Yeah, that’s right. One of the top five haunted houses in the United States (according to TV’s “Unsolved Mysteries”) is right on our campus. Located at 5200 Cherry St., Epperson House was built by Uriah Spray Epperson between 1919 and 1923. The house is comprised of 54 rooms and – you guessed it – a creepy underground tunnel and custom organ.
Uriah’s adopted daughter Harriet Barse died in the house of a perforated gallbladder, and many UMKC students and employees have reported seeing her ghost over the years. Others have claimed to have seen glowing lights, and still others have heard footsteps or faint organ music emanating from the house. Though the building is currently closed for renovations, if you’re on campus after dark this Halloween (when the veil between the living and the dead is obviously thinnest), keep an eye on Epperson House. You may experience something metaphysical yourself.
John Wornall House
Built in 1858, the John Wornall House was used as a battlefield hospital during the Civil War – more specifically, during the Battle of Westport, which occurred in 1864. It was utilized by both Confederate and Union soldiers, so it’s fair to say that the house has seen many a death. Visitors and staff members have claimed to experience very on-theme hauntings, such as soldiers walking the halls, chairs rocking, guns on the walls moving, and the smell of pipe tobacco. The John Wornall house is open to tourists year-round, but during the month of October, the public can also participate in ghost tours or after-hours paranormal investigations. I’ve visited the Wornall House myself, and though I didn’t have any direct spectral experiences, it was still incredibly eerie, and my reptilian brain kept telling me I was being followed.
Union Station is the third largest railroad station in the world and is currently home to many fun-for-the-whole-family spots like Science City, the Regnier Extreme Screen Theatre, and the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory shop. According to reports, it’s also home to a few ghosts.
In 1933, Union Station was the site of a so-called “massacre” when a gunfight broke out between federal agents, local police, and a few infamous gangsters. Four law enforcement officers and bank robber Frank Nash were shot and killed, and it is said that they haunt the station to this day. Numerous individuals have reported overwhelming feelings of agony, a male figure that appears and disappears, shadows in the basement, and a phantom train whistle.
In 1999, WWE wrestler Owen Hart (aka “The Blue Blazer”) died painfully in Kemper Arena when he fell from the ceiling as he was being lowered into the ring using a harness. Many Kansas City citizens maintain that his spirit haunts the arena and have claimed to see him sitting over the arena in full costume.
St. Mary’s Episcopal Church
Though the legend that led to the belief that this beautiful church is haunted – that Father Henry David Jardine committed suicide in the church and was buried in a tomb underneath – is not true, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the stories of hauntings are unfounded. St. Mary’s does have a tomb, though Jardine was not buried there. Church members have claimed to hear footsteps and other unexplained sounds. In articles for The Southeast Missourian and the St. Augustine Record, church historian Todd Chenault said he “has heard footsteps shuffling from behind the organ” and when he was a child attending the church, “Christmas trees fell off ledges near [the organ] for no reason, year after year.”
Power and Light Building
Located downtown on Baltimore Ave., the towering Power and Light building is one of the most recognizable buildings in Kansas City. Though no information on specific traumatic deaths occurring here is readily available, employees, cleaning staff, and security staff have reported seeing shadowy, blurry figures jumping from the top of the building—only to disappear before they hit the ground below. There have also been reports of strange noises and the feeling of being watched.