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The Haunted Lemp Mansion of St. Louis is a Haven for Ghosts

The Lemp Mansion in St. Louis has had numerous sightings of ghosts. This makes this St. Louis landmark, the Lemp Mansion, a favorite stay for fans of ghosts. The following is an account of my night in the Lemp Mansion of St. Louis, a haven for ghosts.

“Oh no, I have to sleep all the way up there tonight?” This is what I thought out loudly when I found out that not only was I going to sleep in one of the most haunted houses in this nation, St. Louis’ Lemp Mansion, but that I would be temporarily residing in the third floor attic, basically cut off from the other guests. So I walked up the two floors via the long flights of stairs through the lightly musty hallways ready to face my fate for the evening. Would I make it out alive?

It would turn out to be one of the most horrifying nights of my existence, but as you’ll see, I think that I, rather than the ghosts, brought a lot of that upon myself. But first, here’s some background information on why this former domicile of a St. Louis beer tycoon family is so spooked:

The Lemp Mansion’s History

One of America’s first beer magnates was John Adam Lemp. Ironically, he began in St. Louis as a grocer, but his beer sales would become the prime focus by 1840. He’s purported to have produced the first lager beer in St. Louis, forming the Western Brewery. John’s son William took over, and by 1870, the Lemps had the largest brewery in St. Louis and were one of the first breweries to have a national patronage because William implemented refrigerated railway cars to ship beer outside of the city’s area. In 1892, this operation would be known as the William J. Lemp Brewing Company.

A 33 room mansion that’s the focus of so much activity by ghosts today was bought in 1876 by the Lemps. William’s daughter Hilda married Gustav Pabst of Milwaukee, creating a powerful alliance in 1897. But the good times for the Lemps were about to stop, and tragedy would begin to assault the family and create fertile ground for activity by ghosts.

In 1901, William’s son Frederick died mysteriously. In 1904, heartbroken William shot himself in the head. William “Billy” Lemp, Jr. became President and moved into the St. Louis mansion when mother Julia died in 1906. More bad times were on their way: Prohibition would be the catalyst in shutting down the brewery in 1919. Then Billy’s sister, Elsa Lemp Wright, who was like a Paris Hilton of her day, committed suicide in 1920 due partly to terrible insomnia. She shot herself in the heart off the Lemp mansion property.

In 1922, the grand ten city block brewery of the Lemps (near the mansion grounds) was sold for just under $600,000 to a shoe company. This was not good for it had once been valued at seven million dollars. As a result of this firehouse sale, Billy shot himself in the heart in the former brewery office, to the left of the main entrance of the house, which is now a dining room for those guests who partake of morning breakfasts. Brother Charles would take over the mansion and live there until 1949, working as a financier and political influencer of South St. Louis, when he, too, shot himself to death in the head, dying very lonely and bitter. He was the only Lemp to leave a suicide note, and it was succinct: St. Louis Mo/May 9, 1949,/In case I am found dead blame it on no one but me/Ch. A. Lemp.”

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I’m Still Came After All

I knew all this history before deciding to visit, and was fascinated that I would be staying in such a place. I just wanted to see ghosts! But as the days came nearer for me to come, I was becoming a bit worried. What if I did, and it scared me to death? What if the ghost locked me in my room or turned out all the lights and kept me in the dark? Yes, I began psyching myself out. Watching one of my favorite horror movies of all time, The Shining, a few days before my trip to St. Louis and the Lemp Mansion, only put my mind in further anxiety mode…

I unpacked the luggage I had, then sat in my room called The Louis Suite. The rooms of the great house are named after various members of the Lemp family. Louis didn’t kill himself but died of natural causes. I stayed up there awhile getting a respite from the hot St. Louis summer afternoon and realized that I wasn’t feeling scared at all. I kept telling myself that this house doesn’t give off any strange vibrations, so I have nothing to worry about. I watched an episode of The Andy Griffith Show in quarters that were used by the servants. Sheriff Andy and Barney Fife gave more comfort to my mind. Oh, what we say to ourselves before sunset! I would be going out for the evening, and my attitude would begin to change about ghosts and staying all the way up in mansion attic.

For a home of such history, very little of the Lemp furnishings remain save some clothes and boots of Billy Lemp’s ex-wife Lillian. This is because another child, Edwin, who actually lived to be 90, ordered a vast amount of the family heirlooms destroyed upon his death in 1970 to help rid the family curse. For me, I wasn’t concerned with the heirlooms as much as I was turning the corner and (potentially) seeing a ghost or ghosts right before my eyes.

I got back to the mansion just before 11 p.m., and all was eerily quiet. The mansion doesn’t have any night employees nor phones in the room, so I found myself feeling as isolated as I ever have, given that the attic only has three rooms and is quite large. One of the mansion rooms was unoccupied, but the other supposedly occupied room next to mine didn’t have any sounds coming out of it. In a state of heightened anxiety, I kept my door wide open and put my backpack against the door so no ghosts could slam the door shut (pictured).

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Stirring at 11:30 p.m.

I worked on my computer, and kept turning my head to my open door. I thought I was catching glimpses of ghosts, but if I did, they disappeared quickly. Then suddenly, I heard a loud clanging noise. It didn’t stop. Oh no, the ghosts are going to get me all alone up here. I swiftly ran out my room and down the hallway all the way to the end, and I saw…I saw…

A man scraping ice out of the ice machine.

I felt relieved, and began to tell him how isolated I felt, as he was down on the second floor. The man getting the ice told me that he and his wife had stayed at the Lemp Mansion some 50 times, and that oftentimes, they experience nothing out of the ordinary. But what he said next didn’t put me at ease, but only heightened my anxiety for the rest of the evening. He said that the attic had just been made usable for guests in the last year or so, and that séances had been held up here since this part of the house was the most haunted. He himself has heard gunshots, ballroom music (My goodness, as in The Shining), and voices of ghosts during his stays at the mansion. He stated that his wife has seen a ghost though.

After talking to the man for around ten minutes, I decided to take some pictures of my room and the hallway to see if I could catch some images of orbs or ghosts. Just to let you all know, some of my pictures did capture some orbs and the hallway mirror appeared to have a light outline of a ghost, but really can’t be seen unless blown up to the size of a laptop screen, which is why you won’t really see them in this article’s pictures, though looking at them even in smaller size gives me the creeps!

Finally, a little after midnight, I told myself that if the ghosts were going to get me, let them, because I needed to get some sleep, and had to get up early to see more of St. Louis. So I closed the door and tried to sleep, but with no avail. All I could think of was what would happen when I closed my eyes. Would the ghosts sneak up on me then? I tossed and turned with the ceiling light and fan on above me, feeling a bit of a chill even under the covers. Later, I decided to turn the fan off, but when I stood on the bed, I saw blinking lights through the glass window above my door. I quickly and boldly went to my door, and opened it. Someone or something turned off the hall light, and in the shadows, a woman appeared.

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“Oh, I’m sorry.” I said to the apparent guest from the next room. She didn’t look like a Lemp Mansion ghost, as she stood next to the doorway of the room next to mine.

“That’s okay”, said the woman. I quickly shut my door wondering if she were taking pictures of the hall and I was seeing flashes go off. I didn’t feel scared when I saw her, but a tad relieved that I wasn’t totally alone in the attic. I was too tired to look into this matter further.

A little after 5 a.m., after more tossing and turning, I decided to get up and head to a nearby coffee house so I could catch up on my emails, as the mansion didn’t have internet access, though it’s supposed to get it soon. When I opened the door, the hall light was on again. No one was present, and I scurried out of the deathly quiet Lemp Mansion fearful at every turn, trying to make it to the back door, which is the only way accessible to guests after the staff leaves at night. Nothing happened, but I fumbled the keys around to lock the door the way Jack Torrance did with Room 237 in The Shining! Some quality time back in the lively civilization of that St. Louis coffeehouse calmed my nerves down. At breakfast, I shared my experience and pictures with some guests from Oklahoma, and they found my night of trials very interesting.

I won’t forget my experience at the Lemp Mansion. Especially since I did a better job of scaring myself than the ghosts!

The Lemp Mansion: 3322 DeMenil Pl., St. Louis, Missouri 63118. 314-664-8024. Website below and/or to the side in “Resources” box.

Now, if you don’t necessarily like being confined to one particular haunted area of ghosts during your trip to St. Louis, enjoy the three hour ghostly and historical tours offered by Holly Drago and Jill Phillips via Ghostride Tours. I got to see where the inspiration for one of my favorite horror movies (The Exorcist) took place. I walked through a graveyard that’s got some really strange gravestones and some unplugged holes which lead straight to…eternity! Call 618-451-2381 or 314-845-0522 for ticket information and see their website below and/or to the side in the “Resources” box.

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