Stearns County’s Oldest Urban Legends
Growing up in Stearns County, I've heard all about our urban legends. Some of them are just tall tales and others are based on true events. Take a look at some of our oldest legends.
1. "Stearns Country Syndrome"--It's widely believed that due to large family inbreeding some Stearns County residents have developed certain undesirable characteristics. A group of professors held a conference to debunk the legend. They concluded that "Stearns County Syndrome" does not exist, but there is a certain culture unique to this area.
2. Saint John's University's bear that haunts the woods--As the legend goes, a friendly bear was one of their non-traditional students in the sense that he could always be found around campus. One day a student began throwing rocks and teasing the friendly bear. The bear turned mean, chased the student down and killed him. The university had the animal put down after that. Students believe its presence still haunts the woods. This did, in fact, happen--whether you think its spirit still haunts the woods is up to you.
3. Chapel walk at Saint John's University--As legend has it, if you take a walk to the Stella Maris Chapel at SJU with your significant other, you'll marry them. Many Johnnies and Bennies have done this and some have even gotten married. It's a popular place to get engaged.
4. Haunted Skating Place--It's believed by some St. Cloud residents that the Skating Place is haunted by a little boy. There was a little boy who drowned in the former pond where the roller rink currently sits.
5. St. Cloud is the most haunted place on Earth--In Stephen King's movie "1408" he claims that St. Cloud, MN is one of the most haunted places on the planet. He claims that an old war widow threw her baby down a well somewhere in the town. The jury is still out on this one. Letters to King regarding this claim have gone unanswered.
6. Tunnel system through down town St. Cloud-- Some people believe there is a tunnel system that runs through down town St. Cloud. No one has ever been able to verify this claim! It could be true.
7. Forgotten cemeteries--It sounds like something straight out of the movie "Poltergeist." It has been rumored for many years that St. Cloud is home to a few forgotten cemeteries. This is actually true. St. Cloud has two forgotten graveyards. One is located at St. Cloud State University where the library sits and the other is along 17th Ave N.
8. Al Capone has been to Anton's in Waite Park--Some people believe that Al Capone himself made a stop at the store and there was a gangster shootout. There's no evidence that Capone ever made it to the restaurant, but it could have happened. Anton's was a speak easy back in the day.
9. Haunted meat locker at St. Cloud State University--If you're familiar with this story, then you've heard there was a student having a love affair with a janitor in Shoemaker Hall. She got pregnant and hung herself in the basement meat locker. Students claim that ghostly happenings occur as a result. Is the story true? That remains a mystery.
10. St. Cloud's ancient Native American curse--I've heard this story many times from professors at SCSU but I can't find any evidence that suggests that it's true. As urban legend goes, a Native American tribe placed a drought curse on St. Cloud that would kill the crops. It's said that the curse has been a blessing in disguise because we don't get hit by many storms. Today, this remains just an urban legend.
Have you heard of any that aren't on this list that should be? Comment below!