Missouri State Penitentiary - Jefferson City Missouri

The Haunted Missouri State Penitentiary

The History

In 1831, Missouri Governor John Miller suggested a prison be built in Jefferson City to ensure the city remained the seat of Missouri government. The construction project was started in 1834 west of the Mississippi River, later expanding to hold prisoners from the Civil War. It was acknowledged by The Jefferson City Star Tribune declared the Missouri State Penitentiary the "Greatest in the World." By then an average of 2,200 prisoners lived behind its walls. By 1932, MSP became the largest prison in the USA with 5,200 inmates. In 1937, the Penitentiary Gas Chamber was constructed by inmates using stone from the prison quarry. The Gas Chamber itself was delivered and place on a concrete pad and the building was built around it. It would become the location of 40 executions. In 1954, a major riot occurred which focused national attention on MSP, thirteen years later called the "bloodiest 47 acres in America" by Time Magazine. On Wednesday, September 15th, 1,355 inmates are moved from the Missouri State Penitentiary to the new Jefferson City Correctional Center east of town. The Missouri State Penitentiary served Missouri as the oldest prison west of the Mississippi River for over 168 years.

Famous inmates included: Charles Arthur "Pretty Boy" Floyd (1925), Charles "Sonny" Liston entered MSP and learned to box before going on to win the National Heavyweight Championship upon his release in 1950; John B "Firebug" Johnson ((1880); Katie Richards O'Hare (1919); Emma Goldman; James Earl Ray (1967); 

The Hauntings

Ever wondered what happens inside the walls of a 175+ year old prison in the dead of the night? Rumors have run rampant about the strange and unusual occurrences that occurred at the Missouri State Penitentiary (MSP) over the years. Apparitional sightings, unexplainable sounds, ghastly stories; you’ll find them all at the decommissioned prison.

In recent years, well over 100 organized paranormal investigations have taken place. Participants use scientific equipment to document and substantiate their experiences. Time after time stories emerge of inexplicable sightings at the prison once dubbed the “bloodiest 47 acres in America” by Time magazine due to the number of murders and assaults that took place there.

Word has gotten out about the after-dark paranormal activity at the Missouri State Penitentiary. In 2011 the SyFy network’s hit television show Ghost Hunters came to explore the historic site. MSP was then featured in an hour-long episode titled “The Bloodiest 47 Acres.” Not long afterwards, the Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures held one of their notorious lock-downs inside the walls of the decommissioned prison. In late 2012 a production studio from Los Angeles spent a week filming its paranormal suspense-thriller “Apparitional.”

The Site Offers Paranormal Tours.

They are not open year-round. They open their doors only from March to November. The Jefferson City Convention & Visitors Bureau now offers a wide variety of tours at the site, once named the "bloodiest 47 acres in America" by Time magazine. Visitors can choose to take a History or Ghost Tour among others and will walk through several incredibly historic housing units, the vast upper yard of the property and the gas chamber, where 40 men and women were executed. The tour also showcases cells of infamous inmates such as Sonny Liston, who learned to box during his time in the big house and James Earl Ray. Visit

Choose from
History Tours
In-Depth History
Ghost Tours
Ghost Hunts
Ghost Hunt Class
Public Overnight Investigation
Tours Types and Prices may change so please... 

Missouri State Penitentiary
115 Lafayette Street
Jefferson City, MO 65101

Visit their WEBSITE




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