This was another question I got from Melissa in Illinois, a big fan of the paranormal TV show Supernatural. Yes, Stull Cemetery is a real place – Stull being a town in Douglas County, Kansas. If you follow Supernatural you’ll know that the central characters of the show – two brothers, Sam and Dean Winchester (played by Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles) – hail from Lawrence, Kansas, which is about ten miles from Stull.
In series Five, episode 22, of Supernatural, a battle is waged in Stull Cemetery involving Lucifer, who is using Sam Winchester as his vessel.
That was obviously fictional. But many stories in Supernatural are based around genuine urban legends and folklore. And it just so happens that the real life Stull Cemetery has more than its fair share of diabolic tales surrounding it.
One story involves two young men visiting Stull cemetery at night. A freak wind seemed to blow out of nowhere, scaring the hell out of them. They ran back to their car – only to find it had moved to the other side of the highway and was facing the opposite direction to how they’d originally parked it…
They were not alone in experiencing the uncanny wind. Another man felt its effects too. But this time it was inside the church rather than outside amongst the tombstones. He claimed that the wind knocked him to the floor, and terrifyingly held him their for some time.
It is said that the original name of the town was “Skull” and was changed to “Stull” to cover up the fact that the area was a hotbed of black magic. The story has it that early settlers practiced witchcraft and were so repentant about their dark deeds that they decided to change the name of the town.
The truth, however, is a good deal more prosaic. The town was actually called “Deer Creek Community” until 1899 when the last name of the first postmaster, Sylvester Stull, was used as the name of the village. The post office closed down in 1903, but the name stuck..
Yet diabolic legends persist – one stating that the cemetery is a gateway to hell and that the Devil himself has been appearing at Stull Cemetery since the 1850s.
Fuel was added to the fire with an article in the Kansas City Times in 1980. It stated that the Devil chose two places to appear on Earth every Halloween at the witching hour – one being the “tumbleweed hamlet” of Stull in Kansas, and the other, somewhere on the “desolate plain of India.”
From these sites, according to the article, the Devil gathers all those who have died violent deaths over the previous year and takes them cavorting around the Earth at midnight.
Author Lisa Hefner Heitz has collected many legends that have added to the fearsome reputation of Stull Cemetery. Some of them insist that the Devil not only appears in Stull Cemetery at Halloween, but also on the last night of winter and the first night of spring. He apparently goes to visit a witch that is buried there. Whether coincidence or not, there is an old tombstone that bears the name “Wittich.”
Rumor has it that an old tree in the graveyard, cut down some years back, was once used as a gallows for condemned witches.
It is also said that there is a grave in the cemetery that holds the bones of a “child of Satan,” who was born of a union between the Devil and a witch. The child was reportedly so deformed that he only lived for a few days before his body was buried in Stull. Some claim his ghost walks in the cemetery, and allegedly a photo was taken a few years back revealing a “werewolf-like boy” peering out from behind a tree.
Other legends surrounding Stull Cemetery:
- In a 1995 trip to Colorado, the Pope allegedly redirected the flight path of his private plane to avoid flying over the “unholy ground” of Stull.
- Reports of paranormal phenomena from residents in the town include: 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.
- Stull was the reason UK goth band The Cure refused to play in Kansas.
- Before the old 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).