Toast the (G)Host

C'mon, scaredy-pants, visit the (super-haunted) Lemp Mansion and Brewery

Just about anything can frighten you, the most timid of readers. An unusually cool room, a creaky and rotting floorboard, the midnight strike of the hallway grandfather clock, the feeling of unseen eyes staring you down from somewhere in the darkness. Even the Haunted Mansion ride at Disney World spooks you, and the hi-larious movie Evil Dead II shakes you up a bit with its Addams Family's Thing-type hand, complete with an evil mind of its own. So maybe you're not ready to visit the Lemp complex, the birthplace of Falstaff and St. Louis' own ground zero for ghosts and haunted happenings. Unlike your other fears (the Haunted Mansion? Really?), your scary thoughts of this place in south city are justified.

If you do dare to venture out in the darkness, say, to the Lemp Mansion Restaurant and Inn (3322 DeMenil Place; 314-664-8024 or www.lempmansion. com), prepare for an early Halloween as Stephen P. Walker signs his book, Lemp: The Haunting History, from 6 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, October 27. The book details all the gore of four family suicides (including William Lemp Jr., pictured) and the rise and fall of a once-powerful brewery. Enjoy free admission and snacks as you peruse the tales of ghostly encounters at the end of the history: They're sure to goose-bump even the toughest of skin.

But if the nighttime is just too terrifying, and if on Sunday, All Hallow's Eve, you feel unusually brave, visit the Lemp Brewery (3500 Lemp Avenue; 314-577-0405) for a Halloween party/book-release celebration from 1 to 3 p.m. A new edition of Hubert and Charlotte Rother's book, Lost Caves of St. Louis, is revealed during the free event -- and so are the caves beneath the brew house. Venture into this small corner of the bowels of St. Louis and see where the ghosts live. After all, fair's fair, and you know the spooking specters have already visited your house.

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