Live Blog: I’m Staying Overnight In One Of America’s Most Haunted Houses

MattHucke
MattHucke
Hello everybody! It’s me, M.J. Pack. You might’ve read some of my horror stories and if you did, I hope they scared you — or at the very least, entertained you a bit. While my number one passion is writing horror, I’ve always had an interest in the paranormal. What I’m going to liveblog here tonight isn’t fiction. It’s my 100% real, authentic night alone in the infamously haunted Lemp Mansion of St. Louis, Missouri. Follow along with my investigation, leave comments, and ask questions! For more spooky stuff like this (and my stories), follow Creepy Catalog.

10:07am

I survived the night alone in the Charles Suite! Hooray for me!

That being said, I just had one of the worst nights of sleep in my life. Without exaggeration, here’s what I went through between the hours of 2:30am and 9:50am:

– When I went to bed the room was fairly freezing, like I’d said before, but as the night went on I sweated profusely. I couldn’t get out from under the blankets because the room was too cold but my body was extremely warm.

– I didn’t have sleep paralysis or night terrors, thank god, but I had a recurring dream that Charles Lemp was standing at the foot of my bed yelling at me to get out. I’ll chalk this one up to nerves more than anything.

– I woke up between 10-15 times over the course of the night. Whenever I woke up I felt like I was being watched so I tried to just turn over and go back to sleep without opening my eyes.

– One of the times I woke up, I thought I heard the piano playing. I waited for a few minutes with my eyes closed and decided it was wrong before I heard two quiet notes. This one I’m sure of.

– Another time, I woke up because I heard a woman scream. This one I’m sure of too but it was about 3:30am and was I getting out of bed to investigate THAT? No thanks, my bravado only goes so far.

– I also felt during various times of either waking up or while being awake that I was being touched, lightly, on the shoulder or calf.

That being said, I am exhausted. But check-out time is 11am, so I got up to pack my things and do a little more looking around.

I went back up to the attic and found the Elsa Suite open, so I checked it out. I ran my recorder while I poked around the room. This is supposed to be the most haunted room in the house but I definitely felt more uneasy in the Charles Suite or even other parts of the attic. It had a nice view, though.

Good morning, St. Louis.

I wandered to a few more areas, took some audio and snapped some pictures before returning to my room to get ready to head home. I’m sad to note that none of the items on the table were moved over the course of the evening and Zeke didn’t take the bait with my ball, though I’m tempted to leave it for him in the attic anyway.

Overall I think I got some good material to review, nothing quite outstanding or as in-your-face as I wanted it to be, but I can definitely say it was not pleasant sleeping in this room overnight. If I return I may want to make it an all-nighter and forgo sleep altogether.

I hope you enjoyed my liveblog of my stay overnight in the Lemp Mansion. I’ll be back once I’ve reviewed my findings and share anything of interest with you. It was a lot of fun and one of the more exciting things I’ve done in my career in horror, and I’m glad I could share it with you!

So long, Billy boy.

2:04am

One more thing: here’s a photo of the unsettling-in-a-way-I-can’t-quite-put-my-finger-on painting above my bed. I don’t know what it is about it, but I really wish I wasn’t sleeping under this thing tonight.

Maybe it’s because the flowers look like eyes?

1:40am

Just as I sat down to type this, the lobby phone rang twice and then stopped.

I’ve done a handful of EVPs with not much to report. The beginning of one sounds like a dog yipping in the background but it’s too hard to hear until I can import the high-quality audio. Otherwise, not much else is happening except I’ll admit it’s gotten pretty chilly in my room.

There’s been the sounds of footsteps outside in the hall several times and every time I check no one is there. I’ve written off sounds in the attic because I know there are people staying up there, but for me to not run into anyone in the main hallway in the three or four times I’ve looked is pretty odd.

I’m starting to get sleepy, too. I might hold out a little while longer, try a few more EVPs. Either way, there have been a lot of reports that people are woken up in the Charles Suite by the bed shaking or an angry man standing over their bed, so you know, there’s that to look forward to.

Did I mention I also suffer occasionally from sleep paralysis and night terrors? Those would be just swell. (I am joking. Those would be the opposite of swell.)

Chances are you’ll hear from me in the morning unless something wakes me up in the night, in which case I promise to bolt right to my computer and update this blog instead of calling my husband in tears because I am some sort of haunted house champion.

12:47am

After resting on the bed for a bit I went to the hallway to get tissues from the bathroom, where I ran into two very nice ladies who are also staying overnight — my guess is the Elsa Suite, since they came from the attic.

I asked them if they’d experienced anything so far and they said no, they’d just woken up from a nap… but they had locked the door when they went to sleep and when they woke up, the door was open. Huh.

I hope they weren’t too scared by the sounds coming from my room after I shut the door. Sorry, I have a terrible cold and I couldn’t wait to blow my nose another minute.

12:19am

So I did a few different tarot spreads but nothing really came up that was of any interest. Usually I can come up with some sort of interpretation for my spreads but all of these were pretty nonsensical, especially in light of the questions I was asking. I’m going to rest for a little while and then try some more EVP sessions.

11:58pm

Well, now I can say I walked alone through an empty haunted house. I did an entire sweep of the lower level, all of the rooms. Definitely had a very creepy vibe but I had my flashlight with me which both helped and also made some of the shadows a lot scarier.

I skipped the tarot when I heard a few people leave their room and go back; I figured it was a good time to check things out by myself before others came out again. Going to review the audio footage and then run some tarot spreads like previously planned.

11:44pm

I’ve been trying EVPs for a while with no luck. Going to let that rest for a while and try again later.

I’ve had a headache pretty much since I got here, which could obviously be a coincidence but is still quite the hassle. Also, my bathroom is in the hallway, which makes for a super spooky trip now that it’s dark out.

Tarot spreads seem like a good idea for now. I’ll run a few and see what I come up with.

10:52pm

Sounds like most of the staff/dinner guests have left. The mansion is much quieter now. I poked my head outside my room and here’s my view. It doesn’t exactly put me at ease.

You’ve always been here, Mrs. Pack.

I lifted the piano’s lid and man is this thing old. I keep asking for the spirits to play it but no dice so far, even though a maid recently heard it playing after she cleaned the room and locked it back up.

I don’t particularly want to tickle these ivories.

I’m going to keep trying EVPs until I think most everyone’s asleep, then maybe take a quiet tour of the house. I haven’t spent much time in the dining room where William Jr. shot himself yet.

Midnight is in an hour, then let’s hope the fun will really begin.

10:28pm

I may have captured an EVP (electronic voice phenomena) from Charles Lemp. Listen to this audio clip where I tell Charles I’ve heard he committed suicide. There’s an unknown sound towards the end that seems to be in response to my statement. I will provide clearer, more fine-tuned audio when I return home tomorrow.

9:51pm

I just went out the rear door of my room to go to the “attic” area where the ice machine is kept. If I’m being totally honest with you, I felt pretty light-headed and weird up there. I got plenty of ice and hurried downstairs. I’ll remind you, the attic was supposedly where Zeke was kept, and I’ve been trying to contact him via EVP sessions for about half an hour. I don’t necessarily want to go back up there to do more recordings but I may have to before guests retire to the Elsa Suite.

9:06pm

Sorry, I tried to get back to my room sooner after dinner but I went to the gift shop — I collect weird shot glasses, what can I say — where a volunteer of the mansion talked my ear off for nearly 40 minutes.

The finer points of my conversation with Marcia Stamm, 14-year St. Louis historian:

– This neighborhood has been built and rebuilt over many different historical sites, including Native American mounds, potter’s fields, tuberculosis sanitariums, mental institutions, and run-of-the-mill cemeteries. Yikes. That is some bad energy.

– She seems to believe that several of the Lemp suicides — including Charles, who we’ll get to in a minute — were not actually suicides. On several of these, she refuses to elaborate.

– However, Marcia says that Charles, who as I mentioned before committed suicide by shooting himself in the head, was a very sick man in his later years. Gout, bone cancer, arthritis, and other ailments were treated with mercury-based medicine and morphine. She claims in his final days he could barely raise his arms, calling for him to have to wear capes rather than coats in the colder seasons. How would a man who could barely lift his arms or grip a pen commit suicide by revolver, let alone write his suicide note? (This is based on Marcia’s conversations with original inhabitants of this neighborhood, people she says are in their late 90s now.)

– She also claims that William Lemp Jr. did NOT actually like to be called “Billy”, as “Billy” was an Americanized nickname and he was first-generation German. He would allow “William”, “Willy”, “Wilhelm”, and “Will”, but not “Billy”. He would refuse to do business with those who called him this. I’ll be sure to use this information during EVP sessions tonight.

– Lastly, Marcia would like me to note that while she is a historian, the important part to stress is that these are stories from the people of the neighborhood who feel they’re not being done justice by what has been written in history books. Apparently there’s a lot more to discover in these areas and she encouraged me to do so.

Now I’m back in the Charles Suite ready to start the night’s investigation. There’s a murder-mystery dinner theater that’s wrapping up downstairs and all other rooms are booked so I expect some noise for the next few hours but that won’t stop me from looking around.

So far, the items have not been moved, even though I feel like the ball on the bed is more off-center than I recall leaving it. According to the photo, it’s the same as it was before.

I’m going to do some EVP sessions for a while, then maybe some tarot readings. Stay tuned.

6:35pm

My husband dropped me off at the Lemp Mansion around 4:50pm so I could skulk around the area and take some pictures. A man taking windows into a house across the street asked me if I was taking a photo of myself. When I said yes, he nodded and said wisely, “Ahh. Selfies.”

I tried to get our good sides.

Upon check-in, I met Matt Bell — grandson of the Pointer family, who purchased the mansion back in the 1970s. He’s been on the staff for 17 years. He gave me the grand tour and was kind enough to give me a brief interview.

When I asked if Matt has ever seen any paranormal activity in his time at the mansion, he said, “Absolutely.” He emphasized it’s not necessarily on a daily basis, but over the years he’s seen quite a few things, including following a man in a suit from hallway to hallway only to end up in an empty room. To the previous boarders who lived in the mansion before its conversion to its current state, this often-seen apparition was known as the “Shiny Shoes Man”.

Matt also told me that just this morning, a woman who checked out said she heard a dog barking while she was in the shower and wanted to know if anyone had brought a dog. The Lemp Mansion is not pet-friendly, especially when you consider that Charles Lemp shot his dog in the basement before turning the gun on himself. This lines up with other stories I’ve heard of people hearing or even seeing a dog in the mansion.

Panoramic view of the Charles Suite.

After Matt left me in my room, I established my home base. They were kind enough to supply me with all sorts of snacks and drinks (who knows, the wine might come in handy later) but I moved all this to another table and set up my netbook as well as all my chargers and extra batteries. I did a few tests on my audio recorder and noticed that there’s a door in my room with no knob and a peephole I can look through.

I looked through it, expecting a horror movie jump scare, but nothing.

Then I proceeded to set up some other tests. Since I’m staying in the Charles Suite, I’m going to try to mostly reach out to Charles Lemp, the last Lemp to commit suicide. Knowing he had terrible OCD in his later years, I’ve arranged some items randomly on a piece of paper and traced them in pen to see if they’ll be moved in any way. One of these items includes a vintage tie bar that reads “Charles” – I actually bought this for my husband, but let’s see if this Charles likes it too.

I thought it was pretty sharp.

Near these items I have a bunch of hair ties. Weird, yes, but knowing Lillian’s fondness for lavender, I buried a bunch of pale purple hair ties under a bunch of other colors. Again, this is just to see if they’ll be moved or interacted with in any way during dinner.

The only purple things I had were hair ties…

I’ve also placed a colorful ball on the bed in case Zeke wants to play.

Go ahead, Zeke, give it a throw!

Now I’m getting hungry, so I’ll head downstairs for my dinner reservations. Afterwards, the real investigation begins!

3:23pm

A lot of haunted houses rely on urban legends and stories that “supposedly” happened to create a compelling history. The Lemp Mansion is not one of these houses.

Growing up in St. Louis I’ve always wanted to stay in this infamous place overnight. It’s a beautiful piece of architecture to say the least but what drew me in, of course, is its dark past. Built by beer barons before the turn of the century, the Lemp Mansion has seen multiple suicides, scandalous secrets, and a family plagued by ruin. No one needed to create a mysterious back story for that house – history wrote itself quite a horror story.

I check into my room at 5pm this evening. At 7pm I’ll enjoy dinner in their well-reviewed dining room and have a brief interview with one of the staff. After that I’ll head back to the room and get the investigation under way.

I’m staying in the Charles Suite, the former room of Charles Lemp. He was the last Lemp to commit suicide and the only one to leave a suicide note, which read: “In case I am found dead, blame it on no one but me.” He killed himself by a gunshot to the head on May 10, 1949 in the very bedroom I’m going to stay in tonight.

For posterity, here are some of the more notable ghosts that have been said to be seen in the Lemp Mansion over the years:

William Lemp Sr., son of Lemp Brewery founder Johann Adam Lemp. He fell into a deep depression after his favorite son Freddy died of heart failure at the young age of 28. In 1904 his best friend Frederick Pabst (another beer baron and supposedly Freddy’s namesake) passed away as well, and on February 13, 1904 William took his revolver and shot himself in his bedroom (the William Suite).

William Lemp Jr. (Billy), successor of William Lemp Sr. He married Lillian Handlan (known as the Lavender Lady) but supposedly committed adultery with many other women in St. Louis. They later divorced, his reasons stating that she “wore excessive lavender to draw attention to herself” and “used foul language in public”. After years of success, Prohibition effectively ruined his business, and on December 29, 1922, Billy put a revolver to his chest and shot himself through the heart in his office (which is now the dining room).

Lillian Handlan-Lemp (The Lavender Lady), married and divorced Billy Lemp. She was known for wearing lavender at all times and even decorating the interior of her carriage with the color. A portrait of her hangs in the dining room where her ex-husband killed himself. While she died of natural causes, she has been spotted around the mansion in her signature color.

Elsa Lemp-Wright, once considered the wealthiest heiress of St. Louis – think Paris Hilton status. She was the youngest child of the Lemp family. In 1910, Elsa married Thomas Wright, president of the More-Jones Brass and Metal Company. They separated, divorced, reconciled, and remarried over the course of their relationship. March 20, 1920 — only a few weeks after their remarriage — Elsa shot herself in bed at their house on Hortense Place. While she didn’t die on the property, her room is rumored to be one of the most haunted.

Charles Lemp, who left the family business and went into banking instead. He never married and in his later years was considered extremely reclusive, even mentally ill, developing severe germaphobia and obsessive-compulsive disorder. He never married and lived in the mansion after Billy’s suicide with only two servants and one other person who we’ll get to later. He allegedly shot his dog in the basement before laying down in bed on May 10, 1949, and putting a bullet through his head.

Zeke (The Monkey-Faced Boy), said to be Billy’s illegitimate son as the result of his extramarital affairs. One of the few undocumented claims of the Lemp Mansion’s history, he was supposedly born with Down’s Syndrome and kept hidden in the attic of the house. Former employees of the Lemp Mansion have said there was indeed a boy who lived in the attic quarters; he was said to have stayed there until shortly before Charles’ suicide, when he supposedly fell down the stairs. He was said to be in his 30s when he died.

So there you go, just a fraction of the research I’ve done on the Lemp Mansion to prepare for tonight. This stuff will either help you get a feel for the Mansion and its history or you’ll skip right over it to get to the good parts. Either way, let’s go – I ain’t afraid of no ghosts. TC mark

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