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1859 Jail, Marshal's Home & Museum

Location Information

Date:10th June 2006     Type: Business

Location Title:1859 Jail, Marshal's Home & Museum     City/State: Independence, MO

Investigation Times:08:00 PM - 11:30 PM     Status:Analysis


Weather Information

Sunrise:05:51 AM   Sunset:08:43 PM

High Temperature:91 °F   Low Temperature:66 °F

Sky Condition: Rain   Wind: ENE at 13 mph

Humidity:92%   Precipitation:10%

Lunar Phase: Waxing Gibbous   % disk visible:100%

Solar X-Rays: Normal   Geomagnetic Field: Quiet

Pressure:29.75 mmHg  


Investigators Present

Angela Hodge

Sevren Jacobs

Beth McLenaghan

Hugh McLenaghan

Becky Ray

Todd Sheets

Miranda Stark

Location History

"In 1859, construction was completed on the new Jackson County Jail and Marshal’s Home. As the twelve new limestone jail cells were opened hostilities between free state and pro-slavery forces were reaching a boiling point in the area. 
In 1854, Congress had passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which opened the Kansas Territory to settlement. The act provided for popular sovereignty in determining the issue of slavery. The result of this act was violent guerilla fighting which terrorized local populations on both sides of the Missouri and Kansas lines as abolitionists poured into the Kansas Territory.
In Jackson County, the Battles of Independence and Lone Jack in 1862 ended in Confederate victories. The state of Missouri was held in the union by military force even though the elected Governor and legislators had voted to secede from the Union. In Jackson County, old grudges erupted between families, and neighbor turned against neighbors. Women and children were arrested and placed in the 1859 Jail now under the command of the Union Provost Marshals nicknamed the “Little Gods” for the power they had over the population. When the Jail overflowed with the residents of Jackson County, other buildings were used as jails. One of those buildings collapsed and several young girls were killed. Historians believe that this action resulted in the raid on Lawrence, Kansas in 1863.
The raid resulted in the infamous Order No. 11 being issued which depopulated Jackson County as well as other counties along the Kansas-Missouri border. The enforcement of this order resulted in terrible hardships for the residents, many women and children had to walk to Texas or Kentucky. Many were killed in the act of obeying the order, Union and Southern families alike. Many families never returned to Jackson County after the war. 
Independence artist George Caleb Bingham captured their misery on canvas (and another copy was painted on a tablecloth). He later produced an engraving of the painting and sold signed, numbered copies of “Martial Law.” One of his signed proofs is on display at the 1859 Jail, Marshal’s Home and Museum. Reproductions are available for sale.
Decades after the war ended in Missouri, the citizens of Jackson county felt the lingering bitterness and uncertainty of that great conflict. Out of these tumultuous times rode Missouri’s most notorious outlaws. Outlaws like the James boys and Youngers used the remaining animosities from the outrages of the war to stay a step ahead of the law for nearly twenty years.
In the spring of 1882, Jesse James was murdered. His older brother, Frank, began negotiations with the Missouri governor to surrender because he feared assassination. Frank James spent almost six months in the Jackson County limestone jail.
In 1901, a brick jail was added to the back of the limestone jail to house chain gangs. Chain gangs were used to build roads, sewers and other tasks assigned them. They left six days a week at sunrise and returned at sunset. One inmate spent a year on the chain gang for stealing a cow.
You can see the Marshal’s home from Main Street, but the two-story limestone jail and the 1901 chain gang jail joins the rear of the home. Take a self-guided tour of the jail and museum for a first-hand look at frontier justice. Tour the beautifully decorated home where the wife and children of the marshal lived. Guided tours are available upon request in advance."
Visitors have reported feelings of nausea and extreme cold. Guards sometimes hear phantom footsteps, growling noises and the sound of a man gasping for air. In addition, a spectral man in a blue uniform has also been seen in the center south cell. 
It has been thought that the man in the blue uniform may be Henry Bugler who was the Jackson County sheriff. He was killed at the jail in 1866 and was the first law officer in Jackson County to be murdered.

Investigators Notes

Angela Hodge:---The night was pretty quiet actually for me. I started out on the 1st floor with the girls. We sat in Cell 1 for a while which is to your right when you enter the jail on the 1st floor. I didn't feel anything or hear or see anything that grabbed my attention. ---About 9-930p We then moved to Cell number 4 which is to the left of you as you enter the jail cells on the 1st floor. You could definitely feel a difference immediately as you entered the cell. The air was stale and non-moving. Immediately I felt hot kind of like when you have the flu and you have a high fever. I also felt at times sick to my stomach and had knots in my stomach almost like someone punched my side. At times I would feel a tingling sensation go up my left arm, almost as if I sat on it for a long time and I had not since we were all standing in the room. Before we all decide to shift about in the room, my back began to hurt to the point standing up was painful. I could feel my spine tingle. --I took some photos while in the room but nothing of importance came about. --2nd floor around 10-103p we traded floors. We set up in the upstairs jail cell area but didn't stay long as we did a walk-thru for the 2nd time and as we walked into the middle bedroom which has the doll we all made comments about how it looked. The room definitely felt different to me as I felt dizzy a bit but not enough to sit down. We decided to camp out in the master bedroom as I did not see or hear or feel anything. -- We checked out the 2nd-floor jail cell and nothing came upon us or myself that was noteworthy. --One last place we all came together in the back museum section of the jail and nothing came about. --All in all great place to visit if you are in Independence, MO one of the many places just in that area to visit that have lots of history. -- I will post some pictures I have for you to determine what it is.

Sevren Jacobs: The team I was in consisted of Becky, Miranda, and Angela and I started off our investigation on the first floor. The equipment I used was a digital audio recorder and an Olympus 35mm flash camera. I have reviewed my photographs from that night and had not encountered anything more than flash refraction off of the many windows inside the building. My audio came up pretty clear as well. The only exception is when we were investigating the baby carriage that was out in the first-floor walkthrough which seemed to be giving off varying and intermittent EMF readings. While Miranda was taking readings of the carriage I created a new audio file just specifically for the baby carriage which would have been approximately 7-8 minutes long but upon reviewing the file post-investigation I discovered that the file was reduced to 17 seconds of static and fuzz. All audio before and after that file came out very clear. While it is strange I can not find any other logical explanation other than an equipment malfunction. I spent time inside cell 4 with the team I was with and we all seemed to encounter feelings of sickness and varying symptoms of uneasiness. Personally, I experienced a sudden and severe tingling sensation and headache located in the center of my forehead which eventually led to a light bought of lightheadedness/dizziness. At one point my headache started to become overwhelming so I stepped outside jail cell 4 and felt an almost immediate sense of relief. After returning to my corner of the cell my headache resumed but with less intensity. I did not experience any other feelings of sickness or uneasiness anywhere else in the building. While inside the cell I was standing against one of the back corners and facing the doorway and I saw a very tall dark shadow-like figure step out into the doorway of jail cell 1 from behind the opened cell door and then step back behind the door. I was unable to photograph this unusual visual because it happened so fast. Becky who was also standing in the back of the jail in the corner opposite me encountered the same vision of this shadow that briefly stepped into the doorway of cell 1. The team and I then proceeded upstairs to the upstairs of the building which consisted of bedrooms and more jail cells. I did not experience anything out of the ordinary while we were up there.

Beth McLenaghan: What a fascinating and beautiful old building!! I got one photo with what seems to be a moving orb in it, and a couple of photos with what might be faint dust orbs. While on the second floor, I heard (clearly) what sounded like a growl, following some laughter from the part of the group who was in the jail level below. I felt decidedly uncomfortable in the smaller, middle kid's room on the second floor, and kept finding myself looking over my shoulder, feeling like someone was standing there, glowering. I felt nothing on the lower level, ironically... not even in the jail cell area where stuff is consistently reported. I did have a mild headache by the time we got into the museum/display/info section downstairs but totally attributed that to the heat. After sitting by the display case in the area where the high EMF readings were, I DID experience ringing in my ears- but thought that probably had more to do with the heat than the EMF. The photo with the moving orb was taken above the display case in what I'm assuming was the north-east section of the building, where the EMF readings were consistently high.

Hugh McLenaghan: During this investigation, I didn’t see or feel anything. We did have some interesting EMF readings in one of the rooms upstairs. The field seemed to move around the room and you could follow it with the meter. It would go away, and then come back and move around the room again. As we were going into the jail cell area on the upper floor, we heard what sounded like a growling noise (Both Beth and myself heard it). We watched the video from that time but it wasn’t on the video.

Becky Ray: We started the investigation at approximately 8:00 pm by meeting our hosts Steve Noll and his wife in the main office which was originally the kitchen area of the Marshal's home. We were given a tour through the building and then split into two teams. One with four members and the other with three. One group was Hugh and Beth McLenaghan and Todd Sheets, and the other group consisted of Miranda Dykes, Sevren Bernal, Angela Drew, and me. Our groups started on the first floor, while the other started on the second. 
We unpacked our equipment in the 1903 Jail Expansion area that is now used for Museum Displays. We walked through the entire first-floor area again, taking base readings and checking out anything out of the ordinary to see what possible explanations we could find. 
During our initial walkthrough with the entire group, Todd had discovered some odd EMF readings around a baby buggy in the front hallway. It seemed to me that there has to be some sort of rational explanation for this, even though the readings were not consistent, and fluctuated from nothing at all to high. When we returned to this area, Miranda checked it out with a different type of EMF meter, and her findings were consistent with Todd's. I thought that perhaps the buggy had become magnetized, or perhaps something near it had. The buggy is almost entirely made of wood, and the only thing close to it is a fire extinguisher which had very consistent low readings. There were no electrical outlets nearby, nor were there any wirings in the walls. I checked inside the buggy, and all that was in it was a blanket and two non-magnetized pine cones. We could find no explanation at this time for these readings. 
However, when we returned to the 1903 Jail Expansion area with detectors on, EMF readings were erratic almost everywhere. Our other half discovered this same thing when they returned here. After much investigating it was discovered that this room is a hotbed of EMF leakage. So any EMF readings taken in this area are worthless for our purposes. 
EMF stands for Electro-Magnetic Fields, that's exactly what EMF detectors pick up. Electric charges create electric fields. Electric charges that move create magnetic fields. EMF detectors were not invented as "Ghost Detectors," but as devices to measure safe levels of these fields. 
At approximately 9:20 pm our group decided to set up in some of the first floor cells. There are many legends when it comes to this location. Some say many prisoners were hanged here, some say they were tossed from the second floor over for these hangings, and some say worse. However, Jackson County historians report that yes, they have historical proof that there were in fact hangings in the prison, but they were hanged in a cell on the first floor, not from the second down. Which cell, however, is an unknown. 
We had been told several different cells when it came to which one was the most haunted, so we decided to spend some time in each one, starting with Cell 1. Personally, I felt nothing at all in there. In fact, if I did feel anything, it almost made me feel giddy, which was quite amazing, considering all the horrible things that happened in this place. I turned my audio recorder on, and we tried to capture some EVP by asking questions, but I got nothing on my audio recorder. I also had my IR video on the whole time we were in there, and captured nothing at all. 
After we all decided we were getting nothing at all in Cell 1, we decided to move across the hallway to Cell 4. As soon as we walked in the doorway everyone's mood changed. I left my video running as we made the change, and it is clear even on camera. It is like someone sucks the air out of all of us. I immediately noticed the temperature change. There was a 10-degree change from the hallway to inside that cell. It was much hotter, and I personally felt like I had a great weight placed on my chest. As we did in Cell 1, we each took a corner and set up again. After just four minutes every one of us had talked about feeling greatly ill and nauseated. 
It was at this time that I captured something strange in my video. In the video clip, you'll hear us talking about not feeling well, then Angela will take a photo, you'll hear her say, "Flash," and see the flash. Then I'll say, "Flash" and you'll see the flash. Then I'll say, "I'm going to take another one," and then there is this strange anomaly before my next flash. I'm not saying it is paranormal, because it is almost too geometrical. But what the hell is it?? Does it seem to resemble a playing card maybe? This video is available for viewing, as is a still from the video and the photo that was taken. 
Less than two minutes later, Miranda captured a strange sound, possible EVP on her audio recorder. I captured part of this on my video camera, but not on my audio recorder. Sevren did not capture it on her audio recorder either. 
Shortly after this, I commented on how I had been watching the shadow on the floor in front of me from the light coming in from the hallway. There is a video containing this conversation available for viewing. 
Later, around 9:48 I asked if anyone else saw what I just saw. Again, there is a video containing this conversation available for viewing. 
At approximately 10:00 pm we switch floors with the other group. I set my video camera up on the second floor as well but didn't capture anything out of the ordinary. 
We sat in each of the bedrooms for about 10 to 15 minutes each but didn't experience anything of note. We sat the longest in the master bedroom with no experience.

Todd Sheets: For me, the experience was pretty cool… There was an old baby cart that seemed to have something going on – it gave off strong EMF readings and it had a very interesting “vibe” I felt… also – when standing down the long hall in front of the cart – there seemed to be a shadow of a person standing over it. Now the back area, the “museum” area… this was an insane EMF nightmare – Hugh and I noticed right away the EMF readings went off the chart – I had never seen anything do this in an entire room… especially not one this big – but after we did some Sherlocking, it was found that the culprit may have been OLD water pipes that had been crossed over the old electrical and it seemed to have “charged” the pipes. These pipes ran into the flooring AND the ceiling areas. Finally, in the back bedroom with the organ, there was EMF activity that could easily be tracked by the detector and followed all over – it moved. It would seem to sit in a chair and then move away to the bed and so forth. Also – I noticed flashes and shadows and such. This room had an odd smell too at one time – it was kind of musty and then the air turned sweet.

Miranda Stark: This investigation was quite interesting. I'd heard stories of it being haunted for most of my life, has always been a resident of Independence. I'd only toured this location once as a visitor some years before actually having the honor of investigating it for the possibility of paranormal activity with PAI. I currently have the privilege of living just a few short blocks from the jail on the historic Independence square. My husband and I live next door to one of the area's most reputable historians. I was fortunate enough to get some very detailed background history on the Marshal's Jail from our neighbor. He was also kind enough to give me a copy of an execution notice from 1894 for a "Harry Jones", which is signed by the Marshal of Jackson County. You may see this under the photos section for this investigation. It is believed that many executions were performed in the form of hanging in one of the cells on the first floor. Ironically many reports over the years state that there is one cell in particular that invokes feelings of uneasiness, nausea, and even fear. Could there be any correlation between these "feelings" from today's visitors and the history imprinted upon the stone surroundings of this place during the height of its function in the late 1800s? It is believed that certain types of stone can act as a sort of "sponge" and absorb residual energies of the past. With this idea in mind, I would like to mention that another fellow investigator from PAI captured an anomaly that seems to appear on the stone wall of the corridor outside of one of the cells where we had been involved in an investigation vigil. Everyone present at that time began expressing feelings of illness, and general uneasiness immediately upon entering cell 4. We began experiencing what we thought were tricks of light, in the form of moving shadows in, and outside, of this cell. Becky had her night shot video running from the back corner of the cell, aimed toward the corridor. Angela flashed a photograph into the same corridor where nothing could be seen from her angle besides the stone wall. Becky standing just beside her decided to do the same, and also flashed a photograph of the same area, where nothing out of the ordinary occurs on the video when the flash is seen. Then Becky takes the second photograph in a very similar manner to the first one, and there on the video recording, just before that flash of the camera, it is clear to see a strange anomalous shape appear on the wall in the corridor. This did not appear during the first flash of Becky's camera, nor Angela's. Upon close inspection of this "figure", it is difficult to explain what it may be. There seems to be wide agreement amongst most people who look at the still frame of this anomaly, that it resembles the image of a playing card, with a very well-defined shape of the ace of spades in the center. This makes us speculate upon the possibility of residual energy being contained within the stone, and the time spent there by prisoners who may have had nothing else to do but to pass the numerous hours by card playing. Beth even proposes that one of the prisoners may have been held in jail for gambling charges. Is this possible? Could we have been shown an image that was of great significance to someone who spent much of their time there more than one hundred years ago? Another thing to consider is that I did capture an odd sound on my audio recorder during this same time, about two minutes after this visual anomaly appears on the video. At first, it sounded like a deep male voice, which would be strange because there were only four of us on that entire floor at that time, and we are all female. It can be heard after the verbal statement asking anyone present to please speak, or make their presence known to us. It is difficult to make out any words, so it is possible that this is just an anomalous sound that was inaudible to us at that time. It is caught in the same place on one other investigator's recorder, but it does not appear on two others that were on at that time. Do I personally feel that this jail is "haunted"? It's hard to say, but I firmly believe that some energies do reside here, even if they are nothing more than residual recordings of the past.

Puppy - 08:04 PM - 10th June, 2006 - 1859 Jail, Marshal's Home & Museum
00:00 / 00:00

This was recorded shortly after we arrived. The dog of one of our hosts was present for the first 30 minutes of the investigation until he was taken home. You can clearly hear the voice of a young child saying "Puppy, puppy". There were no children present, but there was a baby carriage present in the hallway, which was giving off some strange EMF readings.

Submitted by Hugh

Cell 4 - 09:38 PM - 10th June, 2006 - 1859 Jail, Marshal's Home & Museum
00:00 / 00:00

This odd sound was recorded about two minutes after this unknown anomaly appears on video. At first it sounded like a deep male voice, which would be strange because there were only the four of us on that entire floor at that time, and we are all female. It can be heard after the verbal statement asking anyone present to please speak, or make their presence known to us. It is difficult to make out any words, so it is possible that this is just an anomalous sound that was unaudible to us at that time. It is caught in the same place on one other investigator's recorder, but it does not appear on two thers that were on at that time. It is also not present on Becky's video recording from the same time.

Submitted by Miranda

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