From the infamous Stull Cemetery to the mysterious Black Aggie memorial, there’s there’s no shortage of terrifying legends attached to cemeteries all over America. The cursed grave of Carl Pruitt, however, takes the typical haunted graveyard tale and cranks it up a notch, mostly due to Pruitt’s history of committing murder… from beyond the grave.
The strange story of Carl Pruitt dates back to 1938, when he arrived at his small home in Pulaski County, Kentucky only to discover his wife in bed with another man. While her lover escaped through a window, Carl’s wife wasn’t so lucky. In a blind rage, Carl wrapped a rusty chain around his wife’s neck and strangled her to death. When she finally went limp, carl grabbed his gun and turned it on himself.
For pretty obvious reasons, Pruitt’s wife’s family demand that he be buried in another graveyard in another town, and they got their wish. Carl’s body was buried in a cemetery miles away, but that’s when things started getting strange. Carl Pruitt wasn’t exactly resting in peace.
Visitors first began to notice that the patch of grass covering Carl’s grave was always discolored, with the mysterious off-colored grass growing in circular shapes. Eventually the circles began growing together, as many have pointed out, in the shape of a chain. People began to come from all over to see the bizarre markings surrounding the grave of “The Chain Stranger”, and it wasn’t long before someone decided to vandalize Carl’s final resting place. It would prove to be a very bad idea.
Wanting to impress his friends, a teenage boy tossed a rock at Carl Pruitt’s headstone, chipping it. As he and his friends rode their bicycles home, a freak accident ended with the young man being strangled to death by the chain from his own bike. The strange coincidence wasn’t lost on the local community, and before long, word that the murderous ghost of Carl Pruitt was to blame had spread.
With tears in her eyes, the young boy’s mother, believing that the spirit of the chain stranger had taken her son, grabbed an axe and marched to the cursed grave to exact her revenge. The next time anyone saw her, she was hanging from her clothes line. Somehow, she had managed to get so tangled in the cords that she had strangled to death.
Despite the warnings, there were always a few foolish enough to test the legend themselves, including two police officers who took photos of themselves in front of Carl’s tombstone. After laughing about the silly legend and proving their bravery, the two men left the cemetery only to notice a strange ball of light following their squad car. Terrified, the men began speeding to escape the glowing orb, and in the process, slammed their vehicle into a fence, decapitating one officer with a chain and throwing the other from the car.
By the late 1940s, most people knew better than to tempt Carl’s spirit, but in one final act of disbelief, a man who locals say was intent on destroying the Chain Strangler’s headstone with a hammer was found dead outside the graveyard, the chain used to lock the cemetery gates wrapped around his neck.
Shortly after the incident, a local mining company purchased the land, exhuming the bodies and relocating them to new cemeteries around the country. Carl Pruitt’s infamous marker was removed and disposed of in an unnamed place, and just like that, the murderous ghost of the Chain Strangler seemed to disappear.
The legends surrounding the grave of Carl Pruitt, much like the stories of Stull Cemetery’s “gateway to hell”, will continue to endure, if for no other reason than being a fantastically spooky tale. Did the ghost of a murderer really come back to exact his revenge on those who disrespected his final resting place? Or were the mysterious deaths all just a strange coincidence?
There’s really no way to know if the stories of Carl Pruitt the bloodthirsty ghost are true… but then again, I’m kind of okay with that.