Procol Harum

Beyond
the Pale 

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The Devil Came From Kansas

A little new light on the subject!


In 1997 respected journalist Chris Welch reported (here) that the enigmatic, provoking words to The Devil Came from Kansas had had their origins in Keith Reid's listening to Randy Newman singing The Beehive State, which starts 'Well you're the senator from Kansas'. The Beehive story was repeated in the 1998 liner note by Henry Scott-Irvine (here) and may also be read at BtP in Sam Cameron's Procolpaedia. It seems to have originated in Pete Erskine's excellent 1975 feature in the NME, and not to have been added to since.

In January 2001, however, 'Beyond the Pale' received this intriguing memo from Jerrod Bohn which we hope will prompt some more correspondence:


I am a young Procol fan (21 years old) from Topeka, Kansas in the United States who came across a bit of local folklore that I thought may be of interest.

Just outside of Topeka lies the tiny town of Stull, Kansas. Atop a hill overlooking the town, there sits the crumbling remains of a church that was rumored to be one of two places in the world where the Devil could exit Hell and walk freely upon mortal earth. The other access point for the Devil, according to local legend, was a village in Germany whose name now escapes me.

The chance of Keith Reid being familiar with the Stull, Kansas folklore is probably very, very slim, but the coincidence was simply too interesting for me to ignore any longer.

Whenever I hear the song, The Devil Came From Kansas, I am reminded of Stull and the strange tales that surround the otherwise peaceful town.

I apologize for not knowing more of the details. I may browse the Regional section at the local bookstore in an attempt to uncover more literature on the subject. Many of the citizens of Northeast Kansas have at least some idea of the Stull Devil, but few outside or in other parts of Kansas have ever heard the story.

If I find out any additional information, I will be sure to let you know. Otherwise, feel free to include what I've already sent you on your webpage!


Megan writes to BtP (April 2002)

The church was knocked down no longer there I know as my uncle owns the place. It was torn down by someone else we are trying to get the word out so any info back if anyone knows of who tore it down ? We need to know as this was not our choice to have it gone! Thank you any info would help thank you for your time and help . please spread the word. Also I will have pics soon to show it is no longer there . this is not a hoax it is gone and lost for ever now!


More details about specific songs

More about Stull, Kansas and its supposed Satanic links

Suggestion that the devil stories started in the 1970s after Keith's song was written


 

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