The Spook Light Museum
The story of the Joplin Spooklight is not complete without mention of the Spook Light Museum and it's two colorful curators. It's one aspect that really makes the Joplin light unique.
Arthur Posie Meadows first became interested in the Spook Light when he spent several weeks camping in the area around 1940, and recalled childhood stories about the light. Meadows decided to stay in the area and erected a shack at the intersection of E50 and State Line Rd. Meadows once a photographer by trade realized the potential tourism value of the site. Soon a large sign announcing Spooksville U.S.A and another reading Spookers Shanty Souvenirs appeared in front of the shack. Inside newspaper clippings and photographers pertaining to the strange light were hung on the walls. Phosphorescent were sold and you could view the light thru a telescope for a quarter. During the mid-1950s the site peaked under Meadows and the colorful yarns he would spin about the light to any who were interested. Meadows even composed a song about the light that he would sing to the museum's visitors called Come See the Spook Light Tonight. Eventually a larger building was put up on the site that housed a pool table, pinball machines, jukebox, and snacks as well as newspaper clippings and Spook Light booklets. As Meadows advanced in age he came to rely more on brother in law Garland Middleton, who would eventually purchase the business for an old Plymouth and an undisclosed amount of cash. Middleton continued to operate the business as Meadows had done until the time of his death. During his time as curator, Middleton was the subject of interviews conducted by newspapers and television. When asked what the light was he was quoted as saying. Everyone knows what the Spook Light is.It's a light of course. But the mystery is what causes it?
Middleton recalled first encountering the light in 1938 while traveling from the small township of Dessa about twenty-five miles south of Hornet, MO.
Weekdays at the museum averaged thirty to forty visitors a night and once as many as 271. After Middletons death the building set unoccupied, it's sign still announcing Spook Light Free Museum Open nightly 6:00pm to 1:00am. Without a successor the building set empty only to eventually be destroyed by fire. With the passing of Spooky Middleton and the subsequent closing of the museum the mysterious light lost it's greatest promoter and friend.
Picture of Spook Light Museum
Picture of Garland Middleton
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