I spent most of my childhood and early teen years in Rosedale part of Kansas City KS that use to be a Town. and my dad and others use to tell us ghost stories about this castle and its spooky lookin and it was made a state landmark so knowone dares tresspass on its grounds anymore here is pic and info.by: Becky Ray PRESENTLY UNDER REVISION
I believe to prove a haunting; you must thoroughly research the history of the location and all persons involved. There must be credible correlating stories about the haunting, as this is the only proof we can obtain at this time. As other paranormal investigators know, getting inside of Sauer Castle to conduct an investigation is not easy, but I have not given up doing so. Since I cannot do this at this time, finding the root of the rumors about the mansion has become my goal. However, this is almost as difficult as contacting the present owner!HISTORY
I did a complete background report on the home, and its owners and occupants from builder Anton (also known as Anthony) Philip Sauers birth, to his relocation to America, to the building of the Castle, his death, and to the present owner. Ill try to keep it short for this medium.
Anton Sauer was born in Germany to a scrupulously strict and punctual father and an economical mother. At age 17, he moved to Russia to work for a year and a half before moving to Vienna, Austria. There he married his first wife Francesca and together they had the first five Sauer children: Gustave O.L., Anthony Philip Jr., Julius J., Emil, and Johanna.
In 1858, the Sauer family immigrated to New York City where Antons mother and sister already were. Sadly, Francesca died in 1868. Shortly after this, Sauer moved his family to Kansas City, partly due to business, partly due to his worsening health. He had developed tuberculosis while in Europe.
After establishing himself as a successful businessman in Kansas City, he met Mrs. Mary (Maria) Einhellig Messerschmidt, a 28-year-old widow. Mary had two daughters from this union, Anna and Maria Messerschmidt. After a brief courtship, Anton and Mary married in 1869. Together they had five daughters of which four survived to maturity. They were Eva Marie, Antoinette, Josephine (sometimes listed as Fosefa), and Clara. Daughter Helen (sometimes listed as Frances) died in infancy age 14 months.
Furnished and occupied by November 1872, Sauer Castle was without a doubt a castle, and a fortress, for it stood not far from the old Shawnee Indian trail that was part of the old Santa Fe Trail. Many immigrant wagons passed here on their way west. Along the trail came many men soured by the last war, aimless, and not too particular how their money came to them.
Sauer knew that some day his tuberculosis would claim his life. On a hot summer night, August 16, 1879, he died in the second floor master bedroom, succumbing to the tuberculosis that had driven him west. After Anton Sauers death, Mary Sauer continued to live in their house until her death in 1919.
Daughter Eve Maria Sauer was to marry twice. Her first marriage only lasted 18 months and was to Mr. William C. Van Fossen. This marriage took place at the Sauer Estate. They had one daughter, Helen, before the marriage failed. Her second marriage was to prominent local Wyandotte County businessman and landowner, Mr. John S. Perkins, himself a widower with six grown daughters. From this union, Eve had three children. At the age of 73, John S. Perkins took his own life with a handgun at the family mansion. He was reportedly very despondent over his declining health.
John Harrison Perkins, son of Eve and John S. Perkins, had an infant daughter tragically drown in the swimming pool on the west side of the home. Eve continued to live in the family home with her son and two daughters, Eva Marie Perkins, and Marguerite A. Perkins, until her death in 1955.
Five generations of the Sauer family lived in the castle before Paul Berry, owner of a home heating oil company, purchased the land and mansion from the Sauer heirs following Eves death, and resided there until his death in December of 1986. While Berry was the owner, he had to forcefully eject trespassers, vandals, and looters on several occasions. He lived in the castle alone with his dog. Berry tried to maintain the house as his home, but had to constantly deal with rocks careening through the windows, continual break-ins, and bodily assault in his own home. This was probably due to the publicity the house started receiving as a haunted house in the 1930s.
In January of 1987, Bud Wyman and his son and daughter in law, Cliff and Cindy Jones, bought the home with the intent to give haunted tours. While they were the owners, for the first time in the history of the home, no one lived there on a regular basis.
The property was entered on the Register of Historic Kansas Places on July 1, 1977; the National Register of Historic Places on August 2, 1977; and became listed as a Kansas City Kansas Historic Landmark on January 29, 1987.
Anthony Sauers great, great grandson, Mr. Carl Lopp, bought the family mansion in 1988, with the intent to restore it to its glory and live there. But this has not been easy.
On August 15, 1996, the caretaker hired by Carl Lopp was charged with felony theft for stealing at least $30,000 worth of articles from the landmark. Items stolen at this time included an antique chandelier, wall sconces, and antique dress and a garden tractor. In addition, copper was stripped from a turn of the century heating unit in the basement.
In 1999, the Wyandotte County Unified Board of Commissioners created a redevelopment district for 41 acres, an area that included Sauer Castle. This was over the objections of present owner, Carl Lopp. Lopp was criticized by Unified Government commissioners for inaction during his 11 years of ownership to that date. Lopp protested stating, No one loves the castle more than I do. Its been my dream since I was a small child to reacquire it and bring it back into the family.
Shortly after this, Lopp added an eight foot, green, chain link fence across a low rock wall in the front of mansion. Even to add such a simple security fence was an ordeal for Lopp. The Kansas City, Kansas Landmarks Commission must approve anything Lopp does to his own property, since Bud Wyman and his family saw to it that the home became listed as a historic landmark. In the past, and most likely to this day, Lopp has been unable to obtain insurance to the property due to the many acts of vandalism.
According to the November 1, 1999 minutes of the Kansas City, Kansas Landmarks Commission meeting, several local residents appeared in support of Lopp and the fence. One resident showed the Commission photos of a deer that had been killed with a bow and arrow on Lopps property and then brought into the Castle property to be gutted. The hunter was clearly trespassing and Lopp stated that deer are on the property every night.
Early in 2000, mortar was repaired in the red brick and the broken windows and balconies were restored. But even getting this done was a trial for Mr. Lopp. According to Landmark Commission meeting minutes, one of the members stated that he believed one of the brick window frames to be new. Lopp was then asked to provide historic photographs showing that this frame was not new. Reading through the Landmark Commission meeting minutes is extremely frustrating. I can only imagine what Carl Lopp must have been going through.
In June of 2000, Lopp stated that he planned to move into the home later that summer, but due to delays, this has yet to happen and Lopp remains in New York City and the property remains listed on the Kansas Preservation Alliances Most Endangered Property list.MYTHS/LEGENDS
There seem to be more myths about this grand building than people who know the truth about it. One of the legends is that members of the Sauer family are buried on the property. In actuality, Anton Sauer died a month after the death of his infant daughter, Helen. When Maria Sauer realized her husband was dying, she temporarily buried Helen in the family garden. When Anthony died, both were then buried side by side on the same day in Union Hill Cemetery.
Another legend I was told is that there are buried treasures on the property. Some think that this comes from the small stone house that was built over the huge wine cellar on the south side of the house. The Sauer family stored food and goods there for many years, and it is still intact and in perfect condition. However, in my research, I did find the original source of this rumor. After Sauers death, a fence was being built at the edge of the grounds. A spade struck a brick and led to the discovery of a brick base about two feet underground with a flat stone at each corner. On each of the four flat stones, arrows had been chiseled, pointing in the same general direction. These arrows were taken to mean that a hidden treasure might be found if the searchers could discover the point where the lines from the arrows converged. No treasure was ever found.
Many people in the area of the home believe there is a secret tunnel to the Kaw River. However, Shawnee Hill is solid ledge rock, and making a tunnel would be a very large and laborious task. Some local historians propose that this myth is from people mistaking this legend with the Quindaro Slave Tunnel. For those not familiar with this legend, the Quindaro Slave Tunnel was supposedly an underground passageway built during Civil War days for the transportation of escaped slaves into the free city of Quindaro from the Missouri River. No proof that either tunnel ever existed has been found. Why the Sauers would have such a tunnel built never seems to come up in explanations.
One legend I heard is that there are radium springs on the property. This one probably came from the large springs on the south side of the property. However, these are just natural springs. Radium springs are a hot odorless mineral water that has long been known for its soothing and healing powers for aches and pains. If such springs were on the property, Im sure someone would have put them to use by now.
A common legend I was told was that the land the castle was built on was stolen from the Shawnee Indians. In 1859, Tom Bigknife was given the title to this property and he sold sections of it. Some say that Bigknife had the title stolen from him, or he was tricked out of it, however, the deed and papers are on file in the courthouse in the office of the Register of Deeds, and they show that the Indian Commission approved the sale. Since Bigknife continued to live on the property, this is also highly unlikely.
But my favorite legend goes with the haunting stories. Murders on the Property. The stories I was told say that one of the former owners killed his entire family (a wife, and either one or two children depending on who is telling the story) and buried them in the backyard. Shortly after, he committed suicide by throwing himself from the tower. These stories sometimes make the crazed man Anthony Sauer himself or even his son in law, John Perkins. There was never a hanging at the house, although as stated earlier, John S. Perkins did take his own life with a handgun in the home and Mr. Sauer died in the master bedroom of tuberculosis. No murders have ever taken place in the mansion.BUT IS IT HAUNTED?
This was the reason for all my research, and Im still not sure. My feeling is that it is not. This is just a beautiful empty house that seems to beg for ghost stories to be attached to it. I must admit, it does resemble the Addams Family mansion.
Haunting rumors go back to the 1930s and the house has received much publicity as such. Tales of fire in the tower or lights flickering off and on (sunset reflecting off the windows) and ghosts moaning (wind whistling through the weather stripping in the tower) were circulating but no one knew where they originated. Historian J.R. Russell attempted to discredit the rumors in his 1975 Kansas City Kansan article Old Mansion Filled with Legend. J.R. Russell was at one time Carl Lopps attorney, and is a distant relative.
Even the types of hauntings vary greatly depending on whom you get your story from. Some ghost lore seems to stem from the belief that since there were four deaths in the house, it must be haunted. These deaths being Mr. Anthony Sauer, his daughter Helen, his son in laws suicide, and the drowning of his great granddaughter.
Some say that Mary Sauer would walk the widows walk at the top of the four-story tower early in the evenings and sometimes late at night. For anyone who has been up there, it is obvious why. It has been compared to sitting in front of a cool fan on a hot day. Mary lived in the house until her death in 1919. Perhaps it was simply Mary atop the tower at night that was mistaken for a ghostly figure.
In an article called, The Phantom of Sauer Castle, by John Hughes published in Star Magazine in October of 1987, he stated that some psychics who visited the tower believe a doctor shot himself there and claimed to have sensed a medicinal smell. Hughes did not say who these psychics were. However, a later mention of Maurice Schwalm in the article leads me to believe that he was the psychic. Schwalm was the organizer of an Occult Studies Special Interest Group in the Kansas City branch of Mensa. He wrote two feature articles that were published in Fate Magazine and had a radio program in Kansas City where he would give call in answers to listeners with psychic problems.
The owner of the house at the time of Hughes article was Cindy Jones. I was also unable to find Ms. Jones in my research. When Jones family bought the home in January of 1987, their intent was to lead tours of the home dressed in period clothing. Of course, a little ghost lore wouldnt hurt business. In his article, Jones states, Ive been terrified, and most of the time its during the day. My father-in-law laughs at me, but he has to admit that hes had experiences he cant explain. I can feel it, but I keep wondering if its just in my head. Jones went on to relay to Hughes a couple of strange happenings in the house. Her first story took place in the library. One of her friends had asked to have her wedding at the mansion the previous February. A lot of work had to be done to prepared the neglected home for the occasion with the wedding date set for Valentines Day, February 14. Visiting the Sauer family graves, Jones discovered that Josephine Sauer Kinney had died on February 14, 1967, twenty years to the date of her friends wedding.
With all the people in the library of the house working to prepare it for the special day wearing masks to avoid breathing the dust and the windows open, Jones father in law began using a crowbar to tear out the ceiling. Jones was in the middle of the room shoveling debris when something seemed to fall from the ceiling. It was a newspaper clipping that looked to be about 20 years old with a photograph of a woman in a wedding gown. Spooky? Yes, but proof of a haunting? Hardly.
During the interview, Hughes notes that the fireplace cover rattled furiously. If you are familiar with Kansas City winds, especially up on a hill, you know what causes that type of sound. Could this sound be heard outside by others and thought to be something else? Absolutely.
Jones also told of a day that she woke up with the idea to go take photos of the Sauer family plot. It was May 1. When she got to the graveside, she noticed that one of the Sauers had died on May 1. I hate to be a party pooper, but I bet I could go to any cemetery today and find someone who died on this day.
Jones recalled her most frightening experience to Hughes in the attic level of the tower. It seems Ms. Jones always kept a .22 derringer in her pocket. Given the trouble that Mr. Berry had with break-ins, this is not surprising. On the particular day of her story, she had forgotten her gun and asked her husband to go back to their home and retrieve it. No sooner had he left, when Jones heard a noise coming from the attic that she could not explain. She remained where she was until her husband returned. Together they went to the attic and there was nothing there. Once again, I feel compelled to bring up the Kansas City winds.
I started to completely doubt the credibility of Jones tales on her final story. She claims she had a sound activated tape recorder that had picked up an unexplained melodic Ooo-Ooo. Yes, thats right Ooo-Ooo. Not words, but the old favorite of ghost languages Ooo-Ooo. Of course this recording had been lost as some kids had erased the original.
While Jones was the owner, the home was a favorite place for psychics. Jones claimed they told her the attic was the center for paranormal activity. Maurice Schwalm was one Jones invited to the house. He was convinced that a photo he took of the house clearly showed a haunting. However, all that his photo showed was a scratch of light over the doorway and another over an upstairs bedroom. I could not reach Schwalm for comment, but he was notorious at the time of the article for getting his name in print. Several people have faith in Schwalm and believe he knows what he is talking about.
I started asking around locally for haunting stories when I began this research early in 2003. However, for a house that most people in Kansas City consider to be haunted, no one has any activity stories. One of the legends I heard frequently is that a young boy haunts it. No one knew who this boy was supposed to be, or what he did. That is just the story that they have heard and believed.
Some people told me that there have been frequent apparition sightings by previous residents. But when questioned as to who these residents were, no one knew names or time periods. Just another legend. This reminded me of when I was child. The house three doors down was empty. Now, this wasnt a beautiful castle like the Sauer place. This was just a ranch style house with a very large tree in the front yard. We referred to this as the haunted house, as it was very spooky to look at. The entire front of the house was hidden in the shadows of the tree. After a couple of years, a family moved in and I got to know them. I visited this house frequently. It was definitely not haunted, but the legend was there because we started it in our fear of the unknown.
While Paul Berry owned the home, he protected it with a shotgun filled with rock salt. His German Shepard was his only living companion, and a past throat accident left him with a wailing bark. Many people mistook this for a haunting. Some say Berry was a hermit for the 30 years he lived there.
One very strange post was found on an Internet bulletin board. I have tried to locate to person who posted it, but to no avail. He or she only left an email address, and that email is a dead end. The post is as follows:
When I went to Sauer castle, it was called Igors. It had a strange caretaker named Mr. Berry who would chase away the cults there for their black masses. The story of the main haunting and the ghost that we saw was of a woman. The story is this she would go up to the widows walk, and look out at the river. One day and no one knew why she hung [sic] herself up there. You could see her in the tall windows swing; the family moved to the east and left a caretaker for the place. The pictures we took show the figure of a woman in the fount upstairs window on the right looking at the house and another on the enter stairs. We never heard the story of the boy.
I have never heard anyone else make any reference to the place being called Igors.
One thing I do know for certain is that keeping a caretaker on the property has been an unpleasant task for Carl Lopp, the current owner. Caretakers seem to have a habit of not staying very long at the Castle. One could speculate that this is due to a haunting, but I feel it may be more the result of endless frustration in trying to protect the property from the curious as well as the vandals who try to enter the property nightly. I believe the addition of the fence has helped slow the trespassing, but there will always be prying minds as long as the house remains abandoned and mysterious.
Contact Info Address: Shawnee Road Kansas City, KS
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