As Halloween gets closer, the spookiness of the Ozarks starts to creep out. There are lots of legends of ghosts and ghouls in the Ozarks. This time of year is always a good time to explore the eerie side of our history. If you’re looking for some Halloween thrills, check out some of the local lore that the Ozarks have to offer. Some folks believe in the stories with all their hearts and other are skeptical, but either way it can be a fun and festive way to get in the spirit of Halloween!
But beware! Chilling stories lie ahead!
THE JOPLIN SPOOKLIGHT
Directions: From I-44, take exit 4 – HWY 86 South. Follow approx six miles to junction Route BB. Turn right on BB Highway and follow the road until it ends. Turn right again, go one mile, turn left on E50 Road (also known as Spooklight Road). Approx 1 1/2 – 2 miles is the darkest and best place to wait.
Photo courtesy of Ozarks Alive
Officially called the Hornet Light, but locally known as simply the Joplin Spooklight, this supernatural phenomena is one of the most popular in the area. The legend began during the 1830s on the Trail of Tears. During the forced migration the natives endured, they reported seeing an orange ball of light. Ever since, others have also seen the premonition along the 4 mile long road called the Devil’s Promenade. Many different versions of the orb of light have been discussed, but most describe it as a a lantern-sized light that moves as if being carried by person, or maybe even some sort of spirit. It’s been investigated many times, including by the Army Corps of Engineers. No one has been able to explain the light to this date. It’s a sure fire way to get spooked in Southwestern Missouri!
If you’re from Springfield, you’re already familiar with Pythian Castle, but some of the lore surrounding it is a mystery to everyone. Pythian has been featured on a handful of television shows about paranormal activity and the Haunted Route 66 book. For the real ghost hunters out there, Pythianhas a few different excursionsthat you can undertake to see the spookiness for yourself. The castle has served many purposes in its more than 100 years of history. Some people report seeing soldiers, others recall children playing. Even the owner suggests she’s had experiences with ghosts. There’s a lot of mystery inside the walls of the Pythian Castle and you’ll just have to see it for yourself!
The Bride under the Bridge is a ghost story that has been around for decades in Phelps Grove Park. The rock bridge leading to the park is rumored to host an apparition of a woman in a bridal gown who disappears from sight rather quickly. The story goes that a couple married in the park and rode away in a horse and buggy. After a tragic accident, the bride’s spirit stayed in the park. Spooky for sure!
Every late October, scores of people channel their inner Michael Jackson for a celebration of Halloween on Historic Commercial Street. Based on the hit single by the King of Pop, Thriller on C Street is a free performance that is open to the public. It’s also got some VIP sections available for folks who want to get right up close to the dance performance. It may not be a haunted legend like the other mentioned in this article, but it’s certainly a spooky event that can be tons of fun!
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