by Taylor Leonard
Hundreds of historical buildings remain upright along the Mississippi River without a ghost in sight. A select few, however, have been consistently cited by occupants, visitors, and researchers as housing spirits of lives long past. Starting north and working 2320 miles south, here are the most haunted buildings standing by the Mississippi River:
Minneapolis City Hall
350 S 5th St, Minneapolis, MN
Few natives of the bigger half of the Twin Cities are aware that their downtown city hall was once the scene of an execution by hanging in 1897. Cleaning crews working late into the night have claimed to have been told firmly by an unknown male voice to leave immediately, only to find no one around. Many attribute the mysterious verbal warning to the spirit of the executed criminal.
2018 Alby St, Alton, IL
Built between 1869 and 1871, the McPike Mansion become abandoned and left to rot throughout the latter half of the 20th century. Reported encounters with the ghosts of a former owner and domestic servant continue to attract researchers interested in documenting detectable forms of paranormal activity in the 16-room house.
1320 Milton Rd, Alton, IL
An urban legend claims a student named Mary was discovered raped and murdered in the Milton Elementary School in the 1930s, a deed allegedly done by a custodian later found dead in the school with “I did it” scribbled on a piece of paper nearby. Students and occupants report seeing the shadow of a girl where none are standing and hearing the stuttered mumblings of an unseen man.
3322 Demenil Pl, St. Louis, MO
The Lemp Mansion was built (and named) for a brewing dynasty which once rivaled Anheuser-Busch. Multiple members of the Lemp family committed suicide in the home over the years. Converted to a boarding house and later a bed and breakfast, owners, occupants, and guests have repeatedly reported paranormal encounters transpiring throughout the building.
680-690 Adams Ave, Memphis, TN
Built in the immediate aftermath of the U.S. Civil War, the Woodruff-Fontaine House is no stranger to tragedy. Mollie Woodruff Wooldridge, daughter of the home’s original owner, had two children and a husband die within its walls. Specifically, in the Rose Room on the second floor. Mollie’s ghost is said to be seen and heard weeping in the room late into the night.
203 S Main St, Memphis, TN
The newest of all the buildings on the list, the Orpheum Theatre first opened its doors in 1928. Two different ghosts are said to spook workers and audience members from time to time. One is little Mary, purportedly killed in a car accident in front of the theatre. She slams doors and turns lights off and on. The other is a masked phantom said to wave to audience members from air ducts above.
The Lalaurie House
1140 Royal St, New Orleans, LA
In 1834 a fire in the French Quarter home of the elite LaLaurie family led to the discovery of an attic torture chamber where slaves were chained and disemboweled alive. One victim had animal feces put into her mouth which was then sewn shut. It was believed dozens of slaves met their ghastly demise in the LaLaurie attic over the years, the spirits of whom continue to haunt the property.
The overwhelming majority of historic buildings standing near the Mississippi River are devoid of paranormal activity. Some, however, seem to contain spirits resistant to the idea of completely giving in to the other side. Perhaps they are emboldened by familiar surroundings? In some cases you have to wonder why they’d choose to stick around. Maybe they can’t leave?