Avilla, Missouri – The Route 66 Town Haunted by Rotten Johnny Reb
If you drive through what remains of Avilla, Missouri, you'll see that it's mainly a tiny community supported by farmers. Why then is it considered a Route 66 ghost town haunted by "shadow people"? The tales go back to a character known as Rotten Johnny.
I had to do much digging to see why poor little Avilla has garnered such a dark reputation. The best source I've found is an article from 6 years ago by Only In Your State. They reference a specter known as "Rotten Johnny Reb". As they tell it, the locals killed a Confederate "bushwhacker" by that name and hung his head from a tree as a sign of what would happen to any others that "bushwhacked". "Bushwhacking" is guerilla warfare, by the way.
"Rotten Johnny Reb" apparently was upset that he didn't get a proper burial and spends the nights searching for his head...and Yankees. Wikipedia has a picture of the "death tree" his head was allegedly hung from.
There's more than a mad ghost named Johnny in Avilla, Missouri though. Many locals tell paranormal investigators of "shadow people" they regularly encounter here.
If you think this is just a one-off telling of old tales, there are many paranormal teams who hear the stories from numerous residents.
Yes, it looks like the typical small town orphaned on Route 66 when the highways were built. However, there is too much activity (both seen and unseen) that shows this little Missouri town is still a very active place even if not for the living.