News Article

News Article

Stull, Kansas - The Gateway to Hell

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The unincorporated town of Stull is a tiny community in Kansas, about 13 miles east of Topeka. Settled in 1856 by people of German descent, the town was built by God-fearing faithful and consists of nothing more than a church, a couple cemeteries, and some homes.

With so much religion, it seems odd that many people believe Stull is one of the seven doorways to Hell.

The legends revolve around the Evangelical church, built in the Stull Cemetery in 1867. It is said that the church was built atop (or beside) a secret passage that led to Hell itself. Descending those steps meant you would never return, and it would feel as if you were being dragged down. It is also said that Satan would visit the cemetery every Halloween and/or the spring equinox to visit his wife, a witch, who was buried there. Other versions of the tale also include that Satan’s son - a werewolf, of course - is buried there. Rumors persist of Satanic and other occult ceremonies being held in the remains of the church, though it could just be rowdy teenagers getting drunk and looking for a cheap thrill. The cemetery is a common site for trespassing and vandalism, which has led to vigilant locals staking out the place and scaring off would-be troublemakers. At least a dozen headstones are missing, and a dozen more vandalized at any given time. The church was razed in 2002, and its demolition only added to the mystery of the area. There had been no public notice that the church would be taken down, and one of the three landowners hadn’t been informed. (Later on, another landowner said he had a friend come and raze the building after damage in a recent storm had left it dangerously unstable.)

Apparently Stull is so evil that in a 1995 trip to Colorado, the Pope insisted that his private plane change its flight pattern so they did not fly overhead. Another story claims that gothic rockers The Cure refused to play a concert in Kansas because of Stull. Of all the rumors and legends, this one seems the least plausible. There are tales of mysterious gusts of winds that move cars to the opposite side of the road, and that the church (when still standing) had no roof - but the interior never saw a drop of rain. An old, tall tree (that has since been removed) was believed to have been gallows for witches.

Allegedly the deep, dark history of Stull goes back to 1850, when a stable hand stabbed the mayor to death in a barn that later became the location of the cemetery church, and that church held a crucifix that would invert when certain people entered. Of course, no one settled Stull until 1856 and the town has never had a mayor. Two actual tragedies have been documented in the early 1900s - a lot for a community that only ever had a few dozen people living there at any given time. In one, a boy was burned to death by his father in an accident; in another, a man went missing and was later found hanging from a tree.

In actuality, the history of Stull stems from something much more mundane. In the 1950s, as a social experiment, a professor at the University of Kansas made up the tale of the gateway to hell. He repeated this legend to his students every year, but it never really picked up much traction until the student newspaper picked up the story in the 1970s - then it was infamous.

If you are looking for another gateway to hell, check out these historic Turkish ruins, or this ancient fire in Turkmenistan. Want more urban legends about tiny towns? Pay a visit to Helltown, Ohio

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