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    Posted October 4, 2009 by
    Independence, Missouri
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Main Street(s), USA

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    THE VAILE MANSION: Cool, Yet Creepy and Haunted


    THE VAILE MANSION: Cool, Yet Creepy and Haunted

    October is Halloween month, so here is a place that certainly qualifies as a bit creepy, yet is also kind of cool..
    In 1881, Harvey Vaile and his wife Sophie built a 31 room mansion in Independence, Missouri. Harvey was a successful lawyer and investor who had come from a family of dirt farmers and finally made it big in his practice of law in the late 19th century. After a successful run as an  abolitionist lawyer, cattle rancher and landowner, he built his dream home. The mansion is said to be one of the finest examples of Second Empire Victorian architecture in the United States. After touring the place, it reminds me of the house on the "Addams Family" TV series of the 1960's.
    The soaring mansard roof-lines, as well as all of the fancy ironwork serve to give it the creepy look of a spooky, over-the-top wedding cake. I'm not the only one who has been creeped out by it's appearance. It has been said that in the past, people would not cross directly in front of the house, and would walk across the street instead of coming near the place.
    In 1863, "Colonel" Vaile became the president of the "Star Route", a company that delivered mail by government contract via an overland stage and railroad route to Sante Fe, New Mexico from Independence, Missouri. After a scandal involving the mis-use of over a half-million dollars of the Star Route surfaced, Vaile went to trial. In 1883, his poor wife Sophie, couldn't take the stress of it all, and was said to have over-dosed on morphine. Vaile was later found not guilty of any crime related to the charges. Sophie's ghost has reportedly been seen at the mansion over the years ever since.
    A local legend says that Colonel Vaile had his wife buried at ground-level in the front yard in a coffin with a glass lid so he could view her remains whenever he wanted. Although never proven, it's a great story to scare the local kids on Halloween. Not sure if the mansion is open on Halloween night for trick-or-treaters.. If so, it is one of the scariest places around here just by its looks alone. Here is the link to a great site outlining the history of the mansion, as well as some nice interior photos:
    Awareness of the history of your area can be fun and informative. Don't neglect to explore what may be lurking around your neighborhood..

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