Ozarks Life: Visiting the Missouri State Penitentiary, Part 3

Many consider the penitentiary to be one of the most haunted places in Missouri.
Published: Oct. 28, 2022 at 9:23 AM CDT
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KY3) - Lurking along the Missouri River is the Missouri State Penitentiary.

Built in 1836 to insure Jefferson City would remain the state capital, no one wanted to end up there. Today though, guests are dying to get in thanks to this property being considered, one of the most haunted places in Missouri.

In 1967, Time Magazine called the Missouri State Penitentiary, ‘the bloodiest 47 acres in America.’ For more on its history, click here for part one of this series and here for part two of this series.

“A lot of murders were committed in here,” former employee Larry Neal said. He wrote a book about his experiences. It’s titled Unguarded Moments which you can find here.

Despite being closed for two decades, many believe inmates are still here.

“Is the Missouri State Penitentiary haunted?” Chad Plein asked.

“If you believe in ghosts, yes. If you don’t, no,” former corrections officer and Crocker native Tom Wells said.

For a fifth Halloween, we’re following David Glidden. He’s the founder of Four State Paranormal and the YouTube series, Haunting History. His team is looking for evidence of some haunting claims. They have full access to four buildings on the property.

Plein followed Glidden into Building Four to start the night’s investigation. It was built in 1868 by criminals from the Civil War. Claims of shadow figures, full-bodied apparitions, and screams come from here.

“It looks like there is a cold mass,” Glidden said looking at a device.

The blue dots on this device show the air is getting colder. One theory is that a spirit absorbs heat and energy to make something happen and that leaves behind a cold spot.

“So seeing the cold mass develop on the device was pretty interesting,” Glidden said. “Because shortly after that, we started experiencing sounds that would happen around us. And it was almost as if something was playing cat and mouse.”

The toying with Glidden and Plein continued when they moved to Building One. Something leads them up a flight of stairs and from one end of the women’s ward to the other.

Glidden would ask something to make a noise. They would hear a response. And it seemed as if the sounds only happened after Glidden or Plein asked for it.

Voices and full-bodied apparitions have been captured in this building. But David and Plein captured something else. Passing in front of a cell, both had an electric sensation fill their body.

“It’s like the hair on my neck is standing up,” Plein said.

“Throughout the night, Chad and I would experience things that we could only chalk up to as being personal experiences,” Glidden said thanks to no evidence being recorded. “But the fact that they would happen within seconds of each other, made it much more compelling.”

Leaving Building One, the pair got an EVP, an Electronic Voice Phenomenon.

“When a spirit communicates,” Glidden explained, “it communicates on a really low frequency that we cannot hear. It filters through on the microphone leaving its imprint on the recorder.”

“Sir,” is found on the recording in a deep whisper.

They didn’t hear someone, politely trying to get their attention at the time.

Another EVP happens as soon as Glidden and Plein move into Building Three. This one comes after an electromagnetic spike on an EMF detector.


Then this building gives an intelligent response to one of Glidden’s questions.

“Is something down here?” Glidden asked into the dark.


Just after that voice, both Glidden and Plein felt something grab at their backs.

Years ago, cold-blooded killers could be turned mad sitting in Building Three on death row or in solitary confinement. But soon, it felt like Glidden and Plein were the ones losing their minds.

“One of the strangest experiences I’ve ever had happened with Chad in Building Three,” Glidden said.

They entered the lobby of the basement. This is the only way to reach the south wing or the north wing. From the lobby, the pair remembered going left into the south wing.

“And ultimately,” Glidden said, “we came out from the other side of the building.”

From the north wing. But to get there they had to go through the lobby and they don’t remember doing that. Also, the lobby was the only part of the building that had its lights on; it would have definitely been memorable. During that part of the night, they both remembered feeling confused in what is a very, simple floorplan.

“We don’t remember crossing that lit-up area a second time to get to the other side of the building,” Glidden recalled. “So it was almost like we have this missing time, but we do have the footage of us walking through there.”

“We haven’t been gone that long,” Plein said. “Have we?”

For Plein, it felt like they were in the building for 20 minutes. But for Glidden, he was thinking it was closer to 40.

“Everybody had a good time and we had some personal experiences,” Glidden said about the night. “And on top of that, we also capture some things that might be considered questionable. It definitely makes me want to go back to the Missouri State Penitentiary and explore its haunting history.”

The Missouri State Penitentiary has many tours you can go on. Click here to visit its website for more details.

You can click here to visit Glidden’s YouTube series page, Haunting History, to watch some of his previous investigations.

Also, former penitentiary employee, Larry Neal wrote a book about his experiences. It’s titled Unguarded Moments which you can find here.

To report a correction or typo, please email digitalnews@ky3.com