The state of Missouri has many well-known hauntings to call its own. Including the famous tale of demonic possession. To which the famous motion picture ‘The Exorcist’ was based.

There are dozens of interesting tales of paranormal activity coming out of the ‘Show Me State,’ and many of the locations are open to the general public if you are brave enough to visit them.

Let’s dig a little bit deeper into the 12 most haunted places in Missouri.

1. Missouri State Penitentiary, Jefferson City

Missouri State Pen
115 Lafayette St, Jefferson City, MO 65101 | Missouri State Penitentiary Ghost Hunts

The Missouri State Penitentiary, with its imposing walls and storied past, has earned a reputation as one of the most haunted locations in America. Opened in 1836 and standing sentinel for over 168 years, this formidable institution has been the backdrop to a tumultuous history of violence, death, and despair.

Dubbed “The Bloodiest 47 Acres in America” by Time Magazine, its legacy includes notorious riots, harrowing tales of inmate executions, and the whispers of those who met their untimely ends within its confines. From the eerie solitude of Death Row to the chilling finality of the Gas Chamber, where 40 inmates breathed their last, the penitentiary’s air is thick with the echoes of its dark and turbulent history.

Paranormal investigations and eyewitness accounts have only added to the penitentiary’s haunted reputation. Spectral figures seen roaming the halls, disembodied voices echoing through abandoned cell blocks, and unexplained phenomena have become a significant part of the Missouri State Penitentiary’s allure.

These hauntings are believed to be the restless spirits of former inmates and guards, still tethered to the site of their earthly trials and tribulations. The experiences reported by visitors range from the subtle—sudden temperature drops and inexplicable sounds—to the terrifying, including full-bodied apparitions and physical encounters with unseen forces.

As a site of immense historical and paranormal significance, the Missouri State Penitentiary continues to captivate and terrify those who dare to delve into its mysteries.

2. Knob Noster, Johnson County

Knob Noster is a small Missouri town close to Whiteman Air Force Base. As you may or may not be aware, the word knob is an old term for a hill or smaller mountain. This is where the town gets its name.

This is also where the local spooky legends are centered. You see, it is said that at one time, there was a hermit who lived up on the hill avoiding the rest of the town as much as possible.

In fact, he had a slave who would run any errands he had in town. The slave was well-liked by the townspeople, so when he went missing, they became concerned, especially when the hermit came into town to do his own errands.

Some of the locals asked him about the slave, but he scowled and stormed off, triggering a rumor that he had murdered the young man.

A few days later, there was a terrible storm, and witnesses saw a lantern moving up the hill just before lightning struck.

The following day, the Hermit’s body was discovered on the hill, his face frozen in terror!

To this day, people still see the light from a lantern bobbing up and down the hillside on stormy nights.

3. Jesse James Farm, Kearney

Jesse James Farm in Kearney, Missouri
21216 Jesse James Farm Rd, Kearney, MO 64060

Almost everyone has heard of Jesse James, so it will be no surprise that the James Family’s farm has been the scene of a great deal of heartache and violence.

The farm is open for public tours, where visitors learn how Frank and Jesse James were raised there and how Jesse was beaten and almost hung by Union soldiers searching for his brother Frank.

His half brother was also killed on the farm by a bomb thrown by guards searching for Jesse and Frank.

Jesse was actually buried on the farm following his death, and his mother would charge visitors to come to visit his grave and take some pebbles from it. However, his Earthly remains were later relocated to Mt. Olive Cemetery.

That certainly hasn’t stopped the hauntings.

People have reported hearing horse hooves, gunshots, and even disembodied voices and whispers around the farm!

4. Jefferson Barracks & Cemetery, St. Louis

The Jefferson Barracks Cemetery in St Louis, Missouri
2900 Sheridan Rd, St. Louis, MO 63125

The Jefferson Barracks in St Louis has been an active military site since 1826. Given its age and the fact that it adjoins the national cemetery, it is no surprise that it is said to be haunted!

The cemetery apparently has a little child ghost who wanders among the headstones. Two ghosts appear at sundown and acknowledge each other before vanishing again!

One is said to be in the clothing of a confederate soldier, while the other is wearing a Buffalo Soldier uniform – more specifically, the black troop.

In the barracks themselves, it seems to be the post headquarters where the paranormal activity is centered. One local soldier spotted a light coming on in one of the rooms one night and went over to the window to check it out.

When he looked inside, he saw a military officer in 19th-century dress, sitting at a desk writing by candlelight. He then stood up and vanished!

5. Ravenswood, Bunceton

Ravenswood House in Bunceton, Missouri
MO-5, Bunceton, MO 65237

Ravenswood is a grand mansion that was built in 1880 by Nadine and Charles Leonard. The Leonards were a couple who loved nothing more than entertaining. They would often string lanterns through the trees, hire an orchestra, and invite all of their friends to dance the night away.

Nadine remained in her beloved home until she died, aged 90 years old, and it seems that perhaps her spirit has never left.

After her death, a family servant tried to enter Nadine’s bedroom to collect some clothing, only to find the door locked from inside!

It was agreed that the lock would have to be broken, but by the time the servant returned with the required tools, the door was open!

Christmas ornaments are often thrown down the stairs, a broken music box randomly plays music despite not having worked for years, and some visitors say they can hear music and laughter from the lawns, reminiscent of Nadine’s lavish parties!

6. The Governor's Mansion, Jefferson City

The Governor's Mansion in Jefferson City, Missouri
100 Madison St, Jefferson City, MO 65101

The Governor’s Mansion has been home to Missouri governors since 1872, with Thomas Crittenden and his family among the first to live there.

His beloved daughter Caroline was born there in 1873 but sadly died aged 10 after contracting diphtheria. Governor Crittenden never really was the same after her death.

If we fast forward around a century, that is when the first paranormal reports started to come in.

A restoration project was underway at the mansion, and one workman was up in the attic.

He came downstairs and asked the housekeeper who the little girl was playing up there while he worked.

The housekeeper said that nobody was in the house but him! Upon realizing that his companion was a ghost, he refused to return to the mansion!

7. Smallett's Cave, Ava

In the 1920s, two ladies were walking near Spring Creek when a man stepped out from the roadside. He was headless and had a pair of shoes strung around the stump of his neck and a bible on his shoulder!

The women ran off, but a short time later, the apparition appeared again, this time to two boys out riding.

Other reports state that a horse with a headless rider has galloped towards them on the same path.

It is said that this is a ghost who lives in Smallett’s Cave and that passers-by can hear him tapping away as he cobbles shoes.

This has earned the apparition of the nickname of the headless cobbler!

8. Thespian Hall, Boonville

Thespian Hall in Boonville, Missouri
522 Main St, Boonville, MO 65233

Thespian Hall in Boonville holds the distinction of being the oldest operating theater west of the Appalachians. It was built in 1857 and has served as a theater, a dance hall, a library, a movie theater, a stable, a skating rink, a church, and even a Civil War hospital!

It is no wonder the building is said to be haunted!

The spirit connected with Thespian Hall has been affectionately dubbed Mrs. X. She has been captured in photographs in the theater and has been described as having grey hair, a white collared blouse, and a dark skirt.

She carries a pocketbook, and her face is usually blurred. The first known photograph was taken by an opera singer’s family, who had been performing that night.

They were able to identify the lady in the picture as their grandmother, who had recently passed and who loved the opera. Since then, she has been spotted frequently sitting in the audience during rehearsals.

Mrs. X is not alone in Thespian Hall. Other strange incidents include unexplained ragtime music playing and moving wig stands, which will turn themselves to face the mirrors when nobody is in the room!

9. Lemp Mansion, St. Louis

Lemp Mansion in St. Louis, Missouri
3322 Demenil Pl, St. Louis, MO 63118

Lemp Mansion is now a restaurant and bed and breakfast, but originally it was the Lemp Family home.

Several members of the Lemp family died in the building under tragic circumstances. So it is no surprise that it is their ghosts who are said to haunt the property.

Phantom footsteps, knocking, and poltergeist activity are all commonly reported here.

Read more about the haunted Lemp Mansion, St. Louis MO

10. Zombie Road, St. Louis

Zombie Road in St. Louis, Missouri
Zombie Road in St. Louis, Missouri

Located just outside St Louis, Missouri, Zombie road was officially known as Lawler Ford Road, but it has been known as Zombie Road since the 1950s.

Many chilling tales are associated with the road, including one about the so-called ‘zombie killer.’ He is supposed to have been a creepy loner who lived in a shack in the woods and would attack young lovers who came to the spot for some alone time!

It is not known if there is any truth to this particular legend. Other chilling tales about Zombie Road include ghost sightings, vanishings, and strange noises.

One of the creepiest is the story of Della Hamilton McCullough, the wife of a local judge who died in 1876 when she was hit by a train.

She is now said to haunt zombie road. However, what Zombie Road is most famous for is the shadow people.

Several photographs were captured by credible witnesses, which show large numbers of shadow people standing in the woods by the side of Zombie Road.

These are believed to be the souls of Native American orphans who were tortured while at a nearby orphanage in 1913.

11. The Exorcist House, St. Louis

The Exorcist House in St. Louis, Missouri
The Exorcist House in St. Louis, Missouri

One of the most infamous hauntings in Missouri has to be ‘The Exorcist House.’ Everyone has heard of The Exorcist either from the book by William Peter Blatty or from William Friedkin’s movie adaptation.

Some people don’t realize that The Exorcist was based on a real-life case that happened in St Louis.

The true story is that a teenage boy who has been dubbed ‘Roland Doe,’ to protect his identity, lived in Maryland and played with a Ouija board, causing him to be possessed by a demon.

It is alleged that some of the bruising on his chest from the attacks spelled out Louis, leading his family to believe he should be taken to stay with relatives in St. Louis.

Some say that the house on Roanoke Drive where he stayed is still haunted, perhaps stained by the boy’s possession!

12. Beattie Mansion, St. Joseph - aka The House on the Hill

The Beattie Mansion in St. Joseph, Missouri
Beattie Mansion, 1120 Main St, St. Joseph, MO 64501

Quickly building up a reputation for being one of the most haunted locations in the state, a result of being featured in several hit paranormal TV shows, the Beattie Mansion isn’t just a gimmick. It’s the real deal!

Originally built by Armstong and Eliza Beattie in 1854, the couple lived there until they died in 1878 and 1880, respectively. Eliza and Armstrong didn’t have any children, so the mansion was transferred to the Ladies Union and Benevolence Association. For 100 years, it looked after the elderly, homeless, and the people society couldn’t/wouldn’t care for. It was then used as a group home for mentally ill and substance abusers.

When the current owners began renovations back in 2004, it stirred up all kinds of activity that have only intensified over the years. Contractors would flee in the middle of their work, refusing to return for their tools and to finish the work. Seasoned paranormal investigators have bolted on numerous occasions, refusing to ever set foot back in the home. Some of the most common paranormal occurrences here include full-bodied apparitions, shadow figures, poltergeist activity, and disembodied voices. A dark male entity is believed to stalk unsuspecting people in the basement!

Such is the activity at the Beattie Mansion, and Haunted Rooms regularly run ghost hunts here. Are you brave enough to spend a night investigating this infamously haunted home?

View our Beattie Mansion ghost hunts

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