Kansas City was named “haunted house capital of US,” by CBS Moneywatch in 2012. Although one of its most haunted locations, serial killer Bob Berdella’s home on Charlotte Street, was demolished in 1993, there are still a large number of locations with haunted histories. Whether Kansas City is really the most haunted or if it’s just that Kansas Citians are eager to embrace (and spread) a ghost story, these stories are still completely chilling.
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. 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.
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2. Hotel Savoy
This building, built in 1888 and 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.
3. John Wornall House
One of Kansas City’s oldest homes, the John Wornall House has a rich history from the civil war, and is said to also be one of the most haunted. Rumors of the house include stories that neighbors, upset with all the hauntings, have taken to hanging crosses in their windows, and whiting out their windows to avoid repeatedly seeing vanishing spirits. On weekends in October, the house opens up for a Ghost tour for guests to learn of the many hauntings and to possibly experience some of these spooky events themselves.
Some have reported seeing armed Civil War-era soldiers patrolling the doors and balconies, a woman in the kitchen bent in front of the fireplace, and light orbs floating on the rocking chair in the children’s bedroom. Other unexplained noises and voices as well as the smell of pipe tobacco have been observed. One of the creepiest stories, is that a staff member reported that all the guns hanging in the home suddenly turned to aim at the front door.
Location: 6115 Wornall Road
4. Belvoir Winery
The historic Odd Fellows Home District, established in 1900, is now home to Belvoir Winery, and is also said to be extremely haunted. In fact, the historic district is so well known for its hauntings that the SyFy Channel’s Ghost Hunters filmed an episode there. It is believed that many of the nearly 600 people who are buried in the cemetery on the site may still be lingering around, haunting the winery buildings.
Ghost sightings have included orphan children, a mischievous man, and a singing old lady. People have heard odd voices and noises, including children giggling and running up and down the stairs. Doors have opened and closed by themselves. Children have been heard singing “Ring Around the Rosy” in the halls. The piano has played on its own. The stories go on and on.
The winery offers public paranormal investigations on Friday nights in October that are so popular they tend to sell out fast. Other events at the winery include a Halloween Massacreade on October 31 and Murder Mystery Dinners in November, December and January.
Location: 1325 Odd Fellows Road
5. The Elms Hotel
The Elms Hotel is another historic and haunted site originally built in 1888 (rebuilt in 1912) in Excelsior Springs just 34 minutes Northeast of Kansas City. The hotel 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.
Location: 401 Regent Street, Excelsior Springs
6. The Coates Hotel
The once glorious Coates House hotel opened in 1867 and was a popular stop for passing dignitaries and famous people. It was even visited by Presidents William McKinley, Grover Cleveland and Theodore Roosevelt. By the late 60s and 70s it had become a shelter for the homeless, and a massive fire in 1978 killed at least 16 of its residents.
Today an apartment complex, residents have reported seeing shadowy figures move about in the building, hearing strange noises and having appliances make weird growling noises. It’s not hard to believe with the age of the building and the fiery deaths that occurred there, that spirits would still be lingering.
Location: 10th and Broadway
7. Pretty Boy Floyd's Hangout
Known as the Union Station Massacre, June 1933, Verne Miller and Charles "Pretty Boy" Floyd were involved in a gunfight over the botched prisoner escape they attempted for Frank “Jelly” Nash. The gunfight resulted in the deaths of Nash, two Kansas City police officers and two federal agents
After the event, Floyd returned to the Armor Hills home of his girlfriend, where he had planned the escape. He hid out there for a short time, and it is also believed that another man who had been wounded at Union Station later died in the attic of the house.
In later years, new owners described doors that wouldn't stay closed, and lights that wouldn't stay off. The attic door would open by itself even after being locked, and the light to the attic would turn itself on. In addition, the door to the basement slammed shut by itself, and objects would move in the attic.
Location: 6612 Edgevale
8. St. Mary's Episcopal Church
St. Mary's Episcopal Church, established in 1857, was the first Episcopal church in Kansas City. The current building was built in 1887, and was accepted into the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. The building is believed to be haunted by the spirit of an early rector, Father Henry David Jardine, a controversial man who had many disagreements with church members and officials. His death in 1886 was officially ruled a suicide. Stories from witnesses attribute the unexplained sounds heard around the building being Father Jardine’s spirit looking to clear his name.
Location: 1307 Holmes Street
9. Muehlbach Hotel
The Muehlebach Hotel is a historic hotel building in Downtown Kansas City that has been one of the Midwest’s most prestigious hotels since opening in 1916. The hotel has been visited by every President from Theodore Roosevelt to Ronald Reagan, celebrities like Elvis Presley and the Beatles, and it is currently operated as one of three wings of the Kansas City Marriott.
The hotel plays host to a ghost known as “The Blue Lady,” described as a blonde in her early 30’s wearing a 1920s-style blue dress with her hair tucked up into a wide-brimmed hat. Some believe that she is the ghost of an actress who once played at the Gayety Theater next door, and that she searches the Muehlebach for a lost lover.
Location: 12th and Baltimore
10. Kemper Arena
Kemper Arena is said to be haunted by the late WWE wrestler, Owen Hart, who died there in 1999. He fell from the arena’s ceiling while attempting to dramatically descend as his superhero image, The Blue Blazer. His ghost has been reported to be seen wearing his blue blazer, looking down from where he sits at the top of the arena.
Location: 1800 Genessee Street
11. Kansas City Power and Light Building
The Kansas City Power and Light Building is a landmark skyscraper located downtown. It was constructed by Kansas City Power and Light in 1931, in an attempt to bring new jobs to the area. It has been a prominent part of the Kansas City skyline since, but it is also reported to be haunted.
There have been reports of shadowy figures jumping from the top of the historic building and vanishing before reaching the ground. Unexplained weird noises and the feeling of being watched are particularly evident at night.
Location: 1330 Baltimore Avenue
12. Folly Theater
Also known as “The Pink Lady,” the Folly Theater was completed in 1900, and along with the adjacent Edward Hotel were at the center of the theater world in Kansas City for many years. It was managed from 1902 to 1922 by a legendary personality named Joe Donegan, who was talented at bringing the biggest showbiz names in the country to Kansas City. It is his ghost that is said to haunt the Folly.
When the theater underwent a massive renovation in the 1970s, witnesses began to notice an apparition in a bowler hat who they believed to be Joe Donegan, and the ghost of a woman in a long gown running toward the stage, as if late for her cue.
Location: 300 W. 12th Street
13. Kansas City Music Hall
The Kansas City Music Hall is one of four venues found in the Kansas City Municipal Auditorium. It is a first class theater with seating for 2,400, decorated with a 1930’s era feel, with Italian marble floors, impressive murals art deco chandeliers, and a glorious antique 1927 pipe organ.
It is believed to be haunted by the entities of former patrons, mostly because there are no recorded deaths, suicides or murders committed in this building. Well-dressed spirits clothed in a variety of fashions from the 20th century tend to discretely appear during performances. It is believed these spirits don’t mean any harm, but are just there to enjoy the show.
Location: 301 West 13th Street
So what do you think? Is Kansas City our most haunted city? If you don’t think so, tell us which city you think has the most ghosts.