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Spirits Of Sappington House

October 13, 2017
The scariest October night I ever spent was dinner with my school-mom friends at the Lemp Mansion about 13 years ago.

A nice dinner, a few glasses of wine, and suddenly we were walking through the house like the gang from Scooby-Doo. The air in that place seemed supercharged. Or maybe it was the wine. We didn't see any ghosts, but it wasn't like we didn't try — or scream when the wind knocked something against the roof.

Which is why this event caught my eye: "Spirits of Sappington House," on two consecutive nights from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., next Friday and Saturday, Oct. 20 and 21.

Hosted by the folks who bring candlelight walks and band concerts to the 209-year-old historic centerpiece of Crestwood, this event is not what you think.

"This is not a haunted house," said Sally Cakouros, the resident manager of Sappington House. "People tell me, 'Oh, you should say the house is haunted; you'd have a lot more visitors in the month of October.'"

But Cakouros said this is going to be so much more.

"The 'spirits' in the house will be costumed actors representing the Sappington family and others who might have been associated with the home," she said. "They'll be talking and acting as if they were alive now. It's a remarkable opportunity to learn more about our history."

Longtime volunteer Denise Lutes is coordinating the effort. She knows the place pretty well, and has scripted the actors to perform in costume as if it were 1819, just prior to Missouri becoming a state.

They are both actual historical figures and composite figures who will be moving about the house as if they're living and talking in real time. The conversations will be on news and politics of the day, Lutes said, and on everyday normal stuff, things that a husband and wife like Thomas and Mary Ann Sappington would talk about.

Admission is $5 for adults and $2 for children under 12. No advance sales are needed. In addition to the house tours, Ernest Jordan, president of the Friends of Father Dickson Cemetery, will be doing cemetery tours by lantern light; and Colonial "surgeon" Dr. John Murphy will have an exhibit of medical practices of the 19th century. There also will be apple cider, s'mores and a bonfire.

But no ghosts — that we know of.

"Years ago, they did have some paranormal scientists come through, and they found no abnormal activity," said Cakouros, who lives in the caretaker's cottage behind the house. "Although there was one time I got a little twinge when I looked up and saw the outline of an apron in the window. Of course it was nothing."

But come next weekend with your family and find out for yourself.

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