McPike Mansion is haunted by its original owner ? Here is the scoop from stlmag.com.
Henry Guest McPike was a multi-faceted spirit. He was a two-time mayor of Alton, Illinois, and a kingmaker in local politics. He dabbled in horticulture, propagating his own variety of grape coveted in winemaking circles. He was also a skilled businessman, who counted real estate and insurance among his ventures. A man of such prominence needed a stately home, and, in 1869, McPike commissioned a local architect to build an ornate Italianate-style estate on a 15-acre compound in Alton.
McPike adored the property, particularly the grove of fruit trees, before he succumbed to a brief illness at the house in 1910. Legend has it, his spirit never left.
For more than a century, local lore has held that the home now known as McPike Mansion is haunted by its original owner.
McPike, however, may not be the only apparition who has seemingly taken eternal residence inside the mansion’s walls. Sharyn and George Luedke, who have invested thousands of dollars in renovating the dilapidated house since purchasing it in 1994, believe there are a dozen spirits who have maintained a presence in and around the home.
Among the putative spectral inhabitants is Henry’s mother, Lydia. “She’s the matriarch of the family,” Sharyn says. “She is a pretty strong presence who likes to be introduced when I bring people into the entranceway.” McPike’s first wife, Mary, also makes regular appearances. “She’s kind of shy, but she’s a good spirit,” Sharyn says. “She loves children.” There have also been encounters with McPike’s son, James, and daughter-in-law, Jenny, who Sharyn calls the trickster of the spiritual group. “She’ll touch people. Not in a harmful way—she might tug on your hair a little bit or touch your ear.”
Neither Lydia nor Mary lived in the mansion before their deaths, and not all of the supposed spirits are of the McPike clan. Sharyn says she’s felt the spirit of a woman named Sarah, who is believed to have been a personal attendant to the McPikes. Sharyn claims that at least three children who may have lived on the property before McPike purchased it still haunt the grounds today.
No earthly bodies have lived in the house since 1954—it was long ago condemned—but the site has become a popular destination in recent decades for hunters of paranormal activity. Recently, a photograph captured a dark shadow in the doorway to the cellar. “It’s pretty obvious,” Sharyn says. “That was Henry.”
Tours of McPike Mansion are offered every Friday and Saturday night from September 30 through October 31.
This article originally appears > https://www.stlmag.com/history/st-louis-sage/whose-ghosts-supposedly-haunt-mcpike-mansion-in-alton/