Lemp mansion. Her story has it all. From estate to suicide, beer barons to the eccentric, this stone mansion was built in 1868 and reigned over the social elite of St. Louis, Missouri for nearly a decade. Frequent visitors included the great horror Vincent Price, visiting the dignitaries and the upper crust of St. Louis. Built on a cave of twisting underground cave systems, its secret passages, dark corridors and suicide history play host to the paranormal phenomena that occur every day at the familiar Bed and Breakfast.
During my initial research for the Lemp Mansion I was struck by the heavy interior atmosphere. The pristine white façade does not prepare you for the dark oak boards, imposing stairs and stained glass windows inside. There is a sense of leaving the 21st century on the doorstep as you enter a world that was created by the wealthy residents of the Golden Age of beer. You get the sense you are walking into someone else's environment; the voyeuristic feeling that hangs over the entrance, as if the owners of the mansion have simply gone out and will soon return to find a stranger walking on his antique floors. That meaning remains as you look at the first-floor lounges, dining rooms and ancient baths that still house original marble bathtubs, ornate glass windows and 19th-century slabs.
So what happened in this house where money was no object and a beer dynasty was created? It all started with the sudden death of William Jacob Lemp's youngest son, Frederick. William never recovered from the shock and later shot himself in the upper bedroom.
The family's curse continued as Elsa Lemp Wright, William's only daughter and the richest woman in St. Louis at the time, shot himself in the heart one morning as her husband went out to their master bath in a luxurious mansion not far from Lemp's house. Her suicide occurred just 12 days after she remarried her ex-husband, making the suspension dependent on that morning's exact moves. The fact that her husband waited several hours to report the death only made an insatiable public appetite for information about the strange death of another of the city's wealthy.
After William Lemp committed suicide, the dynasty torch passed to William's second son, Billy Lemp, who was reluctant to navigate the heavy burden of running a giant brewery business with the popularity of their biggest competition, Anheuser Busch breathing down his neck. As the ban, sales decline and depression overcame it, Billy also shot himself in what is now the dining room to the left of the front door of the mansion.
Three suicides with a firearm in a family. You would think that the party hanging over this house would be pleased. However, there would be a fourth and final death at home in 1949 when Charles Lemp, the third son, shot himself in the bedroom. He had become a hermitism and infamous infamous in the days leading up to his suicide. Because of his fear of pollution the money was laundered, shoes were left outside (and washed) and visitors were not encouraged. One of the few people allowed in the Dark Sanctuary was horror movie star Vincent Price who had been friends with Charles.
On the morning of Charles's death, two shots went off in a quiet home. Only two servants were in residence. Mr. Lemp shot his loyal dog and then himself. He didn't want to leave the dog alone without him. And behold, the ghastly tragedies of the Lansion Mansion are over … or are they?
During the two-night stay at the residence I was shocked by the sheer number of paranormal phenomena. For a lady who has slept in the beds of some of the most haunted places in the world, this is quite a story.
My first night there I was given the room in the attic where a great activity was reported. I was not disappointed. Just before one in the morning, something started hitting the side of my bed. My impression at the time was that it felt like a petulant kid kicking the wall. At 5:30 that same morning, I woke up to the pressure on both sides of my feet through the blankets. The room was still dark and it took all my courage to reach for my cellphone and shine its light on my feet, not knowing what a little glitter would be like. There, on each side of the feet, were two small scarfs on the blankets that looked like a baby's little shoes. The presses remained long after the weight sensation disappeared. I was later told a little boy had died in that attic room; a deformed child belonging to the Lemp family.
The next night I was given Lady Lavender's room on the 2nd floor. There is a spacious suite with a bathtub with claws and sitting area. The ghost tour was going on in the hallways as I entered my room. My sister and nephew living in St. Louis had to spend the night with me. Just as I made the bed the ancient chandelier above me went into a rage of flashing lights. It went on for a few minutes as my sister caressed beside me. I finally thought about my phone and grabbed it, clicking on the camera and turning on the video. I filmed the messy shots and then started asking questions. I asked her to stop firing if it was because of someone in the room who had died causing her. He stopped immediately. Then I asked him to blow up once if the person causing the interference died in that room. It turned on once. Now my sister is begging me to "stop talking to her!" This went on for another 5 minutes and finally the "verbal" volleyball was over. The brightness of the light remained steady and did not answer my questions.
The next morning, at 5:15, as I lay in bed getting ready and packing for an airplane flight, I heard two gunshots from the bedroom door. I felt like ice water had been poured into my veins. My heart was aching. Shortly after the top of the gun reports came the bark of what looked like a big dog. There are no pets at the Lemp Mansion and staff do not report until 10 p.m. My nephew woke up and said he just heard a big dog. He did not hear gunshots.
Charles Lemp shot his dog and then that very morning of fate in 1949. I firmly believe that I have heard what is called a leftover haunt: a loop played by the past.
So far, the Lemp Mansion is the most haunted place I've encountered. I encourage you to visit this famous B&B in St. Louis. A word of advice … get a flashlight!