impossible since the church was mysteriously demolished in 2002. Interestingly enough, the owners of the land and the church that once stood there attest that they never ordered or permitted the building’s remaining walls to be torn down and removed.
With the demolition of the church, the tourists have at least slowed down a bit during most of the year, though Halloween still brings a multitude of onlookers. Don’t bother trying to visit Stull Cemetery on All Hallows Eve as you won’t see the Devil rise from the rubble, or ghosts of the cemetery surface from their centuries old graves. What you will see is a multitude of policeman and state troopers outside the fence for “crowd control”, passing out tickets to anyone who dares trespass on the property.
And, as has been the case for many years now, the proprietor of the land will send a representative to put an end to the party right about 11:30pm. Everyone, from visitors to media, is required to leave the area altogether long before the clock strikes midnight.
But why? If Stull Cemetery isn’t a “Gateway to Hell”, and the Devil does not appear at midnight, and the townspeople (many being descendants of the original founders of Stull) want nothing more than the rumors and legends to cease – why not let everyone see that it isn’t true? Put an end to it altogether, right? This is surely one of the main reasons seekers of the paranormal continue flocking to Stull Cemetery, hoping to catch the slightest glimpse of something, anything, to answer why the residents are so close-lipped about it.