GHOSTLY, HAUNTED TOURS AROUND ST LOUIS

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Lemp Mansion, Alton Sites Among the Best this Halloween – Haunted Tours

ST. LOUIS, MO: (STLRestaurant.com) – Haunted Tours – With Halloween fast approaching, those looking for something a little spookier than a normal night out will find there’s no shortage of haunted attractions in the St. Louis area.  Several nationally known, professional spook houses are in full seasonal swing right now.  But for revelers who seek a little more authenticity in their ghost stories, a haunted tour might be a better plan.  There again, St. Louis doesn’t disappoint.

The City of St. Louis is more than 250 years old, and many of the surrounding communities can trace their histories nearly as far back.  As a community at the convergence of three great rivers, the St. Louis region has known its share of tragedy.  Centuries of great fires, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes and such calamities have marred countless lives with tragedy.  Any ghost hunter will tell you, that much misery leaves traces behind.

The brave and curious can learn more about the haunted history of various sites around the St. Louis metro area by taking one several haunted tours.  Some even promise you will encounter the chill of the supernatural.  The following are some well known, and not so well known local favorites.

1. The Lemp Mansion at 3322 DeMenil Place in St. Louis’ historic Benton Park neighborhood is almost as well known for its food and dinner theater as it is for it’s ghosts.  The house was built in the 1860’s, and has been the scene of much tragedy, including several suicides.  It is thought to be one of the ten most haunted places in the U.S.  And, you can explore the 33-room residence-turned hotel and restaurant in two ways.

The Lemp Mansion Haunted History Tour with Betsy Belanger is available year round.  Tours start at 7:00 p.m. most Mondays. Or try the Lemp Mansion Experience: The New Generation of Ghost Hunting.  It includes a soft drink or cocktail, and light appetizers.  Plus, you get the use of an infrared camera to record your exploration of three floors of the darkened mansion.  This experience is offered on Thursday nights, and is available now through November 17th, with addition dates in December.  You can even spend the night in the mansion at a discounted rate!

For those less interested in real ghosts, the Lemp Mansion also offers comedy-mystery dinner theater.  Tickets include a three-course dinner and interactive show performed by the Jest Murder Mystery Company.  The current show ZombieLove runs through October 28th.  Private group performances can be arranged.

All of the haunted events at the Lemp Mansion require reservations.  Get information about reserving your place, and learn more about the Lemp Mansion’s haunted history, the restaurant, dinner theatre, and other special events on their website.

2. Another popular haunted tour in St. Louis is offered by Riordan Tours. Their Haunted History Tour of Laclede’s Landing is a stroll through the oldest part of the city with David Riordan, a world class storyteller whose family has lived here for more than 180 years.  Riordan entertains tour-goers with the strange, bizarre and spooky stories from the past, including the Great St Louis fire, the Exorcism that sparked a famous movie, the Cholera epidemic, Bloody island and more.  The 90-minute tours depart from the Morgan Street Brewery, 721 North 2nd St, St. Louis.  They start at 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays, with Saturdays added as we approach Halloween.  The last two weekends of October Friday and Saturday tours are available at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.  Tour participants even get discounts on food and beverages at the Morgan Street Brewery.  For more information on Riordan’s Haunted History Tour call (314) 800-6369.

3. Heading north from St. Louis takes you to Alton, Illinois, one of the “most haunted small towns in America.”  There you’ll find a couple of haunted tours worth checking out. One of note is the Mineral Springs Haunted Tours.  It offers a chance to experience paranormal activity at the Mineral Springs Mall, 301 E Broadway, Alton and nearby sites.  The mall was once a hotel, and is now home to several businesses, including a museum of torture devices and the Mineral Springs Paranormal Research Center.  Tours are available each Friday and Saturday night in October, along with the first three Saturdays in November.  All Mineral Springs Haunted Tours include ghost hunting equipment and a tarot card reading, which is included in the price.  In addition to walking tours, they also offer “Haunted Overnights,” which allow you to camp out in the old haunted pool inside the basement of the hotel.  Pre-paid reservations are required for haunted overnights.  For more information, call (618) 465-3200.

4. Nationally known, Troy Taylor’s Alton Hauntings offers walking tours, bus tours and extended ghost hunting tours of historic and haunted sites in and around Alton.  The Alton History and Hauntings Tour is an entertaining, often spine-tingling trip back into the history and hauntings of the city.  The tour was personally created by author Troy Taylor and based on his book, Haunted Alton!  Most tours last about 3 hours and proceed at a leisurely pace.  Tours are available April – November each year, with special events around Christmas and New Year’s Eve.  All tours leave from one of the more haunted sites in Alton, the First Unitarian Church, 110 East Third Street.  Some October tour dates have already sold out.  Check their website, www.altonhauntings.com, for available dates and times. Besides writing the book, Troy Taylor is featured in several videos about the haunted places of this river city just north of St. Louis, including this one for Illinois Adventure:

5. One of the most historic areas in the region is historic downtown St. Charles.  And according to the folks at St. Charles Ghost Tours, this town’s historic Main Street is recognized worldwide as one of the most haunted and active areas in the world.  The outdoor walking tours are scheduled for Friday and Saturday nights at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.  Some midnight tours are also offered, when demand warrants.  The tours run all year long, not just at Halloween.  That’s because this is an ongoing research project, and as the tour group says, “ghosts are not seasonal.”  Participants are encouraged to bring cameras, tape recorders and video recorders.  You may go home with actual documentation of spirit activity!  The tour begins and ends in front of the Historical Society Building (Old City Hall) at 101 South Main Street, St. Charles.  That’s on the corner of South Main and Jefferson.  Since the tour is all outdoors, participants are advised to dress for the weather.  Bring an umbrella if the forecast calls for rain, since this tour isn’t cancelled due to a downpour.  For more information, call (314) 374-6102.

6. For haunted tours from a paranormal research perspective, check out the St. Louis Ghost Tours by the St. Louis Paranormal Research Society.  The group offers several tours and events across the metro area throughout the year.  In South St. Louis, they’re offering a 90-minute walking tour called Lemp: America’s Most Haunted Neighborhood.  According to STLPRS, the famous Lemp Mansion is just one site in a cluster of hauntings.  Besides the tragic history of the Lemp family, tour goers will learn about a local man who was suspected of being Jack the Ripper.  There’s also a stop at a tragic Revolutionary War battle field that lead to the haunting of Cherokee Park.  The tour also takes you to the lost Whitnell’s Alley and Gate Street where you’ll learn the forgotten urban legend of the Screaming Lady, who some believe was Jack the Ripper’s first victim.  Tours begin at the Lemp Mansion gift show, 3322 DeMenil Place, at 7, 8 & 9 pm on Friday & Saturday evenings through October 28th.  Some dates and times are already sold out. So check the website for availability: www.SeeAGhost.com.

The St. Louis Paranormal Research Society is also currently offering both expert and novice ghost hunters a chance to join their investigation of the YWCA building in Alton at 304 East Third Street.  The YWCA Overnight Investigation looks into a haunting kept secret for some 80 years.  Participants will spend the night exploring and investigating this labyrinth of a building that is reported to be home to three very active ghosts.  STLPRS supplies all the equipment, including specially built night vision cameras.  You’ll get full access to the building and can roam freely through this massive complex.  The event will start at 10:00pm and last until 2am.  A prepaid reservation is required since there’s a strict limit to the number of participants.  All tours and events are book through the STLPRS website: www.SeeAGhost.com.

7. For a different haunted tour experience, try the Peabody Opera House’s Haunted History Tour.  The Peabody Opera House is an old and undocumented haunting that is believed to be deeply rooted in the history of St. Louis.  The current theater stands at the site where several buildings integral to the city’s history used to be.  They were torn down for the construction of the theater, then known as the Municipal Opera House, but they may have left something behind.  The Peabody Opera House has partnered with the St. Louis Paranormal Research Society to create this tour.  An experienced paranormal investigator will take you through the rich and haunted history of this beautiful and legendary venue.  These tours are currently only available through private group bookings.  To inquire, please contact Group Sales at 314-499-7676.  Get more information online at http://www.peabodyoperahouse.com/about-us/haunted-history-tours.

Some haunted tours have age restrictions.  Some are accessible, while others are not.  Check with the individual tour companies for complete rules and restrictions.

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Susan Smith-Harmon

Susan Smith-Harmon

Susan Smith-Harmon is an experienced writer, editor, and broadcast journalist with a strong news background. She’s worked in radio and television news, and for national and international newswire services.

She began her career in public radio while still a student at the University of Missouri-St. Louis (where she earned a B.A. in Communications). She soon made the jump to news/talk radio, handling assignments from field reporting, airborne traffic, and news anchor, to producing and hosting daily talk shows. She’s also worked in television, most recently as the inaugural producer for The Allman Report on KDNL-TV 30, and as a news writer and reporter for national and international newswire services.

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