|Ghosts & Haunts In Missouri The Book House Stories|
|Hi, I grew up in the Book House. I lived in the upstairs with my mother and my sister roughly between the ages of 2 and 10. I currently live in Chicago, attending the Art Institute. I am in process of making an autobiographical comic about my experience with the ghosts in the Book House. I came across this site while searching for editorials, and other points of view about the Book House. I thought you might enjoy an inside perspective. I remember first thinking about the ghost when there were repeated disturbances to a baby-gate that was placed at the top of the stairs to prevent my toddler sister from falling down the stairs. It would be heard shaking violently in the middle of the night. Sometimes it would be found "thrown" down the stairs. This was quite disturbing and kept me up at night. This phenomenon was inconsistent, so it was hard to pinpoint what was causing it
The most terrifying thing that happened was in the middle of the night when I was about eight. I was awoken by my sister. She was hysterical but unable to talk, as she is disabled. Our dog was visibly upset and was growling at the stairs. I got out of bed to see what was happening. Looking down the stairs I was startled to see a strange man staring back at me. It was dark and I could only make out his silhouette. I remember that he had a very distinct smell - like smoke. I knew that he was not supposed to be there. I remember screaming and being frozen with terror. I think that I believed at first that he was a robber who had broken into the store. I ran to my mother's room and told her that there was someone in the house. As I was banging on her door, (now the philosophy room in the store) I
remembered that my mom's boyfriend was in the house, and I began to feel a little silly, because it might have been him. When she opened the door, I asked where her boyfriend was. She literally said "You look like you have seen a ghost.", which is funny. Then her boyfriend came to the door and I said "There's someone in the house." I stayed in her room with my sister and my dog and sat, rocking and shaking, while the adults both investigated the downstairs. When they came back about 10 minutes later, they said that nothing had been disturbed. "Are you sure you didn't dream it?" My dog and my sister were unable to tell them that they had seen it too. Upon growing up, moving out, and reading literature, I find it interesting how oedipal the experience is. I have no memory of this, but according to my mother, and now the book "Spirits of St. Louis," I am documented as having grown attached to an invisible friend as a small child, often seen holding hands with an invisible person. I also often referring to a relationship that I had with a red-head girl. When I try to think back of it, I do have a almost cinematic ghostly memory of a spiritual experience with a red-headed girl. But, then again, my mother is a red-head. Perhaps this was just a representation of the Freudian pre-conscious love for my mother...? If
you think about it, this also corresponds to the appearance of the dark and evil male presence that was standing directly below my mother's new boyfriend. At another time, My mother described feeling a child crawl into bed with her, then noticing that it was not me or my sister. Perhaps these emotions became so intense that they manifested into (meta)physical phenomenon? This contradicts my mother's experience with buying the place. It's been my understanding that she bought it from a creepy witch-like lady who only sold the store to my mother because she was a red-head and cackled as she went out the door saying "You will soon meet Valerie." There have been countless complications to the story, investigative news stories, seance's from psychics, paranormal ghost-busters, they seem to peace a story together that there was a red-head girl that lived in the house and was murdered(drowned in a well) by her dad, ostensibly because she witnessed some illegal activity (perhaps related to prohibition or illegal gambling) that was taking place. It's hard to tell how much of these investigations are hype. Granted, the ghost has definitely helped the business. There is something going on, but I find myself not believing that ghosts represent dead people who have "unfinished business," or something along those lines.
I believe other people's ghosts stories less than my own, hypocritical as that is. I can't really explain it, but I feel that
can be explained as physical manifestations of intense emotional disturbances, perhaps paralleled to similar emotional disturbances that happened at some other time, in the same space. This would explain the fact that "ghosts" are hard to document. It's hard to
use the scientific method on emotional trauma.
I saw the ghost of the little girl,in fact my older sister saw her too...
She didn't help me at all,I think she try to scare me,after I said this:
"Well,if she is a real ghost I know how to handle her,because its not like I haven't handle a ghost before.",when I was walking down the main stairs,then the lights went on and off,I ran back to my older sister,(in the poet room),and then it happen we both saw her...we saw her move across the doorway,(that was across from us),she was a slow-moving blurr,she was silver and green(I think),and I couldn't see her face that good....
But thats not the end,when we(My dad,sister,and me) leaving I looked up at the poet room and saw a little girl wave to me,then she disappeared.
I love your site, I had no idea I lived close to so many haunted sites. I have a story and an observation to share with you. As far as observations go, I was on your index and was looking at the "South St. Louis Private Residence" segment. In the picture of the cellar, with the two faces on the metal, I was waiting for it to load. The picture was very large during the loading phase and in the dirt wall I saw two faces, a human face that appeared to be contorted in pain, and a skull. Like you said, it could be just "The Rorschach effect", but I found it interesting none the less. I've been frequenting the Book House since I was a little girl, and I wanted to share my experiences with you. I've never seen Valerie directly, however, I have felt distinctly watched while on the small, spiral staircase and in the small front room with the window. A few times, books have randomly fallen out of the shelves at my feet, and once, it was exactly the book I was looking for. I want to add that while I feel a heavy, watched feelings often times while at the shop, I have never felt negative energy, or felt threatened. This is definitely a friendly little spirit! I also, while in the science fiction section, felt a small pressure on my shoulder (I was bending down), but this was so long ago I don't remember whether or not I had the watched feeling. I'm not psychic, but I'm pretty good at picking up on some of these vibes, and if I experience anything else on further visits, I will let you know. Thank you for your wonderful site!
Hi! I love your site, and wanted to share my own experiences at The Book House, which I have been visiting since I was a little girl. Like Laura Jo, whose letter you have posted here- she is my older sister- I have never actually seen Valerie, but I have had several weird experiences there. Like my sister I often feel watched on that spiral staircase, and when outside, you can catch a glimpse of white light from the little circle window upstairs. Never any bad vibes, but in the history/biography upstairs rooms, I have felt distinctly a heavy presence. On certain occasions, usually in the spring, I'll pass through an ice-cold spot, or feel one behind me, and all the hairs on my arms will stand straight up. The strangest thing that ever happened to me occurred when I was alone in the Biography room. I was searching for any books on the last Kaiser of Germany, and couldn't find any I hadn't read. Feeling frustrated, I turned to leave the room, when something yanked sharply on the hem of my skirt. I whirled around, knocking over a pile of books- and right at my feet landed a first edition of the Kaiser's Memoirs! Thank you, Valerie!
I may have figured out the problem. The reason I was confused about The Book House's location was because the addresses around Mar-El Ct. and Flesher Dr. were 5 digits, not 4. I found the Book House on mapquest.com. It is actually located at 9719 Manchester Road in Webster Groves, Missouri, 63119. This is nowhere near Mar-El Ct. or Flesher Dr. It's actually about 25 minutes away. The Book House is in Webster Groves, not Ellisville. I also checked the Book House's website, and it said that they are home to at least one documented ghost, so I'm assuming it's the same place. I thought I would let you guys know in case this was throwing anybody else off. You may want to post these new directions on the site. Hope this helps.
I have never told anyone this before because I feel like a kook just thinking about it, but since other people are actually taking this seriously I'll share. I have been going to the Bookhouse for years to buy and sell since I'm a pretty voracious reader, and I have often felt like there was someone near me even when I couldn't see or hear any other customers around. But since it's an old building, and I'm blessed with what I have always thought of as strong intuition, (it has saved my bacon many times let me tell you!) I wasn't bothered by the feeling, and actually it was a sort of a friendly, good company, just hanging out with you sort of feeling. One day about four years ago, in the afternoon early in the week I was in dropping off some books to exchange and just poking around in the fiction/children's room and when I came around the stacks toward the front windows there was a little girl about four or five sitting on the floor between two cases of children's books. She was very pale, kind of scrawny and had blond hair. I didn't think any thing of it at all. I smiled at her and said "Hi, are you home from school already?" She just looked at me very intently with no expression on her face, pulled a book out of the shelf in front of her, put it on the floor by her and then walked past me out through the shelves. I thought she was kind of odd, perhaps even autistic, or maybe just very shy. I picked up the book she had put down and it was an old golden book illustrated by Eloise Wilken which I collect, it wasn't particularly rare or anything but it was one of the few I didn't have, so I was glad to find it. I can't stress enough how ordinary, calm, peaceful and friendly the whole encounter seemed. The only thing that seemed even remotely strange was the little girls demeanor. I browsed around some more for probably another half hour and I did not see the little girl again. I went to check out and while the girl working there was checking my balance on her computer the woman who owns the place came in with a little girl about seven or eight who had her backpack with her and they were chatting away having obviously just come from school. I said hi to the owner and said, "I met your other little girl a few minutes ago and she found this book for me." The owner and the girl working at the desk laughed and the owner said, "This is my only daughter. You must have seen the ghost." Then we all laughed and I left them with the impression that I knew what the heck they were talking about and that I had been joking. Well, I wasn't joking and it could have been some random neighborhood kid wandering around unsupervised, but I was the only customer in there the whole time I was there, and I pretty sure I'm not hallucinating (most days anyway), so make of it what you will, that's what happened to me. I've been back lots of times since then and I have seen the owners now not so little girl a few times, but I've never seen the blond one again.
Webster Grove Kook
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