If you are anything like me, you are at least a little bit fascinated with the paranormal. My granny has watched documentaries and TV shows about ghosts with me and my siblings ever since we were little. I remember poring over Google images of ghosts, trying to decide if they were real or fake, and when I moved to Springfield, Missouri, Granny and I headed to the Pythian Castle to do some hands-on exploring ourselves. Though I have never had an experience myself, I always thought the stories were interesting. So here at the BLT, we have compiled a list for all you supernatural-lovers to add to your supernatural bucket lists. From the Ozarks to the Bootheel, grab your recorder or your camera and check out these haunted places in the southern half of the Show-Me State.
The Pythian Castle in Springfield, Missouri is one of the most haunted places in the area. The castle was a home for orphans and widows until 1942 when the US military took over and used it as a rehab center for injured troops. Prisoners of war were also kept on the premises, and the ghost of a German POW is still said to lurk inside one of the cells in the basement. Ghost tours include EVP sessions, recollections of paranormal events, and even a trip down a creepy, haunted tunnel if you are brave enough. The castle has also been featured on television shows such as Haunted Collector and Ghost Lab.
Peace Church Cemetery in Joplin, MO
Dating back to the mid-19th century, the Peace Church Cemetery in Joplin, Missouri is brimming with history… and the paranormal. The cemetery is the resting place of the infamous Billy Cook, who killed six people in the early 1950s before being executed in a gas chamber. His body lies in an unmarked grave in the cemetery, though his presence is said to still linger. Visitors have reported objects being thrown at them, apparitions, and some even leave the cemetery with inexplicable scratches lining their arms.
Historic Castle House in Brumley, MO
The Historic Castle House in Brumley, Missouri is bursting with supernatural activity from shadows in the cemetery to apparitions in the mirrors. The house was built in 1850 by owners Dr. Walter Dixon and his wife, Martha. During the Civil War, the Castle House became a center for injured soldiers who were treated by Dixon under a truce. Some of the past patients are said to stick around the house, especially the ghost of Dixon’s wife, Martha, who suffered a stroke at the top of the stairway and is said to roam the second floor, still dolled up in a party dress.
Kendrick House in Carthage, MO
Kendrick House in Carthage, Missouri is the oldest home in Jasper County and is also home to the oldest inhabitants of the city. Used as a hospital by both Union and Confederate soldiers during the Civil War, the house is filled with history. The location is reportedly haunted by the ghost of Carol Sue Janney, who died of polio when she was only two years old. Tons of paranormal has been reported to take place at the house including odd glowing lights, phantom children playing in the backyard at night, and even the captured EVP voices of young souls. The house is also a museum and curious visitors can embark upon a scheduled tour within its walls.
Prosperity School Bed and Breakfast in Joplin, MO
The Prosperity School Bed and Breakfast in Joplin, Missouri isn’t just a hotel for the living. Guests who have stayed here have reported ghost children running down halls, electrical disturbances, and more. The television show Ghost Hunters has also paid the bed and breakfast a visit, and they captured apparitions of playing children and shadow figures. EVP recordings have also captured disembodied voices.
The Shepherd of the Hills in Branson, MO
Rumored to be haunted by the lingering ghost of a Confederate soldier, Shepherd of the Hills is not only a theater for entertaining but an auditorium for the dead as well. The soldier is mostly seen at a performance at the theater, where he is said to be seen running away from the actors on horseback.
Missouri State University - Freddy House in Springfield, MO
Students and alumni of Missouri State University all know the story of the haunting of Freudenberger House, also called ‘Freddy House.’ The five-story dorm houses up to 720 students plus an extra guest. Called ‘Dorm Mom’, this female phantom is generally seen on the fifth floor and has been reported to lock doors, touch students’ shoulders, and more. Most students who have had an experience with the ghost say it is a benign spirit.
Drury University in Springfield, MO
Keeping with Springfield’s theme of haunted colleges, Drury University takes its place among the ranks of supernatural places in Missouri. The very foundation of the school is built on old Native American burial grounds, which is literally the premise of at least twenty horror movies. Smith Hall was built on what used to be a cluster of old Victorian houses, one in which a young girl perished trying to retrieve her teddy bear from a fire. Many students claim to have experienced paranormal activity surrounding the child; most notably those who own teddy bears themselves report the stuffed toys are sometimes moved during the night. Other phenomena include pianos playing themselves in Clara Thompson Hall and flickering lights in the Wilhoit Theatre.
Slagle Cemetery and Bridge in Chillicothe, MO
It makes complete sense that a cemetery would still have the imprints of lost souls on its grounds, but the Slagle Cemetery and bridge in Chillicothe, Missouri really takes the cake. The cemetery was founded by Joseph Slagle, who locals claim was responsible for the first murder in Livingston County. According to the story, the victim’s body was buried beneath the road near the cemetery, and the spirits of the restless Slagle family still wander among the headstones. Slagle is rumored to have killed a few of his many wives, but nothing was ever proven. The bridge itself is considered to be attached to a woman who hanged herself after the death of one of her children. Reports of activity also include mysterious whispers, injuries from being pushed off the bridge, sightings of orbs, and the figure of Mr. Slagle himself.
Avenue Theatre in West Plains, MO
While some visit the Avenue Theatre in West Plains, Missouri to catch one of the fabulous community plays put on there, some go just for the paranormal activity. Visitors have reported hearing a baby crying in what used to be a projection room, actors have spotted stage curtains moving when no one is there, and props occasionally have moved or gone missing entirely.
Springfield Little Theater (formerly Landers Theater) in Springfield, MO
Performances at the Springfield Little Theater in Springfield, Missouri are so great that even the dead rise for a standing ovation. With a rich history laced with the paranormal, the theater is said to be home to several lost entities. From the janitor who was killed in a fire in 1920 to a baby that fell to its death from the balcony and still cries for its mother, tragedy is a theme that the theater knows well. Guests have also claimed to see a middle-aged male apparition who watches from the balcony, and many guests have had experiences of an unseen force tapping them on the shoulder, only to turn around to find no one there.
Belleview School in Belleview, MO
Standing with its university counterparts, the Belleview School in Belleview, Missouri is said to be haunted by the spirit of a young boy. The legend says that the boy was swinging too high on the swing when it flipped over; he hit his head and died on the playground. The swing is said to swing by itself even when the wind is absent, and the boy can be heard running and screaming in the halls of the school at night.
If you are looking for some supernatural company, head to Avilla, Missouri where you can spend your evening with the Shadow People of Avilla or hear the Legend of the Death Tree. This Route 66 ghost town is home to 125 people and a handful of disembodied inhabitants. The most infamous is Confederate Bushwacker Rotten Johnny Reb, who is said to haunt the town and the “Death Tree," where townsfolk hung his skull as a warning. Other specters include those of the Shadow People, which many claim walk the halls of the abandoned buildings that line the streets of Avilla.
Lorimier Cemetery in Cape Girardeau, MO
Established in 1808, Lorimier Cemetery in Cape Girardeau, Missouri is the resting place of Cape Girardeau’s founder, Louis Lorimier, and hosts more than 6,500 burial sites (around 1,200 of them belong to Civil War soldiers). Though the entire city of Cape Girardeau is full of ghostly happenings, the cemetery stands out because of the legend of the Tapping Ghost. Visitors to the cemetery have reported the sensation of being tapped on the shoulder to turn around and find that no one else is there. Female guests have also experienced having their hair tugged by an unseen force. When you visit the area, make sure to also check out the Glenn House, the Rose Bed Inn, and the Port Cape Girardeau where other ghostly happenings have been reported.
Parlor Bed and Breakfast in Ironton, MO
If you are looking for a friendly bed and breakfast to stay at on your ghost hunting adventures, check out the Parlor Bed and Breakfast. The inn is quaint and gorgeous, but the real fun is in the unseen inhabitants that still dwell within its walls. The inn is said to be home to a female entity who is known to roam the halls, make noises, and ring the doorbell. Other voices have also been heard coming from the upstairs. Paranormal Inc has also recorded EVPs from their investigation at the Parlor, including the chilling sound of a woman humming (there were no females present during the investigation).
Oak Ridge Cemetery in Doniphan, MO
Oak Ridge Cemetery in Doniphan, Missouri is a sprawling cemetery that is home to a gorgeous statue of Belle Neal that local legends say comes to life at midnight. Reports of a female apparition flitting among the graves are also common. Locals have claimed to hear voices calling out at the cemetery as well.
Arcadia Academy in Arcadia, MO
Originally a Methodist high school in 1864, Arcadia Academy in Arcadia, Missouri is home to numerous accounts of paranormal activity. The academy has gone through numerous iterations including being a convent, a Union hospital during the civil war, and a girls school, before eventually being restored into a vacation destination. There are many accounts of the location being home to ghosts. Visitors have captured photographs of floating orbs, vortexes, and unexplained mists. Now serving the city as a bed and breakfast, you can relax and unwind on your trip… if you are brave enough to rest among the ghosts who still roam the premises.
Leeper Mansion in Leeper, MO
Leeper Mansion in Leeper, Missouri has a very dark history and is said to be one of the most haunted places in the area. The former owner of the building, a Captain Leeper, was a terrifyingly callous man who beat and even hung African Americans. On his deathbed, he claimed he was being attacked by demons and had to be restrained. He was buried in the family cemetery, but visitors still report seeing him walk among the grounds, hear doors slamming shut, and experience a malevolent growling noise coming from the room Leeper died in.
The Spooklight near Joplin, MO
Also called Joplin Spook Light, Hornet Spooklight and Seneca Light, the Spooklight near Joplin is one of the most famous spook lights in America. With sightings dating back to the mid-1800s, the Spooklight is a long-standing legend in the area. The town borders Oklahoma, and some say the best place to see the Spooklight is after dark parked on Oklahoma East 50 Road. The light appears in a wide area and residents of the area have even reported seeing the light in their backyards. Stories say that the light may be the spirit of two Quapaw Indians who died in the area, the lingering energy of an Osage Indian chief who was beheaded on the Devil’s Promenade, or the lantern of a distressed, long-dead father searching for his kidnapped children. No matter which tale is true, the legacy of The Spooklight is ingrained in the local culture and history in the area.
Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, MO
The southern part of Missouri seems to have a penchant for haunted universities. The Southeast Missouri State University campus in Cape Girardeau, Missouri is no different. The source of all the legends seems to surround Cheney Hall. Here, it was rumored that a young female student committed suicide in a bathtub. Students have reported slamming doors, unexplainable noises, and sights of apparitions roaming the hallways. It is also said that the Rose Theatre is the domain of a spirit named Mary who allegedly murdered her husband.
Have you visited any of these places, and did you have any unexplainable experiences? Share your stories below and share with your friends!