01/25/07 - Guthrie Center Times

    Guthrie Center is featured in a newly released book, The Iowa Road Guide to Haunted Locations.
      And, the book makes no reference to a fictional creature of the farmland slews west of Guthrie Center which many natives would view as the most intriguing folklore.
      Instead, a recognizable but unmarked monument in Union Cemetery is Guthrie Center's focal point in the book which was co-authored by Chad Lewis of Wisconsin.
      "What harm could come from visiting a cemetery and taking a rest in the comfortable chair that is just sitting there? Isn't that what a chair is for? Well, unless you are in need of some bad luck, you may want to re-think plopping down in the Devil Chair of Union Cemetery because many believe the chair is cursed," writes Lewis.
      The book provides background on the cemetery which was laid out in 1885 by a county surveyor for William and Margaret Hammond who created the graveyard as a private burial ground. The City of Guthrie Center purchased the cemetery from the Hammonds after it already had several graves in it.
      The original name of the cemetery is uncertain, Lewis stated, but the official name became Union Cemetery under city ownership.
      As for the cement cast chair which has no inscription, it is located between the Miller and Peterson gravestones and may be a memorial to either one. It is midway on the north side of the main east - west roadway through the cemetery.
      "We spoke with a city employee who grew up in Guthrie Center (Darin Sloss). He reported the legend of the chair has been around for at least 30 years," said Lewis.
      "A young man told us that if you are brave enough to sit in the chair you will experience a case of bad luck. When asked whether or not he had ever sat in the chair the man replied that even though he didn't believe in such things he wasn't going to tempt fate," Lewis added.
      The Iowa Road Guide to Haunted Locations takes the audience on a ghostly journey to some of the most haunted places in Iowa. It covers the entire state of Iowa from the Cursed Angel of Council Bluffs to the Hanging Ghost of Davenport. It encourages readers to to visit these Iowa's most haunted locations where you could:
      * See possessed statues come to life
      * Pick up a phantom hitchhiker
      * Encounter a ghost train
      * Sit in the Devil's Chair
      * Climb the haunted 13 steps
      * Have your car pushed by spirits

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