Be on your best behavior here or be disciplined!
The spirit of a happy nun loves Christmas but doesn’t like intrusive people.
Spirits of orphan children who died continue to be themselves.
A female entity still is asking a question… She regrets
a fatal decision that had paranormal consequences.
This Queen Anne style mansion, called Strawberry Hill, is a glorious 3 story, 42 room mansion, with an attic and basement. This dream home of the Scroggs family still has the beauty and class which was originally designed by the original owners, but was made big enough to make room for the next owners, Sisters of St. Francis of Christ the King, who ran the St. John’s Children’s Home.
The inside living space of this glorious mansion was made with all the bells and whistles of the time; including stain and leaded glass windows, built ins, beautifully crafted woodwork, tile faced fireplaces and the use of Lincrusta wall coverings. Needless to say, over the years 4 additions were added to the original mansion, including a chapel, but always leaving “the main facade and ornate interiors intact.”
The tower is just a room on each floor, with no stairs connecting it to the floor above or below.
The third floor is not open to the public, just private events. It was home to the Scroggs’ grand ballroom but was used as a classroom when the nuns ran the children’s home. There is a service hall, an empty room with a closet and tower, which was the original dormitory for the nuns, and an unfinished storage area. The ballroom is rented out for special events. It is not only roomy, but has a fabulous view of the rivers.
Second floor: Housed the family’s and servants bedrooms, and the dormitories for the orphaned children, and one for the nun in charge of the dormitories. Today, it is part of the museum tour. The rooms contain toys, furnishings and artifacts from the long history of the mansion. During the late fall through early winter, these rooms are decorated for the Christmas season. On the tour, one room on this floor is called the Pope’s Room, and is kept locked, though visitors can see objects that Pope John Paul the second had used during his United States tour.
1st floor: One finds the entry hall, the parlors, the men’s library, main dining hall and children’s dining hall, the old kitchen, with stairs which led up to the second floor and the chapel addition.
The Basement houses the big kitchen, a variety of rooms where practical activities take place, like the recreation room and a workshop.
The original mansion was built in 1887, 12 years after widow Margaret E. Kerstetter Cruise married a well known, successful attorney, John B. Scroggs. The location chosen on Splitlog’s Hill, offered a stellar view of both the Kansas and Missouri Rivers. Eugene, Margaret’s eldest son, died as a young man here. Margaret’s other three surviving children, Maurice, Emma and Delia grew up in this mansion and started lives of their own, getting married. In 1890, Emma married John E. McFadden, and they continued to live in the mansion with Margaret and John Scroggs. John Scroggs died nine years later. Margaret lived 15 years more and died in 1915. Emma and John Feldman inherited the mansion.
In 1918, many children lost their parents during the deadly flu epidemic. A need for an orphanage was apparent. Msgr. Martin D. Krmpotic, Pastor of St. John’s, asked the Sisters of St. Francis of Christ the King to open an orphanage for these children with no homes. Coincidentally, Emma and John Feldman wanted to sell the mansion, so a deal was made. In 1919, The St. John the Baptist Children’s Home opened, providing care for orphans of all nationalities, creeds and races; (Croatian, Lithuanian, Polish, Slovakian, Slovenian, Russian). The Sisters of St. Francis of Christ also opened a day care and nursery school program, which lasted until the 1980s.
Thanks to the hard work of Msgr. John W. Horvat and his committee, the Strawberry Hill Ethnic Cultural Society bought the whole property in 1987 and turned it into the Strawberry Hill Mansion Museum, with the purpose of being a remembrance of the people of Kansas City. For, “Every time someone visits museum the memory of the Cruise-Scroggs family, the nuns, the children and the ancestors of Kansas City, Kansas is recalled. The Strawberry Hill Museum is a remembrance to all of them.”
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS
One male entity hasn’t been able to rest in peace; just can’t quite let go. This entity is thought to be a family member. Perhaps he wasn’t quite ready to leave it, or maybe was upset a little that 4 additions were made onto the family’s perfect mansion, though the original facade and decorum remains intact. Plus, the living like to look around the museum, which doesn’t always sit well with this male entity.
“The Lady in Red,” was a homeless woman, taken in by the sisters. She became pregnant, and died when she suffered a botched abortion.
Another unknown female entity hangs around the second floor, and can get frustrated and angry with the living, especially paranormal investigators who invade her space.
An unknown presence occasionally visits the first floor.
Throughout the years before vaccinations, some children must have caught illnesses and died here.
“The Lady in Red”
A female entity in a solid form, known as “The Lady in Red,” has appeared to the living, always asking the same question, “Where’s the house of the priest?” BEFORE disappearing. She has appeared all over the mansion.
This is the same female entity was seen by two nuns walking in the chapel and standing at the altar. She is described as wearing “1940s style red clothing, possessed of red hair, and trailing blood.” She asked the nuns this question.
She appeared as a solid form, outside a first floor window and asked the person inside.
She appeared to a tour guide while she was giving a tour, and asked this question.
She asked this same question to a group of women preparing food for a museum event in basement during the 1990s.
She was described as wearing 1940s red outfit, with red hair, but wasn’t trailing blood this time.
“The Lady in Red” is a friendly, non-threatening sort, and says, “Hi there,” to staff and the living who visit.
The lights in the front and the back – Turn themselves on, after the museum is locked up for the evening.
In the Attic – Two Ghost Virgil Investigators distinctly heard footsteps above them in the attic.
On the third floor – Male Entity – Family member of Scroggs or Cruise Families
A male entity also haunts the mansion, and doesn’t like the living looking around on the third floor, as one women caterer setting up for an event found out. She must have been looking for something, or perhaps just curious, when she opened up a closet. Imagine her alarm when she saw a male apparition sitting in the back of the closet, waving his hands in front of himself, looking stern, as if to say Nooooooooo! He reached out to grab her. The woman yelled in fright and ran down the stairs, with this full apparition tapping her on the shoulder chasing her all the way down the staircase to the first floor before disappearing into thin air. She later identified the apparition as being James A. Cruise, from his picture in the ladies parlor. However, she was upset, and may of thought she saw him, though it could’ve been someone else hanging on the wall.
Her back where he touched her was ice cold.
On the Second floor
A second female presence has been detected by psychics in the master bedroom on the second floor.
Music and singing has been heard coming from the Nun’s Hallway.
Also, in the Nun’s Hallway, an angry presence was felt by a Ghost Virgil’s investigator, in their second investigation in May, 2006
A baby powder smell was also detected.
One Christmas, the staff was shocked to see the usually locked Pope’s Room on the second floor had been unlocked, and that the crèche in the Children’s dormitory had been changed. The hay was spread over the floor, and an apport, another baby Jesus had joined the baby Jesus which was left in the display.
On the First floor
Footsteps from an unseen presence have been heard coming down the hall toward the office.
Dining room – The heavy swing door between the main dining room and the children’s dining room has been know to swing open and close again, all by itself.
Chapel – In addition to the “Lady in Red,” it is commonly thought that the other entities still come to the chapel to worship.
A group of psychics sensed a group of entities sitting in the pews.
Ghost Virgil Investigators picked up high unexplained electromagnetic field (EMF) levels, and a few members thought they heard men singing/chanting, though their equipment didn’t pick it up.
A small entity of a girl was seen rocking in a chair in the tower room on the first floor.
A group of psychics have felt the presence of several children entities, playing and moving about the basement recreation room.
Yes. The many eye-witness accounts, the work of Marice Schwalm and trained, 1980s psychics certainly go along way in pointing to the existence of entities. While the Ghost Virgil Investigators found little scientific info to back this up in their first investigation, they did get some strong results in their second investigation in May, 2006, which at this point (Sept. 06) they are still evaluating their results to come to their conclusions.
Famed paranormal investigator, Marice Schwalm, who did many investigations in the Kansas City area during the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, did an investigation of the Strawberry Hill Mansion Museum in 1996. “His investigation style involved seances, psychics, and other techniques that were the norm at that time.”
While in the second floor hallway, he heard a knock, and a friendly, “Hello here!”
Through a lucid dream, he found out that living at the mansion was the only home she had, and she likes the place because of the warm memories of the kindness of the nuns. He found out the date of her death. She had died from a botched abortion, and was being haunted by the spirit of the dead child. She seeks the priest for forgiveness and an exorcism.
In 2006 a paranormal, very professional investigation group, Ghost Virgil Investigators conducted two, 4 hour sessions here , one in January and one in May. They are very careful in their work. “We will never present evidence of the paranormal, without having sought out every possible natural explanation for the phenomenon.”
720 West 4th Street
Kansas City, Kansas
Strawberry Hill Mansion Museum can be found on a terrace on the side of a hill, 10 to 15 feet above 4th Street.
- Strawberry Hill Museum website
- Heritage League of Greater Kansas City – Strawberry Hill Mansion
- Shadowlands.net page on haunted Missouri
- GhostTraveller.com page on haunted Missouri
Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr