Trail of terror: Haunted road trip includes the scariest places in Missouri

Missouri

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Missouri is known for some of the most haunted places in the country. Now there’s an easy 12-hour road trip that will take you to some of the most famous haunted locations in the state.

This road trip begins in St. Joseph before crisscrossing the state to St. Louis then back to Joplin.

ST. JOSEPH

Beattie Mansion, 1120 Main St.

Locals know this landmark as The House on the Hill. It’s also called Beattie Mansion, and is known as one of the most haunted places in the city.

The mansion was built in 1854 and served an as orphanage, and also housed the homeless and was a hospital for the aging population. Those who believe the house is haunted say people hear voices, a woman humming, and strange lights. Others reported seeing shadowy figures and full-body apparitions.

Beattie Mansion is available for tours and to rent. You can schedule a visit online.

The Wyeth Tootle Mansion, 1100 Charles St.

The Wyeth Tootle Mansion looks stately enough to be haunted. It’s a Gothic-style building with 43 rooms and includes a panoramic view of the city and the Missouri River.

Ghost hunters have said that there are apparitions of two children playing in one of the mansion’s bedrooms, or a male spirit who roams the third floor. Others have captured electronic voice phenomena (EVPs) in the home.

The mansion is available to rent throughout the year. It is also open to the public during the spring and summer months on Friday and Saturday. Ghost hunts are also sometimes available.

Glore Psychiatric Museum, 3406 Frederick Ave.

Is there anything more terrifying than a 145-year-old Psychiatric Museum known for its medical equipment and tools?

Glore Psychiatric Museum opened to house the mentally ill in 1874. The museum now houses exhibits that include medical equipment and tools used on patients at the asylum. It also includes 453 nails swallowed by a patient who once stayed at the asylum.

By the early 1950s, there were nearly 3,000 beds, some for the most criminally insane people in the state. Some were forced to undergo unspeakable treatments.

Former workers at the hospital reported seeing shadowy figures roaming hallways and always feeling as if they were being watched. There are reports of moaning, screaming and crying, and even an apparition of a man near the former morgue. Others have reported a voice of a man yelling “Get out!”

The museum is open to the public. Ghost hunts are also sometimes available throughout the year.

KEARNEY

Jesse James Birthplace, 21216 Jesse James Farm Rd.

It’s the birthplace of one of the most famous outlaws to ever live, so of course the birthplace of Jesse James is haunted!

Both Jesse and his brother Frank were raised in the house near Kearney. It’s also where their half-brother Archie was murdered and where Jesse was whipped by Union fighters.

The farm is said to be haunted by a number of spirits, including sounds that date back to the Civil War era.

The museum is open to the public. Admission is $8.50 for adults, $5 for children, and kids under 8 are free.

EXCELSIOR SPRINGS

The Elms Hotel & Spa, 401 Regent St.

Step back in time and mingle with some of the ghosts of years past at The Elms Hotel & Spa in Excelsior Springs. Everyone who has experienced them insists the spirits at the hotel are friendly. Rumors even say that a gambler from the Prohibition era likes to roam near the hotel’s lap pool.

Others believe that a spirit lurking at the hotel may have started one of two fires that damaged the landmark in 1898 and 1910.

The Elms Hotel & Spa embraces its haunted history and has been featured in an episode of Ghost Hunters.

LIBERTY

Belvoir Winery, 1325 Odd Fellows Rd.

Belvoir Winery is a bed and breakfast that offers amazing views and hosts numerous weddings every year.

It’s also home to more sinister celebrations. Some guests have reported coming across strange unwanted presences. Some guests have been so terrified they checked out before morning.

KANSAS CITY

John Wornall House, 6115 Wornall Rd.

Kansas City has two haunted homes, just minutes apart. The John Wornall House was used as a hospital by both Union and Confederate armies in the Civil War. Amputations occurred regularly inside the house.

Spirits of injured soldiers are said to roam the house. Others insist they’ve seen the ghost of a Union soldier standing guard inside the house.

Alexander Majors House, 8201 State Line Rd.

The Alexander Majors House is said to be one of the most haunted locations in Kansas City.

Majors was one of the founders of the Pony Express. He built the home in 1856.

Guests have reported seeing shadowy figures inside the house. Others say they’ve heard voices. It is believed that they may be the spirits of Majors’ son and great-granddaughter.

Both the Wornall and Majors homes are open to the public. There are also ghost tours offered through them during the month of October.

INDEPENDENCE

Bingham-Waggoner Estate, 313 W. Pacific Ave.

The Bingham-Waggoner Estate was built in 1827 and was a key point on the Santa Fe Trail. You can still see wagon wheel ruts on the ground when you visit.

Paranormal investigators said they’ve determined multiple spirits roam the ground of the estate. One is a bride who is said to have fallen down the stairs in the house on her wedding day. Investigators say they have also determined there are spirits in the basement as well as the former slaves quarters.

The estate is open during certain hours to the public. Tours are also available.

Vaile Mansion, 1500 N. Liberty St.

The Victorian mansion in Independence was built in 1881 and has 31 rooms, several which are said to house spirits. The owners lived just two years in the Vaile Mansion before Sophia Vaile died. Some believe her death was an accident, but the coroner determine Vaile died by suicide.

Since the 1880s, the Vaile Mansion served as a sanatorium and housed patients being treated for mental illnesses. It then was transformed into a nursing home. Past paranormal investigators have determined that there are at least three spirits in the home.

You can book your own private investigation, if you date.

1859 Jail, Marshal’s Home & Museum, 217 N. Main St.

As it says online, some inmates at the jail were sentenced for life …. others stayed even longer.

The former Jackson County jail was built in 1859 and housed 12 cells. Military and civilian inmates were held at the jail. Each cell featured an open window covered by iron bars. Historians have estimated that some prisoners died by exposure during the cold of winter and the heat of the summer.

Famous outlaw William Clark Quantrill was once housed at the jail. So was Jesse James’ older brother Frank.

An Independence paranormal investigation group said some visitors reported feeling chilled or nauseated in certain areas of the jail. Others report hearing footsteps and voices.

Public and private tours of the jail and marshal’s home are available.

SEDALIA

Hotel Bothwell, 103 E. 4th St.

Hotel Bothwell is said to have historic elegance with modern comforts. Some believers say the landmark offers a little something extra too.

The hotel was built in 1927 and many believe the third floor is haunted. A number of people have spotted ghosts roaming the floor. Some guests said personal belongings have disappeared during their stays. Others have reported voices that can’t be explained.

JEFFERSON CITY

Missouri State Penitentiary, 115 Lafayette St.

If you’re looking for a ghostly tour, you’ll want to do some time here.

Missouri’s State Penitentiary is thought to be one of the most haunted locations in the state. The site has been featured on multiple paranormal TV shows and podcasts.

Investigators said spirits roam the halls and still haunt some of the cells.

There are multiple ghost tours offered at the penitentiary, including an 8-hour overnight paranormal investigation. Tours start at $30 per person.

BEL-NOR

The Exorcist House, 8435 Roanoke Dr.

The events that took place in a house in the St. Louis suburb of Bel-Nor inspired one of the scariest movies of all time.

The Exorcist House is where priests tried to cast a demon out of a 14-year-old boy in 1949. They eventually completed the exorcism at a hospital.

ST. LOUIS

The Lemp Mansion, 3322 Demenil Pl.

The Lemp Mansion is said to be one of the 10 most haunted places in America and has been featured on Ghost Hunters.

Paranormal investigators say the house is haunted by multiple spirits. Some may be those of the four Lemp family members who took their lives in the house over the years.

The mansion is now a restaurant and bed and breakfast. According to the site, Legends of America, employees have reported glasses flying off the bar, the piano playing on its own, and the lights turning on and off by themselves. Others report the face of a boy appearing in the attic and women have said they saw a man peeking over the stall in the women’s restroom.

You can book a room at the Lemp Mansion, or check out its menus online.

HILLSBORO

Morse Mill Hotel, 8850 Old Morse Mill Spur

The remote Morse Mill Hotel, just south of St. Louis, dates back to the early 1800s. It was a place to be seen with people like Al Capone, Charles Lindbergh, Jesse James and Charlie Chaplin checking in for a night or two.

According to the hotel’s owners, Bertha Gifford, one of the first known serial killers in the country, lived and worked at the hotel. She used poison to kill more than a dozen children. She also poisoned her husband. It is believed that he is one of the spirits that can be seen roaming the hotel.

SPRINGFIELD

Porch.com just ranked Springfield as one of America’s most haunted cities, so it’s gotta make the list.

Pythian Castle, 154 Park Central Square

The Pythian Castle was built in 1913 for the fraternal organization The Knights of Pythias. It served as a home for the knights as they aged and also as an orphanage for the knights’ children. It later served as a camp for prisoners of war during WWII.

Paranormal experts from TV shows such as Ghost Adventures, Ghost Lab, and Haunted Collector have certified this building is haunted.

Dozens of people died in the castle, and some experts believe the activity is due to many intense emotions, like those sometimes experienced at death.

The castle offers both nighttime ghost tours and ghost investigations.

Landers Theatre, 311 E. Walnut St.

The Landers Theater in Springfield has a history of deadly “accidents” and homicides.

In 1920, a fire at the theater killed the building’s janitor, who is now said to haunt the stage area of the theater. That same decade, a man was stabbed in the second balcony and died. His spirit can often been seen as a green orb.

The theater said a baby once died when it fell from the balcony. Some people report hearing a baby crying. Performers have also seen an apparition of a baby falling from the balcony as they rehearse on stage.

There are also other spirits reported to have been seen in the theater. You can learn about each one during a haunted ghost tour.

Walnut Street Inn

Springfield’s Walnut Street Inn has been described as one of the “most haunted places you’ll ever sleep.”

The Victorian-style inn was built in the 1890s and is made up of three buildings and features 12-bedrooms. HauntedRooms.com says the Rosen Room is the most haunted one at the inn. One guest reported waking up to find a female spirit sitting at a table in his room. There have also been sightings in the nearby hallway. You can read about other encounters online.

While the Inn does not have specific haunted tours, rooms are available to rent.

REPUBLIC

Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, 6424 W. Farm Rd. 182

The Battle of Wilson’s Creek was a major battle in the Civil War. The battle took place on Aug. 10, 1861 and was the first engagement of the Civil War that took place west of the Mississippi River. It’s estimated that 2,500 soldiers were killed in the battle.

Some people who visit the battlefield in Republic, just 13 miles southwest of Springfield, have reported seeing apparitions or have experienced spots where the temperature suddenly drops dramatically. At night, there have also been reports of the voices of soldiers calling out to one another.

JOPLIN

Peace Church Cemetery, 3311 N. Peace Church Rd.

The final stop on this haunted road trip of Missouri is fittingly Peace Church Cemetery, a graveyard in Joplin. But many folks argue that the cemetery isn’t exactly peaceful.

It’s the final resting place of mass murderer Billy Cook who was executed after he killed six people in the 1950s. Visitors believe his spirit haunts the graveyard.

Other visitors have reported the feeling of being watched, or hearing footsteps and laughter during their visits.

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