By Kiley Swopes
Seven-year-old Ben lived in an old two-story house in Holton, Kan., with his mother, Susan, and father, Rick. When they first moved in Ben told his parents a few nights later that there was an old couple in the house with them, but his parents never believed him.
One night Susan went to check on him while he was sleeping, but she discovered that he was gone. In a panic, she went downstairs and noticed the front door was unlocked and standing open.
She immediately called the police and the search for the little boy began.
Hours later they found him at a local park swinging all by himself.
Both the police and his parents asked him why he was there and how he knew how to get out of the house and to the house.
“I was talking to the older couple,” Ben said. “They told me I would have a lot of fun there and showed me how to unlock the door and walk to the park.”
A few weeks later a great nephew of the older couple, Martin, came into town for a class reunion.
He had not seen the old house in years so he decided to stop by and see if it was different. His sightseeing drew attention to Susan and Rick, so the three began to talk.
Susan and Rick told Martin about Ben seeing an older couple in the house and gave a description of how Ben described them.
“The little boy described my family members to a T,” Martin said.
Years ago, Martin’s great aunt had died in the house and both Martin and the current family living there believe that is why the house is haunted.
THE SPIRITS IN VILLISCA NEED TO MOVE ON
By Karra Small
It was snowing as Bryan and his seven friends pulled up to the house. Upon arriving in Villisca around three o’clock that afternoon they had taken a tour of the house, been told all of its stories, and had signed all of the liability waivers, but no consent form could prepare them for the experience that would happen that night.
The group brought many pieces of equipment with them including a digital voice recorder, pendulum, digital camera, black mirror, which is used to see the past, present, and future, and a Ouija board, which Bryan, a practicing Wiccan priest cleansed himself.
“We really didn’t find much on the EVPs,” he said. “The Ouija board was what was really interesting.”
An avid Ouija user, Bryan, like many people, wanted to use this tool at Villisca. After the ghost hunt yielded less than exciting results, the group decided to give Bryan’s board a shot.
The whole group of them wanted to use the board, but had to take turns of about four at a time.
“You could feel the connection on the board,” he said. “Some people had good connections, some did not and the board would stop when Stacie would touch it.”
As the night went on, Bryan, who had his eyes closed the whole time, got one pulled over on him.
“They did something that I would have never wanted to do,” he said,” which is let me be on the board alone.”
He stated that from what he was told, his movement on the board sped up and then dramatically slowed down. From what he can remember (Bryan was in a trance) he felt like he was talking to a child and when the board changed pace, the child was getting scolded by a parent for talking to a stranger.
The dramatic change in pace frightened his cousin, Dani, to pull him out of his trance and away from the board.
Bryan, a firm believer in the spiritual realm, is OK with the trance wiping out most of his memory from that Ouija session.
“I don’t want to know what happened,” he said. “Because the less I know, the more secure I feel.”
Despite the initial search not turning up any overwhelming evidence, there were a few unexplained happenings. Dallas, a friend who claimed to have a connection to the spirit world would sit in a room for thirty minutes at a time, but avoided the attic. “He didn’t stay up there very long,” Bryan said. Another friend described a bone- chilling cold.
One photo Bryan took of the pantry had a shadowy human figure in it, but of course Bryan discounts this piece of evidence, because he wasn’t positive if there was a window in the pantry that would allow for light or reflections to be lit in.
Perhaps the most mysterious occurrence the group experienced, besides the Ouija board of course, was the mist in the attic.
“There was a huge mist that settled up there, almost like a fog,” he explained. “I thought it was from the kerosene lamps that we blew out after we had finished our tour, but it didn’t have any smell to it and I don’t know why if it was just a draft or something, it would have only settled in that one part of the house.”
Despite the somewhat uneventful night at Villisca, Bryan is a believer that spirits remain there.
“I do believe that there is something there,” he said. “I do not believe it to be bad, I do not believe it to be good. It’s just there. Whatever is there needs resolution,” he said. “If it’s people who were hurt there, they need to move on.”
THE HAUNTING OF ROBERTA HALL
By Jesse Shipp
Among the things that Northwest Missouri State University is known for, such as its historic football team, trees, being one of the first electronic campuses and it infamous wind, the haunted female dormitory, Roberta Hall, is along there with them.
Roberta Hall got its name after the tragic accident that involved a female resident named Roberta Steele. In 1951 a gasoline storage tanker behind what is now known as Roberta Hall exploded, injuring her and many or her fellow female residents. Roberta was critically hurt and died of her injuries about a year later.
Roberta Hall is not the only haunted building on the Northwest campus, but it gets more recognition because more chilling stories come out of this building than the rest. These stories include Roberta trying to climb into bed with a resident, moving objects, turning up and down the volume on audio devices and playing the piano in the basement of Roberta Hall. Mollie Hotchkiss, a current Northwest student, resided in the building her junior year, where she encountered Roberta for the first time.
“I only believed few of the stories, sometimes not even the whole thing, I believe Roberta does haunt the building, but only for fun, not to harm anyone,” Hotchkiss said.
It was early January, the dead of winter, Mollie starts her day off by taking a warm shower, the kind that steams up the bathroom instantly because of how cold it is. Coming back into her room to get ready she draped the aqua towel over her closet door and this is where it hanged all day. That night when Mollie came back, she returned to her room alone. Mollie was the Student Assistant on the third floor, so she got a room to herself.
“The building felt empty, but nothing out of the ordinary,” Hotchkiss said.
Mollie jumped into her bed late that night. The clock struck Midnight and she was still awake, waiting to fall asleep. Mollie was lying on her side, looking at the green and blue towel that she draped over the closet door earlier that day, she rolled over and now Mollie’s back was facing the closet.
“I felt a little weird, so I turned back over and the towel was moved, I thought I was crazy so I closed my eyes and when I opened them the towel was back,” Hotchkiss said.
A few days later after Mollie got her bearings and being on edge after the encounter; she finally realized that it was Roberta who was messing with her. Mollie only told her closest friends and family members of the encounter because she didn’t want strangers to think that she has gone crazy.
“I think it was strange, but cool that she chose to pick on me, ha-ha,” Hotchkiss said.
This is just one of many encounters that female residents have at Roberta Hall. Even though none one is harmed during the encounters, residents are still weary of her presence to this day, but some find it cool to be visited by Roberta, like Mollie.
THE GHOSTS OF CLARINDA ACADEMY
By Melissa Morkus
Numerous reports have been made about paranormal activity at Clarinda Academy in Iowa. Clarinda Academy is a residential foster home for delinquent males.
Keaton Alexander, 22, was working one snowy night at the academy with his friend Brice when they saw four terrified students come out of there room.
“My first reaction is that they were trying to escape, but instead they just stood there,” Keaton said.
When Keaton asked the boys what the problem was, they told him there was someone outside their window. This wouldn’t seem too strange if they weren’t on the third floor. Brice tried to tell the boys that one of them probably just had a nightmare and was just trying to scare the others. The students refused to go back in their rooms until someone would check it out. Keaton and Brice checked the window and nothing was there.
They gave the boys the clear and headed back to the hall they were monitoring. Not more than 10 minutes later the boys came out screaming that the man at the window was back. Keaton and Brice searched the window again. After not finding anything for the second time they agreed to let the boys sleep in the foyer with them. In the morning the boys still would not go in the room until someone checked the window. What wasn’t clear last night but visible now was a single set of footprints leaving the building straight down from the window.
After seeing the footprints, Keaton and Brice were startled but lied to the boys saying there’s nothing to worry about.
“I informed the staff so we could search the area to figure out how the footprints got there,” Keaton said.
No one could explain the set of footprints or where they came from.
THE CRYING CHILD
By Stratton King
Old houses have a history of making you feel uncomfortable. Houses can settle and creak but they are also popular amongst paranormal sightings and reports.
Meghan “Sis” Shultz was house sitting for her friend Melissa Srawly in her 100-year-old St. Louis home.
“I was alone in the house and standing in the kitchen when I heard a small boy cry out ‘Mommy’ from the top of the stairs. I went upstairs and looked for the source of the scream but I never found anything,” Sis said.
After Melissa returned from her trip, Sis asked if she had every experienced something similar.
“Melissa told me when she was living there as a child she would hear crying and sometimes see what looked like a young boy,” Sis said.
Sis returned to Melissa’s house three years later to babysit Melissa’s nieces.
“I was standing in the hallway at the top of the stairs when I heard a kid crying. The girls had been fighting all night so I thought they had hurt each other but it wasn’t either of them. The sound seemed to be coming from the nursery down the hall. The crying got louder the closer I got to the nursery but once I entered the room the crying stopped,” Sis said.
Melissa and Sis are not the only ones who have had paranormal experiences in the home. Melissa’s nieces have told their parents they have heard and seen a small boy crying upstairs.
By Rob O’Doherty
On 421 W. Seventh St. in Maryville, Mo., there is a house that may have an extra resident lurking in the walls. Alex Bryant, lives at this house on West 7th and reports a number of strange occurrences each year. Alex’s parents bought the house around six years ago when his sister Veronica first started school at Northwest. They kept the house in the family for Alex after his freshman year.
Alex witnesses a number of strange occurrences all the time, the disturbance in which he calls, Ms. Hess. Looking back to who owned the house before they Bryant’s purchase, they found out that a woman named Ms. Hess lived there for a number of years before passing away a few years before Veronica first moved in. Alex calls the spirit Ms. Hess because he still gets her mail at the house frequently. He doesn’t believe it to be anyone else and given the history of the past resident, Alex put the dots together and decided that the activity in the house from the former resident was the best explanation.
Alex and his sister Veronica have witnessed a number of strange things such as radios turning on by themselves, strange noises, slamming doors, and his dog Scout barking at what seems to be just an average corner in the wall. While not seeing a full body aspiration or experiencing any hard evidence, Alex is still convinced that he has an extra resident living with him. He believes she’s not a bad spirit and if something ever gets misplaced or a strange noise is heard, Alex is always the first to blame it on his former resident Ms. Hess.
FOOTSTEPS IN THE WATER
By Joel Epley
We talked golf, girls and booze until a previous float trip came up and I saw the mood drain from Riley’s face.
He controlled the conversation with his hilariously simple viewpoints and contagious laugh. With an almost permanent ear-to-ear grin, Riley, 22, has a hard time not enjoying a conversation. He broke eye contact and his hands crept into his pockets. I had found a seemingly impossible remedy for wiping a smile off Riley’s face.
“Dude…I don’t believe in that kind of stuff, but something was there,” he said. “It’s almost like I was forced to pay attention. I’ve never been that receptive of my surroundings.”
At the Huzzah Valley Resort, two hours southwest of St. Louis, Riley was on his second float trip of the 2008 summer.
Riley and two friends began to walk to the creek about 150 feet from the campsite. Beers in hand they sat on the trunk of a fallen tree anchored to the bottom of the creek. During the conversation the ambient sounds of frogs, cicadas, and flowing water played in the background until a foreign noise grabbed everyone’s attention.
“We were sitting there and it sounded like someone down the creek from just started walking into the water,” he said. “They weren’t stepping though. The were just wading and not picking up their feet.”
“We just froze to see if we knew the person,” he said. “The wooshes or whatever were two legs! Not like a deer or anything.”
Trying to figure out what was making the noises Riley and his friends sat in silence.
“I couldn’t stop listening if I tried. I didn’t even breathe because I was so focused,” he said.
As the wading sounds came closer Riley noticed the frog noises in between them and the wading sound had stopped. Looking down the creek, none of them saw anything.
“Those noises were close enough to be able to see somebody,” he said. “So I just threw a beer can at it and took off,” Riley said, laughing.
When Riley and his friends returned to the campsite they noticed everyone was sleeping and accounted for.
“We still don’t know what it was but now I’m just kind of curious instead of scared. It kind of pisses me off.”
Riley did not attend their annual float trip this summer.
THERE WAS SOMETHING IN THE TREE
By Danny Thompson
It’s a warm night in mid July. Brett Johnson and some of his friends are playing flashlight tag in the woods behind the Methodist church in Bonner Springs, Kan. For them, the night was nothing out of the ordinary.
“We had been playing for hours. Just a bunch of kids having fun,” Johnson recalls.
But something wasn’t right. According to Johnson, around this old oak tree there was a cold unpleasant feeling.
“It was weird. I would run to the tree and climb up it and I just felt uncomfortable. And I’m not one for superstition, but I think there was something there with me. Though, I was younger then so I didn’t know what it could be,” Johnson said.
As Johnson grew up, he began to research a possible conclusion to what it may have been.
“My only conclusion was that there was an unsettled spirit around that specific tree. I personally think that it was a shadow person. It didn’t physically do anything to me, but I know it was disturbed by my presence so eventually something may have happened,” Johnson said.
Johnson has since revisited the tree, but nothing else has ever happened.