A Guide to St. Louis' Ghost Tours and Other Haunted Spots
Tricked-out haunted houses are fun, but some of the most terrifying spots are the ones rooted in real, eerie events from the city's past.
by Melissa Meinzer
October 20, 2016
Photography by Thomas Crone
The history of St. Louis has no shortage of haunted tales. From the accursed Lemp family to Zombie Road to the events that inspired The Exorcist , our city has brushes with other worlds and unclean phenomena to spare. We’re in the thick of Halloween madness season, so shut down the Netflix horror marathon, get off the couch, and get really scared. Here’s a half-dozen spooky spots waiting for you around town.
Haunted History Walk
Take an hour-and-a-half walking tour that starts in Laclede’s Landing and covers the Great St. Louis fire, the infamous exorcism, the city’s cholera epidemic, the sandbar known as Bloody Island for the duels that it hosted, and more. Tours run this weekend and next Wednesday through Friday. Book online , or call 314.800.6369. $25. Departing from the Morgan Street Brewery, 721 N. Second .
Haunted History Tours at the Lemp Mansion
The Lemp Mansion is considered one of the nation's top haunted destinations. The Lemp family’s beer business took advantage of the cool, underground caves at Cherokee and DeMenil for beer-making. The company flourished for a time, before a string of tragic events. Unhappy ancestors are said to still linger in the mansion. Call 314-644-1814 to book a tour. 3322 DeMenil Place .
St. Charles Ghost Tours
St. Charles is charming, but it has plenty of creepy manifestations worth checking out. In 1853, bodies and headstones at one of the city's graveyards were moved, but some souls were forgotten. Their bodies remain in St. Charles with no headstones, and they're apparently not thrilled about this development. (And for a less scary treat in St. Charles, check out the Legends & Lanterns festival during the next two weekends.) Ghost tours run Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m., 9:30 p.m., and sometimes midnight. Call 314-374-6102 to book a tour. $20. 101 S. Main, St. Charles.
Lawler Ford Road, dubbed “Zombie Road, " is a 2-mile stretch near the Meramec River. It was originally a trail used by Native Americans and early settlers accessing the river. During the Civil War, it was a travel route, and trucks used it to haul gravel from the river. You may or may not find ghosts there these days, but if you trespass after dark it’s a pretty safe bet that you'll find very corporeal police officers willing to write you a ticket. Rock Hollow Trail, Wildwood.
Haunted History Tours of Peabody Opera House
It’s not just melodies that haunt the Peabody Opera House—the St. Louis Paranormal Research Society says it’s one of the most haunted buildings that the group has ever investigated. Many old buildings were torn down to make way for the venue, and according to the society, the previous occupants didn't simply move along peacefully when they were displaced. The tours for this year sold out quickly, but it's never too early to mark your calendars for next October. 1400 Market.
While you cannot step inside the house ( it's private property ), horror-movie buffs can still drive past the home where the dramatic spiritual cleansing that inspired The Exorcist took place. In 1949, a 14-year-old boy came to St. Louis for treatment of a mysterious affliction; Jesuit priests began praying over him at the house and finally took him to the Alexian Brothers Hospital in South City. 8435 Roanoke (private property).
P.O. BOX 191606 St. Louis, MO 63119 314-918-3000
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