The Haunted Morse Mill Hotel

This week’s blog is about the Morse Mill Hotel in Hillsboro, Missouri. This place has a pretty crazy history behind it, let me lay that out for you.

So first off, this area was settled in 1799 by Francis Wideman, who was widely believed by the locals to be a sorcerer who, according to his own brother, John Morse, could “conjure up the devil.”  So there’s that!

Now, The Morse Mill Hotel was originally built in 1816 by John Morse, he was an engineer that was well known for building bridges.  In the beginning it was a modest little place but a little later, Morse decided that it was time to add on so it was expanded into this 5300 sq ft. monstrosity of a residence.  But, since then, this joint has been used as a hospital for Confederate war prisoners, a hotel, a whore house, speakeasy, a post office and a half way house and, it’s also rumored to have been one of the connections for the underground rail road, so yeah, there’s a little history there right!

Needless to say, there’s been some pretty interesting folks known to hang out at this place. One of them was one of the first known female serial killers in the U. S., Bertha Gifford. Seems old girl had a lot of folks fooled back in the day.  Locals thought she was just a kind hearted chick that would show up at the homes of sick family or friends to help comfort them and maybe help out around the house.  Well, it never failed that shortly after she left the house, folks would drop dead.

So, after the locals started noticing a pattern, they started watching her.  She was showing up at these homes with cyanide laced truffles. *Foot note here folks, just in case you need it for some reason, cyanide kind of smells like almonds, so just throwing that out there if you were considering baking a cake or something and taking it over to your ex or, whatever.

Well eventually the law figured out what she’d been doing and they went to arrest her.  She was tried but found not guilty due to insanity.  So, old girl spent the rest of her life in the nut house where she died in 1952. Bertha took out somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 people withe her toxic truffles.

Besides this crazy tramp, there were quite a few other well known folks that hung out at the Morse Mill, Folks like Frank Dalton, Al Capone, Charles Lindbergh, Charlie Chaplin and Clara Bow.

So obviously this dude Morse is doing pretty well financially with a client list like that right! Well, in 1847, he built a commercial grist mill on the River using slaves to quarry the stones for the building. He also wound up owning two general stores and a contracting company before going on to be a state politician.  After Morse dies the residence became the Riverside Hotel and was expanded again.  Morse Mill then turns into a resort town, for the rich folks.

Ok, so now you have a pretty good rundown of the history on this joint right, let’s talk about a few of the documented experiences that have gone down here.

So there’s this article about a documentary called the “Morse Mill Project” that was being filmed in November of 2008. These guys got tons of documentation while they were there investigating!  All of them reported seeing the dark shadow of a towering man there.  Their cameras were under constant attack and on more than one occasion, some of them would randomly raise up from the floor and rotate 360 degrees.  While they were upstairs, one of the investigators was scratched through her shirt by some unseen clawed hand.  Then, the team heard a loud metallic sounding clattering coming from downstairs.  They snatch up their equipment, run downstairs and find that the fireplace poker had been bent into a U shape and flung into the coal bed.

Besides all that, they heard footsteps all around the house and some of them experienced being slapped in their faces by unseen hands.

In another article in Haunted Times Magazine, there was a write up from this other paranormal investigation team that caught some pretty eye opening evidence. Before their equipment was even set up, on the first walk-through of the building, one of the investigators was scratched across his neck, leaving 3 distinct fingernail marks with him for the remainder of the investigation.

This article made reference to when Morse Mill was being used as a homeless shelter. There were constant reports from the residents of a big black shadow person, Other reports said that folks were seeing faces in the mirrors as well.

Today, Morse Mill has undergone restoration and is set up as a B&B, there are tours available and of course you can grab a room there, if you want to test your luck!

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