Excelsior Springs among nation's most haunted havens

EXCELSIOR SPRINGS, Mo. - Missouri is home to one of the most haunted cities in the United States.
      
If you drive about 30 miles north of Kansas City, you'll find Excelsior Springs.

Some paranormalists call the town that looks frozen in time the nation's "haunted haven."
     
The homes there sit close to the flowing mineral waters that drew settlers to the area.
       
Excelsior Springs is home to the world's largest collection of mineral waters, but most of them are no longer accessible.

Those springs are one reason why paranormalists believe the little town is overflowing with haunted occurrences.

The Hall of Waters, now a museum, used to be a place where the sick and the dying came from all over the world to find hope in its healing mineral waters.
         
But for some, it was too late. Many people in the late 1800's died there and now, many decades later, some believe the dead may come back to visit.

Daphne Bowman, owner of Willow Spring Mercantile, said she did not used to believe in such things until she bought her historic store.

"It's enough to make you go, 'That's just a little odd,'" she said.

Bowman said she sometimes hears loud bangs in parts of the store, and has repeatedly found items on the floor.

"It isn't like they just fell off, they'll be there 10 to 12 feet away so they'll literally shoot off the cabinetry, not just fall," she explained.

Inside the 125-year-old Elms Resort and Spa, some believe it's not only hotel guests who stay there.

Janet Reed is a paranormalist and author of Excelsior Springs, Haunted Haven. She warned if you sleep on the third floor of the resort, you might be awakened by a giggling little girl.

"I had a friend (who was staying there) and they thought, 'I've got to tell that mother to take care of that child' and they opened the door and there was no one there," she said.

Reed stayed at the Elms off and on for three years to study the unseen guests.

She said its tavern is so haunted, the bartender waits for a customer to arrive before she'll enter the bar.

Reed said there have been accounts of flying glasses and a ghostly man in white.

Is it the dead who have come back or something else?

Reed can't say for sure, but she said she knows something is going on. She claims to have had an eerie experience by the resort's lap pool.

"There were little wet footprints going about four steps and vanished," she said. "It's like someone took a few steps and it was gone."

The Elms Resort and Spa will answer questions from the curious in good fun.

Reed and Bowman said they think the ghosts they believe in come back for good, not for evil.

"I see it more as something overseeing our shop and protecting it more than something that's trying to scare us away," Bowman said.

To find out more about Excelsior Springs and its haunted spots, go to  www.exspgschamber.com/tourism.html

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