Old Cooper County Jail and Hanging Barn - Boonville, MO

Location Information

Date: 07 November 2020     Type: Museum

Location Title: Old Cooper County Jail and Hanging Barn    City/State: Boonville, MO

Investigation Times: 6:00 PM - 10:00 PM     Status: Analysis

 

Weather Information

Sunrise: 06:51 AM   Sunset: 05:09PM

High Temperature: 73°F   Low Temperature: 53°F

Sky Condition: Clear  Wind: SE at 7 mph

Humidity: 60%   Precipitation: 0%

Lunar Phase: Waning Gibbous   % disk visible: 59%

Pressure: 29.98 mmHg  

 

Investigators Present

Jennifer Sprague

Becky Ray

Tania Rounds

Julie Klos Burch
Lindsey Kadri

Investigators Notes

 

Jennifer Sprague, Lead Investigator: 

On this investigation, we investigated the Old Cooper County Hanging Jail and Hanging Barn in Boonville Missouri, and we also investigated Thespian Hall in Boonville Missouri.  I’d like to thank Tina and James for helping us investigate thespian Hall and making that investigation possible, We would also like to thank Laura from the Boonville Historical Society they were all very much appreciated! 
We started out at the Old Cooper County Jail and Hanging Barn with a short tour with Laura from the Historical Society of Boonville. We started off in the jail on the top floor and set up a motion camera On Cell #3. This cell is where a prisoner committed suicide. We set up a few motion-activated toys in that cell as well as the other cells on that floor to see if anything would trigger them.  We did have one sensor toy that kept going off,  but we believe after testing it that it was just oversensitive, so we took that toy out and used the rest of the remaining toys in those cells. We did do EVP sessions individually in each cell. At one point Becky reported feeling uneasy with a certain cell and I did get chills at one point,  but upon reviewing my audio and other things equipment-wise, we did not pick up anything that was reported on the equipment during the same time as the reports, we did have a few fluctuations on the EMF but nothing prominent.  Upon reviewing our motion-activated camera for Cell #3, we did not find anything that triggered it to go off other than us moving around.

 We then moved to the other part of the upper floor and did an EVP session in those cells as well, we did capture a few possible EVP‘s that we will post. We then moved to the bottom floor of the jail and did some EVP sessions down there and took some documentation photos. We did not pick up anything there and then we proceeded to the Hanging Barn. We did have a strange occurrence with our EMF detectors upon entering. They tended to go off in one spot near the door, and we couldn’t find any sort of explanation for this at the time. No major electrical wiring was present to trigger it as well as no telephone wires outside. We also were not around any electrical outlets that would trigger it to go off, and everything we tested was not strong enough to make any sort of initial response on our detectors.  This lasted for a few minutes and then quickly dissipated. We did do EVP sessions in the barn on the top floor and on the bottom floor. We did capture any EVPs at that time, but Becky and I did both hear what sounded like walking upstairs at one point, but could not figure out where it was coming from.  The same noise was later reported when Becky was alone during the EVP session in the barn later on. 

We then separated into an EVP session and trigger experiment. I put Tania int the bottom row of cells in the jail and Lindsay on the top floor of the jail, I then put  Becky in the Hanging Barn and Julie in a central area of the jail. I could separated people into senders and receivers. The idea was to see if through concentration on pictures if the senders could get something “paranormal” to happen to the receivers, either through an EVP capture of something related to the picture concentrated on or something else.   Becky and Lindsey were both receivers and Tania and Julie were we’re both senders.  I gave Tania and Julie both specific pictures to look at. Tania was looking at a jail key and lock, and Julie was looking at a picture of a noose related to the Barn.  Lindsey and Becky took notes on what they were feeling and experiencing during this time.  Upon completion, there were some similarities between what Julie was trying to send to Becky. Julie also had a very emotional reaction and Becky did picture a noose at one point that came to her mind.  There were some slight similarities between Tania and Lindsey’s experiences as well,. We posted those EVPS on our site and will continue to post more as we review them. 

Location History

Until its closing in 1978, it was the oldest continuously used County Jail in Missouri. The original structure was completed in 1848 for $6,091.50. Slaves quarried the 2½ foot thick limestone blocks which they used for the construction of the two-story building. Each story had one large room, reminiscent of old dungeons, equipped with 1 ¼ inch round rings bolted into the outer walls. The prisoners were shackled to these rings at the feet. The large room on the ground level, known as the “bullpen” held slaves destined for the auction block on Main Street.  In 1871, the appearance of the second-story room was changed with the addition of iron box cells. Brought to Boonville by steamboat from St. Louis, these were installed using the occupants of the jail as laborers. The jail was to receive no additional major changes for another century.

The most famous of the many prisoners associated with the Jail was Frank James, brother of Jesse. On April 24th, 1884, James was brought to the Cooper County Jail by Sheriff John Rogers to answer a warrant for his arrest for a train robbery that took place in 1876. Sympathetic citizens of Boonville raised his bond in a matter of hours. The case was later dismissed for lack of evidence.  In 1871, the County Court also authorized the construction of an adjoining sheriff’s residence consisting of three rooms. In a matter of months, it was expanded to include a second story as well as a kitchen addition to the back of the main floor. Numerous other improvements were made including a brick privy, a cistern, and a smokehouse but none of these outbuildings survived.

The last major construction occurred in 1878 with the building of the “stable/jail barn” designed to house the horses of the sheriff in case a posse was needed. It was in this building that one of the last public hangings in Missouri took place.

On January 31st, 1930, Lawrence Mabry, 19, climbed the 13 steps to the loft and was “hung by the neck until dead” for a robbery and killing in Pettis County. This hanging was a contributing factor in the elimination of county capital punishment. In 1971, the Jail Barn became the first restoration project of the newly created Friends of Historic Boonville.

Every cell has its own history, its own stories to tell. The graffiti-carved limestone rock walls stand as silent witnesses to a way of life beyond our comprehension.

The cells are empty now. But with a little imagination, you can hear the footsteps of the sheriff as he walks across the floor to one of the cell doors. The huge jailer’s keys clang against each other. There is a pause and then the sound of a brass key entering one of the old iron locks. For some, it turns to the right, opening the door and letting them out, giving them a second chance. For others, the key turns to the left, closing the door behind them, sealing their fate.

In 1978, a Federal Court declared the Cooper County Jail “cruel and unusual punishment”, therefore closing the cell doors permanently and bringing to the end of an era of Boonville and Cooper County history. The generosity of the Kemper Foundation of Kansas City and the restoration efforts of the Friends of Historic Boonville has ensured that this history will not be forgotten.

From http://friendsofhistoricboonvillemo.org/

EVPs
7:09 PM Cooper County Jail 11/07/2020
00:00 / 00:07

At the beginning of the investigation, we were in the lower three jail cells. Everyone was casually talking when this EVP was recorded at 7:09 pm.

Submitted by Julie

7:11 PMCooper County Jail 11/07/2020
00:00 / 00:07

At the beginning of the investigation, we were in the lower three jail cells. Everyone was casually talking when this EVP was recorded at 7:11 pm.

Submitted by Julie

7:17 PMCooper County Jail 11/07/2020
00:00 / 00:06

While still in the lower three jail cells, everyone was casually talking when this EVP was recorded at 7:17 pm.

Submitted by Julie

7:18 PMCooper County Jail 11/07/2020
00:00 / 00:07

While still in the lower three jail cells. Recorded at 7:18 pm.

Submitted by Julie

Cooper County Jail 111/07/2020
00:00 / 00:12

Recorded during the EVP Photo Trigger Experiment between Lindsey and Tania. Lindsey was on the second floor in solitary and Tania was on the first floor.

Submitted by Lindsey

Cooper County Jail 311/07/2020
00:00 / 00:13

Recorded during the EVP Photo Trigger Experiment between Lindsey and Tania. Lindsey was on the second floor in solitary and Tania was on the first floor.

Submitted by Lindsey

Cooper County Jail 411/07/2020
00:00 / 00:05

Recorded during the EVP Photo Trigger Experiment between Lindsey and Tania. Lindsey was on the second floor in solitary and Tania was on the first floor.

Submitted by Lindsey

Cooper County Jail 211/07/2020
00:00 / 00:04

Recorded during the EVP Photo Trigger Experiment between Lindsey and Tania. Lindsey was on the second floor in solitary and Tania was on the first floor.

Submitted by Lindsey

All content © Paranormal Activity Investigators, LLC, unless otherwise noted 
comments@ghost-investigators.com