OZARK, Mo. — If the walls of the Historic Morgue could talk, they would tell a tale of a building that housed the dead and the living. To this day, people are still laid to rest here.
On the front porch of the property, there are two church doors and a single door that served as the entrance to the morgue during the early 1900s. This meant that bodies were prepared on one side while the other side housed the church, separated by solid oak garage doors.
The building had been vacant before Alta Bivens purchased it, having previously served as the Christian County Museum for three decades. The history of ownership and the exact year of construction remain unknown.
“We don’t know what year it was built. The cornerstone has an 1800 date on it. The steeple was thought to have been taken down in 1906,” said Alta Bivens, owner of The Historic Morgue. “So I do know it was the Ozark undertaking company, an embalming company, a funeral home, a church, and a morgue. Starting in the early 1900s.”
The morgue had been on sale for a long time. She did not originally want to buy it, but decided to go with her mom and visit the property anyway.
“It was a volunteer-run museum, so it needed quite a lot of love,” said Bivens. “Another thing I heard was that it was going to be a parking lot for the square. I did not have the money, but I had the passion for history. I put in the offer, bought it, and then I thought, “Oh my gosh, what do I do?’”
It was only after the closing, when she walked the property with the listing agent, that she learned about the building’s past as a funeral home. She took on the project and opened up her antique shop called “Church Steet Antiques and More.”
Bivens said, “in 2019, we had fundraisers, live music, and a buffet bar. And it was all donations only. We raised over $10,000 for local families and needs in 2019. And then COVID happened in 2020.”
The Historic Morgue was turned into a place to stay overnight to generate income for the property, allowing visitors to experience the unique history of the building.
“We’ve had three paranormal investigations, and in all three of them, the teams have had a lot of success with communications,” said Bivens.
The Historic Morgue is an intriguing destination for those interested in the paranormal, with guests sharing their experiences on Airbnb and YouTube. The owners have even captured eerie footage of shadows moving across the room.
Here are some public comments that were made on the Historic Morgue’s social media:
- Cindy said, “Using the tools provided, we “communicated” with several different spirits. Very interesting. … The motion light in the hall went off and on all night, and there were sounds at various times throughout the night.”
- Michael said, “I did some investigating. We got some great responses with the echo vox, and we learned a little about the spirits there. Even had a small rock thrown at us inside.”
- Angela said, “We had fun using the spirit box and other tools to communicate with the spirits.”
Bivens believed the spirits liked her because she saved the building, but still claims to be a skeptic.
“I have seen things move on their own, and I’m also a skeptic, so I will investigate every other possibility before I just say it was spirit. I just encourage others to come see what happens and see if it’s the same thing that other guests have said,” said Bivens. “The reviews are open on Airbnb, so people can get in there and read whatever one is saying and come see if it happens to them.”
The spirits at the morgue have been peaceful and not malevolent, according to her, guests should show respect for spirits and refrain from engaging in any harmful behavior that could harm future guests or the building. She recommends that when leaving the morgue, individuals to thank the spirits and ask that they do not follow them home.
“If anyone has any information or any of the family members of the previous owner would like to talk to me, I would love to talk to them. I’m just grateful that people are starting to learn about and love the building as much as I do,” said Bivens.