An encounter with haunted spirits may only be doors away in KCK

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- People line up every October for Halloween fright nights at haunted houses in places like the West Bottoms. Folks living in one KCK neighborhood don’t have to go much farther than their front doors for a potential paranormal encounter.

KCK’s Strawberry Hill area is full of history, culture, and apparently a lot of unsettled spirits. The group Ghost Tours of Kansas gives tours of haunted areas in Kansas cities, including KCK. One of the stops is at Fat Matt’s bar on North 6th Street.

The bar’s owner says there, you may encounter spirits other than the ones in the bottle.

“Some of the bartenders have seen entities here and we`ve actually over the years identified five separate entities. We`ve also had a paranormal group set up in the basement and they`ve caught voices on their equipment,” said co-owner Joni Bocelewatz.

“We’ve had occurrences like bartenders would close up at night, and do their nightly duties like cleaning the bathrooms or whatever, come back out front get ready to leave and the water would turn on. Lights would go on TVs would go on and off,” Bocelewatz continued.

She’s a Wiccan high priestess and says the spirits in the bar don’t bother her at all.

“They’re very calm and quiet, and not at all scary,” she said.

Bocelewatz says prior to the building`s life as a bar, it was a cemetery complete with a crematory in the basement. Tour guide Beth Kornegay met FOX 4 at Fat Matt’s bar. She explained that along with a good scare, folks will also get a lesson in history and culture.

"We like to tell the history about the area, which is about the immigrants coming over from the old country here and settling on Strawberry Hill,” said Kornegay.

Her family is from the Strawberry Hill area, so when the chance came up to give ghost tours she knew she had to pursue it. FOX 4 hopped in the car with Kornegay to check out more spooky spots, including the old St. Mary`s church. Kornegay says it was once named 1-of-the-5 most haunted sites in Kansas. A paranormal team has been there to check it out

"The roof was falling in, and part of the walls were peeling away so they had scaffolding. In there, and the scaffolding actually moved. They saw it move and they caught that on the camera,” said Kornegay.

She says each morning, construction crews would find chairs arranged in circle, no matter where workers left them. It's also spooky at nearby Huron Indian Cemetery. There, visitors say a ghost's been known to make himself visible.

"Actually on one of our tours there was a full body apparition of a man leaning up against one of the headstones,” said Kornegay.

The gravesite belonged to a woman and her dead child.

There are many more stops on the tour and the last tour out of KCK happens Friday. If you want to check out tours for other haunted cities in Kansas, click on this link.