Hornet’s Haunted Hoffman Mansion
Ever heard of the ‘Spooklight?’ This is an unexplainable phenomenon that occurs in an area known as the ‘Devil’s Promenade’ on the border between southwestern Missouri and northeastern Oklahoma — just west of the town of Hornet. It’s an otherworldly and unexplainable light that appears in the area, seemingly out of nowhere. Strange, indeed. Even weirder is the mansion that sits just down the road from this ethereal phenomenon — the Hoffman Mansion.
The Hoffman Mansion has a pretty infamous history, with a past that includes murders, mysterious fires, and tragic deaths. The mansion burned down between the years 1998 and 2000, and all that remains is the caretaker’s house and the on-site cemetery. The cemetery holds a large number of children’s graves, although their causes of death are unexplained. The mansion itself even had a few tragic and chilling stories.
History of the Hoffman Mansion
The Hoffman Mansion has been the site of rumor and speculation for decades. These days, not much is left of the original property except for the cemetery. The mansion itself spent years decaying and being picked apart by vandals before the family asked for the home to be demolished. A new house sits atop the property now.
The mansion was initially built in 1928 by Henry and Agnes Hoffman, who went on to have one daughter named Jean Ann. The couple utilized Agnes’ father’s old farmstead as a summer house. Their new property had six bedrooms, five bathrooms, and several lovely amenities. An expansion took place in 1936.
The home also had a sunroom and an ice cream parlor with a soda fountain and stools. Just across the driveway of the former home is the family cemetery.
Jean Ann remarks this of the former property:
‘The swimming pool was located behind the main house. The pool had two diving boards, with men’s and women’s bathhouses on the south side of the pool. A tennis court was located south of the bathhouses, and a guest house was across from the main house on the west side,
West of the cemetery was a garage and gas pump. Beside the garage was the coach house that stored some saddles, carriages, and buggies. There was also a large cookhouse, connected to the main house by a screened-in breezeway, that included a large BBQ pit with a few tables and several benches.
The big barn was located west of the main house in front of the racetrack. It had about six stalls with sliding doors. Henry had standardbred horses that were kept in this big barn. Northwest of the big barn was a smaller horse barn that had a row of horse stalls, a saddle room, and an area for the blacksmith. A caretaker house was also located northeast of the horse barn.’
That’s a lot of amenities! The Hoffmans definitely lived in comfort during their time at home. It all sounds so serene, but as you’ll soon discover, there was something darker brewing beneath the surface.
A Seedy Past
The stories that surround the mansion to this day are that of Henry Hoffman.
One particular story tells that around the 1920s, Hoffman took several boys into his home and went on a rampage, killing all of them. It is said that the boys are the children buried in the cemetery, although according to an article from the Miami News-Record, there was a point when the residence was being made into a disadvantaged boy’s home in 1981. Perhaps it was, as this would explain the marked graves of children in the cemetery.
One source, however, blames the Hoffman’s caretaker for the children’s deaths:
‘During the summer, the Hoffman family ran a camp for children. The children would play and have fun camp activities before school started, and they had to turn in their tents and campfires for backpacks and textbooks. One summer, the caretaker decided to do something dreadful. In the heavily wooded area, he tortured and murdered the children at the camp; no one could hear their cries for help. Then, the caretaker hung himself from a tree. The tree sits in a cemetery close to the Hoffman Mansion.
Later, the family moved out of the mansion due to strange occurrences in the house. They witnessed their beds moving and objects being thrown by invisible entities. However, the incidents did not stop when the family moved. Before the mansion burnt down, a few people were hanging around the property. They claimed to hear moving, clicking, and even breathing around them. When they decided to flee from the property, they heard a scream so loud the only way to describe it was ‘the scream of a thousand souls.’ Then, in 2001, a man in his early 20’s was shot to death and burned inside his van on the property.‘
Some locals believed that Henry Hoffman also killed his servant.
There is a report from December 10th, 2001, that states that State and Federal authorities were working to identify a body they had found while putting out a fire in a vacant field just east of Quapaw. Mike Eason, an Ottowa county deputy, stated that he was on the property of Hoffman Mansion when he saw a light-colored van burning in the field. After the fire was extinguished, an unidentified body was found inside of it.
Haunts at The Hoffman Mansion
The horrific stories that are forever attached to the Hoffman Mansion may vary, but one thing is for certain: the building is now home to a variety of hauntings. Several stories exist of an apparition of a woman wandering the property, seemingly looking for something.
There have also been reports of people hearing the sound of someone running in the nearby woods, strange voices, and the sound of disembodied footsteps.
Haunted Houses in Missouri
So, what happened at the Hoffman Mansion in Hornet, MO? Could this have been some sort of foul play, a drug deal gone wrong? Or is there some sort of heavy energy that hangs over the land of Hoffman Mansion?
It does lie on Native American land, so perhaps the land itself was cursed centuries ago for reasons unknown now.
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