Some of my best memories growing up in a suburb of St. Louis revolve around the Fall. The change in the air meant haunted attractions would open their doors to teenagers who stood in line for hours in Lettermen’s jackets to let off some screams, uh, steam.
One of the most popular haunted attractions was … and still is … the Lemp Brewery. For years I would take the large freight elevator into the alleged caverns beneath the historic brewery and get as scared as possible along with my closest friends. Then we’d laugh all the way home at our reactions.
Nearby those caverns and that historic brewery stood the Lemp Mansion. At the time it was host to a mystery dinner theater and I convinced a few friends to splurge and go with me. We had the time of our lives laughing and trying to figure out “who done it.” But I also remember being captivated by the look and feel of the mansion and realizing I was standing in a place of iconic St. Louis history.
I grabbed pamphlets (this was before the internet was readily available) and learned the haunted and tragic history of the home. Three suicides were committed within the halls of the ornate mansion and one flyer talked about the hauntings that occurred there. I vowed to one day return and check it out myself.
As it turns out, life took over and after college I moved to Florida and really only got back to the Show Me State to visit family for quick weekends. I haven’t been back since. However, when I started Phantom History, I just knew I needed to learn more about the Lemp’s history and get some stories firsthand.
I was thrilled when Betsy Burnett-Belanger agreed to speak with me. She’s the Lemp Mansion’s resident historian and ghost hunter and was a wealth of information. Her experience, her kindness and her willingness to share some of her own encounters, along with her vast knowledge of the history of the Lemps, is what makes this one of my favorite episodes.
I definitely plan to return in person in the near future and you can bet I’ll ask Betsy for a personal tour. Maybe I’ll get a chance to get the Lemps of the past myself!