Friday, September 30, 2011

The Haunted Vaile Mansion in Independence, MO

The Vaile Mansion
1500 N Liberty, Independence, Missouri
Open to the public daily from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

This incredible Second Empire Victorian style Vaile Mansion in Independence, Missouri was built in 1881 by Colonel Harvey Vaile, who ran the Star Route mail delivery company via overland stage and railroad to Santa Fe, New Mexico from Independence, and the Vaile Pure Water Company. 
Vaile was a successful abolitionist lawyer, cattle rancher, investor, and landowner. The mansion has 31 rooms, 9 Italian marble fireplaces, running water, and beautiful painted ceilings, and has been fully restored to its original splendor. Even if you’re not interested in ghost hunting, you'll love this historical landmark. 
The ghost stories about the Vaile evolved around different time periods and events. The first event was when Mr. Vaile was accused of mail fraud and sent to Washington for a trial. Even though he was acquitted, Mrs. Sylvia Vaile, despondent over the accusations, took an overdose of morphine and died in the home in 1894. Others believe that she may have died from ovarian cancer, but that was a taboo subject at the time and may have been the reason for the suicide tale. 
Reportedly, Mr. Vaile could not part with his dead wife so he had her buried in the front yard with a glass cover over the coffin so he could visit her. Protests from neighbors later resulted in the removal of the coffin to another location nearby.
Colonel Vaile died five years later. He never remarried. Sylvia Vaile has been spotted looking out of the upper floor windows by passersby and inside the house throughout. 
The Vaile Pure Water Co. was operated from the site until just after the turn of the century. The mansion was turned into an Inn after Mr. Vaile’s death in 1894. Later, the home was used as an asylum and sanitarium, and the heavy metal cages were people were kept are still in the basement. The staff does not like to visit the basement because strange noises and an ominous feeling occur there. The Vaile Mansion also served as a rest home, so one could assume that other people died here.

The mansion was purchased by Roger and Mary DeWitt in the 1960’s, and after the death of Mrs. DeWitt in 1983 it was donated to the citizens of Independence.

Spirits and ghostly activity have occurred over the years in several rooms in the house, on the grounds, and in the neighborhood. Some passersby walk on the opposite side of the street in order to avoid an encounter with a ghost.

The third floor is now off limits to the public (perhaps due to pesky spirits) but during my visit on this floor some years ago I sensed the presence of at least two spirits. One, a male spirit, was sitting by the back window, but as I stepped into the room, he slowly faded away. A second dark outline of a person stood in a corner for several minutes.

The staff also reports seeing imprints of someone sitting on the freshly made beds in one second floor bedroom when no one has been in the room.
I recommend taking a tour of the Vaile Mansion to see this beautiful home, and perhaps while you’re there you’ll glimpse a resident ghost.
The Vaile Mansion is the subject for the cover photo on my book Haunted Independence.  The book is available at

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