by David Goodwin


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GHOSTS OF JEFFERSON BARRACKS written by David Goodwin, member of both the Ghost Research Society and the American Ghost Society. The following are a few of the entries that appear in the book.

     One could reasonably argue that per square acre, Jefferson Barracks is the most haunted location in the St. Louis metropolitan area. The post is comprised of one hundred and thirty five acres containing forty-one buildings of various shapes and sizes. Of those forty-one buildings, military and civilian employees occupy; thirty-five of these, at any given time.
    Of those thirty-five "occupied" buildings, thirteen or more have stories of paranormal activity associated with them that I am aware of. I am sure that if truth were told, there are more personal ghost stories out there that are waiting to be unearthed. Over the years, soldiers and civilian staff working at Jefferson Barracks have reported a wide array of ghostly phenomena throughout the years.
    I believe that a Lieutenant Colonel who currently works at Jefferson Barracks said it the best, " If you have ever worked late in one of these old buildings, you would be convinced that ghosts exist".

    Standing proudly at the eastern end of the parade field, high on a grassy hill overlooking the Mississippi River, is Building 1. Constructed in 1900, this three story brick building serve's as the post's headquarters. The large room on the south end of the second floor was used as a ballroom. Many of the ornamental wood fixtures still exist there today. On the north wall of the old ballroom hangs a large, wooden, hand painted map of Jefferson Barracks, which was painted by an army private in 1938.
    Recently refurbished to it former glory by the Missouri Air National Guard, Building 1 plays host to a multitude of ghostly encounters that have taken place both inside and outside of the building. One such entity frequently seen at Building 1, is that of an elderly Confederate Civil War general who has been observed in the post commander's office.
     Several other employees working in Building 1 have observed a shadowy ghost of a man who sits at desk near a window on the second floor of the building, dispatching written orders by candle light. It is possible that this is also the ghost of the "old general" but we may never know. When the employees attempted to investigate the second floor while the phantom was present, all they would hear or see upon their approach, were the sounds of footsteps walking away.

    This large double barracks, was built in 1897. Limestone from the barracks that stood in its stead previously, was used as the foundation for the new troop quarters which could hold up to four companies of soldiers. As was typical of the day, each unit's NCO's were housed separately from the enlisted soldiers, in a center section of the building that had three floors. Today, used as storage by the Air Guard, this building has its own story to tell.
     One guardsman has reported hearing ghostly footsteps walking down the hallway or running up the stairs of the Building 29 when no one else was present. The same soldier also heard toilets flushing when there are no toilets in the building, and that he even heard a mysterious voice say "dismissed".

    Just west of Building 28, situated across Johnson Road, sits Building 37. This building has an interesting history, which could lend some credence to why it is allegedly haunted today.
    The first building constructed on this site was a "Reservoir Building". Built around 1860, this large brick two-story building served as the posts "water works". Water from the Mississippi River was pumped by steam engine to four large 1000-gallon water tanks, located on the second floor of the building. Water from these tanks was dispersed to the other buildings on post through an intricate pipe system.
    In 1883, the "Reservoir Building" was refurbished and it became the post's guardhouse and jail. The rooms on the second floor were used to house the guard contingent and the duty officer. The first floor served as the jail.
    According to several newspaper articles written by undercover newspaper reporter, the jail was separated into two rooms. One room, termed the "Garrison side" housed recruits who had committed general offenses. The second room, called the "General side", contained an iron 20' by 40' cage, which was used to hold soldiers who had committed more dire acts on post.
    At any given time, there were approximately 40 soldiers imprisoned in each room. Soldiers who were incarcerated on the "General side" either slept on the floor, or on bed slats without mattresses.
    Prisoners who were housed on the "Garrison side" slept in bunks or hammocks if the space was available. Both rooms were prone to flooding when the water tanks located above the guardhouse overflowed and were infested with swarms of bedbugs.
    Building 37, as we know it today was built in 1897. Like the building that stood in its place before it, this building served as the post's new guardhouse and jail. During the early 1990's, the building was refurbished yet again. Today, the first floor of the building serves as the post's dinning facility and the ground level is used by the Air National Guard as a Battle Management Training Center. Because of the building's history, it is not hard to believe that this former jail continues to house at least one ghost within its stone walls.
    One morning, in 1992, a female Air Guard soldier had a frightening encounter with a smoky human form that seemed to float several feet off the floor. The soldier observed the transparent figure as it floated in front of her while she walked down one of the building's hallways. Based on her observations, the soldier guessed that what she had observed that morning, was the ghost of a woman because it's clothes were flowing behind it. This chance encounter with the paranormal had an emotional affect on the soldier, who was moved to tears.

    Building 25 was built 1894 as enlisted soldiers quarters. Built much in the same style as Building's 28 and 29, this large rectangular building was used to billet enlisted soldiers and NCO's. At one time, the 1138th Military Police Battalion used the building as for administrative offices. Today, the building stands vacant, except for its "residual" occupants.
    Steve Fonod, a retired guardsman, who currently works as a Distribution Manager for the Defense Energy Support Center in Building 66, remembers an incident that occurred in Building 25 when he was still assigned to the 1138th Military Police Battalion. One night, shortly after returning home, Mr. Fonod received a strange phone call from the security office at Jefferson Barracks.
    The security officer wanted to inform Mr. Fonod that it had been reported that there were several lights on in Building 25, and he was wondering if anyone was supposed to be working in the building after hours? The call concerned Mr. Fonod because he had turned out all of the lights and ensured that the building was secure prior to going home for the evening. Upon his arrival back at Building 25, Mr. Fonod found that lights had in fact been mysteriously turned back on in both the basement area and the first floor.

    Built in 1857, This massive limestone building, enclosed by a rectangular stone wall, was used to store munitions. Rifles, cannons and gunpowder were stored at this location for later use by the troops stationed at Jefferson Barracks. In 1871, the Federal Arsenal in St. Louis was closed and its contents were moved to Jefferson Barracks for storage. The Powder Magazine was as a storage facility up until the military reservation was closed in 1946. Today, the building is a museum maintained by the St. Louis County Parks and Recreation Department, and it is one of the favorite attractions of the Jefferson Barracks Historic Park.
    One of the early legends documented for posterity by author Tony Fusco in his compilation of articles titled Historic Jefferson Barracks, involves the Powder Magazine. When America was thrust into the Second World War by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, armed soldiers at Jefferson Barracks were deployed at key positions around the post. One of these important locations, was the Powder Magazine. Armed sentries were frequently seen walking along the top of the stone wall surrounding the magazine or they would be observed patrolling around the exterior of the building.
    Several of the soldiers who had pulled "guard mount" at the Powder Magazine, reported seeing a ghostly sentry who would appear every so often and challenge a bewildered guard at his post. It was believed that the ghost was the spirit of a murdered sentry who had been killed by a raiding party while they were trying to steal munitions from the Powder Magazine. This unsettled spirit, described as "having a bullet hole in his head, running red with blood" is said to have accosted his living counterparts because in death, he had been deprived of fulfilling his rightful duty.
    An encounter with this ghost was said to be such a frightful experience, that several guards reportedly threw down their weapons and deserted their posts after seeing this shade. In one extreme instance, a soldier not only left his guard post, but also left the army as well because of his encounter with this unearthly sentry.

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