Best of KC: Best Kansas City Ghost Stories
Finally! Halloween is on a Saturday and daylight savings begins the next night, so you’ll get an extra hour of sleep after your hardcore trick-or-treating. But alas, it’s 2020. You won’t be going anywhere to celebrate that night. You’ll be the same place you’ve been since March: at home on your couch. Grab a bag of candy and curl up with these local ghost stories. Who knew Kansas City was so haunted??!
The John Wornall House
The Wornall House is one of the most haunted spots in Kansas City, which is great because it’s just blocks from my house. Most of the stories involve Civil War-era soldiers patrolling the doors and balconies, a woman tending the fire, light orbs floating around the rocking chair in the children’s room, the smell of tobacco pipe smoke flooding the rooms, and unexplained noises and voices. One staff member at the historical house reported that all the guns hanging on the walls once turned to aim at the front door.
The Elms Hotel
Built in 1888, the Elms Hotel has frequent ghost sightings in the basement, which is currently home to the lap pool. According to legend, the hotel hosted notorious patrons like Al Capone, Bugsy Moran, and “Pretty Boy” Floyd, allowing the mobsters to gamble and drink in the basement at a time when both activities were illegal. Among other tales, people have reported seeing a man from the speakeasy days who was killed by the mom, a frantic woman looking for her child, and a young woman in a maid outfit who seems to be supervising the real-life staff.
In the late 1800’s, Betsy Ward lived and died in room 505 of the hotel and her ghost apparently still haunts the room with voices, shadows, and doors that open and close on their own. Some say she committed suicide, others say someone else must have been involved in her death and a turn-of-the-century gun was found sealed in the wall when the apartment was renovated. Other stories involve the sighting of a young girl in a Victorian dress on the fourth floor, the feeling of being followed on the second floor, a spot where a restaurant manager was stabbed to death by dishwashers in 1990. And the elevator seems to have a mind of its own, often getting stuck on the fourth floor or delivering passengers to the sixth floor when they press the fourth floor button.
Alexander Majors House
Only one of four remaining antebellum houses in KC, this house built for entrepreneur Alexander Majors, one of the founders of the Pony Express. At the moment, the house is operated as a historical museum and had been restored from 1930 until 1979 by Majors’ great-granddaughter, Louisa Johnston, who may even be one of the ghosts that haunts the place. Others believe the spirits may be from the many slaves that lived, worked and died on the property. People have reported strange voices, sudden cold spots, phantom footsteps, and even the feeling of being touched.
Located at 12th and Baltimore in downtown KC, the Muehlebach has been one of the most prestigious hotels in the Midwest since it was opened in 1916, hosting such famous people as Elvis, the Beatles, and Presidents Ronald Reagan and Theodore Roosevelt. In fact, it’s still being operated as a hotel managed by Marriott. But it hosts a ghost known as “The Blue Lady”—a blond woman in a 1920’s style blue dress and a wide-brimmed hat. Rumored to be an actress who played at the Gayety Theater next door, she’s searching the hotel for a lost lover. Ugh, we’ve all been there.
Pretty Boy Floyd’s House
Well, this one is also a little too close to my own house. After the Union Station Massacre in June 1933, in which one convicted criminal, two KC policie officers, and two federal agents were killed, Verne Miller and Charles “Pretty Boy” Floyd fled from authorities and sough refuge in a house in the 6600 block of Edgevale, which was the home of Floyd’s girlfriend. He hid out there with another for a short time with a friend, who reportedly eventually died of gunshot wounds in the attic. Now, more than 80 years later, doors don’t stay closed, even when they’re locked, lights don’t stay off, and objects in the attic move on their own.
Opened in 1867 at 10th and Broadway, the Coates Hotel was a popular stop for dignitaries, celebrities, and US presidents, including William McKinley, Grover Cleveland, and Theodore Roosevelt. Though it was once glorious and prestigious, by the 1960’s it was a homeless shelter and in 1978, a massive fire killed 16 of its residents. Now that it’s an apartment complex, tenants report shadowy figures and strange noises.
Now part of UMKC’s campus, the house built by Uriah Epperson in 1920 has a long history of hauntings. Many believe that one of the ghosts is Harriet Barse, Epperson’s adopted daughter who died while an organ was being constructed in the house. A woman in an evening gown often appears late at night, accompanied by organ music. Sometimes a man’s arm in a blue suit can be seen turning off a light.
The Odd Fellows Home District, established in 1900, is said to be extremely haunted, allegedly by the 600 or so people who are buried in the cemetery on the site. People report seeing an orphaned child, a mischievous man, an old lady singing and hearing children giggling, running up and down the steps, and other odd noises. The piano has played on its own, doors open and close on their own, and perhaps creepiest of all, children have been heard singing “Ring Around the Rosy” in the halls.
For more creepy stories to keep you busy this Halloween, I can set you up with my crazy neighbor who tells me all the time about the dark shadows and spirits she senses on our block. Awesome. Otherwise, if you need help with your career, check out our website at https://www.chiefofstaffkc.com.
Blog written by Erin Greenhalgh