Ghosts of the Prairie


Fayette, Missouri

"We've never really been afraid, because we know that if there is such a thing, it can't hurt you, but gee whiz... it's just really weird"
Former Occupant of Lilac Hill, Joe Jeff Davis
St. Louis Post-Dispatch Newspaper 1977

Lilac Hill was built in 1832 by A.W. Morrison and stands as the one of the oldest homes in Central Missouri. Build by slave labor and handmade bricks, the house was named from the hundreds of lilac bushes that surrounded the estate. The Morrison family occupied the house until 1952, when the last descendant passed away. Between then and 1974, when the Davis family moved in, four families occupied the house. None of them complained of a haunting.

Then, in 1977, the historic mansion suddenly became haunted. The Davis family reported a variety of weird phenomena that included sounds of chains being dragged in an upstairs hallway, doors being locked and unlocked on their own and an invisible presence that climbed into the owner's bed at night. Psychics who conducted research at the house (including well-known ghost hunter Maurice Schwalm) claimed that the ghost was of "Miss Minnie", the last mistress of the original family who had owned the mansion. She had passed away in 1949.

Miss Minnie continued to haunt the house for years.  In 1987, family members heard a vacuum cleaner running in the living room and were surprised to discover that the equipment had been moved from where it had been left in the room. Miss Minnie has been blamed for a variety of similar activity, strange sounds and even frequent. appearances. She was described as being an elderly woman who was always dressed in black and while often seen, she was only seen by the children who are either living or visiting the house. Maurice Schwalm believed that this was because energy levels were higher with the children present. When they moved out though, the activity seemed to continue.

The next family to live in the mansion, David and Joanie Wells, also reported strange happenings like crashing sounds as though plaster had fallen from the walls or ceiling. A search would find nothing out of the ordinary. They also reported sometimes hearing male and female voices in conversation when no one was present. In addition, their dog often chased things that no one could see.

But if the haunting truly did continue, it seems to be at rest today. The next and current occupants of the house say that they have heard and seen nothing unusual at Lilac Hill. Perhaps Miss Minnie is finally at rest?

Lilac Hill is located in Fayette, Missouri, which is located in Howard County and is slightly east of Kansas City. The house has been named as a state historic site.


Copyright 1998 by Troy Taylor. All Rights Reserved.

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