The tiny community of Stull is ten miles west of Lawrence, Kansas, in the northeast part of the state. It can be found by traveling west on route 40, near the edge of Clinton Lake, near Clinton State Park. Stories claim the original name of the town was Skull, but was later changed to Stull in an effort to cover up tales of black magic by the early settlers. Historical documents show that the original name was Deer Creek Community, but was named Stull in 1899 after the first postmaster Sylvester Stull. The post office closed in 1903, but the name Stull stuck.
Stull has only a few houses today, with about 20 residents and a church. Atop Emmanuel Hill sits the Stull Cemetery & the remains of the old abandoned church. The new church sits across the street. The cemetery has a long history of legends that include ghosts, witchcraft, & has been dubbed "The 7 Gateways To Hell". Local university students printed an article in the University Of Kansas student newspaper in November 1974, reporting tales of devil worship, memory loss after visiting, & one student reported being grabbed by the arm by an unforeseen force. These stories anger the residents of the town. The residents claim they have never heard any of these stories & accuse these university students of making them up.
People reacting to the article have claimed that the devil appears in the cemetery twice a year on the night of spring equinox, and Halloween. On march, 20, 1978, 150 people waited in the cemetery to see the arrival of the devil, & word spread that spirits of those buried in the cemetery that died a violent death, would rise from the grave. But the only spirits that showed up were in bottles and cans.
Stories of mysterious winds that come from nowhere have been reported & one man claims that while in the abandoned church one night in the 1980's, he was knocked to the floor by this mysterious wind & it would not allow him to move. There's also reports that no rain will fall in the old church during a rain storm, even though the church has no roof. The legends claim that the devil has appeared in the cemetery since the 1850's when a stable hand allegedly stabbed the mayor to death in the cemetery's old stone barn. Years later that barn was converted into the church. However, research shows that the town has never had a mayor.
Since the 1980's the legends of Stull have grown quite gruesome & local residents became outraged that their community was falling victim to vandals & trespassers. Finally, a chain link security fence was installed around the cemetery & the area is regularly patrolled. On Halloween night in 1988, nearly 500 people gathered at the cemetery to see the devil's appearance, doing damage to gravestones & the abandoned church. The following year on Halloween of 1989, the crowd became so overwhelming that the Douglas County Sheriffs Department had to station deputies outside the cemetery to send people on their way. Those that didn't leave were cited for criminal trespassing.
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, & 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 2 other people, said he did not authorize the demolition, but other reports claim it was pulled down after the west wall collapsed.
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.