5 Most Haunted Places & Unexplained Events in Webster Groves, Missouri…
Webster Groves is a quiet suburb of St. Louis, in the heart of the United States. It has a history that stretches back to both Spanish and French colonial times, extending right through the American Civil War to today. And like many communities with so much history, the residents today have their share of unexplained happenings in their businesses and homes. Author Patrick Dorsey interviewed his neighbors and fellow residents about their haunting experiences for his book Haunted Webster Groves (available at Amazon.com and Amazon UK). Of all the tales he collected, here are five of the most unexpected and eerie:
5The Ghost of the Loretto Hilton Center for the Performing Arts
Located on the campus of Webster University, the Loretto Hilton Center for the Performing Arts is home to The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis and the Opera Theatre of St. Louis, as well as Webster University’s Conservatory of Theatre & Dance. The students, staff, actors, and crew there have experienced a wide range of ghostly encounters, with knocks and footsteps and doors crashing. But one spirit in particular has become known through the years for providing a helping hand and protecting students. On several occasions, crew have returned to the theatre after locking up to find the stage lighting adjusted—and always for the better. And there are at least three instances when a student on the catwalk lost balance and was about to fall, but was then miraculously pulled back and saved from a dangerous drop. Each one reported feeling a hand grab a shoulder or belt and pull them back. It’s believed the ghost is the spirit of David Hitzer, a Master Electrician for professional St. Louis theatre companies who passed away in the Loretto Hilton Center over thirty years ago. Some say he’s stayed to look after the lighting and the students and the venue he dedicated so much of his life to.
4The Lady On The Steps
In one home on Selma Avenue, a lifelong resident of the house has had to get used to a “roommate” she first met as a little girl. When she was around the age of seven, she recalls, she woke up in the middle of the night and walked out of her bedroom to find a woman she’d never seen before standing on the steps, glaring at her. In an antique dress, she perhaps could have been an intruder in costume—except for the fact she appeared transparent. The girl froze under the ghostly woman’s gaze, afraid to look away as the figure appeared to shift her weight from one foot to the other, eyes darting over her. Finally, she worked up the nerve to call out. When her mother stepped out of her bedroom, she immediately instructed her daughter to come with her to her room, insisting whatever her daughter saw was no ghost but a trick of the light. It wasn’t until ten year later that her mother admitted to her that she, too, saw the ghostly figure on the stairs that night—and two more times since. Having purchased her mother’s house since then, she continues to encounter the Lady on the Stairs, sometimes only as a shadow. And her own young children from time to time avoid the stairs, calling them simply “scary.”
3Discourteous Ghost at the Theatre Guild of Webster Groves
The Theatre Guild of Webster Groves is housed in an old, two-story Victorian building that could pass for just another home in the neighborhood. The place has been a music hall, a nursery school, a church, and a print shop. Cast and crew have experienced a full range of unexplained happenings, from shadowy faces on the walls and mystery figures disappearing backstage to footsteps in empty rooms and purloined costumes and accessories. One audience member had a particularly annoying encounter while attending a Guild production. Seated on the aisle at a sparsely-attended show, as the lights went down, he felt a kick on the back of his seat. And then another. And another. Through the entire first act, it happened over and over. He decided that, come intermission, he would let the kid behind him—and the kids’ parents—have a piece of his mind. When the first act ended and the lights came up, he turned around and found the seat behind him empty. In fact, the entire row behind him was empty. After intermission, he returned to his seat, and as the second act began, he made sure the row behind him was still empty. As he settled in for the conclusion of the show, he felt a kick on the back of his seat. And another. He looked over his shoulder, and there was still nobody in the whole row. But the kicking went on for the rest of the play.
2The Girl on the Grounds of Edgewood Children’s Centre
Though it began as an orphanage for children who lost their parents in the great St. Louis cholera epidemic in 1834, Edgewood Children’s Center is today a home for troubled children. The original building, called the Rock House, now sets among several more modern buildings. Gutted by an 1890 fire, the structure was rebuilt, but some say it remains haunted by a little girl who lost her life in the blaze—a little girl some continue to encounter even a century after her death. One employee tells of a snowy night he was on the late shift at the home. New and unfamiliar with any stories about the place, he was patrolling the grounds when he came around a corner and spotted in the mist and flurries a little girl standing outside the building some distance away. Not wanting to scare the child, he kept his flashlight low and called to her as he neared. Before he could reach her, she darted around the next corner of the building. As he rounded that corner, he felt the hair on the back of his next stand up as he found the girl at the opposite side of the building—too far away for her to have gone in such a short time. Still worried for her safety, he approached slowly, calling after her quietly. But when he was only a few paces away, the wind came up and he witnessed the girl whisp away like smoke on the air.
1Little Green Army Men in the Apartment
To get a feel for the neighborhoods before deciding where to buy, one resident opted to rent an apartment in the area. A small, one-bedroom place, she lived there alone for some time. One day, she let herself in and went to lay her purse on the table where she always dropped it, then stopped. Standing in the middle of the table was a green, plastic soldier. She had no children, and none had ever been there to visit. Considering for a moment, she decided that, perhaps, it belonged to the child of a previous renter, and maybe, while exploring the place as they do, her cats had come across it in the back of a closet and left it out. She tossed it in a drawer and thought no more about it . . . until three months later, when she came home and found another green plastic soldier standing in the same spot in the middle of the table. For three years, the green army men continued appearing every few months, always in the same spot, each one different—one with a rifle, one with a grenade, one with binoculars, and so on. She worried someone was breaking in, but the door was always secure, and the only window looked out over a sheer, thirty-foot drop to the parking lot. Right before she moved out, she came home to something different waiting on the table for her: a necklace with a small charm. A necklace she’d lost fifteen years and five homes before. In the same spot on the table where the soldiers always appeared.
It never happened to her again after she left that apartment.