I love a good ghost story. I'm convinced we're genetically predisposed to either enjoying the adrenaline rush that comes will all-things-scary or turning the channel whenever a horror film preview comes on. I don't turn the channel – I turn up the volume so I can hear better. I've been like this as long as I can remember, my memories vivid of staying up to watch old Vincent Price and Boris Karloff movies at an age far younger than most. Stories of pits and pendulums or masked figures have never really affected me; I can watch, read, and listen to these stories and simply turn off the lights with little thought as to what may be hiding in my closet.
Given this long history that I have with things that go bump in the night, it comes as no surprise that I love Halloween and all of the spook that goes along with it. If you're up for an adventure, you may be interested in visiting some of the below local haunts that are said to be the real deal. I've visited all of these places and – although I walked away with no spooky story of my own – remain a believer that there's more out there than what we can see.
Sallie House (Atchison, KS):
I've long heard the stories of the “most haunted house” in the U.S. and couldn't let an opportunity go by without visiting. Open to the public for a small ticket price, this unassuming home about an hour from Kansas City is said to be so haunted that nobody can live there. Ghost hunters are drawn to this tiny house in the middle of town where a resident claims to have been scratched and tormented by something unseen, acts that ghost enthusiasts and tour guides also claim to have experienced. I didn't sense anything unusual during my visit, but who am I to judge the claims of others. All I know is that I wouldn't want to be in the basement alone.
Belvoir Winery (Liberty, MO):
I'm a bit obsessed with this place. Just a short drive from Kansas City, the winery is both striking and sad, its history as a children's home memorialized in writings and old photographs that hang on the walls. Paranormal investigations are held often, but they fill up quickly so don't let your nerves keep you from exploring. Or, if you prefer, just stop in for a glass of wine and let the building speak to you. I wrote an article about the winery and its haunts a few years ago; check out these stories and decide for yourself if you're brave enough to stop by.
The Majestic (Kansas City):
My husband and I went to The Majestic one night for an after-dinner drink and to enjoy some amazing live music. Sitting in the basement bar, the energy of something extraordinary was palpable and I was eager to learn if I was sitting among spirits in the old saloon. My husband suggested that I ask the bartender because “bartenders always know the ghost stories,” so that's what I did. And, I wasn't disappointed. Apparently “Mary” is as much a part of The Majestic as its thick steaks and loaded baked potatoes and she has been known to toss things around from time to time and appear to those who least expect it. I looked for “Mary” as we left, glancing up to a curtained window in hopes that she would give me a nod and friendly wink, but alas, left with nothing to tell. Oh well. There's always next time.
The Savoy (Kansas City):
A vegetarian, I wasn't as much interested in this beloved restaurant's steaks as I was the ghost stories that are as old as the building itself. Not one to be shy, I peppered our waitress with questions of the paranormal and got us an invite to explore the hotel after dinner, an offer that I was way more excited to accept than my husband and table of friends. In need of renovation (this was years ago, so I'm not sure what the hotel looks like now), the peeling wallpaper and chipped paint did nothing (and everything) to add to its allure. All I know is that the hotel's creepy-meter was at an all-time high as we walked through its empty hallways and furniture had been moved in one of the rooms we explored...to the surprise of our guide.
The Elms Hotel & Spa (Excelsior Springs, MO):
Stunning. That's really the only way to describe this place, its architecture and stone structure so regal and unexpected in this sleepy little town. Stories are abundant about The Elms, especially the Grotto in its basement, and there is an energy that you can't describe as soon as you walk into the lobby. Investigated by some of the best of the best in the paranormal investigations industry, The Elms is worthy of a staycation regardless of where you fall on the believers' spectrum. All I know is that years ago – before I knew the hotel was supposedly haunted – my husband and I stayed there and couldn't sleep. Was it due to thin walls that let in too much noise or something a bit more supernatural – who knows. But, it's fun to believe the latter.
Tiffany wears many hats, but prefers the comfy one from her alma mater that
she wears cheering her boys on from the stands. Her resume may read lawyer,
author, and freelance writer, but she thinks a description of life juggler,
worry wart, and latte-lover might provide a more accurate picture of her
daily life. A scribe at-heart, Tiffany loves writing stories that speak to
readers' hearts and enjoys tackling the subjects that invite conversation
and debate. With articles featured in 435 Magazine, NORTH, and M Magazine,
Tiffany served as Editor-in-Chief of NORTH Magazine after leaving private
practice in 2015. She has been a contributing writer with the Kansas City
Moms Blog and has appeared on Fox 4's Morning Show, The Now KC, and Better
KC to discuss her blog posts and magazine articles. Her first novel, Six
Weeks in Petrograd, was published in 2013 and she is currently working with
her agent to sell two manuscripts that she's convinced would make fantastic
films starring Ben Affleck. You can find Tiffany sitting on the second
floor of her favorite coffee shop in Parkville, strolling English Landing
Park with her husband and two boys, or trying not to be "that mom" at her
sons' baseball games. www.TiffanyKilloren.com