Haunted Hill House: Beattie Mansion one of St. Joe’s ‘most active’Haunted Hill House:

Haunted Hill House: Beattie Mansion one of St. Joe’s ‘most active’Haunted Hill House:

Editor’s Note: This is the second in a duet of stories about haunted locations in Missouri which tourism spokeswoman Nicole Schulenberg promises are abundant. You can find a whole list of Missouri’s “most haunted places” at https://www.visitmo.com/articles/missouris-most-haunted-places.

Locals call the Beattie Mansion “the house on the hill.” They also call the 1854 structure at 1120 Main St. one of the most haunted places in in St. Joseph, Mo.

The Beattie Mansion was built as a home for Armstrong Beattie, the city’s first banker, five-time mayor and one of the first millionaires in town, and his wife, Eliza. Both died in the house — he in 1878 and she in 1880 — and the mansion eventually became the town’s first orphanage, called “The Home for the Friendless.”

“Over the years, it has been a memorial home, a halfway house, a group home, as well as a fraternity house,” says Mary Ann Podrasky, the historian, general manager, lead investigator, and psychic medium for the Beattie Mansion.

“I first became besotted with the mansion when I was just a child,” she explains, saying she’s been a believer since she was 4. “I distinctly remember passing by the building and wondered what it was for, as I saw dozens of people all around the building and on the balconies. At the time, I didn’t know what ‘paranormal’ was, but I knew the people I saw outside the building weren’t alive, as they had fuzzy edges. I knew the building was very old, and I knew it had a big story to tell.”

During renovation efforts in 2004, workmen experienced disembodied voices, shadow figures and full body apparitions. According to the mansion’s website, a paranormal team was brought in and found that Eliza was the most prominent spirit in the house. She is said to roam the second floor of the building, guarding the halls. Also on the second floor is at least one child spirit who has been heard laughing and yelling.

“I always told my husband the house was calling me, and I knew I had a role to play here,” Podrasky says. “I communicated with the ‘custodian,’ Karl, the moment I pulled into the lot in 2018. My first investigation was in 2019, and I was contacted by the spirits inside immediately. My interest is foremost the spirits and their welfare, as well as uncovering the true history of the mansion and her residents.

“I have had hundreds of paranormal experiences in the mansion,” she goes on. “I’ve been ‘shown’ by Karl what needs to be fixed, been directly vocally answered when I ask a question, I’ve been hugged and have been choked and growled at in my face by a former patient. In addition, I saw a former patient of the halfway house — a young, female drug addict — hang herself from the staircase. I’ve heard whistling and footsteps many times, most recently on Oct. 17, 2023. Many people have witnessed these events alongside me as well.”

The Beattie Mansion does offer ghost tour opportunities, and Podrasky says visitors range from true believers to interested public figures to skeptics.

“I’ve seen many people on the fence see and hear things, as soon as their tour starts,” she says. “Our spirits love to be spoken about, I think. I’m respectful — it’s their home. I do think we change people’s minds regarding the true existence of life after death.”

The Beattie Mansion will host two nights of Halloween ghost haunts Oct. 27-28.

“Although we have many displays in the mansion, we never mock it up to appear haunted; we just don’t need to,” Podrasky asserts. “I also believe it’s disrespectful to the spirits, our huge historical part, as well.

“If and when our spirits want to communicate, they do — and rarely hold back. If you want to be chased by a guy in a mask with a chainsaw, we aren’t doing that,” she adds. “We have so much true history, ties to our city, state, and true haunting, that we stand out …we ARE historic and haunted.”

Read more about the Beattie Mansion at thebeattiemansion.com. Podrasky also recommends visiting Glore Psychiatric Museum in St. Joseph and St. Joseph’s State Lunatic Asylum No. 2.

Categories: Cover Story