Bryan W. Alaspa,
Ghosts of St. Louis
(Schiffer, 2007)

In Ghosts of St. Louis, the reader is treated to a tour of the city's haunted places, with especial emphasis on Lemp Mansion. The Lemp family built its fortune brewing and selling beer but, plagued by suicides, appears to have been anything but happy. It is no wonder, then, that the family mansion should be haunted by so many ghosts.

A gossipy history of the Lemp family, sightings of their ghosts and an account of the author's overnight stay at the family mansion (now a bed-and-breakfast) occupy about two-thirds of this slim volume (only 160 pages). The rest is taken up with discussion of St. Louis's other haunted places, including short chapters on the Gehm House, university haunts, Civil War atrocities, the McPike Mansion and the Mineral Springs hotel. Also included are a guide for urban exploration and a ghost hunter's glossary and equipment list.

While the subject of the book is interesting enough, the writing is rough and unpolished, with a lot of repetition. For example, from chapter nine: The history of the house has been discussed previously because the history of the house is so tied with the family who owned it. The history of the Lemp mansion is entwined with the history of the Lemp family, and the two cannot be separated. The book is peppered with such repetitions; another pass with the red pencil would undoubtedly have caught them.

Certainly if you collect books about hauntings, or St. Louis, or plan to be visit the city, pick this one up. But I don't recommend it for the casual reader.

review by
Laurie Thayer

22 March 2008

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