Ghosts have been known to inhabit some of Missouri’s most famous places – from the oldest prison west of the Mississippi River to Mark Twain’s stomping grounds. Come see for yourself during one of these spirited adventures:
Missouri State Penitentiary
By day, take a history tour of the Missouri State Penitentiary, once the oldest continuously operating prison west of the Mississippi. The facility, located in Jefferson City, housed inmates for 168 years until it was decommissioned in 2004. By night, experience the otherworldly side of the prison during a two-hour ghost tour, a three-hour ghost hunt or an overnight paranormal investigation. Explore the grounds and cells and learn about former inmates who some say still roam the halls.
Built in the late 1860s, Lemp Mansion in St. Louis claims to be the most haunted place in the city. LIFE magazine once called it one of the 10 most haunted places in America. Learn about the Lemp family’s chilling history during a ghost tour, or hunt for paranormal activity with an infrared camera on three floors of the darkened mansion during The Lemp Experience.
Take a paranormal tour of the Beattie Mansion, one of St. Joseph’s grand Victorian residences. The original owner, a wealthy businessman and the first mayor of the city, died mysteriously in 1878 after a “sudden bout of cholera.” His wife passed away two years later. During attempts to renovate the mansion, contractors experienced a variety of paranormal activity including disembodied voices and shadowy figures.
Hear ghostly tales on a night-time tour of Springfield’s Pythian Castle where strange noises, unexplained voices and floating orbs have been reported. Built by the Knights of Pythias as an orphanage in 1913, the castle was later owned by the U.S. military for more than 50 years. Today, the castle serves as the site of weddings and events and also hosts history tours, escape rooms and murder mystery dinners.
The Elms Hotel & Spa
Said to be haunted by several spirits, The Elms Hotel & Spa in Excelsior Springs was subject to not one, but two fires – the first in 1898 and the second in 1910. Thankfully, there were no fatalities, but rumor has it that a spirit was involved in one of the fires. Guests have reported paranormal activity in the lap pool area of the hotel – once a popular hangout during the Prohibition era for gangsters such as Al Capone.
Haunted Castle House, Brumley
In the backyard of the Castle House sits a pioneer graveyard and mass grave, and there are multiple accounts throughout history of deaths on and near the property and home. Come learn about the intriguing and somewhat dark history of the Castle House. Due to limited availability, paranormal tours and investigations are by reservation only.
Glore Psychiatric Museum, St. Joseph
Housed on grounds adjoining the former St. Joseph State Hospital, Glore Psychiatric Museum shares the history of what once was known as “State Lunatic Asylum No. 2,” which opened in St. Joseph in 1874. Museum exhibits include medical equipment and tools used during the asylum’s 145-year history, photographs, and artwork and stories from patients. The museum is located in the St. Joseph Museum complex, so after your visit, wander over to the Black Archives Museum, Doll Museum, and Native American and History Galleries. Visit all four museums for one admission price.
Zombie Road, Wildwood
A portion of the Rock Hollow Trail in Wildwood is said to be watched by the “shadow people.” This 2.3-mile section of old railroad tracks is one of the largest American Indian mound sites; it was walked by settlers crossing the country; and it was used by the Union Army during the Civil War. The ghostly apparitions that haunt Zombie Road watch from the trees but might step out onto the trail if a traveler is brave enough to traverse the secluded path.
Union Station Kansas City
This Kansas City train station, built in 1914, was a bustling hub of activity. In its prime, more than 200 passenger trains passed through the station on a daily basis. Union Station is still a hub of culture, education and entertainment. At night this time of year, it belongs to the supernatural. When the sun goes down, the station belongs to the spirits who are still waiting for their trains. Employees tell stories of a woman in a black dress walking down the stairs after hours and apparitions of travelers with suitcases wandering the halls.
Vaile Mansion, Independence
Vaile Mansion’s history is one of intrigue and tragedy. Built in 1881, the 31-room Gothic-style mansion’s original owner – Harvey Vaile – was plagued with legal woes. Accused of fraud in an investment scheme, Vaile expended a vast amount of money in legal expenses. At the same time, his wife Sophia was undergoing treatment for stomach cancer. She ended up dying under questionable circumstances and is said to haunt the mansion to this day. The home later served as a sanatorium that performed archaic procedures. Visitors have experienced cold spots, witnessed apparitions and captured unexplainable figures in film.
Haunted Hannibal Ghost Tours
Climb aboard a shuttle for an after-dark driving tour of Hannibal’s most haunted places – past and present. Listen to stories about murder and mischief from Mark Twain’s boyhood days. Meet present-day ghosts lurking in the mansions on Millionaire’s Row. Walk among the graves of Civil War soldiers in the Old Baptist Cemetery.
STL Haunted History
Explore the most historic and haunted parts of St. Louis on foot with a master storyteller whose family has lived in the city for more than 180 years. Hear spooky tales steeped in the city’s history, including the Great St. Louis Fire, the exorcism that inspired a famous movie, a cholera epidemic, Bloody Island and more.
St. Charles Ghost Tours
Experience unexplained lights, sights and sounds during a haunted walking tour of historic Main Street in St. Charles. Delve into the city’s history, ghosts and local legends. You just might catch a glimpse of a roaming spirit – the victim of a tragic death, see the spirits of two ghostly dogs, and feel the presence of a soul from the “lost graveyard.”
Haunted History Walking Tours
Springfield’s spookiest stories come to life during Haunted History Walking Tours. Hosted by the History Museum on the Square in the early fall, the tours focus on local history with a haunted twist. On certain Saturdays, the museum partners with the Gillioz Theatre to extend the tour inside the historic theater to share its ghostly encounters.
Written by Liz Coleman