In Cape Girardeau, there’s no shortage of strange encounters. While unsettling and eerie, it’s hard to ignore the curiosity that bubbles up at the mention of local ghosts. Here’s your warning: don’t read this article alone at night.
The hauntings of Cape River Heritage Museum
Built 111 years ago, the Cape River Heritage Museum building has housed a variety of organizations, including city hall, a fire department, a police station and briefly, a theater. A building with this much activity was destined to develop a few rumors over time … who knew they’d be ghost stories?
It wasn’t until the 1970s the phantoms came out to play. In a hurry for their hauntings, the ghosts were known to rush up and down a set of stairs, leaving loud and heavy footfalls in their wake. This troubled the cast and crew inhabiting the building at the time, mostly because there were no stairs where the footstep sounds originated. In 1981, the museum took over the building. Volunteers also reported hearing the footsteps as well as distracting knocks along the walls. And there are accounts of sickening odors, occupants hearing a group of men rushing through the building and doors having a mind of their own (even if they’re locked).
Some guess the ghostly sounds are echoes of firemen responding to duty, but could they be hints of something more nefarious intent on disturbing any who lurk within the halls? Have a visit to the Cape River Heritage Museum to see for yourself.
Read about another theater haunting in Cape.
The phantoms of Old Lorimer
It should come as no surprise that many locals regard one of Cape’s oldest cemeteries as the most haunted area in town: Old Lorimier Cemetery. Rich with history dating back to Louis Lorimier, the city’s founder, local historians muse the rolling landscape of grave plots may have once been a Native American burial ground before Europeans ever arrived. How many legends start with a disturbed burial ground?
Construction over the years could have further troubled spirits that rest among the tombstones. Residents say dark storms awaken ethereal riverboat men in the southeastern corner who make their way to the Mississippi River. Or you might spot the little girl wondering from grave to grave, a woman sometimes holding her hand. Did you feel that on your shoulder? It could be the tapping ghost, with recorded occurrences dating back to 1938.
For more information about these ghost stories and other Cape Girardeau hauntings, grab a copy of Dr. Joel P. Rhodes’s “Haunted Cape Girardeau: Where the River Turns a Thousand Chilling Tales.” Find it inside the Cape Girardeau Convention and Visitors Bureau, located at 220 N. Fountain St.