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Is The Elms in Excelsior Springs haunted? ‘Ghost Hunters’ explores the possibility

Updated: 2013-07-17T04:23:56Z

By ROBERT A. CRONKLETON

The Kansas City Star

Do ghosts haunt the hallways of The Elms Hotel & Spa in Excelsior Springs?

Tonight, investigators of the paranormal will reveal their answer when the Syfy channel’s popular “Ghost Hunters” broadcasts its summer finale.

“I’m very excited — I’ve been holding on to the secret of what they found, and I will finally be able to talk about it,” said Keith Winge, the hotel’s special projects manager, who has kept the findings secret since February.

He said he has been bound by a confidentiality agreement until the show runs.

The Atlantic Paranormal Society visited the hotel in February and recorded its investigation for the show.

“This all started when we shut down for a multimillion-dollar renovation in November 2011,” Winge said.

Over the years, the hotel management toyed with the idea of having ghost hunters in the hotel after guests and employees had shared stories of seemingly paranormal activities.

When the hotel shut down for renovations, Winge said, construction workers began telling stories.

“We reached out to the ‘Ghost Hunters’ and asked if they could come and check out the barometer of our spirits in the hotel to see if they were happy with how the renovations turned out and the final results,” Winge said.

The combination of the hotel’s history, the town’s mineral-water history and stories of paranormal activity attracted “Ghost Hunters,” he said.

The original Elms opened July 4, 1888, but it was destroyed by fire 10 years later. Its replacement burned down in 1910. The current limestone-clad complex reopened in 1912.

The “Ghost Hunters” episode, called “Something in the Water,” notes that “people flocked to this area believing that the mineral springs had healing powers. The luxurious Elms Hotel was built to accommodate these visitors.

“Unfortunately, many of those who came here looking for miracles were never healed, and hundreds of deaths were reported over the years.”

Some of them were on their deathbeds looking for a miracle cure, Winge said.

The show teases: “Are these spirits still here looking to be healed by the mineral springs? And what evidence does the team capture when they spend the night at the resort?”

The hotel plans a watch party for the show, which will be broadcast at 8 p.m. today on the Syfy channel.

The hotel is offering a ghost hunt and ghost tour packagestoday that include an overnight stay at the hotel and access to the Grand Ballroom to watch the show.

The ghost hunt will be conducted by Kansas City Paranormal, and the ghost tour will be provided by the Downtown Excelsior Partnership.

For more information, see the hotel’s website, elmshotelandspa.com, or call the hotel at 816-630-5500.

Last month, Syfy broadcast a “Ghost Hunters” investigation at the Belvoir Winery in Liberty. That show ran on June 26.

Previous investigations were done at Lemp Mansion in St. Louis in 2010 and at the Missouri state penitentiary in 2011.

“I have no idea of what they found or how the hotel will be portrayed,” said Eric Busick, the hotel’s general manager.

Winge said he’s excited to see how it turns out.

“We have fun with our ghost stories,” Winge said. “Of course, none of them are the ‘run-out-the-front-door-screaming’ type of ghost stories. Our ghosts are on the friendly side.”

To reach Robert A. Cronkleton, call 816-234-4261 or send email to bcronkleton@kcstar.com.

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