Monday, April 19, 2010

The Haunted Lemp Mansion

Constructed in 1838, the home of John Lemp (later to be known as the Lemp Mansion) was funded by a fortune accumulated from a lucrative frontier business of brewing lagers and beers, which still has a special place in the hearts and stomachs of those who call St. Louis, MO home. Although the company no longer exists, one of its beers, 'Falstaff', is still made today under the auspice of another company.

When John Lemp died, his son, William, took over for a time. However, when his own son died suddenly in 1901, a grief-stricken William shot himself in the head. Several years after, his only remaining son, William Jr., took over the family business, only to be forced out of business by Prohibition, an act that may have led to William Jr.'s sister to take her own life. When the family fortune had been frittered away, William Jr. shot himself. Then William Lemp III died of a heartattack. He was 43. And his son, Charles, shot himself.

Layers of tragedy seemed to accumulate upon the family like a dark patina of grief and misery. So, it should come as little surprise that in the wake of these incidents tales of a haunted Lemp Mansion should arise.

After the family line had died out with the death of Charles Lemp, the Lemp Mansion became a bording house that would later fall on hard time, allowing the stately home to slip into decay. In these years, residents would complain of ghostly noises: knocks, raps, footsteps and such. Word of the haunting spread though town and the Lemp Mansion grew a reputation that made it increasingly hard to fill vacancies.

In 1975, Dick Pointer purchased the home and began a restoration that took several long years and culminated in the opening of a restaurant and inn. During the intervening years, Pointer and his family became very aware they were never alone in the house.

Workers during the home's restoration would complain of strange sounds, missing items, etc... Some are said to have left the job site without ever returning. Later, when the restaurant opened, workers would have similar experiences in addition to reports that items such as glasses had been spotted flying through the air of their own volition. Doors have been reported to lock and unlock on their own, the piano plays by itself, and spectral voices, fain and indistinct, can be heard. There have even been reports of an apparition dubbed the "Lavender Lady".

Throughout recent years, the mansion has become a popular spot for both guests and paranormal investigation teams, who often make pilgrimages from afar to experience first-hand the mysteries of St. Louis' haunted Lemp Mansion.

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