Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Windyville and the Internet Curse

A woman with the head of a goat. A spectral hitchhiker. Red eyes that stare at passersby from the dead, black windows of abandoned buildings.

This is the legend of Windyville, Mo.

“Visitors have reported screams from the old cannery building, and a horseback rider was spotted at Lone Rock Cemetery. It’s also home to spiritual cults, so watch out,” proclaimed an Oct. 20, 2005 article in USA Today.

Sounds like a great place to hunt ghosts, right? Not really.

Ronnie Powell lives in Windyville, a town many sites on the Internet say is a ghost town. It’s not. The town was once home to a tomato cannery, grocery store, post office and a number of families. The buildings are still there, but the businesses aren’t, and only four or five houses are occupied.

“Windyville looks deserted,” Ronnie said. “But real live people live here.”

The population of Windyville grows, however, when ghost hunters are in town.

“(These) people came to Windyville and they pilfered, they broke into buildings, they had rituals, and it got so bad that we got the law to get rid of most of them,” he said. “They told them not to come back.”

Ronnie, who retired after 30 years with the Missouri Department of Conservation, has always liked to write and once penned a few Windyville ghost stories for “More Missouri Ghosts,” by Joan Gilbert. He wrote the stories as fiction but they were published as fact. Although the stories were left out of the next edition of the book, they’d already hit the Internet.

“I know (the trouble) is all because of me and my stories,” he said. “‘The Ghosts of Windyville’ was just tidbits of things that I couldn’t corroborate. They were just stories. I sure did ruin Windyville. ”

Ghost hunters and the curious have vandalized the buildings, trespassed and terrorized the few residents of the town.

“The stories I could write about the ghost hunters would be better than the ghost stories,” Ronnie said. “They wouldn’t want people looking in their windows.”

Although people have trespassed around his home, nothing bothered him as badly as the Goths.

“They had some kind of a fire ritual down here,” he said. “I ran them off. They all ganged up around me. I told them I was armed and they scattered. They were dancing around a fire and were chanting and all that. One man had a knife. I saw that.”

The School of Metaphysics in Windyville probably hasn’t helped the town’s reputation.

“They picked Windyville as the ninth (most haunted) place,” Dr. Barbara Condron of the School of Metaphysics said of the USA Today article. “They picked dead places. Windyville isn’t dead.”

The school, which has 15 branches throughout the Midwest, focuses on channeling the mind’s energy in positive ways and learning how to co-exist with your fellow man – but the locals don’t always view it that way.

“We’re kind of the talk of the high school here,” Barbara said. “A lot of times we get joke calls. ‘Ah, yes, you guys move things with your mind out there?’ It’s the Uri Geller bending spoons thing. It hasn’t been good.”

And the school has experienced trespassing and vandalism, too; much like a recent incident.

“Two guys who graduated Lebanon high school were going to chain our gate to their pickup, tear it down and drag it down the road,” Barbara said. “They were fortunately caught by local authorities.”

The nature of the School of Metaphysics calls for thinking positively. The school rarely prosecutes – it didn’t in this case – and Barbara said she doesn’t think the kids from Lebanon will come back.

“It’s one thing to do it in the night time and another to look the people in the eye the next day,” she said. “It’s the golden rule in Christianity. You treat people the way you want to be treated. I hope it heals.”

Today, the Windyville ghost stories remain on dozens of ghost hunter Web sites, which means Windyville may not be off the paranormal map anytime soon.

“It’s Pandora’s box. It’s already been opened,” Barbara said. “Technology brings good to the world, but there’s always a dark side.”

Copyright 2007 by Jason Offutt

Got a scary story? Ever played with a Ouija board, heard voices, seen a ghost, UFO or a creature you couldn’t identify? Let Jason know about it: Jason Offutt c/o The Examiner, 410 S. Liberty, Independence, Mo. 64050, or jasonoffutt@hotmail.com. Include your name, address and telephone number. Your story might make an upcoming installment of “From the Shadows.”

Jason’s book of ghost stories, “Haunted Missouri: A Ghostly Guide to Missouri’s Most Spirited Spots,” is coming in May. FREE SHIPPING when you order online at: https://tsup.truman.edu/store/ViewBook.aspx?Book=849. Visit Jason’s Web site, www.jasonoffutt.com, for his other books.

15 comments:

Steven Ashley said...

If Windyville is haunted it is recent development. 40 years ago Windyville or specifically Camp Aurora located near Windyville was one of my favorite places on earth. Every summer the hills echoed with the sounds of UCC Church kids from all over the state having the time of their lives. No ghosts, but I could tell you a few stories.

Russell said...

My daughter and I drove out to Windyville with our dog as part of a Sunday afternoon drive to see what all the ghost stories were about. We tend to take the more scientific view of things and thought this would make an interesting experiment, although not quite scientific! We were careful not to disrespect the residents right to privacy. It is basically a pleasant somewhat abandoned rual town. And, nope - no paranormal events. If there is to be any paranormal activity, why not see if from our vehicle in daylight? Ghosts aren't afraid of the light are they?

Aaron Scott said...

It's a shame that some stupid amateur "ghost hunters" have to go and be ignorant. Those kind of people don't help the few of us that are serious about investigating the paranormal.

Anonymous said...

Our family have lived in Windyville for generations. We have never witnessed any ghosts at any time. I myself live a half a mile from the cannery. We walk by there all the time and have never seen or heard anything at all. Sorry to dissapoint you. This is a very nice place on the river to live, its a peacefull place not a haunted one.

Anonymous said...

Windyville is a nice place to live and the residence do not appreciate trespassers. We live here. Grow up and get a life. Peppers is not "Haunted". It has been desecrated by drunks, vandals. It is still an active burial ground and sight-seeing is not welcome. Our police are ready to run "ghost hunters" off!

Anonymous said...

I grew up and went to Windyville school....I am here to tell you there IS hauntings there. Never again will I be in that area after dark...if at all.

LidsvilleNine said...

Who would want to visit such an unfriendly place? I live near a town named "Frankenstein". Instead of getting all redneck at the curious, they capitalized on the attention they got and everyone had a good time.

Anonymous said...

I personally have seen a paranormal event From one of the old store fronts. I will not be back after dark or alone !

Anonymous said...

I live right next to peppers cemetery in Wiondyville. I have never seen any ghosts. Just the sounds of nature

Anonymous said...

sounds like the school is posting anonymous postings to keep people from investigating what is really going on in windyville. dont mock me or ill expose whats going on there as i use to attend.

possumcreek said...

The tomato cannery was torn down years ago. There is a few houses surrounding the two roads that intersect at "downtown" Windyville. The store has re-opened and another old store is about to fall in. I've lived in Buffalo, Mo. nearly 55 years and have been to Windyville numerous times...folks are just ticked off over the so called "ghost hunters" that linger or trespass. The Dallas Co. Sheriff's office WILL come out and either run you off or arrest you...period! There is No historical fact to a cannon factory at Windyville...This is a pleasant little grouping of houses that ask for peace and quiet.

bbd1c364-b99e-11e1-a9b1-000f20980440 said...

I am from California, born and raised. I just returned from visiting relatives in Urbana, MO and spent a couple of days visiting Windyville. It is a beautiful little town with a lot of family history and I would move there in a heartbeat if I could. The stories you read on the internet are B.S. This town may have it's local ghosts, what small historical town doesn't. I was there during the day and into the late night, took several pictures, including Peppers and Lone Rock cemeteries and the only thing that I saw was a small community, rich in family history, that should be left alone for them to enjoy! It is one thing to visit and enjoy a town like this and another to harass and disturb these people. LEAVE THEM ALONE!

bbd1c364-b99e-11e1-a9b1-000f20980440 said...

I am from California, born and raised. I just returned from visiting relatives in Urbana, MO and spent a couple of days visiting Windyville. It is a beautiful little town with a lot of family history and I would move there in a heartbeat if I could. The stories you read on the internet are B.S. This town may have it's local ghosts, what small historical town doesn't. I was there during the day and into the late night, took several pictures, including Peppers and Lone Rock cemeteries and the only thing that I saw was a small community, rich in family history, that should be left alone for them to enjoy! It is one thing to visit and enjoy a town like this and another to harass and disturb these people. LEAVE THEM ALONE!

bbd1c364-b99e-11e1-a9b1-000f20980440 said...

I am from California, born and raised. I just returned from visiting relatives in Urbana, MO and spent a couple of days visiting Windyville. It is a beautiful little town with a lot of family history and I would move there in a heartbeat if I could. The stories you read on the internet are B.S. This town may have it's local ghosts, what small historical town doesn't. I was there during the day and into the late night, took several pictures, including Peppers and Lone Rock cemeteries and the only thing that I saw was a small community, rich in family history, that should be left alone for them to enjoy! It is one thing to visit and enjoy a town like this and another to harass and disturb these people. LEAVE THEM ALONE!

Lacomo said...

I was born there over 71 years ago and have heard this B.S. all of my life. I was born within a half mile of Lone Rock Cemetery and plan to be buried there when I die. Then it will be haunted because I'm going to come back and haunt all you dumb asses that write all this B.S.