Rural Missouri - October 2021 - 32
by Paul Newton | email@example.com
he hustle and bustle of the busy suburban downtown
gives way to quiet evenings just blocks away
from the Missouri River. As you navigate the
cobblestone sidewalks and roadways of downtown
St. Charles, you're pulled back in time as you hear about
the history and paranormal happenings in the river town.
Whether it's the sheriff who died by suicide more than
a century ago or the mysterious " Lady in White " whose
spirit lingers in the downtown, your night is sure to be
For more than 15 years, guests have been visiting St.
Charles to learn more about the town's rich
history and paranormal activity. Michael Henry
launched St. Charles Ghost Tours in 2006
and has been leading the year-round walking
tours ever since.
The tour is as much about the history of the
area as it is the paranormal activities.
" You have to have the history or it's just a
ghost story; it would be pointless, " Michael says.
" For many people they're just interested in what
has happened in the past and what remains today. It's
almost a defi ance of death. "
Tours run nearly every evening, originating at the 100
block of South Main Street. Michael greets the groups of
up 25 guests before departing down the street. " We start
with the overview of the area, going back to the Native
American roots, " Michael says. " People have been in this
location going back thousands of years. "
There are plenty of stops along the way, including the
former site of the St. Charles gallows. Highlights from the
tour include a stop at the replica of the 1791 St. Charles
Borromeo Catholic Church. The log structure sits on a
piece of land just behind South Main Street on the former
site of a potter's fi eld. The bodies were to be removed, but
Michael explains some were left. This is where people have
witnessed the Lady in White. " She's the one we see most
frequently, " Michael says.
The apparition is of a young girl who likely died of cholera
after giving birth. She was buried in her wedding dress
and some say reveals herself to passersby today.
Another stop includes the 1904 apartment of Sheriff
Ebenezer Curtis. Michael tells his guests about the location
and sheriff, who died by suicide in the alleyway. More
than a century later, with the help of ultraviolet light,
groups can still see bloodstains purported to be from the
sheriff. Michael explains that the bloodstain has been
preserved by a chemical mixture and power washing in
downtown St. Charles.
Ghost tours range between 90 minutes and two
hours with approximately one mile of walking. The
tours are $25 per person and require reservations.
There are a little more than a dozen stops
Michael chooses for each tour.
" The age and subtleness of St. Charles
is what makes this unique, " Michael says.
" People don't realize how old it is and all of the
things that have happened here: the suicides, violence
and murders. "
Michael's interest in the paranormal began at a young
age, when he would visit his local library in Ferguson. He
loved reading science fi ction books. " When I ran out of
science fi ction books, right next to them were the paranormal
books. It drew me in and snowballed from there. "
Michael - a former teacher - says that while the tours
have evolved over the years, he works to stay true to history.
" My research continues, but I strive to be as accurate
as I can historically, " he says. " We try to get as much
information as we can into the tours. It's a pretty tight
Below left: A ghost tour guest inspects the outside of the 1791 St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church. The location is where many have seen the
Lady in White. Below right: Michael Henry uses fl ashlights to guide his guests on the walking tour as well as show off artifacts he brings with him.
XX RURAL MISSOURI | OCTOBER 2021
Rural Missouri - October 2021
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - October 2021
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