The terrifying legend of Stull Cemetery

It is a widely known and largely accepted fact that if you want to know what hell is like, you need only spend time in the American Midwest. Missouri is a good place to start. Road trips through Nebraska, the Dakotas, or rural Illinois can get downright stygian by around hour 90.

And for some people's money, you just can't find a more mephistophelean spot than Stull, Kansas, a small, unincorporated community in the Northeast quadrant of the Sunflower State. For one thing, the closest Popeyes Chicken is twenty minutes away. Also, the local cemetery reportedly houses a gateway to the fiery inferno of the underworld.

According to The Kansas City Star, the whole thing started with a college newspaper article published in 1974. The piece, written by one Jain Penner, had an unceremonious start, likely being written as a Halloween spooktacular, but published during the first week of November due to a paper shortage. The Stull Cemetery was compared to Sleepy Hollow, and local college students described the place, damningly, as "spooky."

Your eyes behold an eerie sight

And just like that, an urban legend began to snowball. Numerous claims were made, myriad theories posited. Per The Lineup, rumors began circulating that, contrary to Belinda Carlisle's earlier claims, hell was a place on Earth. Specifically, it was said that the Stull Cemetery opened, once or twice a year, to reveal a staircase to the afterlife. Some said that Satan himself would rise from the firmament to visit the grave of his child, or maybe his girlfriend, or possibly just to stretch his legs. Sometimes his girlfriend was a werewolf. Sometimes she was a witch. Really, the Stull Cemetery Extended Universe was badly in need of a story bible, but the inconsistencies did nothing to stem the tide of small town pizzazz.

Today, thrill seekers and spiritual enthusiasts still make trips to the Stull Cemetery on Halloween, hoping to witness a monster mash. College kids with bottles of vodka visit to get graveyard smashed. In an interview with The University Daily Kansan from 2015, Lieutenant Steve Lewis of the Douglas County Sheriff's Office had this to say: "When I used to patrol out there, I would stop people and they would tell me that they were just trying to see something scary, and I told them they were looking at the scariest thing they were going to see all night, and I charged them with a misdemeanor."

Hell is small town cops. There's your proof.