We're talking about screams coming from the old cannery building, a horseback rider at Lone Rock Cemetery, heavy footsteps in abandoned buildings, a woman looking for her lost baby and children's laughter coming from another cemetery.

In other words, the place is haunted.

Some say the haunting spirits are still alive because Windyville was built on an old Indian burial ground. According to the Web site LegendsofAmerica.com/MO-Windyville.html, during the Civil War the entire area was filled with strife with battles between the opposing Union and Confederate forces.

"These long dead soldiers may also account for many of the hauntings that allegedly occur in Windyville," the writer states.

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In the USA Today article, Erik Torkels, editor of Budget Travel magazine, compiled "10 great places to haunt a ghost town." Aside from Windyville, these include Bodie, Calif., which, with 200 buildings still remaining, has been turned into a state park.

In discussing Windyville, Torkels said, "A few people still live in haunted Windyville, once home to grist and flour mills, and the population increases if you count ghosts."

The Windyville Web site shows several photographs by a Kathy Weiser taken of old, abandoned buildings in 2004. The site points out that Windyville once housed three churches, two grist mills, a tomato cannery, several thriving businesses, a post office and numerous residents.

Windyville also served farmers and sports enthusiasts along the nearby Niangua River and Bennett Spring, just four miles to the east.

"Today, though a few people still inhabit the small town, its businesses sit crumbling and abandoned," the Web site states. "Most of its residents lie quietly in two nearby cemeteries."

On the southeast corner of the intersection of Highways K and MM sits an abandoned store and service station, complete with an old gas pump and air hose. The store was built by Healy Bennett, who in the 1920s sold it to Herbert Scott.

Scott and his brother, Arch, constructed a brick building behind the store that housed a tomato cannery. According to the Web site, both the store and the cannery are reportedly haunted.

"At the old cannery, many have told tales of hearing screams, pounding, footsteps and other strange noises coming from within," according to the writer.

Across the street sits another abandoned general merchandise store that belonged to a man named Henry Day. This store was later run by Ernie and Vivian Burton, who also operated the post office, housed in the store. During the summer, ivy covers the entrance of the building, which is also covered with "No Trespassing" signs.

At this location people have reported having seen objects moving and many pictures having been taken that contain ghostly orbs.

Nearby there is a bridge that crosses Indian Creek. This bridge and the now dry riverbed that runs below it is said to be haunted by a woman who walks the creek in search of her child.

"Reportedly, the child fell into a well along Indian Creek Road and drowned," the Web site states. "Though a search was made, the body was never recovered."

Another version of the story centers on the woman, not the child, and has the woman jumping into the well. In any event, tales of mysterious sounds and voices have been described as coming from the well and the nearby area.

There are two cemeteries in the area, and not surprisingly they are reportedly haunted. Lone Rock Cemetery, established in 1873, has a sign on the gate saying, "Contact the caretaker before you open a grave."

The cemetery is said to be haunted by a man on horseback.

"Several individuals have reported seeing the apparition and his horse rise up from the cemetery and hover in the air, only to disappear as quickly as it appeared," according to the Web site.

Also nearby is the Pepper Cemetery, established in 1857, apparently for the Pepper family.

"In the 1800s there was a large number of child deaths," the site article states. "People have often reported hearing the sounds of children's voices and laughter as well as feeling a presence at the cemetery."

As if that's not enough, there are other stories about Windyville. At one house south of town, rocks are said to have unexplainabley rained down from the ceiling of the house and sky around the house. Allegedly a man who lived in the house was murdered by his wife and her lover, then buried in a nearby cave.

At another house in the center of town, frightening wailing sounds have reportedly been heard coming from inside the house, and the apparition of a woman has been seen.

Another house in the area reportedly has had curtains that open on their own.

According to the Web site, Windyville is said to be so haunted that many have called it a portal to the spirit world. Also in the area is Historic Long Rock, which is approximately 100 feet long, 60 feet wide and 30 feet tall and is thought to have been a meteorite.

The rock was once the site of Sunday school picnics and community gatherings, but next to the rock today is a building erected by a spin-off group of the College of Metaphysics, called "Celestial Awakenings."

"The group claims that Windyville is actually the city of 'Lost Atlantis,' that somehow managed to rise up out of the Niangua River," the Web site says.

The College of Metaphysics itself is located southeast of Windyville.

"The self-proclaimed 'Wisdom School' seeks to open people to the full potential of their minds and claims to be the authors of metaphysics," the site states.

If being in an area that has so many haunting reports weren't enough, some Windyville area residents are now complaining about being surrounded by cults, according to the Web site.

(We thank Melissa Ross, of Long Lane, for alerting us to the USA Today article and the Windyville Web site - Ed.)

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