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Morning Sun
  • PATRICK'S PEOPLE: Lisa Livingston-Martin wrote 'Haunted Joplin'

  • There may be as many non-living residents of Joplin as there are live ones, according to “Haunted Joplin,” a new book by Lisa Livingston-Martin, Webb City, Mo.

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  • There may be as many non-living residents of Joplin as there are live ones, according to “Haunted Joplin,” a new book by Lisa Livingston-Martin, Webb City, Mo.
    The book, published by Haunted America, a division of History Press, has chapters on the numerous Civil War battles and vicious bushwhacker activities that took place in the area before Joplin was established in 1873; hauntings in the downtown area, site of mod violence and lynchings; haunted hospitals; Prosperity Bed and Breakfast, a former school; the beautiful Olivia Apartments;  1920s and 1930s gangster activities, including a visit by Bonnie and Clyde; the Connor Hotel; and the Stefflebeck Bordello, where at least a dozen men seeking entertainment were murdered by Mrs. Stefflebeck’s ax-wielding sons.
    Actually, the bordello was located in Galena, but that was close enough for Livingston-Martin to include in the book.
    She said that she spent about six months researching “Haunted Joplin.”
    “I already knew a lot of the information,” Livingston-Martin said. “A lot of it comes out of our activities in the Paranormal Science Lab.”
    She is a co-team leader of PSL, which has been together for about three years, though she and most other team members have been involved with paranormal research activities for years.
    In Livingston-Martin’s case, her interest in the paranormal started very early.
    “I grew up in a haunted house and farm just north of Joplin,” said the lifelong southwest Missouri resident. “I later learned there had been three Civil War skirmishes there.”
    Livingston-Martin graduated from Missouri State University with a bachelor of science in political science, then earned a juris doctor from Washington University, St. Louis. She has been a practicing attorney for around 20 years.
    “That helps you be more objective when you’re trying to figure out if something is natural, man-made or paranormal,” she said.
    Livingston-Martin said that PSL concentrates on investigating historic sites.
    “This helps an activity make sense and gives it context,” she said. “It makes it more human and compelling. On those ghost-hunting TV shows, they say that this or that happened, but not why.”
    Her first book, also published by Haunted America, is “Civil War Ghosts of Southwest Missouri,” which was inspired by research she did at the Kendrick House in Carthage, Mo., the oldest standing structure in Jasper County that hosted both Union and Confederate soldiers.
    Some of the Civil War’s most bloody fighting took place in Missouri, and Livingston-Martin believes the violence, sadness and anxiety experienced by both soldiers and civilians  could have been imprinted on locations such as the Kendrick House.
    She makes a distinction between this residual activity, resulting from extreme emotions somehow being  recorded on an object or location, and a ghost, which would be an actual presence aware of  its surroundings, of  living people and possibly even interacting with the living.
    Page 2 of 2 - Livingston-Martin is now working on a third book, “Missouri’s Wicked 66,” which should come out in the spring.
    She said that she’s also always been interested in writing.
    “At Missouri State University I had an English professor who would follow me around in the student union at different times, begging me to switch my major,” Livingston-Martin said.
    Now she’s able to put her love of history and interest in the paranormal into written form. PSL also does occasional tours of various sites, and has been especially busy in October because of Halloween.
    “Normally we may do one or two tours a month,” Livingston-Martin said. “Our group is made up of history buffs, and we do fundraising for some of these sites. At some of these sites we actually help keep the doors open.”
    “Haunted Joplin” can be purchased online at Amazon.com and other sites, or by visiting www.historypress.net.
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