Kirksville’s Devil’s Chair-a Myth, or a Date with the Reaper?
If you're a regular visitor to these pages, you know that one kind of article you see a lot of is the kind having to do with urban legends.
Northeast Missouri has its share of urban legends (MoMo comes to mind). But there's a legend of a much different kind in Kirksville.
Have you heard the tale of The Devil's Chair?
According to an article on the website Kirksville Traditions, cemetery monuments known as Devil's Chairs are not unique, but the one in Highland Park Cemetery in Kirksville may be the best known.
It is said that if you sit in the Devil's Chair at the stroke of midnight, a hand will come out of the ground and drag you straight into the depths of hell.
Now, granted, it would seem that anyone with the tiniest grain of common sense would realize that this is no more than a wife's tale, but apparently, Highland Park Cemetery has become quite a destination late at night for groups of people (probably guys), daring each other to sit in the chair at midnight to see what happens.
In fact, those visitors have become such a problem that there is now a "Keep Off" sign posted near the chair.
The actual story of Kirksville's Devil's Chair is, honestly, pretty mundane. William Baird was a prominent banker in Kirksville in the 1880's. He commissioned the chair sculpture around 1890. The chair was a memorial to his brother and sister who both died about 20 years before.
You should also know that these kinds of sculptures are also known as mourning chairs, where visitors and family members can rest and contemplate.
So the Devil's Chair isn't really scary at all. Go ahead ... have a seat ... if you dare.