A chardonnay with spirits please!

Michael Bushnell
Publisher


Originally built in stages between 1900 and 1935 on a 240-acre hillside just outside the county seat of Liberty, Mo., the Odd Fellows Home as it is pictured on the color postcard from 1910 opened its doors in 1900.

The original complex operated much like a company farm and those who were staying at the home and were able to work were expected to contribute to the societal good. As time progressed, a hospital, orphanage, school, nursing home and cemetery were added to the growing complex.

Three of the red brick buildings with buff limestone accents were designed by William Ittner in the Jacobethan Revival and Tudor Revival style. The site was recognized as a National Historic Landmark in 1987 as the Odd Fellows Home Historic District.

The Odd Fellows, (IOOF) is a fraternal society with secret rituals, rites and passwords. One of the more interesting “artifacts” left behind by the IOOF at the Liberty, Mo. site is the actual skeleton of a former Odd Fellow affectionately named “George.” George was a member of another local chapter of IOOF and had donated his body to the medical sciences. Rather than being cremated, as is the case for modern cadavers following their educational purpose, Geroge’s skeletal remains were returned to the IOOF in Liberty for use in initiation rituals. George’s remains remain on site today in a glass case.

During WWII, the home served as a residence for German prisoners of war (POW). After VE day in May of 1945, the POWs were released and the facility was converted into a nursing home.

By the late 1970’s the school, orphanage and hospital had closed. The only portion that remained operational was the nursing home. The Odd Fellows Grand Lodge of Missouri continued to operate the home until 1993.
Dr. John Louis Bean and his wife Marsha purchased the home from the IOOF in 1993 and over an eight-year period, developed what has become a destination for regional wine enthusiasts as well as paranormal investigations, the Belvoir Winery.

Winery employees report seeing ghostly images in the various hallways in the main building. One such occurrence was when a young boy appeared wearing a red shirt, blue knickers and brown shoes. The boy disappeared after about three seconds. Another time during set up for a wedding, a winery employee heard a female spirit say, “Hello little one,” to her daughter.

A Ghost Hunters television program investigation cited two separate instances of spirits answering questions out loud in one winery building and ghostly children finishing a song that was sung by Ghost Hunter production personnel.

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