Hellmouth near OZ or We’re off to see the Big Bad
We left the Wal-Mart parking lot in Kansas City, MO and headed back to Kansas and on to the OZ Museum in Wamego. Before we got there we had a few stops to make.
Throughout the U.S. there are few known Gateways to Hell (being Buffy fans, we call them Hellmouths) and in the town of Stull, Kansas is one such Hellmouth. In an old cemetery is a church on a hill. Through the church doors, given the right situation, Halloween, full moon, midnight, etc. the Devil himself may appear. We arrived with none of those situations in effect, however from the start this Hellmouth was looking ominous. When I entered the coordinates for the gates of hell, my GPS consistently returned “Location can not be found”. Hmm… I haven’t had that issue before or sense. So we went to Stull (or was it originally called Skull?) and found the cemetery in the main road through town and parked the moho in a church (a different church, not the Hellomouth church) parking lot. On the way to the cemetery we came across a massive pile of dead bugs. There were also dead bugs on the sides of the church. Yuckers! We walked through the cemetery and made our way up the hill, but the church was no longer standing! Apparently in 2002, it was burned down. Or was it knocked down? It is all very vague. Why did this happen? Was it drunken teenagers? Was it a desperate attempt by the townsfolk to close this gate to hell? Whatever the reason, it stands no more. We walked among the rubble, took a few pictures, and left. On the way back to the moho, Laura was paralyzed with fear by an unidentified creature that blocked our path, hanging from a tree. We negotiated around it and the many others that filled the area. And so we left the Gates of Hell unscathed. Or did we?
We went to Truckhenge but it was closed. So we just got to peer through the gates. But to make up for my sorrow we saw two Airstream motorhomes. In all of our travels we had only seen two before. But in Kansas, we see two in just the time from the Hellmouth to Truckhenge! One was parked, the other was driving in the opposite direction. There was much waving and smiles shared between our two mohos.
Then on to another cemetery in Topeka to visit Carrie Keane, a five-year-old who died in 1885. A statue of Carrie adorns her grave and every season she is given a new outfit. No one knows who has been providing the new outfits over the decades and will likely cease when ever the mysterious donor dies.
Now off to Wamego’s Wizard of Oz Museum. There seems to be quite a few Oz-themed museums in Kansas, as to be expected. Are there better ones than this? I don’t know but this one was pretty excellent. It is divided into three sections, one about Lyman Frank Baum and all his works, one about all things Wizard of OZ related, and one about the movie specifically. We spent a few hours there, saw the part in the movie where it goes from black and white into color, and learned more OZ than I can remember.
Random facts that I do remember:
- There were at least 6 pairs of ruby slippers made for the film.
- Toto got paid more than the munchkins.
- Baum wrote an alternative to Mother Goose called Father Goose, which became the best-selling children’s book of the year.
- Baum’s great grandson, Roger S Baum continues to write new OZ books in the style of his great grandfather.
Across the street from the OZ Museum is one of Kansas’ wineries, Vin Vivante. It triples as a winery, art gallery, and law office run by Britt Nichols. Britt provided some great conversation and even better wine. He also pointed out that just like the moral of OZ, perhaps what we are looking for, we truly had all the time. Hmm…
Rock City near Minneapolis, Kansas was our next stop as we headed west. Rock City contains these peculiar, large, mostly spherical boulders made of limestone. There are about 200 of them all in small area with nothing like them anywhere nearby. It is pretty fascinating. A massive boulder patch among a flat Kansas prairie.