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Ghost tours offer a taste of the paranormal

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The eerie Eldridge Hotel is considered to be one of the most haunted places in the state – and it’s also the first stop on the Lawrence leg of Ghost Tours of Kansas, which offers guided explorations of haunted locations in 10 Kansas towns as well as St. Joseph, MO.

No one knows exactly who or what haunts the Eldridge Hotel in Lawrence, Kan. Many guests have reported feeling someone lurking over their shoulder or hearing voices when alone – particularly in room 506, the epicenter of the paranormal activity. Sometimes the elevator doors open and close on their own and more than once someone has spotted a woman in a long, black dress roaming the halls.

Many people believe the Civil War-era hotel is haunted by Colonel Shalor Eldridge, who built the hotel in 1857. Unfortunately, the hotel was destroyed seven years later when William Quantrill’s Raiders torched most of Lawrence, but a stubborn Eldridge rebuilt it a second time in 1865.

According to Lawrence tour guide Beth Kornegay, one might come face-to-face with Colonel Eldridge himself – as well as other figures from local lore.

The next stop on the two-hour bus tour is the University of Kansas’ Sigma Nu Fraternity, which is haunted by the mistress of Gov. Walter Stubbs, who lived in the house and was governor from 1909 to 1913. According to legend, Stubbs’ mistress hanged herself at the house in 1911 after his wife uncovered the affair.

It just gets creepier from there. At Pioneer Cemetery, the tour’s next stop, Kornegay claimed spirit seekers have captured some spooky footage.

“On one of my tours, I had a gentleman standing about five feet from me take a picture of a full-body apparition,” she said.

The tour concludes at Haskell Indian Nations University, where many children and young adults are buried in a cemetery on the southeast side of the property. When the school was founded in 1884, poverty and illness claimed the lives of many young Indians.

The cemetery houses the graves of at least 70 people who died before their time, so it’s reasonable to expect a specter. According to Kornegay, within the last month someone on her tour snapped a photo of a little girl wearing a white dress kneeling on the ground. One might want to bring a voice recorder as well as a camera – another recent guest on Kornegay’s tour captured a pretty spectacular electronic voice phenomenon (EVP).

“He hit record and just walked around,” she said. “He played it back when we got on the bus, and you could hear a little girl giggling. The tour was all adults.”

Even for those who don’t believe in ghosts, the tour is a fun way to get to know Lawrence history, and tickets are $20..

Visit ghosttoursofkansas.com for more information.

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