Now that Halloween is approaching, it might be fun to take a look at some of the “haunted” spots in the St. Louis area. In fact, nationally, our city is one of the most “haunted.” While there are certainly numerous spooky places all over our state, these are the most famous St. Louis hauntings with long histories.
Because St. Louis is the home to three rivers (Mississippi, Meramec, and Missouri), there have historically been lots of lots of ghostly tales, as there are about many river towns and cities. Whether you are “in to” the paranormal or not, the stories are captivating and deserve some attention, if only from a cultural history perspective. Here are the most well-known St. Louis hauntings with long histories:
St. Louis Hauntings – A list of:
1. Forts: There were 2 forts constructed in the 1700’s, for the purpose of protecting the western territories – Ft. Bellefontaine and Jefferson Barracks. Soldiers were not killed by enemy fire, but diseases and illnesses took their toll, and stories abound about the spirits who remain “tethered” to their earthly existences. People often report sounds of moans and groans, as well ghostly sightings, both during daylight and night time hours. According to some, the sounds can be heard from blocks away.
2. Lemp Mansion: Ghost investigators travel from all over the U.S. to study this mansion, owned for many years by the Lemp family – entrepreneurs who founded and operated the Lemp Brewery. All of the males in the family died early, either under mysterious circumstances or by suicide. According to legend, all of these family members’ spirits remain in the structure, and it is now a famous restaurant and bed & breakfast. Guests report male ghosts, as well as a child, roaming the halls at night. If you have the nerve, book a reservation!
3. Payne-Gentry House: This house is named for the two families that occupied this home for over 100 years. William Payne was a physician who lived in the front of the house with his office in the back. He practiced, as all doctors did in those days, general medicine, and treated all ages. In the back of the house is a large tree, under which are several children’s graves. This house is adjacent to a community center and park, and it is a favorite activity of teens and young adults to visit the yard at night to watch the children ghosts play under the tree!
4. Union Missouri Haunted House: One of the most famous St. Louis hauntings with long histories is a home in Union Missouri, just a bit west on I-44. The address is 809 N. Christina Ave, in case any brave souls want to visit. According to the long-term residents of the town, it has been haunted by both children and adults. Not far from this house was a nursing home that was later converted into a “poor house.” Residents of that poor house were buried in unmarked graves underneath the current house, which was built in 1932. Today the house is a dog kennel, and no one stays the night in it. Some people living close to the house still claim that the dogs sometimes get very upset at night – barking and howling for no apparent reason.
5. Alexian Brothers Hospital: Anyone who has read the novel, The Exorcist, knows of this old hospital (now closed), located in South St. Louis city. A 13-year old boy was the victim of a “possession,” and the exorcism took several weeks in the hospital. According to staff at the time, cold air came out from under the door in which the boy was housed, even though the rest of the hospital was warm at the time. As well, the room and surrounding areas had continued electrical problems that were never resolved, even after the exorcism was completed. Ultimately, that entire wing was closed and locked off. Still, ghost hunters say, the “presence” remains in this old building and continues to walk its halls.
6. Zombie Road in Wildwood: In the 18th century, Native Americans buried many of their dead in mounds on this land, which sits on the bluffs of the Meramec River. In the 19th century, this road was a trail used by settlers moving west, many of whom died and were buried along the route. The road was always used by the Union Army during the Civil War, and dead soldiers have been buried among the Native Americans and settlers. Today, according to those brave enough to walk the Zombie Road, shadowy figures are frequently observed walking in the surrounding woods.
It is no wonder that paranormal ghost hunters visit St. Louis often and spend time in these and other St. Louis hauntings with long histories. If nothing else, it is fun to know the stories of these places, as they are certainly a part of our cultural story!