Haunting Amusements

Monday October 7, 2013

St Louis is an old city. Really old – almost 250 years old come February 2014. So its no surprise the city is haunted, which could explain why some destinations seem a little eerie each October and the reason why many come to explore St Louis’ shadowy past.

Government shutdowns aside, step back in time and discover the ghostly legends and late residents interpreted along the St Louis riverfront at The Old Courthouse, part of the National Parks Jefferson National Expansion Memorial where claims of hauntings have occurred since the 1800s. It’s debatable if ghostly apparitions or things that may go bump in the night will be heard once the park reopens but one thins is certain; visitors from the past are seen year round at the The Old Courthouse’s via interpretive programs.

The Lemp Mansion could be considered St. Louis’ spook central.  Consistency declared one of the most haunted places in America, Lemp remains a hotbed of paranormal activity. Now operated as a restaurant and Inn the Lemp staff had reported seeing glasses flying through the air, spirit orbs and hearing ghostly footsteps on the stairs. Ghost hunters blame the infamous suicides and mysterious deaths that happened in the house. Nonetheless, Lemp Mansion’s morbid past makes it an ideal place to tour, dine or sleepover in October.

Next door to the Lemp Mansion and dating to 1850 is the Chatillon-DeMenil Mansion. Each October DeMenil Mansion is draped in black for its month of mourning while it cheerfully invites visitors to experience its macabre displays.  Featured exhibits and tours include Seeing Spirits, a Haunted History Tour on October 19 shares stories of the home’s supernatural encounters while taking visitors to view seldom seen spaces and period artifacts. A Death In the Family on October 26. Death features funeral exhibits and living history programming interpreting 19th century mourning customs as covering mirrors with black crepe, stopping clocks and post-mortem photography.

Looking for spirits during October would be complete until you visit a cemetery. For serious history buffs Bellefontaine Cemetery, established in 1850 is a must see. It’s the final resting place of St Louis’ Who’s Who of 19th century as Dred Scott, William Clark (from Lewis and Clark fame), and Civil War General George T Sherman.  I’m not saying Bellefontaine is haunted but what the heck – take the free public tour and keep your eyes peeled After all, it’s Halloween.

Guest Blogger Suzaane Cobrett a freelance writer from St. Louis, Missouri contributed this blog.

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