Haunted Warehouse

May 01, 2003 9:30 PM  By

THE ST. LOUIS-BASED LEMP BREWERY once produced the most popular beer in the world. At its apogee the massive facility filled several city blocks, and sold suds from St. Louis to Singapore. Even upstart Anheuser-Busch could not compete with the mighty Lemps during their belle epoque, which spanned the better part of the nineteenth century.

Both the Lemps and their heady empire are now defunct. Evident victims of madness, melancholy, and Prohibition, the family allowed the great brewery to languish until finally it faded into insignificance.

What the Lemps did to their family business they also did to themselves. Suicide claimed four members of the family over the course of just two generations. The casualties included William Lemp Senior, his son Will Jr., and daughter Elsa. Charles Lemp, last of the line to enter the Great Beyond voluntarily, took his dog along for company.

Today the Lemp mansion and brewery are haunted! In fact, an article published in Life magazine in the 1980s ranked the house one of the top haunts in the entire country. Even more heavily ghost-infested than the aging family manor is the labyrinth of caves and man-made chambers directly beneath it. The Lemps settled in St. Louis because the city’s porous ground offered a dry, cool place to store beer. The Lemps converted a network of natural limestone caverns into a fantastic underground warehouse with dozens of interconnecting chambers. The family also added a few amenities for the sake of pure entertainment: a “ballroom,” a “theater,” and a “swimming pool.” It’s all still down there, and so, reportedly, are the Lemp ghosts.

Traveling through the Lemp underground is like talking a walking tour of the infernal region. The ambience is extraordinarily creepy, even by the exaggerated standards of abandoned, subterranean warehouses. You hear strange sounds and glimpse disturbing shapes out of the corner of your eye. The oddest phenomenon of all may be the inexplicable “extras” that sometimes show up on photos. Mists are not unusual, and “orbs” are downright common. (For the uninitiated, an “orb” is a translucent, spherical form occasionally captured in digital photography or on infrared video.) You can find orbs in cemeteries, haunted houses, and in this case, haunted warehouses. Is the Lemp underground really haunted? Investigate at your own risk.

A PERFECT 10

  • Given the news recently, it’s hard to believe that natural disasters are more likely to disrupt your operation than any other sort of problem. But that’s the statistical truth, according to an article in the May/June 1994 issue of O+F.

  • The key to minimizing loss from any type of disaster is to have a well-thought-out recovery plan in place before a disaster actually strikes your business.

  • Among the indispensible elements of a disaster recovery plan are a formal risk analysis, a company communications plan, a comprehensive information backup system, and a designated recovery team. Leaders of the disaster recovery team should keep copies of the plan at home, and the planning should include prior arrangements for alternative work sites.

  • Noting that “insurance is no substitute for planning,” the article does sound a hopeful note when it mentions that statistics show that most disasters don’t occur during business hours.