It's spooky season. Halloween is coming up next week. And you could be forgiven for wanting a little something different when it comes to your scary time.I mean,  yeah, going to a haunted house is fun.  Going Trick or Treating with the kids is fun.  But... it's missing a little something, isn't it?   It is, it's missing that dose of reality.  That little nagging thought in your head that,... this really happened. To me, ghost stories are one thing.  They're never as scary as something that could, in my opinion, actually happen to me.

Well, if you are brave enough, maybe you'll make the drive up to Kirksville to visit.... THE DEVIL'S CHAIR.

Just kidding.  That's Chairy, and as we know, Chairy is far too comfortable to be evil.

Moving on.

Yes, it's a real thing. It's in Highland Park Cemetery, which is over by Ray Miller Elementary and the MACC Kirksville campus.  The literal address is 2399 E. Normal Avenue.  Apparently, what happens is you have to visit at Midnight.  You sit on it for a few minutes, and... well.  Hell breaks loose. A huge hand comes up from underneath the chair, and grabs you! Guys, we're going to have to make a mental note to keep certain people away from this thing.

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So if you're brave enough... wanna learn about where it started?  Let's look back a bit in history.

The Not So Spooky Origins of the Baird's Devil Chair

It all starts in this instance, with a guy called William Baird.  Baird was a normal enough dude in the 1800's, working his way through life. Maxin, relaxin, but also grinding it out. He was a banker.  Not much is out there about his personality or anything, but he probably just wanted to keep most things on the DL.  And he was a big enough deal in Kirksville that his old house is used today as the Chamber of Commerce.  The bank he founded is now a pizza place.


Pagliais' Pizza has been around since the 60's, and they're locally famous for making... well, basically an inside out pizza.  They call it a Palonza, and it sounds delicious.  Although I might wanna get take out.... take a look at all those window units.  That can't be super comfortable in the summertime.

Anyway.  We're getting distracted.

So Billy decides he needs to have a little something done for his own edification.  He has a stone chair built.  Now, that part, nobody questions. The part of who paid for it, who commissioned it, that is. However, there are conflicting stories about what - or who the chair is for.  Some people say it was in honor of his late wife Anna, some say it was in honor of his sister, and some people say it was actually erected for a young mother.  Apparently a child had died, and instead of putting up a marker, they put up a chair so the mother could sit with her child whenever she felt like it.  And, it's so haunted now, Bill ain't even buried there.  He's over at the Forest - Llewellyn Cemetery across town. I guess he didn't want to sit with a child?

Or, on your child.  If we're getting technical. I mean.

Well, a little more research turns up some stuff that might be a scosh bit more believable than, you know, a random disembodied member of the Addams Family.  Apparently, back in the day, these stone chairs were built fairly often, in memory of friends, relatives, loved ones, etc.  It's not unlike when someone sponsors a park bench.  Or the people who bought bricks downtown.  It's just a little way to remember a loved one.  The idea is, you provide a chair that will weather the elements and provide a place for mourners to sit and and grieve.

But, everyone loves these crazy stories, and there are a ton of them all over the place.

What are some of your ghost stories you've heard over the years?  Have you heard any Urban Legends you want to keep going?

Chairingly yours,

LOOK: How Halloween has changed in the past 100 years

Stacker compiled a list of ways that Halloween has changed over the last 100 years, from how we celebrate it on the day to the costumes we wear trick-or-treating. We’ve included events, inventions, and trends that changed the ways that Halloween was celebrated over time. Many of these traditions were phased out over time. But just like fake blood in a carpet, every bit of Halloween’s history left an impression we can see traces of today.

Gallery Credit: Brit McGinnis


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