Thursday, September 10, 2015

Do you believe in ghosts? Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve believed in ghosts, or spirits. We had one we named Carol who would visit us from time to time while I was growing up in our house in Grandview. There were a few unexplained things that happened over the years that we would eventually “blame” on Carol. Since then, every unexplained phenomenon throughout my life I’ve attributed to Carol.

Over the holiday weekend, my boyfriend and I visited the former Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City for a two-hour ghost tour. Chilling, humbling and fascinating, walking the prison grounds feels a bit like you are walking in a graveyard. In a way, that’s true. The site, dubbed the “bloodiest 47 acres in America,” opened its doors in 1836, housing 5,200 inmates at its peak, making it at one time the largest prison in the United States. On Wednesday, September 15, 2004, the 1,355 inmates were moved from the Missouri State Penitentiary to the new Jefferson City Correctional Center east of town. The Missouri State Penitentiary served Missouri as the oldest prison west of the Mississippi River for over 168 years.

During our tour, we received brief histories of each cell block visited, as well as a rundown on any paranormal activity experienced or captured there. In the dungeon, which was used to torture prisoners and a sort of dark confinement, we witnessed first-hand the cave darkness that would turn some inmates insane. In a cell, on a bench, in complete darkness, I felt what I can only describe as a cold breeze on my face and neck, though beside me was a cement and limestone wall.

Later, I learned that the particular cell I felt the air in is referred to as the “touchy-feely” room, for others have experienced grabbing, touching and feeling, especially among females.
s the tour began to wind down, our final destination was the gas chamber. A small, stone building just on the outskirts of the prison was the final place where thirty-nine men and one woman took their last breaths before being poisoned, while family and friends of victims watched through small windows. The sense of sadness, death and solitude was incredibly overwhelming on the entire property, but especially in the gas chamber.

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