Kansas City and its surrounding areas have a rich history, with a legacy of haunted happenings to boot. From ghosts wandering hotel lobbies to mysterious travelers and a spooky cemetery that doubles as the devil's gateway, Kansas City has its fair share of head-scratching, scary folklore.
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Located between Lawrence and Topeka in the town of Stull, Kansas, the Stull Cemetery has gained quite a reputation as one of fabled Seven Gateways to Hell, popularized by urban legend. But stories of the paranormal, haunted tales, and the just plain frightening have accompanied the cemetery and its neighboring church since the 1800s. Many folks claim that the devil appears in Stull Cemetery on the night of the Spring Equinox and again on Halloween. The old stone church was torn down in 2002, adding to the legacy of Stull.
Opened in 1816, the Muehlebach has long been considered one of Kansas City's most prestigious hotels and a noted landmark, now a part of the Kansas City Marriott Downtown. Legend says it also hosts the "Blue Lady," a blonde-haired ghost in her 30s who inhabits the hotel. Wearing a blue dress with her hair pinned under a wide-brimmed hat, she has been seen wandering the halls and sitting in the lobby. The Blue Lady is said to be the ghost of an actress who once performed at the old Gayety Theater, and is thought to search the Muehlebach for a long lost lover.
The Savoy, built in 1888 and now a 21c Hotel Museum, is said to be the oldest continuously running hotel west of the Mississippi. As you can imagine, the history and mysteries surrounding visitors and hotel guests of years past yield to plenty of ghost stories. Two resident ghosts are said to live in the Savoy. One, Betsy Ward died in a bathtub in the 1800s and is said to turn the water on and off and close the shower curtains in the room in which she died. The other, Fred Lightner, is said to haunt his former apartment. The Savoy underwent a renovation process in the late 1980s and legend has it that the process extremely upset it's resident ghosts. Hotel guests and staff are also said to have seen mysterious shadows, heard strange voices, and had doors open and close on their own.
The Folly Theater and adjacent Edward Hotel were the center of the theater world in Kansas City for decades. Opened in 1900, the Folly stage played host to vaudeville and burlesque acts like Gypsy Rose Lee and is restored today to its original state, though employees and visitors alike report strange happenings in and around the theater. Many have seen a mysterious male figure in a bowler hat, who is believed to be the ghost of former manager Joe Donegan. Others have also seen a woman in a long, flowing gown rushing toward the stage.
Completed in 1914, Kansas City's Union Station was a bustling hub of activity in its prewar heyday, with more than 200 passenger trains passing through daily. Train travel began declining in popularity in the 1950s, and Union Station was all but closed down by 1970. Today, however, Union Station has been completely renovated—and stories of unexplained phenomena surround the station. Employees have reported a woman in a black dress walking down the stairs after hours, never to be found. Travelers with suitcases have also been spotted wandering the halls. Others tell of hearing a mysterious train whistle blowing but with no trains in sight.
St. Mary's Episcopal Church
St. Mary's Episcopal Church is one of Kansas City's oldest congregations with its history stemming back to the mid-1800s. Parishioners and clergy have repeatedly seen who they think is the ghost of Father Henry David Jardine, who lead the church from 1879 to 1886. Jardine's 1886 death was ruled a suicide, and it is said he has haunted St. Mary's ever since, in an effort to clear his good name.
John Wornall House
The historic homestead is now a museum right in the heart of Brookside. The John Wornall House, which overlooks Loose Park, is said to be haunted by a man dressed in a civil war soldier uniform who has been spotted smoking on the landing of the stairs. The staff also reports other odd accounts—like the smell of pipe tobacco in the office area, unexpected voices and noises, and seeing a woman bent down in front of the fireplace in the kitchen.
Alexander Majors Home
The Alexander Majors Home, a historic home located on State Line Road, is said to be haunted by Louisa Johnston, a woman who once lived there. Louisa spent the majority of her life trying to restore the home but died at age 89 in the caretaker's cottage. The Majors Home Historic Foundation denies claims that ghosts inhabit the home, even though accounts of ghost sightings have been frequently reported.