More than a century ago, the architects of The Lemp Brewery complex faced a problem: how should they keep their beer cold? Refrigerators weren't yet around, and it'd be too difficult to tow an iceberg down from the Arctic. Their solution: going 100 feet underground, where old caves were naturally cool... or so they thought. In fact, the chilly air here wasn't caused by lack of sunlight?it was the result of an ancient curse. Today, visitors can still tour the subterranean brewery, now appropriately known as the Abyss. It's hardly abandoned. Around every turn waits a new monster, none of whom are friendly enough to offer any complimentary growlers.
The Abyss is just one of Scarefest's three chilling destinations. Creepyworld houses 12 attractions, including a series of mazes filled with everything from burning cars to ravenous zombies. In another part of town, a haunted house known as The Darkness plunges visitors into a world of terror. In its two-decade history, the haunted house has even shown up on national TV, which is not too bad a gig for a place infested by deranged clowns.
An authentic trolley with brass rails and bells and outfitted with modern padded seats and air conditioning glides through St. Louis?s historic neighborhoods as knowledgeable tour guides wax poetic about the city?s past and present. Guests gaze out of the trolley?s charming arched windows during the 23-mile ride, catching sight of a much larger arch standing sentry over downtown sites such as St. Louis Union Station and the Mississippi River. Tour guides fling droplets of wisdom like handfuls of rice at famished newlyweds, sharing anecdotes about historic Laclede?s Landing and Forest Park, the site of the 1904 World?s Fair, the first summer Olympic games held in the U.S., and the first forest. The fully narrated tour departs and returns from Lumiere Place Casino on the riverfront.
Vintage red trolleys and horse-drawn carriages still roll through the streets of St. Louis. Though sometimes caused by a rip in the space-time vortex, more often than not they're part of the St. Louis Carriage & Trolley Company's leisurely history tours. A certified guide leads these trips in trolley busses or carriages drawn by some of the company's 17 elegant horses, including Percheron draft horses, one Clydesdale, and one Belgium. The tours?which can be customized?pass sites such as Union Station, Peabody Opera House, and the picturesque Laclede's Landing.
?St. Louis is the fourth-most-haunted city in America,? the tour guide said on a tour covered by Narratively. "But your tour guide is No. 1.? That guide is David Riordan, a renaissance man who's been a commodities trader, lawyer, and Spanish real-estate seller, and now-owner of Riordan Tours. It was his time in Spain that inspired him to become a tour guide. He practiced his storytelling on the English-language radio station he bought and then began leading homespun tours through the small, picturesque town of Frigiliana.
But when the Spanish economy soured, he moved back to his native St. Louis. Now he draws on his natural talent for yarn spinning and leads groups to tourist attractions and haunted corners of the 250-year-old metropolis. Along the ghost tour, David unravels chilling yarns about events that inspired The Exorcist, the St. Louis Fire, the cholera epidemic, and spirits that still roam the streets, asking people which bus they should catch to get to the afterlife. The less spooky city tours explore the UNESCO World Heritage site Cahokia Mounds, as well as the Cardinal's Busch Stadium and the Gateway Arch.
David also puts his storytelling skills to use at his Unveiled: History & Hauntings of St Louis shows. Accompanied by a folk guitarist, he regales crowds with tales of the city's history. "I can talk about anything," he told the Riverfront Times. "It's not just ghosts and spirits, [it's] the brewery, steamboats, gangsters."
In 1981, a group of North St. Louis residents gathered together to solve a problem: the decline of their historic neighborhood. Together, they formed the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group, a nonprofit organization committed to preserving the history and culture of North St. Louis, which dates back to 1816. Today, the group focuses its time and manpower on maintaining and restoring historically significant buildings. In addition to construction and beautification projects, the group holds annual festivals and events to raise money for surrounding businesses, support local artists, and organize farmers' markets aimed at bringing locally sourced produce to North St. Louis.
High above the earth, the air is still. A vibrantly colored hot-air balloon floats across the sky, its passengers peeking over the wicker basket and out across the sprawling plains below. Suddenly, the pilot gives his passenger a cue. The jumper gives a quick glance to the bungee cord he's attached to and plunges from the balloon, free falling toward the earth's garlic-bread crust. With an emphasis on safety, the cord slows the diver’s descent, rebounds him up, and then sends him back down on multiple plunges. As the air balloon flight comes to an end, so does a typical day for the staff at StL Bungy Inc.