The owners of the historic Castle House in Brumley, MO, have taken what is usually considered a negative for any home—its reputation for being haunted—and turned it into a positive. Billed as the Haunted Castle House, it's currently operating as a ghost-themed B&B, offering both ghost tours and overnight stays.
The property has even earned the title of "most haunted house in the Midwest." If you're going to live in a haunted house, why not have it be the most haunted?
The four-bedroom, two-bath house, built in 1850 by Dr. Walter Dixon, is called the Castle House, thanks to its unusual building style. It was inspired by a home Dr. Dixon saw in London, and its walls are made of thick, poured concrete (now clad in siding). It includes a 30-foot turret and a staircase that the good doctor had shipped from the United Kingdom.
The home served as his office, and the legend is that he made even his sickest patients haul themselves up his fancy staircase to be seen.
So why is it so haunted?
OK, this is where creepy things start happening. Aside from the usual deaths you'd expect from a country doctor's office, the Castle House has been the site of several major tragedies.
Mrs. Martha Dixon, wife of Walter, was a socialite who hosted elaborate parties in the Castle House for local notables and politicians. Legend has it that one Saturday, near the turn of the century, she was preparing to host her biggest party yet, but died suddenly before her guests arrived. Dr. Dixon found her body at the head of the stairs.
According to Dave Harkins, Director of the Ozarks Paranormal Society, over the last 100 years there have been multiple reports of "a woman in an antique party dress" lingering at the top of the stairs or haunting the second floor. She's also known as the "crying woman" or "screaming woman", and there have been reports of disembodied screams on the second floor as well.
But wait, that's not all! In 1862, Union troops bivouacked in the pasture around the house. After a guerrilla attack by Confederate troops, a truce was called, and injured soldiers from both sides were brought to the Castle House for treatment. Dr. Dixon had a field hospital set up on the south side of the house.
Several Civil War-era artifacts have been found in the area, and in the 1960s, local kids allegedly found a Confederate uniform in a bundle under the porch, lending credence to this report.
"There are at least 20 known graves on the property," says Harkins, and some of those are thought to be casualties from this skirmish. Which means there's a creepy unmarked graveyard on the property. "They had some cadaver dogs come out and found some caskets," explains listing agent Joyce Wheeler.
In 1912, the house was sold to another medic, Dr. Myron D. Jones. Dr. Jones also practiced out of the house, and in 1918, when the flu pandemic tore through Brumley, tents had to be set up in the yard again to house the hundreds of sick patients that he treated. The rest of the graves are believed to be flu victims.
After Dr. Jones retired, the house fell into disrepair for 50 years until it was purchased by the current owners in 2013.
As you can see, you've got more than enough restless spirits, between the unmarked graves and the soldiers, and the doctors' patients, and the flu outbreak, and Mrs. Dixon. But what are the ghosts actually up to?
The paranormal investigation of the Castle House
"I was contacted by the owners of the Castle House to come and help them understand some of the strange occurrences they had been experiencing," explains Harkins. He and his team of paranormal investigators headed to Brumley to see what was going on.
"During that preliminary investigation of the property, we experienced several strange occurrences," he says. "The two most notable were disembodied whistling that seemed to follow us around the property. The second is what sounded like footsteps following us in certain upstairs areas of the house."
And that was during the day. That's how haunted this place is. A few weeks later, they braved the spirits and came back at night.
"During our investigation, we had many personal experiences, including whistling, cold spots, seeing furniture moving on its own, and hearing crying or weeping," he explains. As far as solid evidence is concerned, he adds, "We captured several Class A EVPs or 'Electronic Voice Phenomena.' This occurs when we ask a question aloud and receive an answer not heard by a living person, and only captured on the recording medium, such as a digital recorder or video camera, or heard through a speaker or headphones." (You can listen to the recording here).
Oh, but there's more. Harkins explains:
"There is also a video shot in the upstairs bedroom that was used as the exam room. In the video, we set up a motion detector, and asked whatever may be in the room with us to manipulate it. We would ask the spirit to turn it on and off, and it seemed to react on command for several hours. There were three investigators present during this session, and all three of us were well outside of the motion detector's range."
Got goosebumps yet? They attribute the weeping to Mrs. Dixon, since that seems to be her historical MO. The EVP, they think, may be from yet another tragedy:
"We also think that the EVP we captured of the little girl saying 'Please help me,' could be the spirit of a young girl that was taken to the Castle House after being burnt over most of her body, after a large kettle of boiling water spilled on her while her mother was washing clothes. It is said that she died on the property eight days later."
So, yeah ... pretty thoroughly haunted.
Now's your chance to own all of this creepy, creepy stuff
After buying the Castle House in 2013, the current owners restored it to its former glory. "They've done a lot of rehab work, but kept the haunted look," says Wheeler. And because they're looking for a change of scenery, this horror-movie-in-the-making can be yours for the low price of $119,900. That's an almost unbeatable ghost-per-dollar value.
So if you're the kind of person who hears about a haunted mansion with a backyard full of unmarked graves and thinks, "That's the place for me," well, jump on this deal. After all, it's your funeral (cue maniacal laugher and organ music).