Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Truman Home

The Truman Home


223 N Main Street
Independence, Missouri
Open to the Public

This 14-room Victorian home was built in 1886 by Bess Wallace Truman’s maternal grandfather, George Porterfield.  Called “The Summer White House,” this is where President Harry Truman lived after his marriage to Bess in 1919 until his death in 1972.  Truman’s Aunt and Uncle lived across the street at 216 North Delaware, and Harry was a frequent visitor.   The interior of the Truman home is exactly as it was in 1972.  After Bess died in 1982, the home was obtained by the National Park Service and is now open to the public for guided tours.

Watch out for Harry Truman’s apparition to appear, sometimes sitting in his favorite chair in the
living room or walking outside the home.  The smell of his favorite brandy has been noted by guests on occasion. His ghost has been reported around nearby old downtown Independence, where he took daily walks during the last 15 years of his life after his final term as president ended in 1957.  Harry Truman had his first job at Clinton’s Soda Fountain on the Independence Square near this home, and worked as an attorney nearby.  It is no wonder that he is spotted hanging out at his old favorite places.
The home is now a museum run by the National Parks Service and is open for public tours daily.  No tours on Mondays between Labor Day and Memorial Day. Tickets can be purchased at the Truman Visitor Center at 223 North Main Street. Hours 9:300a.m—5:00 p.m. daily except for holidays.

Margie Kay is the Director of Quest Paranormal Investigation Group and author of Haunted Independence and Gateway to the Dead.  She is the publisher of Un-X News Magazine.  Visit or for more information. 

The 40 Highway Ghost

The 40 Highway Ghost

40 Highway Between I-70 and Manchester

In late December, 2002, Jamyi M. took some presents to a friend. She was driving in her car alone. Jamyi drove East on 40 Highway from I-70 and when she arrived at 40 Hwy and Manchester, she saw a two-car wreck with police and ambulance at the location.  The traffic was slow and down to one lane.  As Jamyi passed the accident, she noticed that a covered body was being taken out on a stretcher to the ambulance. 

She glanced in the rear-view mirror and saw the image of a woman’s ghost sitting in the back seat.  The apparition had dark brown hair and glazed-over brown eyes.  Jamyi was frightened at first, and knew immediately that it was the spirit of the woman from the accident.  She decided to ask the woman if she could help her.  The woman nodded “yes” stiffly, and when she did so Jamyi noticed that her neck was severely injured. 

The woman then spoke out loud and said that she needed to get to her husband to tell him what happened and that “no one knows what happened.”  She said “Just drive straight ahead.” 

Note: It is very unusual for a ghost to interact with someone in this manner.  I find it very interesting that she could be heard clearly while speaking.
Jamyi, although still nervous, continued driving straight East on 40.  When she got to a trailer park past Sutherland Lumber she saw the woman just step out of the car while the vehicle was moving, apparently headed for the trailer park.   A few days later, Jamyi and a friend looked in the obituaries in the newspaper and saw a photo of the same woman who died on the date of the accident.  During subsequent visits to the area she has not re-appeared, but if you drive on 40-Highway don’t be surprised if a ghostly passenger suddenly appears in your back seat.  

Margie Kay is the director of Quest Paranormal Investigation Group and author of Haunted Independence and Gateway to the Dead: A Ghost Hunter's Field Guide. See more info at

Pitcher Cemetery

Pitcher Cemetery
Located at Blue Ridge Blvd. North of Pitcher Road

This family burial plot for the Thomas Pitcher family established in 1830, is also the final resting place for some who fought in the Revolutionary war.  Many Civil War soldiers who perished in battle nearby in 1864 are buried in a mass grave.  Another mass grave is in the cemetery, which contains pioneers who perished from the Cholera epidemic of 1849—1851.  Most of the grave markers are simple standing rocks without engraving.  It is estimated that over 200 people are buried here.

Visitors have reported noises in the trees, glowing balls of light, and a floating apparition.

I visited the site, which is right next to a small park with tables and a walking path, one evening at dusk.  As I approached the entrance, I felt the a heavy presence of many souls who have not moved on.  I went into a light trance and walked through the graveyard, camera in hand, taking photos while communicating with the dead. There are many who do not know they have died, or who are confused about where they are.  We were able to get several pictures with orbs, apparitions, and fog.

There are no hours posted and no locked gate so it appears to be open at all hours. 
Margie Kay is the director of Quest Paranormal Investigation Group and author of Haunted Independence and Gateway to the Dead: A Ghost Hunter's Field Guide. See more info at

Hill Park Cemetery

Hill Park Cemetery
10499 E 20th Street, Independence, MO

Frank James (d 1915) is buried here with his wife, Ann Ralston James (d 1944) (Ralston street is nearby) two confederate soldiers, along with Adam Hill and his immediate and extended family members.  The cemetery was once a part of land owned by the Hills before becoming a public park. 

The small cemetery is surrounded by a stone wall and has an iron gate.  It appears to never be closed.  This is at the top of Hill Park off of 23rd Street in Independence. The best way to get to it is to go North to 20th Street and park in the small parking area next to the cemetery. 

A misty figure of a person with a white glow walks over the hill nightly.  Neighbors say they’ve seen the lighted apparition often. Civil War soldiers have been spotted marching in the park, which used to be an area heavily traveled during the Battle of Westport. 

Note: see my article on Rotary Park right across the street from this location (down the hill across 23rd street) and where the ghost of Anne Ralston has been seen many times by me and my team. 

Margie Kay is the director of Quest Paranormal Investigation Group and author of Haunted Independence and Gateway to the Dead: A Ghost Hunter's Field Guide. See more info at

The Veil is Thin in the Fall

Fall brings cool, crisp air, pumpkin pie, Halloween revelers, and ghosts. I’m not talking about the trick-or-treating ghosts looking for candy. What I’m referring to are the real spirits of those who have passed over to the “other world.” Call them specters, apparitions, spirits, or whatever you prefer, the bottom line is that it is easier to contact spirits during the Fall months than any other time of the year.

The Fall equinox is more than a celestial event marking the crossing of the sun over the celestial equator, moving southward, and causing the day and night hours to be roughly equal. Soon after, the days begin to get shorter and the nights longer. Fall brings more than that.

According to ancient traditions the veil between the World of Form and the World of Spirit is thinnest. Contact with the “other side” is easier, according to many mediums and psychics. It is an ideal time to work on past life regression, astral travel, meditation, divination, spiritual work, and communication with spiritual entities.

Spirits often attempt to reach out and contact those of us still in physical form during this time. Many people who normally do not contact spirits have received communication from loved ones during this time of the year. For example, Susan Whitcolm of Witchita, Kansas lost her sister to cancer in 2003. That night, while talking to a friend over a cup of tea the tea pot started shaking, then it slowly moved across the table to the center, right between the two women. Although Susan had never seen ghostly activity before, she believes that this was a sign from her sister that she was OK. Having tea was one of Susan’s sister’s favorite things to do.

I’m sometimes asked to contact spirits for people who want to communicate with their loved ones. This is one of the things I’ve practiced for a long time, and can do it any time of the year, but when Fall arrives I look forward to easier and faster communications with the spirit world.
This form of communication that I do is not the only method, however. Communication Dreams can happen to anyone. Those who have passed on have the ability to meet with us in a dream state, especially during the Fall. Even Aristotle mentioned that spirits of the departed may speak to us in this manner.

According to Kevin Kovelant, a consciousness studies professor at JFK University, visitation dreams feel more realistic with clarity, focus, and steadiness of mind. There is very little plot and the narrative consists of the interaction between the dream ego and the deceased person. Strong emotions are often reported along with a hug or touch, and the dreamer may sense a weight or presence on their bed.

Why do spirits communicate with us? The most common reasons are that the spirit has come for some unfinished business Often this involves a lost will or letter, a warning about the health of a loved one, some type of helpful information, or to resolve a wrong done to the spirit. If a resolution is found, often the spirit will go on and won’t return to our world.

If you’ve been thinking about communicating with a loved one who has passed on, perhaps now is the best time.

Margie Kay is the author of The Ghost Hunter’s Field Guide and other books. Visit for more information.

Mound Grove Cemetery

Mound Grove Cemetery
1818 N River Blvd. Independence, MO 64050

Some people would say we are nuts for visiting graveyards on Halloween night and they may be right, but what better time to see ghosts that might be lingering? The reason we investigated this location was because of an incident that R.T. had several years earlier. She was 16 years old and had just had a fight with her boyfriend. R.T. decided to drive to the Mill Creek Cemetery to be alone and think. So for whatever reason, R.T. got out of her car and walked through the cemetery at—yes– midnight on Halloween.

R.T. found a nice spot next to a tree and sat down. She was approximately 200 yards from the
front gate. No one else was around (who would be?) and it was a very quiet, moonlit night. R. closed her eyes and meditated for a few minutes. The thought occurred to her that up to this point she had never actually seen a ghost, although people around her could and she felt somewhat jealous of them. She thought “What better time and place to see a ghost?” and said out loud “If there is such thing as ghosts, show yourself to me right now!” 

Right on cue, a white apparition appeared over the hill. R. couldn’t believe it, but she stood up and stared at it to be sure. It moved towards her. Now she could see that this was the apparition of a woman wearing a long white nightgown. She had no feet and glided through the air. Panicked, R. started walking toward the car. The ghost followed. R. then started running, and glancing back she saw that the spirit moved faster towards her. Finally reaching the car, R. looked back and the ghost slowly faded away at the gate of the cemetery. It seems she could not go past the gate.
Our investigation: Our team of five including me, Rachel, Mia, Jamyi, and Donna decided to see if we could get the lady ghost to appear again so we could get her on film. We arrived at the cemetery at 11 p.m., once again on Halloween night, and walked in through the front gate. We agreed to stay together at all times for safety. I started by the entrance and filmed graves in the immediate area with my infra-red camera. Mia took the digital camera and took several shots because sometimes we are able to get imaged of orbs or spirits on film that are not visible to the naked eye. This evening we saw a fog and blue lights appear over some of the graves, but the fog and lights are not visible on the film. No apparitions made their appearance at that time.
We moved further into the park, and as we did so it got darker since we no longer had the streetlights illuminating the area. The moon was out so that helped a bit. As our eyes became accustomed to the dark we could see better. After a while, Donna and I decided to stay behind while Mia, Rachel, and Jamyi walked further on. For some reason, we forgot all about our agreement to stay together. Big mistake.
I looked around at some of the local gravestones and took notes. Donna and I felt the presence of a couple of spirits but nothing materialized. I did some filming, and after what seemed like 45 minutes, I called out for our missing team members. They did not answer. I walked a little way down the road where it was very dark and called again. I heard Mia’s voice answer me and saw what I thought was her dark, shadowy figure walking towards me on the small paved road.
After a minute, the three women appeared at the top of the hill. I then realized that the black shadow walking towards me and the person who answered me was NOT Mia.
I walked backwards away from the entity, and told the three women to look at the bottom of the hill where they all saw the dark apparition of a man moving towards me. They all saw the dark figure and froze where they stood. I moved quickly back up the other side of the hill from where I came, and when I looked back the figure was gone. The five of us decided we’d had enough and exited the cemetery very quickly.
We have since noted that this cemetery is locked after dusk and have not gone back after dark.
Note: the cemetery now has gates and is locked at night, so I wouldn’t suggest an after-dusk visit.

Margie Kay is the Director of Quest Paranormal Investigation Group and author of Haunted Independence and Gateway to the Dead.  Visit for more information.  

Friday, September 30, 2011

List of Haunted Sites in the K.C. Area

This is a list of public sites. Warning: not all sites are accessible at all times.  Be sure to get permission before going to cemeteries.

Haunted sites in Independence, Missouri:
1859 Jail
Rotary Park
Old Independence Library building at 230 W Maple
40 Highway and Crysler
The Vaile Mansion
Game Cafe
The Courthouse Exchange restaurant on the Square
Corporate Copy Print on the Square
Cafe' Verona on the Square
Old buildings on the Square that don't want visitors

The Truman Home and neighborhood
Ricky Road

The Music Arts Institute
Noland Road and 23rd Street
Mound Grove Cemetery
Franklin Cemetery
Hill Park Cemetery
Pitcher Cemetery
The Sermon Center
The Truman Depot
The National Frontier Trails Museum

Haunted sites in Kansas City, Missouri:
Union Hill Cemetery
Hotel Savoy
Hyatt Regency
The Music Hall
The Folly Theatre
John Wornall House
Alexander Majors Home
Union Station

Haunted sites in the suburbs of Kansas City:
Fort Osage
Longview Farm and Mansion


If you have an active haunted site that you would like to have investigated by our professional reserch team please contact the QUEST Investigation Group at 816-833-1602.  We do not charge for investigations, but do as permission to use the information we obtain in books or other media.


Margie Kay is the Director of Quest Paranormal Investigation Group and author of Haunted Independence and Gateway to the Dead.  She is the publisher of Un-X News Magazine.  Visit or for more information. 

The Vaile Mansion

The Vaile Mansion is on the front cover of Margie Kay's book Haunted Independence

The Vaile Mansion
1500 N Liberty, Independence, Missouri
Open to the public daily from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

This incredible Second Empire Victorian style Vaile Mansion in Independence, Missouri was built in 1881 by Colonel Harvey Vaile, who ran the Star Route mail delivery company via overland stage and railroad to Santa Fe, New Mexico from Independence.

Vaile was a successful abolitionist lawyer, cattle rancher, investor, and landowner. The mansion has 31 rooms, 9 Italian marble fireplaces, running water, and beautiful painted ceilings, and has been fully restored to its original splendor. 

The ghost stories about the Vaile evolved around different time periods and events. The first event was when Mr. Vaile was accused of mail fraud and sent to Washington for a trial. Even though he was acquitted, Mrs. Sophia Vaile, despondent over the accusations, took an overdose of morphine and died in the home in 1883. Others believe that she may have died from stomach cancer, but that was a taboo subject at the time and may have been the reason for the suicide tale.

Reportedly (but not confirmed) Mr. Vaile could not part with his dead wife so he had her buried in the front yard with a glass cover over the coffin so he could visit her. Protests from neighbors later resulted in the removal of the coffin to another location nearby.

Colonel Vaile died five years later. He never remarried. Sophia Vaile has been spotted looking out of the upper floor windows by passersby and inside the house throughout.

 The mansion was turned into an Inn after Mr. Vaile’s death in 1883. The Vaile Pure Water Co. was operated from the site until just after the turn of the century. Later, the home was used as an asylum and sanitarium for approximately 10 years during the early 1900s, and as reported by an ex-worker, the heavy metal cages where people were kept are still in the basement, however, another worker told me this is not the case and no cages exist.  The home was used as a nursing home for a half century or longer, and according to one staff worker hundreds of people died there. The staff does not like to visit the basement because strange noises and an ominous feeling occur there. The Vaile Mansion also served as a rest home, so one could assume that other people died here.

The mansion was purchased by Roger and Mary DeWitt in the 1960’s, and after the death of Mrs. DeWitt in 1983 it was donated to the citizens of Independence.

Spirits and ghostly activity have occurred over the years in several rooms in the house, on the grounds, and in the neighborhood. Some passersby walk on the opposite side of the street in order to avoid an encounter with a ghost. Neighbors report seeing a ghostly specter walking on the sidewalk and in the front yard of the property.

The third floor is now off limits to the public (perhaps due to pesky spirits) but during my visit on this floor some years ago with my husband, I sensed the presence of at least two spirits. One, a male spirit, was sitting by the back window, but as I stepped into the room, he slowly faded away. A second dark outline of a person stood in a corner for several minutes, seeming to watch our movements. This entity did not move or fade out, and remained as we left the room.  The reason the third floor is not a part of the tour is due to fire codes. The city was informed that they would have to install a fire escape if tours were to include the top level.
The staff also reports seeing imprints of someone sitting on the freshly made beds in one second floor bedroom when no one has been in the room.

So whether you are seeking spirits or not, it is worth taking a tour of the mansion.


Margie Kay is the Director of The OZ Inter-dimensional Communication Institute and Quest Paranormal Investigation Group. She is the author of Haunted Independence and Gateway to the Dead and other books.  Visit or for more information.