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Bump In The Night

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Bump In The Night


Bump In The Night Historic Building Along South Main Street Home To Haunting Reports In Shops and Cafes By Linda Briggs-Harty Special To The St. Charles Post


COPIED FROM: The St. Louis Post-Dispatch ARCHIVES Originally published on Wednesday, October 29, 1997.


When asked about his belief in ghosts, the English poet Coleridge said he had seen too many to believe in them.


A merchant, restaurateur, clerk and an innkeeper on South Main Street in St. Charles may not have seen ghosts, but they admit that strange events in the historic buildings smack of the supernatural.


V'Anne Mydler, who with husband Paul runs Boones Lick Trail Inn at 1000 South Main Street, said rumors of the hauntings are spreading.


"So many people I meet ask about ghosts on South Main. It scares some people off," Mydler said.


As members of the South Main Preservation Society, the Mydlers want to allay fear about personal threats.


"I understand these are friendly ghosts," Mydler said.


The ghost reported to be staying on the third floor of their old brick building helps Mydler and her aides when they descend the narrow, uneven stairs, she said.


When the previous owner sold them the building about 10 years ago, she warned Mydler about the "watchful eye."


"Off and on, when I trip down the stairs, I say my ghost friend wasn't looking out for me," Mydler said.


John and Tru Dengler, who own the old Farmer's Home building at 700 South Main, have a hotbed of hauntings. Most of the seemingly paranormal events occur in the Denglers' second-floor apartment, above their tobacco shop.


John, a skeptic, said his wife, daughters and tenants have had strange happenings, many of which he can't explain.


Peggy Behm, who owns Country Stitchin' in the building, heard someone whisper her name behind her shoulder. Turning, she found no one around.


While painting in daylight in an upstairs parlor, Tru Dengler said she saw a cigarette pack float across the room. The radio changed back and forth from KMOX to a classical station.


Another time, Tru Dengler said she heard a French voice soothe a crying baby. Heavy bootsteps often are heard in the halls and on staircases when no one is upstairs.


Dengler said ghosts, if present, might be related to remains left behind when St. Charles Borromeo Church moved a cemetery that stood next to the original church in the 400 block of South Main. Or maybe it's a kind of time warp, he said.


Donna Hafer, owner of the Mother-in-Law House Restaurant at 500 South Main, says she has a happy ghost who finally feels loved.


When Hafer bought the building 16 years ago, she sought a psychic's advice about disturbing events. On the side Francis Kremer built for his mother-in-law in 1866, business ran amok - spilled coffee, mixed-up orders, irate customers and the like.


The psychic said the mother-in-law was angry that Kremer walled the house into a duplex, cutting her off from the family. Hafer must console the lonely soul with loving words, the psychic said, after blessing the building.


Despite some questioning of the story by historians, Hafer said: "Business has been great on both sides ever since. I tell mother-in-law I love her every night."


Lynn Walters, a former clerk at the now-defunct Oddly Appropriate Shop at 519 South Main, often heard footsteps during the day in an upstairs room. The stairs were off-limits to customers and blocked by merchandise.


"You know how it creaks when someone walks on wood floors. I had goosebumps," Walters said.


Owner Shari Leppannen admitted to Walters that her mother, who once tended the shop, also heard footsteps and thought it was a ghost.


Walters had it out with the ghost one day. She went to the stairs and told it to quit driving her crazy. She heard no other sounds upstairs until the day the shop closed.


"I think it was saying good-bye," Walters said.


Walters, a writer who lives in St. Peters, hopes to weave the hauntings into a mystery novel some day.



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