With many places steeped in history, Independence and the surrounding area offer plenty of opportunities this month for ghost hunters or simply those who like good scary stories. Here are a few of them:
• Ghost Tours at the 1859 Jail – Each Friday and Saturday evening on the Independence Square, hosted by the Jackson County Historical Society, Dusk 2 Dawn Paranormal and Pioneer Trails Adventures. Take a 45-minute tour through the Jail and Marshal's Home Museum, then take a covered-wagon tour around the Square while learning some of the area's ghostly history.
The event has sold out the past three years, and tickets are advance purchase only, so visit jchs.org. Tickets are $22 for adults and $18 for children ages 7-16. The event is not recommended for children under 7. A portion of proceeds benefit the Jackson County Historical Society.
• Vaile Mansion Ghost Hunt – 8 p.m., Saturday. Not for the faint of heart. From the outside, many might say the Vaile Mansion at 1500 N. Liberty St. simply looks haunted. The classic Victorian structure, which at one point was a sanitarium, is a popular spot for ghost hunters. This event, hosted by Haunted Rooms America, includes high-end paranormal equipment and an experienced team of paranormal investigators.
Tickets are $99 and available at hauntedrooms.com
• Vaile Mansion Victorian Funeral Customs – 5 p.m., Oct. 19, hosted by the Vaile Victorian Society. Visit the mansion for “An evening with Bram Stoker” as the author recounts writing his famous novel “Dracula.” Also, learn about the sometimes strange funeral customs of those from the Victorian Age. Tickets are $15 for one and $25 for two and can be purchased online at vailemansion.org or at the door.
• Lee's Summit Haunted and Historic Spaces Tour – 6 p.m., Oct. 19 in downtown Lee's Summit, Main and Third streets. After starting with a wine reception, take a walking tour peek at a few downtown places to hear about their history and ghost stories. Tours are available every half-hour until 9:30 p.m., last about 45 minutes each and include some upper floor spaces accessible only by stairs. Tickets are $25 each and are available at downtownls.eventbrite.com. Participants must be 21 years old. Proceeds go to benefit Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street, Inc.
A couple events have already sold out:
• Halloween Paranormal Tours of the Vaile Mansion – 8 p.m. Oct. 25 and 2 a.m. Oct. 26. This event is hosted by Apex Paranormal.
• Bingham-Waggoner Estate – 8 p.m., Oct. 26. Apex is also hosting this event, the first public paranormal investigation of the mansion at 313 W. Pacific Ave. One ghostly claim is a bride who tripped on her gown on the stairs and stumbled to her death.
Other sites – Independence cemeteries such as Woodlawn, Mount Washington, Mound Grove, Pitcher and even Hill Park, all have their own ghost tales of some form.
In Clay County, Belvoir Winery in Liberty (belvoirwinery.com) and The Elms Hotel and Spa in Excelsior Springs (elmshotelandspa.com) have also been sources of paranormal stories and offer tours.