Accounts of hauntings abound throughout Missouri. Apparitions, strange noises, weird lights, and sometimes even contact have been reported in locations as varied as tunnels and giant mansions. Here are a few of the stories behind some of the most haunted locations in the state.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. The Epperson House
Built around 1920, and now a part of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, this house, originally owned by Uriah Epperson, has a long history of hauntings. The resident ghosts are those of Uriah's adopted daughter and Uriah himself.
The daughter died in the home while the organ was being constructed in the house. She appears in an evening gown accompanied by organ music late at night. In addition, a man's arm in a blue suit has been seen turning off a light. The Epperson House was featured on TV's Unsolved Mysteries as one of the Top 5 U.S. Haunted Houses.
2. The Ravenswood estate near Bunceton
Built in 1880, Ravenswood was the grand home of wealthy couple Nadine and Charles Leonard. The home hosted many parties and was the place to be. Nadine died in a bedroom at age 90 and her body was taken out of the home for funeral preparation. A servant, attempting to retrieve clothing for the burial, found the bedroom door locked from the inside. They looked in the room by climbing a ladder and looking in the window. No one was there. They tried and tried to get the door open to no avail. Finally, a servant left to get tools to force the door open. Upon his return the door was open.
Over the years, reports of other phenomenon have occurred, including objects being thrown, a music box playing, and sounds of music and laughter coming from the grounds.
3. Vaile Mansion, Independence
Besides former owner Mrs. Vaile appearing in the window or around the property grounds, it is also believed that the home's former use as an asylum left negative energies and residual hauntings.
4. Fear (or Screaming) House in Union
The truly horrifying account of one man's experience with this house was written by former tenant Stephen LaChance. They were amazed at the low rent and puzzled by the latches on the outside of all the doors. What started as small things such as a painting that kept falling off the wall, turned into a malevolent dark ghostly figure, a screaming man, and an attack by the house itself finally forcing them to leave. Turned out the house has had a long history of tenants leaving unexpectantly. You can read more of his story at
5. Jefferson Barracks and Cemetery, St. Louis
Several hauntings throughout the cemetery and barracks have been reported, but perhaps the creepiest is that of a little girl wandering the headstones. Or maybe it's the two soldiers from the civil war acknowledging each other at sundown...one a Buffalo soldier and the other a confederate soldier.
6. Lorimier Cemetery, Cape Girardeau
Lorimier is home of the "tapping ghost". Visitors feel the sensation of being tapped on the shoulder, looking around and realizing it must be something that fell from the tree, then feel the tapping again. Female visitors have reported the sensation of having their hair pulled. They are located at 841 Caruthers Avenue.
7. Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis
One story goes that a young girl hitches a ride somewhere between the Calvary Cemetery nearby and the gates of the Bellefontaine cemetery, and before arriving at the gates, she is suddenly gone. Another story speaks of a little boy who runs out into the street, you think you hit him, but there's no one there. Located at 4947 W. Florissant Avenue.
8. Zombie Road
The stories associated with Zombie Road outside of St. Louis are many. While the original name of the road was Lawler Ford Road, it started being referred to as Zombie Road in the 50’s. This is perhaps due to the stories of a “Zombie killer”, a creepy guy who lived in a shack in the woods and would attack young lovers looking for a place to be alone.
As the years passed, the chilling stories continued, including ghosts, vanishings and strange noises. One of the most spine-tingling may be the frequently re-told story about the ghost of a man who was hit by a train and now haunts the area. The chilling part is that there is a real story in which the wife of a local judge named Della Hamilton McCullough was actually hit by a train and died in 1876. Since there are no other records of anyone being killed by a train in this area, it is widely believed that Mrs. McCullough may just be the actual famed ghost.
9. The Lemp Mansion
The Lemp Mansion currently operates as a restaurant and inn (and even the site of a murder mystery dinner theater!) and people flock there to see if they can observe something creepy. This 19th century mansion in St. Louis is said to be one of the ten most haunted places in America.
Based on the several suicides and other deaths within the Lemp family at this location, the building is said to be haunted by several of their spirits. For example, the attic is said to be haunted by the “Monkey-faced boy” who was actually the illegitimate son of William Lemp Jr, who had been hidden away to avoid disgrace due to the scandal and because he had been born “deformed” (actually with down syndrome).
10. Morse Mill Hotel, Jefferson County
This old hotel, located at 8850 Morse Mill Spur Road, is a 1816 farmhouse, with former famous guests like Clara Bow, Jesse James, Al Capone, and Charles Lindbergh. Also, Bertha Gifford, who lived and worked there at one point, was an infamous serial killer who poisoned children and adults with arsenic laced chocolates. There have been reportings of strange images caught on film, footsteps, voices, cold breezes, and apparitions through the years.
11. Hotel Bothwell, Sedalia
This 1927 Jazz era hotel, located at 103 E. 4th Street, is the site of many reported hauntings. Ghost sightings, voices, and objects going missing are just some of them. A former worker reported scratches on the back of his neck coming from nowhere. There have also been doors opening and closing on their own, and a crank elevator working on it its own. The third floor in particular is said to be the most haunted.
12. The Elms Hotel, Excelsior Springs
This 1912 hotel, located at 401 Regent Street, once had a basement where the lap pool now stands. Many ghost sightings down there have been reported, including the ghost of a man from speakeasy days who had been killed by the mob there, and a frantic woman looking for her child who might even pull hair or throw things. The help seems to be well supervised as well. The ghost of a young woman in a maid outfit appears to make sure the work is done right.
13. Prosperity School Bed and Breakfast, Joplin
This former school stood empty for over 30 years before it was turned into a bed and breakfast. There have been reports of children running down the halls or shadowy figures and the ghost of a nurse. Perhaps creepiest are the guest reports of the sensation of a child crawling into bed with them in the middle of the night. Located at 4788 County Road 200.
14. Hotel Savoy, Kansas City
This building built in 1888, located at 219 W. 9th Street, has a long history of supernatural occurrences. Room 505 was the location of the suspicious death of a woman named Betsy Ward, and reports of voices, shadows, doors opening and closing have all been reported in or near that room.
On the second floor, in 1990, the restaurant manager was stabbed to death by his dishwashers, and there have been reports of the feeling of being watched in that area. There have also been EVP's and pictures showing orbs and figures including a little girl in Victorian clothing being spotted on the 4th floor.
15. Walnut Street Inn, Springfield
The Main House of this three-bulding inn is said to be the most haunted. In particular, The Rosen Room is said to be haunted by an elderly woman who one guest reported having talked with. She is also seen walking the halls but it is believed she is a friendly ghost. The building, built in 1894, has had numerous other reports through the years.
16. Bone Hill Cemetery, Levasy
“Bone Hill” got its name from an old American Indian buffalo hunting practice in which the tribe frightened the buffalo into stampeding off a cliff, resulting in many dead buffalo that were then harvested. A large pile of buffalo bones was found near this cemetery’s location, leading pioneers to believe it was the location of this type of buffalo hunt.
Story is, a pioneer family buried a bunch of gold somewhere near a stone fence on the cemetery grounds, planning to return and retrieve it after seven years had passed. However, they never did return. Instead, visitors report seeing a blue light that hovers over a stone wall, believing it to be the spirits of that family protecting their precious gold (The cemetery has also been known as Ebenezer Church Cemetery and Levasy Cemetery)
17. Lander’s Theater, Springfield
Built in 1909, Landers Theater is a four-story brick building that was built in 1909 on E. Walnut Street in Springfield and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In continuous operation since it opened despite a 1920 fire that nearly burned it to the ground, it has long been rumored to be haunted by quite a few ghosts. One ghost is that of a janitor who had perished in the fire who has been seen on the balcony.
Another is said to be the ghost of a baby that had been accidentally dropped from the balcony. Witnesses have heard a baby crying or the sad “thud” of the fall occurring. In addition, green orbs and an inky black vortex have been seen in various places throughout the theater, and a blonde woman has been seen in the window on the fourth floor wearing Elizabethan style clothing.
18. Satan’s Tunnel, Hawk Point
This tunnel, once a railroad bridge, has been mostly taken back by nature, moss, and graffiti, and many believe it is haunted by ghostly figures. Long before, when the railroad was still there, a train struck a man walking along the tracks causing him to fall to his death. Another man was said to have been lynched in a tree near the entrance.
The third story involves a man who at one time had made his home in the tunnel, who had been found dead with a look of fear still on his face. Besides the ghosts of these three men, or perhaps because of the negative energy drawn to the site by these events, a group of devil worshippers have been attracted to this location and perform rituals there.
19. Pythian Castle
The Knights of Pythias, an American fraternal organization and secret society, built this castle in 1913. Originally named Pythian Home of Missouri, it was first used as an orphanage and retirement home for children and widows of members of the organization.
Legend says that children staying at the castle were forced to crawl through a steam tunnel in order to deliver laundry to a connecting building. The castle was commandeered by the U.S. government during WWII and used as a recovery home for wounded soldiers. The soldiers staying there during this time often reported hearing screams and seeing the ghosts of children. One veteran reportedly heard a conversation taking place on the second floor, even though no one was there.
In recent years, the Pythian Castle was purchased by a private owner and has been opened up for tours. It has also been featured in TV Shows such as Ghost Lab, Haunted Collector and in the documentary Children of the Grave.
20. Stephens College, Columbia
Stephens College in Columbia is believed to have many ghosts, long part of campus lore. Pillsbury/Roblee Dorm Hall is said to be home to three ghostly women called the Blue Ladies who sing to students and tuck them in to bed at night. A baby is heard crying at night in Searcy Hall, said to be the spirit of a newborn who had been left in a locker by a student. At Senior Hall you might encounter the spirit of a women named Sarah, who is said to have hanged herself there during the Civil War after her soldier lover had been killed for desertion. Finally, Tower Hall’s entire fifth floor is said to have several ghosts residing there.
21. Avenue Theater, West Plains
Avenue Theatre, a 1950 Art Deco building in West Plains, has been the site of several reports of strange activity. A baby’s cries have been heard coming from the upper seating areas, flickering lights have been seen when it is dark, and props have been reported moved or hidden.
22. Rose Bed Inn, Cape Girardeau
Rose Bed Inn is housed in a former home that had been built in 1908, and is said to be haunted by a ghost named Alex. Alex was a young man engaged to a wealthy lady who had expressed interest in purchasing the home, but did not yet have the money. The owners agreed to let Alex move in with them to start fixing it up, and ultimately learned that Alex was gay and had a lover he had been hiding from his fiance’.
Alex disappeared soon after the two found out about each other, and eventually an odor led the owners to find Alex’s body hanging in the attic. It is said that Alex’s ghost now lives harmoniously with the current owners and is known to turn off lights, move or hide objects, smoke cigars (strictly NOT normally allowed on the property), and show himself to guests who share the name Alex.
23. Port Cape Girardeau Restaurant and Lounge in Warehouse Row
Port Cape Girardeau Restaurant and Lounge in Warehouse Row is housed in a circa-1860 warehouse. It is said to be haunted by an unknown female ghost nicknamed Belle by a former bartender. He claimed she showed him she liked the name he gave her by starting to ring a bell in the downstairs hall shortly after he came up with it. Belle has been seen in a 19th-century long dress, and noises and footsteps have been reported by customers and staff, as well as orbs appearing and even showing up in photographs.
What are some other ghost stories you have heard? Do you believe ghosts are real or just imaginary?