Springfield Paranormal Research Group
1859 Jail, Marshal's Home & Museum
The Jackson County Jail Museum is believed to house a wide variety of paranormal activity.
The Jail itself and the Marshal's Home have seen more than their share of human tragedy
and death. Apparitions of men, women, children, and even cats have been reported by
numerous individuals over the years. The staff and guests have also experienced an
assortment of odd occurrences from radios seemingly turning on and off by themselves, to
items being mysteriously moved around. Phenomenon reported also include feelings of
nausea, sounds of growling, footsteps, and a man gasping for air, eerie feelings, and
extreme cold spots in the jail hallway and cells. Others have reported seeing a man a blue
uniform and the sounds of the heavy iron doors moving on their own when they are just out
-of-view of the listener.
There have been reports of the "shadow" of a man, disembodied voices and general feelings
of unease in particular areas of this museum.
There are two theories of who haunts the jail. One is of Marshall Jim Knowles, who lived
in the adjoining Marshal’s house. During the Civil War, Knowles lost his life trying to settle a
fight between two prisoners with opposing sentiments regarding the war. Others say a
deputy marshal who was killed during a jailbreak in June of 1866 haunts the jail.
Others say a Deputy Marshal named Henry Bugler haunts the jail. In 1866, there was a jail
break attempt at the Jackson County Jail. The Deputy Marshall at the time was Henry
Bugler, and he was fighting off armed gunmen who were attempting to break some prisoners
out of the jail. As he fought to defend the jail, Henry Bugler was shot to death in the Master
Bedroom...and his young son was wounded. A little boy apparition has been seen in the
hallways and on the 2nd floor of the Sheriff's House. Some believe this little boy is Henry
Bugler's son, returned to the place where he himself was wounded and where he was forced
to watch his father die.
As one employee was walking up the stairs built as part of the 1903 Jail Expansion, he
smelled the strong and unmistakable smell of cigar smoke. He mentioned this to other
members of the museum staff, and they told him that cigar smoke was a smell often
encountered in the house, despite the fact no one has smoked a cigar in the museum for
many years. The unexplainable smell of strong colongne can sometimes be detected as
well. And in the area of the kitchen, people sometimes report the odor of fresh baked bread.
At one time these two paintings, one of Mr. Waldo and one of Mrs. Waldo, were both hung
in the first-floor Parlor. But Mrs. Waldo's painting kept falling off the wall onto the floor. Every
effort was made to hang Mrs. Waldo's painting in a way that it would not fall. But in the
morning when members of the museum staff would enter the Parlor, they would find once
again find Mrs. Waldo's portrait on the floor. Having tried everything else, the staff moved Mr.
Waldo's painting out of the Parlor, and onto a wall in the hallway on the 2nd floor. Since that
time, Mrs. Waldo has remained securely hung on the wall in the Parlor.
Visitors touring the museum often report feeling an uneasy feeling or an unseen presence
with them in the Master Bedroom. One female vistor came downstairs and said, "Something
horrible must have happened upstairs...what happened up there?"
The museum staff will often find the sheets and covers on the bed in the North Bedroom
pulled back and disturbed when they open the museum in the mornings.
Visitors often report catching glimpses of a woman dressed in period dress on the 2nd floor
of the house.
Visitors to the museum frequently see a cat within the museum, often on the 2nd floor. They
will ask the museum staff why they keep a cat in a museum. The museum staff has a hard
time getting them to belive that they do not keep or allow cats in the museum!
Once, during an investigation, there was a moment when everyone began to notice a
"shadowy shape" growing or gathering out of a cell and into the Jail Hallway. The shadow
appeared to be about 6-and-a-half feet tall, and was rounded on the top as if it had "hunched
shoulders." At some point almost everyone present was looking at the shadowy shape, and
then it moved slowly across the Hallway and appeared to enter another cell.