By Krystal Lambert
Most folks around these parts have heard of The Spooklight, a light that appears in a small area known locally as the “Devil’s Promenade” on the border between southwestern Missouri and northeastern Oklahoma just west of the small town of Hornet. I have seen it myself a few times, however I had never heard of The Hoffman Mansion until this year. It’s located just down the road from the Spooklight and has an even spookier history.
The Hoffman Mansion mysteriously burned down between the years 1998-2000, (the exact year couldn’t be confirmed) and all that remains is the caretaker’s house and the cemetery. The cemetery has a large number of children’s graves, though no information can be found to explain their deaths. The mansion itself has many chilling stories surrounding it. One tale is of Mr. Hoffman being a murderer who killed his servant and their children. There have been several stories of an apparition of a little girl swinging on a swing tied to a tree in the cemetery. Unexplained fires around the property have also been reported.
Another source states that around the 1920s, a man named Hoffman took several boys into his home and went into a rage killing all of the boys and then himself. It is said that these boys are the children buried in the cemetery there, along with Hoffman. There have also been several reports of people hearing someone running through the woods, strange voices, and and the sound of footsteps in the mansion.
One source blames the caretaker rather than Hoffman for the children’s deaths:
“During the summer, the Hoffman family ran a camp for children. The children would play and have fun camp activities before school started and they had to turn in their tents and campfires for backpacks and textbooks. One summer, the caretaker decided to do something dreadful. In the heavily wooded area, he tortured and murdered the children at the camp; no one could hear their cries for help. Then, the caretaker hung himself from a tree. The tree sits in a cemetery, close to the Hoffman Mansion.
Later, the family moved out of the mansion due to strange occurrences in the house. They witnessed their beds moving and objects being thrown by invisible entities. However, the incidents did not stop when the family moved. Before the mansion burnt down, a few people were hanging around the property. They claimed to hear moving, clicking, and even breathing around them. When they decided to flee from the property, they heard a scream so loud, the only way to describe it was ‘the scream of a thousand souls.’ Then, in 2001 a man in his early 20’s was shot to death and burned inside his van on the property.”
A Quapaw County news report dated December 10, 2001 states that Federal and State authorities were working to identify a body they found while putting out a fire in a vacant field east of Quapaw. Mike Eason, an Ottawa County deputy, said he was on American Indian land known to area residents as “Hoffman Mansion” at about 1 p.m. Saturday when he saw a light-colored van burning in a field. Because the property was Indian land, Eason said, he called the Quapaw Fire Department and the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs police. After the fire was extinguished, an unidentified, charred body was discovered inside the van.
Eason declined to comment on whether the victim had gunshot or stab wounds. “What we do know is the victim was an adult,” he said. Eason also stated that there were illegal license plates were on the van, though there were no reports of a missing or stolen van in the area.
Rumor has it that this incident was a drug deal gone wrong. What do you think? The Hoffman property seems a bit too cursed for this to have been just some innocent drug deal (lol). I think something more sinister was at play.
I asked my friend Jamie about her experience at the Hoffman Mansion, because after reading stories online I was too spooked to go there by myself. (Yes, dear Julie readers, your resident bad bitch Krystal Lambert is actually a huge baby about scary stuff.)
Jamie’s story spooked me the most because I know her and I trust that she is telling the truth.
“When I was in high school, I used to go to the Spooklight all the time with my best friend. When we heard about the Hoffman Mansion we decided to go check it out one night. It was late, like the middle of the night, and we all were using our phones as flashlights. We had regular flashlights too. We parked further down and walked toward the property, and at one point all our flashlights and phones died at the same time. After we passed a certain point on the property, it was like an electro-magnetic field or something. We were creeped out but we kept going. We saw an entrance to the basement of the mansion. We didn’t go down the stairs and but I had a really heavy negative feeling about the stairs. Then we saw the graveyard, walked around and looked at the graves, and the energy was really dark and eerie. When we headed back to the car all of our phones and flashlights came back on at the same time. My friend also remembers seeing the caretaker’s house, and the first time she looked the window was vertical, but when she looked back it was horizontal.”
Y’all I don’t know why, but windows changing direction for no good reason is about the spookiest shit I’ve ever heard in my life. Writing this article is already giving me nightmares and I haven’t even gone to bed yet, so I’m gonna wrap it up. Stay safe and Happy Haunting!