The Spirit of a Boy Called “Shippa”
In the historic and haunted town of Hannibal, Missouri, I recently met with Stacy Roland Roach, the mother of a young girl who had found a spirit attached to her. The first encounter took place at what is now The Gallery Salon at 220 South 5th Street next to the public library.
Stacy told me that the building was constructed in 1863 by the Bacon family. My research shows that Catherine Lakenan Bacon, widow of prominent businessman, George, lived in the house until her death in 1904. Her son, Robert, also lived there with her for many years.
Catherine was the mother of Mary Bacon Cruikshank, who was the first wife of J.J. Cruikshank, Jr., and part of the scandal responsible for the disintegration of the First Congregational Church of Hannibal in 1880.
After Catherine’s death, her son, Hannibal Attorney Thomas Bacon, owned the home until his death in 1908.
The house was vacant for a year or so and was then occupied by many different residents over the years. For a while, it was designated as a duplex. At some point Stacy said, a doctor did own the house. She believes the paranormal activity experienced in the house might be related to this era.
Stacy bought the building in 1998, and opened The Gallery in 1999. At first, the paranormal activity experienced was minor. Creaks and noises were often heard, but attributed to the house being old.
One night after having been open for about a year, Stacy was by herself sweeping the floor and finishing up. Out of nowhere, she heard a voice say “Stacy” very fast. She said it sounded “crackly.” Stacy put the broom down and left the building…so quickly that she even forgot to lock the door.
There was no significant activity for a while, but they would sometimes hear someone walking around upstairs and walking down the steps by the entry way. The pace of the footsteps was normal, then they would just stop. Sometimes, the front door would open and close by itself. This was observed by workers, clients and even the computer repair man.
In January of 2009, Stacy moved into the house with her three sons. At this time, she wasn’t running a business from the location.
One day while her son was home alone, he texted a message to Stacy who was out running errands, a remark about hearing his brother upstairs. Stacy texted back that his brother was with her. Her son left the house immediately.
After remarrying later that year, Stacy’s husband, Jason, moved into the house. Their bedroom was on the second floor in the front. Stacy’s oldest son had moved out by this time.
It was after the birth of their daughter, Addilyn, in 2010, that Stacy started to see the apparition of a man walking down the hallway into her daughter’s room. She could see his figure and profile. It was less substantial than a live human being, but more substantial than a shadow. The entity was over six-foot-tall and rather thin. She would see the figure maybe twice a week, then not see it for a couple of weeks. She felt nothing negative about it. She didn’t feel scared.
Another occurrence that struck Stacy as unusual was the smell of fish in the hallway when the light was on. This happened only during the time they lived in the house, not during it’s time as a salon.
Jason would also see things that didn’t seem normal, but ascribed them to his imagination…initially. Stacy also tried to blame the odd noises and sights on her imagination at first.
One morning around 3 a.m., Stacy awakened to hear a voice coming from the back of the house saying either “Bob” or “Mom” in a scratchy-sounding voice. The name was uttered three times after she woke up. Then the voice uttered a complete sentence, rapidly, but she couldn’t understand what was said. Stacy felt this was a different being from the one she would see in the hallway. It seemed to her that there were three different spirits in the home.
The next morning was a beautiful sunny day. About 10 a.m., she was changing Addilyn’s diaper. Jason ran upstairs to get wipes for her. When he came back down, he told her he had the voice. His arms and neck had goosebumps. He described the voice as scratchy; and, he also couldn’t understand what words were uttered.
Another morning after Addilyn had spent the night at her grandmother’s house, Jason was taking her upstairs to put her down for a nap. As he went to place her in her bed, he noticed that the bedding was wringing wet. They never found a cause for this.
One evening after Stacy’s sister had been over for a visit, Stacy was rocking Addilyn to sleep in a rocking chair in the darkened bedroom. Suddenly, the light that had to be clicked three times to fully illuminate, came on in full brilliance all at once. Stacy and Jason felt the presence was letting them know it was there.
On another occasion, Jason went down to the basement around 9 p.m. to check on the water heater. He pulled the string to turn on the light and walked three feet to look at the water heater. He heard a definite “click” and then the light went out and he was in complete darkness. He found the string, pulled on it and was grateful when it came back on, but . . . what had pulled on the string to turn the light out?
One night Stacy was holding Addilyn, facing her bed against the wall, and Addilyn was facing the hallway. Her daughter saw a man and called out thinking it was her dad or her brother. Stacy saw no one, but Addilyn definitely saw someone in the hallway.
Their first introduction to the actual name of “Shippa” occurred when their daughter was around one year of age. They began to notice when Addilyn was playing, she would say things like “Come on, Shippa” or “Stop it, Shippa.” They thought their daughter must have created an imaginary friend.
In February of 2012, the family moved into their new home. Addilyn was about two years of age. They had been living in the house for about two months when Addilyn told her mother, “Shippa misses his home.”
Still thinking that Shippa was an imaginary friend, Stacy began to ask her daughter questions: Where is Shippa’s home? Is it The Gallery?
Rather quickly, it dawned on Stacy that Shippa was not imaginary so she changed her line of questioning: Is Shippa nice? Is he a man? Addilyn told her mother that Shippa was nice, and that he was not a man, but a little boy.
As time went on, Addilyn continued to mention Shippa occasionally. Stacy didn’t like to ask her questions. She wanted Addilyn’s comments to be pure. She didn’t want to lead her in the conversations about Shippa.
Stacy got the impression that Shippa might sometimes be mischievous. Addilyn would sometimes mention that Shippa had hidden something from her.
Stacy was cooking supper at the new house one evening while Addilyn was sitting and coloring at the counter. She asked her mom for a piece of chocolate. Stacy told her she could have a piece after supper. Addilyn told her that Shippa would be mad. Stacy decided that a couple of pieces of chocolate wouldn’t hurt after all.
Another time when Stacy and Addilyn were in the kitchen together, Stacy went to the refrigerator to get some butter when she heard Addilyn whistle behind her. She turned around quickly and said, “I didn’t know you could whistle!” Her daughter laughed, “That wasn’t me, it was Shippa!”
Addilyn would often draw pictures of the family, including an extra family member. The figure would always have a straight line for a mouth that Stacy found to be troubling.
In March of 2015, Addilyn was playing in the family room. She suddenly said, “You know, Shippa’s friend is here.” Stacy asked if the friend was nice. Addilyn told her that he was nice, but that he was mad because Shippa wouldn’t go with him. Her mother asked where Shippa’s friend wanted him to go. Addilyn said, “Heaven.”
A few days later at bedtime, Stacy was getting Addilyn’s bed ready for her. Addilyn was playing Hide n Seek and Stacy was pretending to look for her. She found her in the closet. Addilyn appeared to be frightened, and told her mom that she had felt a hand on her shoulder.
Two weeks later, Addilyn was looking for something she couldn’t find. Stacy told her that maybe Shippa had taken it. Addilyn told her mom, “Shippa’s not here. He went to heaven.” She misses him.
Stacy has never seen an apparition at their new home. One time, though, she was going through Addilyn’s tablet to remove some of the pictures for her. She was moving through the photos rather quickly when she saw a picture of what looked to be white fog. Addilyn’s face lit up as she exclaimed, “Shippa!” When Stacy looked at the picture again, she could see the face. She finds the face to be a bit frightening. It looks to her like the face of a man, rather than a boy. What do you think?
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