SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – From pumpkins, leaves turning colors, and everything Halloween the fall season is here, which means the spooky season is here as well. Haunted houses will be opening up all over the Ozarks, but in Springfield, there is one that scares people even after hours. Ozarksfirst.com takes a look at the haunted haunted house, the Hotel of Terror.

“We’re very in-your-face at the hotel. Very claustrophobic, very close quarters,” said owner Sterling Mathis. The Hotel of Terror, located at 334 N. Main Street, has been professionally scaring people every year since 1978. “44 years… I was 16, now I’m 60.”

History of the Hotel of Terror

According to John Sellars with the History Museum on the Square, the building was around before the 1920s. At that time it was known as the Manuel Hotel.

In the 1930s it changed its name to the Plaza Hotel. They were neighbors with a candymaker who also owned a billiards hall.

By 1940 the hotel changed its name again to the Hotel Texas until Sterlings Mathis’ relatives purchased it in 1978.

A 1940s road map of Springfield

“It [Hotel Texas] was right… directly across from the train depot,” said Mathis. “A friend of mine said his grandparents rode the train from the St. Louis area down here for their honeymoon and stayed at this hotel back in the 40s.”

Ozarksfirst interviewed The Hotel of Terror celebrating its 40th birthday in 2018:

Is the Hotel of Terror haunted?

Mathis says yes, it is haunted. He has had several psychics and mediums show up to investigate and they have all found the exact location where people have spotted a spirit without previous knowledge.

“They would ask me where it was and I told them, you’re the psychic… you tell me,” laughed Mathis. He said the psychics were able to tell him that there is a spirit of a little girl who roams around on one of the floors.

He said the little girl is around 8 to 10 years old and has been for the last 30 years. He said people were talking about her for a long time, but they didn’t piece together the clues until later. She has been sighted by customers and employees.

“The lady who worked in the room kept asking who the young girl was that keeps walking through in the old dress and we say there is nobody going through,” said Mathis. “She quit the next day.”

Mathis’ two sons have had very close encounters with the ghost. He said he actually saw the girl run her finger down his son’s arm. “I could see the indention in his skin from it,” he said.

While working on something on the floor, his youngest son kept telling Mathis that the ghost was down the hallway. Not believing him, he told him to take a picture:

This is what the hallway looks like with the door open.
This is what the hallway looks like with the door closed.
Here’s the photo Mathis’ son took in 2010.
We enhanced the photo and put it side to side with our view in the afternoon.

In the photo, the light is leaking around the door, but something even brighter is in front of it. You could possibly make out a head and torso.

Mathis believes she only shows herself to younger people. She has never shown herself to him, but he has heard plenty of stories in the past 44 years. She apparently likes to move objects and occasionally appears to customers.

He said that in his research there have been no violent reports involving children in the building’s history and has no idea where she came from.

“The only thing we have found was we found some old-time clothes that was stuffed in between the floor joist,” said Mathis.

“I think it’s pretty cool. I mean, I wish I knew what caused her to be here or if we could do something to set her free or whatever it is… I don’t know… I just don’t know how it all works. But it is kind of interesting and it’s good for business for sure.” Mathis said.

The Hotel of Terror is now open for the season.

Check out the video above to see our ghost hunt with the Southwest Ghost Finders.

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