Hometown Tales Podcast

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The Gates of Hell Need Help

As some of you know HT visit the Gateway to Hell this weekend. Well, the spot that has been rumored to be the Gateway to Hell. Truth is --Stull, KS is a simple small town that happens to have a very old historic cemetery (and former church). The urban legends around Stull have been many but the most memorable being that it is one of the few gateways to hell in the world (the other being a remote site in India). I'm sure everyone reading this is intelligent enough to figure out that Stull, KS does not have a gateway to hell. It's an old cemetery and where once stood and old church so its natural that ghost and witch stories have existed there for years but in the 70s is when the stories really got bold.

In '74 a University of Kansas school newspaper did a story claiming that the Stull church was a portal to the demonic abyss. As a result people have been trespassing and vandalizing since. It's very sad because the cemetery is unbelievably old and historic. A board member of the cemetery told us that some gravesites go back to the days of the Oregon Trail. However because of the urban legends there is a strict no trespassing policy at the cemetery. (Especially around Halloween when the Devil pops up through the doorway). Therefore, no one can appreciate the true history of the site because the folks in Stull don't want any more curiosity seekers, Even if you are respectfully seeking some real history.

I'll soon post more of the legends on our Kansas page and of course you'll see my short trip in Show 9 but for now let me rant about my trip to the Gate.

First the old Church is no longer; it was taken down in 2002 (Most likely by the townsfolk to stop the curiosity). So there is just the famous stonewall. We walked across the street to enter the driveway to the cemetery when within 5 mins., a white Impala raced up to greet us. "You folks have relations here", our paused response was evidence enough. "I know why you're here, it's not true what you've heard" said the self-proclaimed board member. He also reminded us about the prosecution of trespassers. Of course, I went into the whole routine about the show and requested that he speak on camera. What he was saying was certainly true, there was no gateway to hell up the drive but the town of Stull needs better PR advice. While I didn't push very strongly my interview was declined. (Now later I regret not pursuing further but I know the rap on Stull is that they don't want any press) Within moments he was proudly talking about the cemetery and probably wanted people to know the truth but of course no one will know that because they won't let anyone do a story on them. Regardless you see I will be doing a story on it interview of not. And that's my point. Wake Up Stull!! You can't unring a bell. The rumor is out there and people will keep coming. Avoiding and ignoring it will not make it go away but confronting it will.

There is an opportunity to use the press that nearly destroyed your reputation for your gain. Chasing everyone out and declining interviews will do nothing but piss people off and further fuel the rumors. But by getting the real history out there you have the opportunity to reach potential volunteers, donors and historic preservationists. Stull, when you are ready to talk we are here. I can assure you Stull is not the first town to have a false urban legend threaten it.