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 at the Missouri State Penitentiary, 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 dungeon cells and hear about inmates who some say still roam the prison halls.
Built in the late 1860s, the Lemp Masion 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.
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 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 slaves and 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, sounds and smells 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."
Learn what life was like centuries ago in Missouri's oldest town during the Déjà vu Spirit Reunion at the Ste. Genevieve Memorial Cemetery. More than 20 "spirits" will tell tales from the community's earliest days during the lantern tour. The cemetery, established in 1787, includes tombs and grave markers for many of the town's French pioneers and other European emigrants, African-American slaves and freemen, and American Indians. Visit a mass grave that entombs victims of a nearby steamboat explosion. Hear about a U.S. Senator who was buried three times and a Civil War colonel who died during the Battle of Shiloh. The event is usually held towards the end of October.
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 hear about its ghostly encounters.
Written by Liz Coleman