The Lemp Mansion in St. Louis is frequently cited as one of the most haunted places in America. If you know me you know I love ghosts and ghost TV shows and scary movies, and have even had my own experiences, so it made sense that I should go to the Lemp Mansion on Halloween night for a tour. My friend Josh agreed to accompany me. We could bring cameras, but, according to the rules, no video cameras or digital recorders. (Totally whack)
To give you the history of why the Lemp Mansion is haunted in brief - Adam Lemp moved here from Germany in 1838 and started a grocery, and soon began a brewery which was the first in the country to sell German lager. His son William Lemp took over the brewery after his death, and achieved much success, including nationwide and eventually worldwide distribution. William had five kids.
The tragedies began when William's favorite son, Frederick, died of heart failure at 28 in 1901. William was so distraught with grief, and unable to recover from the loss, that he committed suicide by gunshot in 1904. William, Jr. took over the brewery shortly after. He had a tumultuous marriage with Lillian Handlan, eventually ending in divorce. Prohibition caused the decline of the Lemp Brewery, which was sold at auction in 1922 for far, far less than it was worth. In December of that year, William, Jr. committed suicide by gunshot.
Elsa Lemp was the youngest child of William, Sr. and herself had a rocky marriage. In March of 1920, shortly after remarrying the same man, she committed suicide by gunshot.
Charles Lemp, the third son of William, Sr., never married and lived in the mansion with his dog and servants. In May of 1949, he shot his dog in the basement, then went upstairs and committed suicide by gunshot.
To take a breather from all the shooting one's self in the face, if you read the Wikipedia article on the mansion there's no mention of the child of, I believe, William, Jr. The child was special needs, perhaps had Downs syndrome, and this being the callous first half of the twentieth century, he was kept in the attic his entire life. He died there in, I think, his teens.
So, lots of tragedy makes for great hauntings. The mansion has even been on TV's Ghost Hunters (but, sadly, not yet Ghost Adventures. Single tear) I figured, what better way to encounter a ghost than to go to a haunted house on Halloween???
Well. Let's just get it out of the way. My group of about thirty who went to the late tour didn't encounter any shadow figures, any full-bodied apparitions, any disembodied voices, any poltergeist activity (moving objects), nothing of the sort. The most that happened was hearing knocks in the attic (and I only heard one of those). The tour guide was a lady who I guess is supposed to be clairvoyant, so she was all about claiming to see a waif in the doorway, or having to step around Charles's ghost dog; none of which I believe. I mean, come on. Because she has some 'gift,' she can see things that we can't. And we're just supposed to believe it. How scientific.
We got a chance to try out dousing rods, which the tour guide had demonstrated during her talk before the tour started (and her talk was, no lie, AN HOUR LONG). I could totally see her moving her body to manipulate the rods. When I tried them, I could only see that what they're made of (copper?) and how they're mad (maybe kind of weighted?) allows for some movement in your grip but nothing more. I've always hated the whole dousing rod thing, LOL. (Find me a well!)
I did encounter a cold spot in the dining room we were sitting in during her interminable talk (in which she did things like give us the definition of a ghost), but since we were supposed to be listening to her I couldn't say anything. A curtain tassle hanging from a window behind her seemed to be moving rather vigorously on its own, which Josh thought was awesome, but I could feel some cold air seeping in so I wasn't totally convinced that it wasn't just the movement of air causing it. Then again, I'm not totally convinced it was.
Anyway, Josh and I took about a million photos trying to catch a floating torso or glowing demon eyes or, more likely, orbs. Skeptics like to dismiss orbs as bugs or dust, in their typical way of necessarily dismissing everything in order to preserve their worldview. Orbs in the paranormal world are spheres of light that show up in photographs and on video, and are sometimes even visible to the naked eye, and they are meant to represent the presence of a spirit (since spirits are generally just energy).
Josh started catching orbs right away, and multiple orbs, and nice bright glowing orbs. I think the ghosts liked him. I was convinced they did not like me. I could not see any orbs whatsoever in any of the photos I took. I was totally bummed. Totally.
Anyway, our Lemp Mansion experience did not convince us of the existence of ghosts, that's for sure (even though I have to believe now after working at a haunted daycare). But I decided to go over my photos on my laptop and maybe something would be more visible on a larger screen.
So without further ado....
They are translucent, and difficult to see so please, put your nose up to the computer screen if you have to. I have helpfully drawn a red box around them to aid you.
This one is situated over the couch just so as to indicate perhaps a ghost sitting on it?? (yeah, I watch too much Ghost Adventures)
Ghost are supposed to LIVE down dark hallways, so I was super-bummed until I noticed the orb in this photo.
Is this ghost coming down the stairs?? (Probably to say hello to Josh?)
And with this orb's position low against the stair railing.....could it be Charles's dog?!?!
Good times, right.
My dream job would, obviously, be 'ghost hunter,' because I just think ghosts are awesome and I have the patience to do an all-night investigation. And I clearly have the patience to go through 150 photos checking every nook and cranny for tiny, faint orbs. There's an old penitentiary in the state capital that hosts all-night ghost hunts for a hundred bucks. One day!!
So as you know, the St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series.
*pause for moment of reflection*
So, of course I went to the celebratory parade last Sunday.
My friend and I got there (way too) early to make sure we had a spot right at the barricades. I had brought my telephoto lens, but it's no fun regardless to be stuck behind a bunch of people and be that much further from the players we'd otherwise NEVER be that close to in life.
I thought I'd be smart and put my camera in sports mode so I wouldn't have to worry about blur and I'd be able to click away as fast as I wanted. But me being me, I zoinked out and put it in shutter priority mode (I guess making the primitive connection of the letter 's'). But it did result in a kind of cool photo I otherwise wouldn't have gotten.
And then sometimes the players wouldn't face our side of the street, so couple that with an unresponsive shutter, and you get madness! But, I'm glad for the photos I did manage to get.
Good times all around. =)
A little over a week ago, best friend/photographer Sara tipped me off that it was time. Time to see southern Missouri dressed in autumn.
So, off I went. =)
On Sunday I left out around 5:15am, hoping to reach rural southeast MO by the time the sun began creeping over the treetops. And this I accomplished; however, it is really hard to find good places to pull over, because the vast majority of the side of the road begins with ditches (or hollows). So even if I found something to photograph, it would be impossible without endangering myself/my car or just parking in the road. But I'm not one to let a little hardship stop me! There was enough abundance of early morning light and colorful leaves to get some shots I liked.
During my trip to visit Sara and Justin over the summer, we took a lot of side and back roads that I know nothing about, so imagine my surprise when I passed the entrance to Indian Trail State Park, just cruising down Hwy 19! I love how easy it is to get to. And by staying on 19 I was able to get back to Round Spring also. Alas, this is the time of the year when the spring is, as the website says, a "chocolate brown," so not much to see there - but I did investigate the creek and thought it was cool how the grasses are submerged in the water.
After picking up an Ozark Scenic Riverways brochure, I saw that Alley Mill, which we didn't have time to go see in July, was just a little further down 19, west on 106 past Eminence. It was only 10am at that point, so I figured, what the heck. :)
On the way I got some photos of quintessential southeast Missouri views.
Some great trees on the grounds of the mill and spring.
The bridge leading to the mill...
And here we have Alley Mill.
You can go inside. It's all set up with the original antique equipment, a tiny shop (where I bought a book on how to grow all the food I need on a tenth of an acre or something), and a little exhibit on the second floor. I had no idea it was set up that way, so it was a nice treat.
But ahoy, I mentioned a spring too! This one is still paradise blue, and actually about two or three times the size of Round Spring, and about the same size as Blue Spring.
The average daily flow of Alley Spring is 81 million gallons. To the right of the spring the water flows over rocks and begins gushing its way downhill towards the small river that leads away from the spring and mill.
Alley Mill and Spring are definitely a photographer's delight, just like the brochure said. =)
Just before the parking area for the mill, a bridge crosses over Jacks Fork River, and there's a walking bridge and, across the way, a little place to park. So on my way back, I walked out over the river to get a few shots.
By then it was a quarter to one, so I decided to head home. I had entertained going to Meramec State Park, because there's a river and lots of photo opps, but peaceful, scenic Alley Spring took care of that for me. I also had originally thought I might not head back till after sunset, but I had only gotten three hours of sleep the night before and was gonna be pretty beat by then, probably too beat to drive three hours home. So, I hit the pavement, and enjoyed the beautiful day all the way to home.