Thursday, July 11, 2013

Haunted Lemp Mansion

In 1980, Life Magazine proclaimed this mansion located in St. Louis, Missouri to be one of America’s Most Haunted. 

Lemp mansion has been infamous ever since. 

This home has four stories and 34 rooms. It was built for William Lemp, president of Lemp Brewery in the 1860s. William was the son of Johann Adam Lemp, who was a German immigrant who came to America in 1838. 

Adam a brewmeister opened a small brewery that made German lager--which became an instant success.

Adam Lemp

When Adam died in 1862, his son William took over the family business. Within a short time, William, a shrewd businessman, turned the brewery into the largest in the world. 

The business produced over 900,000 barrels a year that were sold around the world. The Lemp plant now covered eleven city blocks. 

Family Home

William’s new home overlooked the family brewery. William and his wife had seven children. 

His oldest son Frederick was shrewd like his father, so he was groomed to run the business. But Frederick tragically in 1901 while visiting California had a heart attack at the age of 28 and died.

William overwhelmed with grief at his eldest son’s death never recovered. In 1904, he went into the Mansion’s marble office and shot himself in the heart. 

Another son William Lemp Jr. took over the business. Unfortunately, he was not as astute at business as his deceased father and brother. 

Bill Jr. and his wife Lillian lived an extravagant lifestyle. Wearing the most elegant clothes, furnishing the mansion with only the best and collecting costly art.

Bill Jr.

Prohibition was passed in 1919, this law forbid the sale of alcohol. The Lemp Brewery, unlike other breweries of the time, didn’t adapt. Many started to make ice cream or a low alcohol drink called “near-beer.” 

Inept, Bill Jr., instead of changing with the times watched as his families’ fortune slipped away. He was forced to sell the brewery in 1922 at a fraction of its original value. 

Six months later, now despondent Bill Jr entered the marble office in the mansion and shot and killed himself--just like his father.

The Lemp family during the same time lost Bill Jr.’s eldest sister, Elsa. Unhappily married, Elsa who ironically was one of St. Louis’ wealthiest women, also shot and killed herself. 

Years later, the family had one last suicide. Charles Lemp another one of William Sr.’s sons realized as a young man he was not suited to work in the brewery, so he took his part of the inheritance and announced he needed no more money. 

He lived with a menagerie of animals on the grounds of a large home he built.

In 1929, he returned to live in the mansion. Charles was the oddball of the family. He had a life long fear of germs and often wore gloves because of this. 

In 1949, at age seventy-seven and in ill health Charles took his pet dog early one morning to the basement. He shot his dog in the head, and then he shot himself.

Another son, Edwin, moved out of the mansion in 1917. He stated at the time that he was relieved to escape the mansion’s “oppressive atmosphere of doom.” 

He never married, but he kept a constant companion by his side. Some state he did this because he too feared that he might commit suicide. He died at the age of ninety in 1970.

Lemp Mansion was used as a boarding house for years--during this time it fell into disrepair. 

Unusual Activity

In the mid-1970s the present owner Dick Palmer Jr. renovated the building and turned it into a restaurant and Bed and Breakfast. 

Most feel the mansion is haunted because of all of the Lemp family suicides. The paranormal activity first became noticeable as the building was being renovated.

Photo: Matt Hucke
Palmer and various workmen lived in the mansion during this time. 

One night when Palmer was in the home alone, he heard a door slam violently as he lay in bed. A workman heard horse’s hooves strike cobblestones below his window--no cobblestones were in this area. 

Later as Palmer was digging up grass under this same window, he found an old cobblestone path.

Several workmen complained that their tools disappeared. 

Others admitted to being very nervous--they stated invisible eyes seemed to follow them as they worked. This caused more than one man to quit before they finished their work. 

One particular television in the mansion would turn on and off by itself. And doors and drawers were heard slamming shut in vacant rooms.

This strange activity continued after the mansion opened for business. Lights turn on and off without cause, and a piano plays by itself. 

Glasses have been seen floating above the bar and then crashing to the floor. Voices are heard in deserted areas, and transparent apparitions are seen that appear and then disappear quickly throughout the mansion.

One specific ghost that is seen is that of Lillian, Bill Jr.’s wife. While alive she became known as “The Lavender Lady” because she always wore lilac colored clothes. Lillian is seen wearing her favorite color. 

One odd occurrence happens often. Employees and guests of the inn state that buttons pop off their clothing. 

When people enter the mansion’s front dining room they often state they feel a great deal of sadness--this room was once the marble office where William Sr. and Bill Jr. committed suicide.

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