Friday, October 10, 2008

The Ghost Posts ~ Shawnee Indian Mission

One of the most irritating things about being in the Museum biz in KC is when you mention "The Kansas City Museum" (the official one on Gladstone Blvd. I'll get to it later), people say "Oh, you mean the Nelson?"

No, no I do not. Don't get me wrong, I heart the Nelson. But it's art. Not history.

Consider this your weekly, "Get off your ass and go do something interesting" pep talk for the week.

This weekend, check out the Shawnee Indian Mission. Here's your invite:

22nd Annual Fall Festival
10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday
12 – 4:30 p.m. Sunday

Free admission

Featuring family friendly fun, crafts, entertainment, and food. You'll see living history re-enactors, mountain men, American Indian dancers, spinners, weavers, blacksmith, storytellers, musicians, traditional craftsmen, pony rides, tipis, food, and a quilt show. Handmade crafts for sale.

Mountain man campfire, music, and storytelling 7 p.m. Saturday.

Sponsored by the Friends of the Shawnee Indian Mission and Kansas Historical Society.

Maybe you're saying, "Sure, Moxie, but what do pony rides and quilts have to do with hauntings?

Well, let me tell you a little story they probably won't tell you at the museum...

The murder of the Reverend Thomas Johnson, who started the Mission, is one KC's great History's Mysteries. The official story is that he was murdered for $1,000 that he had in his house in Westport (where he lived after the Mission closed). The unofficial story involves guerrillas (upset by the fact that he switching from the Confederate side to the Union side) and possibly people hunting for his son, who had gone AWOL.

The Rev. was a slave owner, who blatantly bought slaves in Westport, MO and carried them across state lines to the mission. As a citizen of a free state, this was illegal. According to some first hand accounts I read in my museum's archives, his slaves were often 14 yr old girls (you go ahead and do the math.)

He was a man who made enemies. The Mission, as well as being a school and a church, also served as a camp for union soldiers during the American Civil War (not by choice) and serving as a state capital for pro-slavery Kansas in 1855. Check out this article about him, especially the "Friend or Foe" section.

I haven't found any accounts of hauntings there, but hundreds of Native American children and Civil War soldiers passed thru there. It seems propable...go, find out and report back! I would wager you won't get any staff stories though. Since it doesn't seem like any investigators have been there, I bet the official story is "It's not haunted." Museum people say that to preserve the "scholarly" aspect of their sites.

I'd love to hear of any hauntings in the neighborhood.

Happy Weekend! I might post this weekend, but probably not. I'll be back on Monday for sure!


Anonymous said...

I live one block away. I will scope it out for you. :)

Anonymous said...

My Friends and I have all seen paranormal activity driving past in late at night. I saw a women in a white dress on top of the balcony where the dormitory for the 14 year old's stayed. We have seen shadows of figures running across the fields and seen shadows standing across the street. It could have been something else but my friend was driving by about a week ago and he heard the scream of women. Let us know if you know anything else.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in Fairway, KS. a couple blocks away from the Indian Mission. I used to hang out there all the time as a kid and had a lot of interesting experiences. Strange noises, hearing footsteps on the stairs, and creepy feelings just to name a few experiences. I know there are many claims of hauntings in houses in Fairway, KS around of the original grounds of the mission. There is supposively a case of a haunting by an indian boy named Poe. A house that my sister took piano lessons in had a family who saw an indian woman they called Nani. There should really be some investigations done to try and document evidence.