Cemetery’s legend gets tested


We all love sitting around a campfire, sharing ghost stories and telling terrifying tales, but what happens when they come true?

In a moment of boredom, my best friend Robert and I decided to venture to Stull, Kan., for the spring equinox. This is said to be a night of “witchcraft, ghosts and supernatural happenings” in the old cemetery.

Neither Robert nor myself is a very superstitious person, so we put our beliefs to the test, secretly hoping to be proved wrong. We visited the graveyard early in the day to wander around and read the tombstones. Everything seemed to be relatively normal, even the wrecked old church seemed at peace on a cool, cloudy day.

Story has it that the devil buried his family in the cemetery, or was it that a stablehand murdered the mayor in a stable on the grounds … no wait, I remember. There was a spiral staircase that led all the way down to hell, therefore making it one of the “seven gateways to hell.” Well, truth of the matter is, all of these stories are rumored to be true.

However, while reading the various gravestones in the cemetery, none of them appeared to have demonic names. Some were so old and worn, they were no longer legible, but no Satan Jr. or Little Lucifer. Despite the lack of evidence, we did not allow it to sway our expectations of supernatural occurrences.

The plan was to camp out at Clinton Lake after observing the midnight hour at the cemetery. After finding the place where we would stay the night, we took the short trip back to the cemetery.

Unfortunately, the gates were locked, and due to the excessive publicity in the mid-’70s to mid-’80s, the town has a zero-tolerance policy for tourists such as ourselves. The next best option was parking across the street and observing.

Midnight rolled around, nothing happened. The windows of the vehicle were down so we might feel the “strong wind” others experienced while observing as well, but still nothing happened.

After 20 or 30 minutes of observation and anticipation, our initial beliefs had been proven true. The only thing left to do was return to the campsite.

I’m sure the first question coming to mind is, “Wait a minute, you didn’t even enter the grounds at midnight?” The answer is no, but according to the Internet, observers could feel a strong wind even off of the premises.

While our experiment was hindered due to strict laws and the fact that the old church was reduced to a pile of rubble in 2002, we did wander through the cemetery the day of and explore the debris of the church. There appeared to be no spiral staircase leading to Hades, nor did it appear that the church was immune to rainstorms as claimed.

Ironically, after the roof was demolished in a fire, the church was struck by lightning, causing severe structural damage to one of the remaining walls at the time. Believers may be thinking that is a sign that the devil really is there, but I would have to disagree.

I will admit, however, that although both Robert and myself are not quickly made uneasy, later that night while camping at a remote part of the lake we felt there was some presence around. Surrounded by complete darkness after a hopeful supernatural experience does play mind tricks on you, and we both laugh about it now.

As for the rumor that Pope John Paul II would purposely fly around eastern Kansas in order to avoid the satanic grounds, it is completely untrue. Why would he avoid only one of the seven gates of hell? It makes no sense.

– Rachel Spicer is a sophomore in civil engineering.  Send comments to opinoin@spub.ksu.edu