haunted house

A Haunted House Tale ~ The Curse of the Lemp Mansion

Not for sale. This is the third in our Halloween series of ghostly houses – a haunted house tale that might interest you – The Curse of the Lemp Mansion.

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Johann Adam Lemp

As a rags-to-riches story, the Lemp family tale is like none other. Johann Adam Lemp left his home in Germany and emigrated to St. Louis in 1838. Back then the only beers available in the US were strong English ales. So Lemp, along with a Philadelphia partner, introduced the lighter German-style beer that has become America’s favorite.

Lemp discovered that the caverns underneath St. Louis acted as a natural coolant. That allowed him to ramp up production without spoilage, thus leading him to purchase a brewery and the Lemp Mansion over the caverns in which his beer was stored.

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Although few have heard of it today, Lemp’s Falstaff beer became a success practically overnight, and was the most popular beer well into the 20th century, leading over second fiddle Anheuser/Busch’s Budweiser. But tragedy soon struck.

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Frederick Lemp

Johann died in 1862, leaving the business to his son William. In 1901, William’s son Frederick, who was to inherit the brewery, died suddenly from heart failure. When William’s best friend, Frederick Pabst, of Pabst Blue Ribbon fame, died in 1904, William became distraught. He shot himself in the head in the family mansion.

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William Lemp

The mansion and business was then left to William’s son Billy. He sadly ran it into the ground, shuttering it abruptly in 1919. Soon after, he and his sister Elsa both committed suicide. Thirty years later, another of William’s eight children, Charles, shot his dog to death and then himself.  He left a note simply saying, “In case I am found dead, blame it on no one but me.”

Screen Shot 2019-10-29 at 3.43.44 PMBut rumors were sparked that the blame actually rested on the Lemp Mansion – that the house was haunted and possessed a curse under which Lemp family members suffered tragic deaths.


Each room in the mansion has a ghostly tale. On occasion, small objects will move around Charles’ bedroom without cause. A stain that looks like his dog’s blood exists on the floor. Another bedroom sometimes emanates a raw sewage smell, indicating that a spirit dislikes you. A small child roams the hallway, a shadowy man lurks in the basement and a vanishing spirit has been seen eating a meal in the dining room.

Screen Shot 2019-10-29 at 3.52.28 PMThe story of the aforementioned Elsa Lemp should be told here. Elsa was the youngest of William’s eight children and became the wealthiest woman in St. Louis in adulthood. She had a troubled marriage, however, and after their only daughter died in childbirth, she filed for divorce and cutting her husband Thomas out of her will entirely. A year later they remarried, but just 12 days after, Elsa killed herself with a single gunshot to the heart.

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While Elsa suffered the same family curse as her father and brothers, she died in her own home so her ghost does not reside at Lemp Mansion. The ghosts that haunt her childhood bedroom at Lemp Mansion are the spirits of terminally ill children. In the twentieth century, the mansion was utilized as overflow for a pediatric hospital, and the mischievous kids have been known to pull the sheets out from under sleeping guests.

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Whether you believe in haunted houses or not,The Curse of the Lemp Mansion is certainly a tragic tale.

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Lemp Mansion today.

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