|Wait...that light just turned on, right?|
I only yawned a few times. Unfortunately, earlier in the day I'd forgotten about the impending tour and made the bad decision of having a heaping bowl of bean-loaded chili for lunch. Talk about hauntings.
|All that's left of the University Playhouse. Except, of course, for ghosts!|
Next was a morbid tale that shed some surprising light on one of America's most notorious, unsolved murder cases. In 1941, UMKC education major, Leila Walsh, returned from a date and went to bed. Later that night, Leila's mother heard a strange thumping sound. She searched the house, found nothing awry. Leila's door was closed, and her brother, George, was sound asleep on the sofa. The mom went back to bed. The next morning, Mrs. Walsh went to wake up Leila and found her dead, savagely bashed with a hammer, her throat slit, and a strip of flesh ripped from her back. Not the best way to start your morning.
Leila's brother, George, was arrested for the murder because some guy claimed he sold the murderer's gloves (found in the yard) to him. The witness was later discovered to be a kook, reneged on his testimony, and said he'd had a vision of selling brother George the gloves. Holy O.J! George was exonerated, primarily on his mother's testimony that he was sleeping during the crime. Plus a chair had been lodged beneath Leila's doorknob.
The Kansas City police were embarrassed, the mob got involved, everything was sorta swept under the rug. Until the KCPD got a call from the L.A. Police Department. Back in 1947, the brutal murder of actress Elizabeth Short shocked the country. Better known as the infamous "Black Dahlia" murder, a name and phone number was found in the victim's purse. It belonged to a World War II veteran, Carl Basinger. Basinger claimed he'd only met Short for a few hours which later proved to be a lie. Furthermore, Basinger trained at Camp Cooke where Short volunteered until leaving due to harassment from a soldier.
|I now know who killed her! Probably a little late to collect that reward, though.|
Let's move on to the haunted Epperson Mansion! Way back in the early 20th century, long before smart phones (and maybe even dumb phones, too), millionaire couple, Uriah and Elizabeth Epperson (along with organist, Harriet Barse--their living arrangement quite the scandal at the time), built and lived in this kooky mansion. The floor plan's apparently super bizarre, every five feet a new set of steps leading to other honeycombed rooms.
|Not as scary looking in the daytime!|
Barse died in the mansion from gallbladder issues (the good ol' days!) and her spirit is said to haunt the mansion. The mansion's closed now, but not too long ago it'd been donated to the university where the music school resided. Students heard footsteps constantly, some saw Barse floating through the labyrinth hallways. Notoriously, an antique car nearly ran a cop down in the driveway and then vanished. And, of course, lights mysteriously go off and on.
Sadly, we weren't able to enter the haunted mansion. But as we stood on the cobblestone driveway, a light went on in the now abandoned mansion, then went off. I saw it. Some others (including our guide) remarked on it. My wife totally Scullied me, said it was a reflection from an outside light. (Whatever. The damn mansion's haunted and I saw it with my own eyes! I want to believe, Scully!)
Then...someone said, "Whoa...you guys smell that? It's like... It's like...sulfur."
Quickly, I stepped away from where I stood. Said, "Whoa, that's weird." Although hellish smelling, it wasn't sulfur. More like hours-old chili.