Paranormal Activity: Springfield Edition

  • We take a look into allegedly haunted locations in Springfield to try and see if the haunted stories are plausible or merely myths.
  • “Springfield is a very active place,” said Spiritual Medium Nick Cory.
  • As Halloween approaches, it is the perfect time to look into Springfield’s local haunts by knowing the legends behind the stories is a must for every Springfield citizen.
  • While not every haunt has evidence supporting the ghost stories, believers and skeptics alike can agree that some things aren’t meant to be explained.

That time of the year is here: goblins, ghouls and ghosts.

We have all seen the familiar shows such as Supernatural and Trueblood, but is there any truth to these paranormal beings that some of us have a fascination for? Throughout the ages there seems to be descriptions of these “beings” throughout many cultures.

For example, the ancient Romans believed a ghost could be used to exact revenge on an enemy by scratching a curse on a piece of lead or pottery and placing it into a grave, according to Monica Rector, author of Cross-Cultural Understanding: The American Ghost. Ghosts reported in medieval Europe tended to fall into two categories: the souls of the dead, or demons. The souls of the dead returned for a specific purpose. Demonic ghosts were those which existed only to torment or tempt the living.

In the Springfield area, it has been said that many familiar places such as Phelps Grove Park, Drury University, Landers Theater and Pythian Castle have had ghostly encounters and mysterious strange occurrences.

Long before the Springfield we know today was formed, this part of Missouri had a lot of activity. Missouri was first populated by Native Americans who lived by the land, then taken over by settlers who wished to do the same, according to Legends of America, a research team who travels around the United States tracking paranormal activity. Springfield has a colorful past. The town survived Civil War battles, Route 66 travelers and has become one of Missouri’s most haunted cities through all of these endeavors.

Phelps Grove Park

Phelps Grove Park Bridge
It’s said that if you stand at the right angle, you can see the faceless Bride searching for something.

One of these haunts is Phelps Grove Park.  Once a tribal village, this 44-acre park is home to the wandering spirit of the Ghost Bride.  It is said her jealous husband killed the “Bride Under the Bridge” on their wedding night in a carriage accident. The Bride’s husband spurred on the horses in the heat of the moment they jerked forward causing the carriage to flip and the bride to fall to her death on the bridge according to the Springfield legend.

She is now known to haunt the third bridge in the park holding her wedding dress up with a shadow for a face continuously looking for something unknown.  It is said if you stand at the right , you can see the faceless Bride searching for something.  While no solid evidence proves this anomaly, many sightings and strange occurrences have been reported.  When we went to explore the legend, we saw white spray paint under the bridge. We stood at all angles around and never saw the bride. But maybe she just didn’t want to come out.

Pythian Castle

In 1913, the Knights of Pythias built the Pythian Home of Missouri as an orphanage and senior citizen homes for its members and families, as well as a meeting place for the Order in Springfield. Since the exterior of the building resembles a castle, the name “Pythian Castle” seemed to fit.

So, what makes this 90-year-old building “haunted”? It has been said that many mysterious noises such as male and female voices, doors opening and closing, and boxes moving around have been heard. There also have been documented changes in temperature, orbs, and pictures that can be seen in the Booth Brothers documentary Children of the Grave.


Our own Karyln Kubin reported, during a tour of the castle, she experienced a kick to the back of the leg and saw a mans breath turn to mist despite his complaints that he was too warm.  Still skeptical?  The Castle offers tours to the public, for a fee of course.  Take a look at their website and schedule a tour, if you dare.

The Underground Tunnels at Missouri State University

These creepy tunnels under the campus make it easy to believe they are haunted.

For those who didn’t know, there are tunnels stretching underneath Missouri State University and some say that they are haunted without a doubt.  The tunnels exist because they supply utilities to all parts of campus, according to Bob Eckels, the director of facilities management at Missouri State University.  They were originally made when Carrington Hall was first built in 1908. It supplies the heat, gas, electricity, and phone lines and has expanded as the campus has grown. Most of the tunnels are only 8 by 8 feet.

The tunnel system is a very reliable service because it keeps important lines away from the harsh outdoor elements, says Eckels. While it was an expensive initial investment, it has saved the university money in the long run because of the preventative maintenance being so easy to access.

They only people who are allowed in the potentially dangerous tunnels are the staff who maintain the facilities, according to Eckels.  With the confined space, high pressure steam and high voltage electrical lines it is easy to get hurt.

After 9/11, the University took a serious assessment of the tunnel system and now have cameras in the tunnels. They also have a policy that if someone goes into the tunnels they have to contact the power house first.

The goal is to keep the campus running smoothly so that nothing interrupts the mission of the University, Eckels said. He said he believes in ghosts, but he doesn’t think the tunnels under Missouri State University have any real haunting.

Bailey Goodman, a student at Missouri State University, believes otherwise.  In an interview, she shares her stories of her time spent in the tunnels.

From castles to underground tunnels, Springfield is full of places that make it easy to believe in things that go bump in the night.  The history behind each haunting only makes it much more enticing for imaginations to go wild like the tragic ending for the Bride Under the Bridge.  Unfortunately, in our explorations of each alleged haunting, we weren’t able to find any substantial evidence supporting each legend.  Though, if you’re brave enough, you can step into the world of Springfield’s paranormal and find out for yourself.


Sources list:
Rachel Bonar           – Phelps Bridge photo
– putting together different features
Shannon Bower s    – Editing
– Video
-Interview with both Bailey Goodman and Bob Eckels

Stevie Stryker           – Audio

-Pythian Castle co- writer and research