Strawberry Hill Mansion Museum on West 4th Street in Kansas City is a three story, 42-room Queen Anne style structure built by the architect John G. Braecklein for the Scroggs family in 1887.
John B. Scroggs was an attorney who married Margaret E. Kerstetter Cruise, a widow with four children. Strawberry Hill mansion was situated so that a view of both the Kansas and Missouri Rivers could be enjoyed.
Margaret’s eldest son passed away in the home. John was the next to die, and when Margaret passed away 15 years after John, in 1915, her daughter and son-in-law Emma and John Feldman inherited the mansion.
The Feldmans sold the mansion in 1919 to the Sisters of St. Francis of Christ the King for $15,400 and it was opened as St. John the Baptist Children’s Home in 1919. The Sisters ran a day care and nursery school program in the building until the 1980s.
In 1988, the Strawberry Hill Ethnic Cultural Society purchased the house and property and operates it today as the Strawberry Hill Mansion Museum.
Some entities have manifested themselves at the mansion including a male spirit who doesn’t like visitors, “The Lady in Red” believed to be the ghost of a homeless woman who died during an abortion, and several others.
“The Lady in Red” appears in solid form to the living. Two nuns saw the entity walking in the chapel and near the altar. They described her as having red hair and dressed in red clothing from the 1940s. She is trailing blood and asked the nuns, “Where’s the house of the priest?” Then she disappeared. She has also appeared outside a first floor window, to a tour guide conducting a tour, and to a group of women in the 1990s that were getting the basement ready for a museum event. She always asks for directions to the house of the priest, but isn’t always trailing blood. She is considered to be a friendly spirit.
The male spirit who doesn’t like visitors can usually be found on the third floor. He was once found to be “sitting in the back of a closet, waving his hands in front of himself, looking stern, as if to say Nooooooo!” He reached out as if to grab her and, as she ran screaming away, followed her down the stairs to the first floor tapping her on the shoulder all the way. The employee said later that he was the same person in the picture in the ladies parlor, James A. Cruise, Margaret’s first husband and father of her children.
Psychics visiting the mansion have also detected another female presence in the master bedroom on the second floor. Music and singing has been hearing in the Nun’s Hallway, footsteps have been heard throughout the house, lights turn themselves on after closing time, doors open and close by themselves, worshipping presences have been detected sitting in pews in the chapel, the crèche in the Children’s dormitory was changed to include an additional baby Jesus in the display, and a small female apparition has been seen in a rocking chair in the tower room of the first floor.
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