Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Forepaugh Mansion: Molly’s Fate

In the 1800s Joseph L. Forepaugh was a respected businessman in St. Paul, Minnesota. At the age of 36 he was the senior partner in the Midwest’s largest dry goods store. His store provided needed supplies to the Union troops during the Civil War.

To show off his success he bought not 1 but 5 lots in an exclusive neighborhood, which today is near historic downtown St. Paul. Forepaugh had a grand mansion built on this property. His home was designed so each window looked out over the manicured grounds and beautiful gardens that surrounded it.

He filled the interior with the finest furniture.

In 1870, Forepaugh's wife, Mary, and their two daughters moved into the sprawling 3-story home. A larger staff was hired to cater to all the families needs.

One young woman named Molly was hired as a serving maid, for Mrs. Forepaugh. Molly had a natural beauty that outshone her drab uniform, she also had a pleasant personality.

It wasn’t long before Joseph took note of this new servant. In the months that followed he found many reasons to keep Molly nearby. It was noted by the other household staff that these two often disappeared into rooms in the mansion for hours--the doors closed to prevent prying eyes.

Mary found out about her husbands illicit activities when one afternoon she discovered Joseph and Molly in bed. Furious she demanded Joseph end the affair immediately. He did. But her intervention was too late, for Molly afterward discovered she was pregnant.

In despair, Molly tied a rope to a third-floor chandelier and looped the other end around her neck. She then threw herself out the window ending her life.

The Forepaugh’s sold the mansion after this and moved to Europe for a time in an attempt to repair their marriage. When they returned to St. Paul they had a new home built on the same block within sight of their first mansion.

By 1892, Joseph Forpaugh had sunk into a deep depression. The family excuse given was he was worried about his business, but it was doing fine. The real reason was he still mourned Molly's death.

At the age of 58, Joseph went to a secluded area on the grounds of his original mansion and shot himself in the head--ending his life.

After his death, his original mansion quickly gained the reputation as being haunted.

Molly and Joseph’s Ghosts

In 1970, the Forepaugh mansion was renovated and turned into a French restaurant. It recently changed hands, was once more remodeled and has opened again as a restaurant.

There have been numerous sightings of what people feel are both Molly’s and Joseph’s ghosts in the building.

Molly’s ghost is considered to be a prankster.

The third floor dining room is often active. It is in this room where Molly hung herself.

One night, an employee who closed the restaurant noticed as he drew near his car that a light was still on upstairs. He went to check but found the 3rd-floor dining room dark. He locked up once more and headed to his car only to see a brighter light on upstairs.

This time as he entered the dining-room he saw a candlelit on one table. Frustrated, he announced out loud, “Molly, I am tired and I want to go home. No more games.” He blew out the candle and left.

This time the room stayed dark. Molly normally obeys when asked to behave.

During a costume party, several employees saw Molly’s ghost. An unknown woman appeared in authentic period clothing and glided past a server. She was then seen walking down a hall where she vanished into thin air.

Molly has also talked to guests. The restaurant frequently hosts wedding parties and she likes to talk to new brides.

One photo, the original restaurant displayed, has a mysterious woman with dark hair in it. She is looking with adorning eyes at someone just outside the frame.

It is said that when Molly is seen, Joseph’s ghost is not far away.

He has been spotted roaming all over the mansion. He is seen in the mansion’s basement frequently. In this room cold spots are felt, lights flicker on and off, and odd rustling noises are heard.

The lights are always kept on in the basement for if they are shut off his ghost has been known to make a huge mess. 

Often tables and chairs in the dining rooms are found rearranged.

Joseph’s ghost is described as wearing a black waistcoat, silk vest, derby hat, and pinstriped trousers. He is seen rushing up and down the mansion’s main staircase.

His ghost, like Molly's has been captured in photographs. One photo shows his hand reaching out to touch a bride’s knee. This photo disappeared shortly after it was displayed. Many believe Joseph himself stole it not wanting Molly to know about his wandering eye.

Other photos depict him always standing near the prettiest lady in the room.

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