|ARCADIA VALLEY ACADEMY INVESTIGATION
OCTOBER 21, 2006
MISSOURI PARANORMAL RESEARCH (now Paranormal Task Force) conducted an investigation of the
historical Arcadia Valley Academy in Arcadia, MO on October 21, 2006. In attendance were
investigators from Missouri Paranormal Research (now Paranormal Task Force) and reporters (Chris
Cline and Brad Geissing) from the St. Francis County Daily Journal.
The Arcadia Valley Academy has been towering over the Arcadia Valley for over 150 years. The original
Academy was built in 1846 as a Methodist High School by Jerome C. Berryman. During the civil war it
served as a Union hospital from 1861 through 1863. In 1877 the Ursuline nuns purchased the school
and turned it into a girls school. The Academy operated as a school until 1971 which marked the last
graduating class. The Academy served as a convent until the nuns were moved to St. Louis in 1989.
Now under private ownership the Academy has become a living antique, currently on the historic
register as a historic district. The architecture is some of the most beautiful in Missouri. The Chapel
has some of the most beautiful stained glass windows in the world. The Gymnasium has a unique roof
truss system designed in Germany. The entire complex has over two hundred rooms and forty-seven
toilets. The Auditorium seats up to 250 people and was used for recitals, plays, and other productions.
An historical article on the Academy was printed by the Prime Time circulation which was published by
Iron County Newspapers and circulated with the Mountain Echo read as followed:
"When the Rev. Jerome Berryman came to the Arcadia Valley his brother was already there. They
decided to start a school of higher learning. It was almost pure wilderness. In 1847 when they started
the school there was no Iron County or Arcadia Valley. It was called Arcadia High School. Rev.
Berryman was known all over as a Methodist circuit riding preacher. Families moved here so their
children could attend Berryman's school.
By 1859 Berryman has moved on and Asbury Farnham was principal. There were 109 boys and 66 girls
At the beginning of the Civil War, the college was closed and the buildings were used as hospitals, as
the Union forces occupied the area, in 1863 General Clinton Fisk insisted that the school be opened
and the property reverted to Rev. Berryman. When he retired to Caledonia, Missouri, several tried to
run the school, but were unsuccessful.
The young men and women attending the school received a quality education. Most were local, but a
glance at the roster of students shows home towns of Pocahontas, Arkansas and many others. Tuition
was $10 - $16, board, washing, lodging and fuel, $80.
In 1877 the college was sold to the Ursuline Order for $30,000. Father Hennessy of Iron Mountain
pleaded with the church and they persuaded Mother Johanna to purchase the buildings and the
There were two buildings in 1877 -- one, the original 16 room building of which three rooms were
habitable; the other an unfinished four story brick erected in 1870, of which three rooms were usable.
However the Sisters went right to work, and in 1878 graduated their first class of 17 boarders and
some local girls. They put on an ambitious program for more than 259 guests.
The school prospered. A 1902 photo shows 50 girls gathered around an artificial lake on the grounds.
The beautiful St. Joseph's Chapel was built in 1907. A new four story wing was added in 1913, but the
1870 building burned in 1917, so immediately a three story wing was built. In 1922 another wing was
added connecting to the Chaplains residence. The last building was the wonderful Gymnasium in
1930. During peak years more the 100 girls were bordered and educated there. They came from far
and wide, including foreign countries.
The Sisters were asked to take charge of parochial schools of surrounding towns including
Graniteville. Pilot knob and Arcadia. Just getting there was no easy task. Even when the sister came
there in 1877 there were few houses in Arcadia. The Sisters gradually increased their holdings, until
by 1913 there was sufficient acreage for a Missouri Pacific Demonstration farm.
Rules for the girls were very strict. They were asked to be silent except during recreation. The school
was approved by the North Central Association, so the education offered was first rate. The music
department was always available. The Auditorium was available for concerts, plays, etc. The school
had a fine Library. The beautiful natural setting was enhanced by landscaping. The big spring has a
lovely rock Springhouse.
Many local girls attended the school until it closed in 1971. Finally the enrollment dropped, and it was
no longer possible to operate the school. However the Sisters operated a day care center and many
children had the privilege of learning from the Sisters. During the past several years one of the
Sisters taught in the public school.
Through the years, retreats and guests were made welcome on the campus during the summer
months. 1977 was a centennial year, and although the school had closed in 1971, there was a huge
celebration. Alumnae and friends came from far and wide. Many of the furnishings and keepsakes
were sold and some property sold for the Senior Citizen Complex.
The property as a school has been in the Arcadia Valley longer than any town, most the churches, and
most the homes. The campus is a concrete example of our fascinating progressive past.
* Information gathered from the Berrymen Archives at the Historic Society, and the 100th Anniversary edition of the Mountain
Echo, 1977, and other papers also in the Historical Society Archives.
The Academy was purchased in 1999 by the Oyler Family who still owns and operates it today. One can
take a journey back in time and enjoy a weekend stay in the Academy's Bed & Breakfast or a Hostel
Room, shop in its enormous indoor antique mall, enjoy one of the best made from scratch home
cooked meals & buffets in the Midwest at its Abbey Kitchen, carry out some of the best homemade
pastries and breads around, shop in their gift shop, schedule tours of this historic site, have their
reunion, wedding, or other corporate events hosted and catered there and so much more at this
piece of forgotten history lost in time. This has been the best kept secret around!
More on the Arcadia Academy can be found online at www.arcadiaacademy.com
What too many people do not know about are the Academy's more spiritual guest which can be found
in many parts of the Academy. The owners and guest alike have experienced unexplainable spiritual
phenomena here over the years. Even a past Academy Boarding School attendee, Sue Schlosser
Tippitt, talks about the legends of the spirit a Civil War Soldier who roamed the halls of this
magnificent place back in the 1950's and before in her book "Boarding School Diary".
Other more current stories include the one of Monroe who was a nephew to one of the Nuns at the
Academy. Monroe met his fate on day in the early 1900's when struck by a train. He was buried in the
adjacent cemetery in the corner of the Ursuline Sisters Section by himself. If one is lucky enough,
they may see the ghost of Monroe roam through one of the rooms or hallways in the buildings.
It is also said that in the old priest house, currently the Bed & Breakfast, and in other parts of the
Academny that the sounds of playing and singing children can sometimes be heard and even
sometimes followed by the "Shhhhhh" of what many believe to be a Nun.
There are even times that visitors capture unexplainable things on their cameras which appear to be
very spiritual and angelic in nature.
For this investigation video recorders with and without infra red extenders and night shot capabilities
were used. Various digital still cameras, EMF meters, voice recorders and IR Thermometers were
also utilized throughout the investigation.
Greg arrived on Friday October 19th, 2006 at 7:00 p.m. and conducted some interviews of the owners
and their family. The following morning he enjoyed the best house breakfast ever at the Abbey
Kitchen. The rest of the team arrived at various times and checked into their rooms located in the
purportedly haunted Bed and Breakfast.
Chris and Brad from the St. Francis Daily Journal arrived at about 4:30 p.m. and met with members of
the owners family to conduct interviews. The actual investigation started around 6 p.m.with the
placement of video cameras and motion alarms in parts of the antique mall and the old Freshman
Dorm room discussed in the book "Boarding School Diary".
After this, everyone was given an inside tour of this grand place which included the theatre and
chapel. Afterwards, the team investigated parts of the basement, antique mall and the old freshman
dorm area. Interactive Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) sessions were conducted while the
environment was continuously monitored with various equipment.
The Daily Journal Reporters departed at about midnight. Investigators stayed and continued their
investigation which also included the entire Bed & Breakfast building (the old Priest House). The
investigation was finished at about 3 a.m. and the investigators slept for a short time until they were
awakened to the sounds of people walking and talking in the hallways with further sounds of furniture
dragging across the floors. Some video and other equipment was placed back in operation for the
rest of the night.
The investigators then all enjoyed a grand house breakfast and the hospitality of the host before
packing up and heading back home.
1. Greg witnessed a human male with collar length blond hair, skinny and young in appearance walk
down the fist floor hallway of the Bed & Breakfast then opening the basement door before
disappearing into its darkness without any flashlight. Upon discussing this with the owners the next
day, they were told that there were no other males staying in that building that night and the
description matched what Ursuline Sisters attending a past reunion told them what Monroe looked
like when alive. Though an actual human male can not be ruled out, a spiritual Monroe can not either.
2. A door to a room in the Bed and Breakfast was observed opening and closing several times on its
own with no one inside the room. The doorknob was also witnessed turning at times during this
unexplainable event. Other doors were also witnessed closing and opening by themselves with
some even locking on their own.
3. What appeared to be the singing of a Catholic Hymn or part of a service was witnessed by Greg
while in the rear courtyard on Friday night. This was coming from inside the old St. Joseph's Chapel.
4. Investigators woke up to the noise of people walking and talking along with the sounds of furniture
being moved in the hallways of the Bed & Breakfast. When investigated no one else was present
except for the investigators in the Bed and Breakfast.
5. Anomalous strong moving odors (putrid with a strong sulphur smell) were experienced by most
6. Moving cold spots were also experienced by most investigators with one being documented in the
Old Freshman Dorm when the ambient room temperature was about 53 degrees. The moving cold spot
registered at about 45 degrees on digital IR thermometers.
7. A mist like figure was witnessed in the attic area of the Bed and Breakfast coming out of the upper
Widows Walkway access area then flying through the air before returning to the area it came from.
This was accompanied by a putrid sulphur smell.
8. A moving white mist was witnessed by an investigator while outside. It came from a room being
renovated within the Bed and Breakfast.
9. Some investigators experienced being touched and having their hair pulled by unseen forces.
10. After sensitive investigators sensed the presence of a child spirit in the antique mall area, they
then tried to communicate with it. During these attempts, multiple investigators witnessed a child's
rocking horse rocking on its own.
11. Unexplainable noises and voices were witnessed by many investigators.
Several digital and film still pictures were taken by various investigators along with several hours
worth of video and audio.
Notable Audio and Photographs have been extracted for analysis.
Final Analysis & Results
A very notable possible ectoplasm picture was captured by an investigator, this anomaly was also
seen with their own two eyes. Another investigator captured a notable shadow anomaly on camera.
Several notable audio clips containing unexplainable voices and noises were also captured and
posted in this investigative area of this website.
It is the opinion of Missouri Paranormal Research (Paranormal Task Force) that enough unexplainable
evidence was captured in combination with the unexplainable experiences by several investigators
to support the existence of paranormal activity at this location. The main area of such activity was the
current Bed & Breakfast with other possible activity in the Freshman Dorm area, Antique Mall and
Basement areas. Further follow up investigation would have to be conducted to determine the levels
of activity in specific areas and the constancy of such activity.
Gregory Myers, President
Paranormal Task Force
Also attending this investigation were Chris and Brad of the St. Francis County Daily
Journal. A trilogy ran in their newspaper concerning this investigation. These articles
can be viewed by clicking the appropriate date below.
October 29, 2006 - Was the article concerning the MPR Team
October 30, 2006 - Was the article concerning the Arcadia Academy
October 31, 2006 - Was the article concerning the Investigation
MISSOURI PARANORMAL RESEARCH would like to thank Chris, Brad and the entire Daily
Journal Staff for the terrific articles and the pleasure of their company!
|PARANORMAL TASK FORCE
OF THE ARCADIA VALLEY ACADEMY
Report Completed November 8, 2006
|History and Profile of Area
|Urban Legend or Facts?
|Human Experiences and Oddities
|Potential Evidence for Analysis and Evaluation
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