Show Me The State | KBIA

Show Me The State

Missouri has had a curious history, with many iterations and incarnations powered by changes in its political, cultural and religious climate. Show Me The State explores Missouri’s strange and misunderstood past as it relates to the present.

Each episode focuses on one particular piece of folklore and investigates what really happened, why did it happen and how has that shaped the state today?

The Show Me The State team looks at ghost stories, legendary political maneuvers and hometown heroes across the state. Host Kristofor Husted sits down with the people who know the story best to get as close to a first-hand account as we can.

Courtesy of Friends of Jim The Wonder Dog

How many tricks can your dog do? Sit? Stay? Rollover?

Can your dog pick out a single person in a crowd based off of their clothing? What about predict the World Series winner?

Jim the Wonder Dog allegedly could. From his humble beginnings in Marshall, Missouri, to his ultimate test in front of an academic crowd at the University of Missouri, Jim has been a symbol of hope during the trying times of the Great Depression.

But what was Jim actually – scientifically – capable of? And why is Jim, to this day, still so important to Missourians?

Rosemary Belson / KBIA

Did you know Missouri and Iowa almost went to war in the 1800s? Each claimed ownership over a strip of land along the border and believed it had the right to tax the people living there.

Several surveyors drew different lines leaving the disputed land in a tug of war between two petty governors for years.

Stuck in the middle was “The Hairy Nation” – a community of transplants with varied backgrounds – longing to know where they belonged and what their identity was.

Before this story is over, trees with honey beehives will be chopped down, a sheriff will be kidnapped and ragtag militias with kitchenware and garden tools as weapons will march to meet at the border to settle this dispute once and for all.


Columbia Missourian 1976-1979 (courtesy the Missouri Digital Heritage Collection)

How do you pronounce Missouri? And why do you say it that way?

Legend has it former Gov. and Sen. Kit Bond took a poll during his gubernatorial races during the 1970s and '80s to see what Missourians preferred to say and how his pronunciation could help his strategy to win his election.

In our latest episode, Show Me The State digs into that legend while examining how politicians, like former Sen. Claire McCaskill and former Gov. Jay Nixon, use their pronunciation to signal certain values to their constituents. 

Courtesy of Rhonda Chalfant

What would the state look like today if the capital wasn't Jefferson City? But Sedalia?

That almost happened 120 years ago. 

Sedalia champion John Bothwell was determined to make Sedalia a state institution and for 30 years he was relentless trying to make the town something more than the location of four railroads and premiere brothels. Ultimately, he makes a play for the biggest state institution in a surreptitious political maneuver that surprises everyone.

Courtesy of Parker Smith.

If you grew up in 1970s Poplar Bluff, you likely heard of the story of Doc Annie. Legend has it, Doc Annie was a witch-like woman who operated a haunted hospital in the woods. She kept fetuses in jars of formaldehyde there. She also would throw babies into an old well called “the pit.”

High school students and young people would drive into the Ozark Foothills looking for Annie’s spooky hospital and tell ghost stories about her.