Scares in Jeff City That Aren't About Politics


  • Boo!
Something ghostly may be happening in our state capital...and it has nothing to do with the budget.

The decommissioned Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City is offering tours of its gruesome cells and and execution chamber. Those seem scary enough, but if that doesn't shiver your timbers, you can also join the dozens of paranormal investigation groups hunting ghosts in the prison.

The prison first opened in 1836, and was housing inmates until 2004. That's a lot of history, and much of it is pretty gnarly. In 1967, Time Magazine called it "the bloodiest 47 acres in America" because of all the murders that happened inside.

Check out a dungeon with no windows and an iron door.

"There's no other way to put it. They brought you down here to hurt you," Bill Green says in a press release. Green, a tour guide, was a guard at the prison for 30 years.

In 1893, prisoner John B. "Firebug" Johnson spent time in the dungeon after setting his third prison fire. He later wrote about his experiences in the book Buried Alive or Eighteen Years in the Missouri Penitentiary.

Forty men and women were gassed to death in the execution chair here, and their pictures line the walls of the chamber. (Yes, you can sit in the chairs. And yes, it would totally make a cool Facebook profile photo.)

But what about the less concrete horrors?

In response to demand from folks taking the tours, the pen now offers a ghost-hunting tour. Bring your sensitive detecting equipment and stay all night...who knows what'll go bump in the night?

Reserve a spot on a tour online, (prices range from $12 to $100 for a spooky sleepover) but make sure you leave at the end. It's scary in there.