Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Haunted Winery in the Show Me State


Belvoir Winery – Liberty, Missouri

It’s October and all during this month we’ll explore haunted drinking establishments - restaurants, taverns, wineries, any place that serves spirits, and has “spirits.” 

So let’s hit the road and discover who or what it is that makes these places so dark and brooding…



Liberty, Missouri is a quiet suburb just north of Kansas City.  The town was founded in 1832.During the Civil War, Liberty sided staunchly with the South. When Lincoln ran for President in 1860, not one person in Clay County cast a vote for him.


Downtown Liberty
Liberty was the site of the first day-time bank robbery. It happened here on February 13, 1866 when former Confederate soldiers banded together and robbed the Clay County Savings Association.


It was also home to the Missouri State I.O.O.F. The Odd Fellows purchased Reed Springs Hotel in 1895 to be used as a home for the widows and orphans of members. The I.O.O.F. is one of the largest fraternal and benevolent organizations in the U.S.  The 80-room structure burned down in 1900 but was rebuilt and reopened one year later.

I.O.O.F. Home
The entire complex consisted of several buildings, including the main home, hospital, school, church, and cemetery - all on 250 acres of land. In the waning years of the Twentieth century it was used as a nursing home.



And that brings us to the most well known haunted winery in the Midwest, located here in the "Show Me" state.  And, it appears that they have a lot of spirits to show….





Belvoir Winery
Belvoir Winery is located on the grounds of the former I.O.O.F. District Home.  Belvoir is French for “beautiful view,” and that’s what the owners, Dr John and Marsha Bean, thought when they saw the I.O.O.F. property in the 1990’s.  They knew this was the place for their winery and vineyard.  But once they began work on the buildings, they realized they had more than rooms with a view…



Belvoir
Today, only three of the original buildings remain, the Administration building, the Old Folks building, (nursing home,) and the Old Hospital.  The winery occupies the Odd Fellows Administration Building, the oldest structure on the property.  The basement was renovated to be used as the wine cellar and processing area.  The first floor holds the winery, ice cream shop, and event rooms.


Several paranormal investigative groups have been to Belvoir and all have reported some type of activity.  Reports range from footsteps, screams, and unidentified laughter, to male spirits, shadows that move on their own, and clothing being tugged on.  Much of the activity is reported to be in the cellar area of the winery.


Paranormal Investigation
There has been enough activity on the grounds and in the buildings that Belvoir Winery offers public and private paranormal investigations of the facilities. A group called Paranormal Research Investigators heads up the monthly public sessions.  According to PRI members, Belvoir is one of the most haunted locations they have investigated.


Cemetery on Grounds
There is also an I.O.O.F. cemetery on the property.  A plot, headstone and funeral were made available to all Odd Fellow members when the district home was in operation.  Over 600 members are interred here.




Belvoir Bar
While home to numerous ghosts, Belvoir Winery is also home to six wines.  The winery is open seven days a week and free tastings are available.  To learn more, or schedule a ghostly tour, visit http://www.belvoirwinery.com/



John Dillinger
We have one more stop to make for October - Next week, we'll visit a bar where John Dillinger may still be hiding out...

~ Joy