SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – One of Springfield’s oldest buildings, the Pythian Castle, has a long history of people coming and going through the facility. Many lost their lives there and some of them have decided to never leave.
The history of the Pythian Castle
According to John Sellars with the History Museum in the Square Downtown, the Pythian has been around for about 108 years. It was originally built as an orphanage and an old folks home by the Knights of Pythias.
“They were one of many fraternal organizations back then. Which was the only way people had to ensure that their widows and orphans and themselves would be taken care of when they got to an age when they couldn’t take care of themselves,” said Sellars. Social Security came about in the 1930s which caused a lot of those needs to go away.
Eventually, the Knights of Pythias would move on and the O’Reilly General Hospital took over in 1940. The Pythian would become not only a hospital but a recreational meeting place for soldiers. There would even be open-air concerts held there.
When the war ended the building became the Army Reserve center until the new one was built around the 70s. At that time it was declared surplus and was sold to a man who wanted to make it into his house and also sell rental space there.
“I do think that building, sort of, pick their owners,” said current owner Tamara Finocchiaro. She said the real estate agent showing her the building didn’t seem to think anyone would actually buy it. “After twenty minutes, I said, ‘I’ll take it!’ and he was like, ‘What?'”
Finocchiaro remade the Pythian Castle into a venue available to the public where she provides a location for parties, weddings, meetings and tours.
Is the Pythian Castle haunted?
Finocchiaro says she thinks there are about a dozen ghosts currently residing in the Pythian Castle.
“We know we have little kids, we know we have some women, we know we have some military folks,” said Finocchiaro. Some of these ghosts have been seen, touched or heard throughout the entire building.
Her very first experience happened near the main entrance to the stairs. A woman’s voice said hello to her even though she was completely alone in the building. She quickly tried to find the source of the voice but couldn’t find it. Amazingly, just a week or so before the writing of this story, a guest experienced the exact same thing.
Mysterious children have been spotted upstairs as well as a woman in a white dress near the bathrooms.
Finocchiaro, who lives at the Pythian, was woken up by the sound of two gunshots. When she looked around her room she found a man standing above her wearing army fatigues just staring at her.
“I don’t know what you people would do, but I just told the guy, ‘Oh, no. Not tonight! I am too tired for this. You got to just buzz off!'” said Finocchiaro. She said she thinks if you stand up to them, they will leave you alone.
Even before the Pythian was a hospital, over 100 people died in the building. No records were kept when the military was there.
American patients weren’t the only ones who resided in the hospital. In the basement, a dungeon was created to house 14 injured Germans and several Italian prisoners. Several cells were created and can still be visited to this day.
A tunnel was created as a path between another building and the Pythian. It has been sealed, but apparently is not empty. A shadowy figure has been seen and heard walking around in the tunnel and in the dungeon area.
Finocchiaro said that despite living in a very haunted house, the ghosts are fairly nice to her. She believes it’s because she decided to save the building rather than trying to demolish it.
She admits she does get scared every once in a while but has learned to accept it and just try to coexist together.
Ozarksfirst.com teamed up with the Southwest Ghost Finders to conduct a paranormal investigation. You can see that in the video above.
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