Mosby Ghost Stories: Remodeling in Haunted Homes
We remodel St. Louis homes of all ages, and we do love working on century homes. Now, we’re not saying all homes in the 100 year old range are haunted – but homes of that vintage are more prone to having some ectoplasmic activity.
Now, we’re not saying these anecdotes confirm our belief in ghosts – but strange things do happen from time to time. And know that NAMES AND IDENTIFYING DETAILS HAVE BEEN CHANGED TO PROTECT THE SPIRITS FROM BEING DISCOVERED IN THEIR DWELLINGS.
South Side Shenanigans
The City of St. Louis has had folks milling about and building up since 1764, so that’s a lot of history of souls in the soil and the mist. So, St. Louis has its fair share of famously haunted houses, like the Lemp Mansion.
But there’s plenty of generational activity in the thousands of unassuming St. Louis homes built between the Civil War and World War 1. Like this one charming brick bungalow in South St. Louis, on one of those streets named after states. We built a new detached garage for the family currently living in this South Side century home, and working in the backyard and alley was relatively uneventful. But if you got close to the house…?
Like this one day, at the start of the project, when two members of the Mosby Planning and Design department were in the backyard measuring and taking photos. Let’s have Betty – who was there – tell it:
“I was measuring the back side of the house, and even though it was broad daylight in summer, the house just gave me the chills. At one point, I was measuring by the stairs leading to the basement door, and out of the corner of my eye I saw someone suddenly standing next to me. It startled me. And as I jumped back, couldn’t help but notice there was no one there!
“Maybe it was Mike (her co-worker) walking by? No, he was nowhere in the backyard. He was in the alley measuring the front of the garage. But there WAS someone there – I saw it, right? It spooked me. Needless to say, Mike had to measure the basement for me, because I wasn’t stepping foot down there!”
Once the garage was under construction, the Mosby crew was casually chatting with the homeowner, who casually mentioned that their house was haunted. She said they often heard “kids” playing upstairs and often had to tell them to quiet down because they’d make such a ruckus!
Upon learning of this from a Mosby carpenter, Betty replied, “Well, those kids play out in the backyard, as well!”
Webster Groves Ghouls
The St. Louis County township of Webster Groves was founded right before the Civil War began, so its stock of historical homes is rather impressive. And, naturally, some of them have to be haunted, or so they say.
We were doing some extensive interior remodeling on a house reported to sit atop a former slave plantation. During the early days of this project, every Mosby carpenter experienced lights being turned off in the rooms where they worked. It happened so frequently that they got used to it, and simply turned the lights back on and continued working.
When this regular occurrence was finally mentioned to the homeowners, they indicated they know about this. They intimated that other things happen in the house as well, but stopped short of using the words “haunted” or “ghost.”
Shortly after this conversation, Mosby carpenters Tad and Van were working in the basement, and were talking with each other about some of the poor quality construction. After candidly mentioning that the carpentry was remedial, all the lights went out. Turns out they went out only in the basement, and were back on by the time they returned. While being used to the lights regularly turning off, the timing on this one made them feel as if someone was listening, and not amused by what they said.
Shortly after this incident, Tad was in the attic, doing ceiling work on a ladder. The ladder was very secure and stable – he’d been up and down it 7 or 8 times. With no one else in the space, and with no change in Tad’s movements or set up, the ladder simply fell out from under him. Tad crashed to the ground and suffered a major injury that sidelined him from field work for a couple of months.
In the hospital after surgery, Tad was in a clearer state of mind to share details of the accident. He said, “The ladder slid out from under me in a sideways manner, like it had been kicked or hit from the side. Usually, if ladders aren’t secured correctly they slide out from under you, going straight back. But this ladder went left and I fell right. It was bizarre, and there’s no logical explanation for it.”
While Tad was out recuperating, another member of his production team was working alone in the same attic (not on a ladder – no way!) when he heard the sound a slowly creaking door. He looked around to trace the sound, and saw one of the small doors on a half wall slowly but deliberately swinging open. It looked as if something was deliberately opening it, and he waited for something – anything – to dart out. But there was nothing but an open door, and one spooked carpenter.
Talk about a job site making you feel like a (black) cat on a hot tin roof… The entire Mosby crew was greatly relieved when this project was completed right before Halloween. Even the bravest can handle only so much!