Monday, October 27, 2014

Spooky Stores #2 - Payne-Gentry House

Payne-Gentry House - Bridgeton, Missouri
I grew up living very close to a historical home here in the St. Louis area that probably every single kid had toured at least once during a school field trip. Over the years, I was fortunate to tour the Payne-Gentry House in Bridgeton, Missouri twice.

The home, built in 1870, is maybe a couple miles from Lambert Airport, and it sits in the middle of a really nice park. What makes this historic home is that it's the only site listed on the National Register of Historic Places with a doctor's office inside.

This beautiful home was built by Elbridge Payne, and was handed down to his son, William. William was a physician, and he practiced in his basement for 17 years. It's documented that many patients under Dr. Payne's care actually died in the house. In fact, there's a small cemetery in the back underneath a big tree where several children are buried.

The Payne-Gentry house is supposedly haunted by 23 separate entities, and most investigators suspect that most of them are the spirits of patients who died there. The most famous patient-haunting is that of a young woman who died during childbirth. Some have heard a baby crying in the house, and there are reports of people seeing the ghost of a woman holding a baby in her arms.

Interestingly, the most widely reported haunting is from a dog. Residents have seen a dog laying under a tree, only to disappear. During tours, people swear they felt a dog brush up against them and nuzzle against their legs.
The ghost dog has been seen by the cart

In fact, it was during one of my field trips that a parent-volunteer screamed right in the middle of the guided tour. She jumped up and ran out of the house. The entire fourth grade class exited the home along with her, and I remember the parent swearing up and down that she felt a dog rub up against her leg and lick her knee.

It was both funny and terrifying.

As a teenager, I played tennis quite a bit on the tennis courts at the park near the house. I remember one day, in broad daylight, me and a buddy of mine both saw a dog running around a tree. Fee Fee Rd. runs right next to the park, so we ran over there to make sure the lost dog wouldn't get hit by the many cars that drove by.

Lots of amputations during the Civil War
I saw - with my own eyes - what looked like a black and white shepherd dog of some kind. And when we approached the house, the freaking dog disappeared on the other side of the tree. There was absolutely NO WHERE for this dog to run off to and not be seen. It had just gone around the big tree, and *poof* gone.

Countless paranormal groups have investigated the Payne-Gentry house. Some have found nothing, but more often than not, they've seen moving shadows, heard strange voices, and they've felt the ghost-dog brush up against their legs. The doctor's office, which still has Dr. Payne's amputation tools on the desk, seems to be the most active.

If you ever visit St. Louis, maybe you should take a tour.

Unless you're allergic to ghost-dogs.

Have a great Halloween!


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Freaky that you saw the ghost dog yourself. And that teacher's reaction was hysterical.

Miranda Hardy said...

Yeah, a ghost dog would probably freak me out, but I don't think I'd run screaming when surrounded by youngsters. Wouldn't want to scare them. Lol

L. Diane Wolfe said...

You actually saw the dog? That is amazing.

A ghost cat would be scarier because the darn thing would jump in your lap.

Jay Noel said...

Alex: Yeah, she was an over-reactor to begin with!

Miranda: Investigators believe the ghost-children is just a residual haunting!

Diane: Yes. Me and my friend. It freaked us out.

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

Challenge accepted. I intend to one day go to this house, and I doubt I'll see anything that could convince me a ghost is real.

Julie Flanders said...

I love places like this. And I'd love to see the Ghost Dog. I'd want to snuggle him. <3
Happy Halloween!

Jay Noel said...

Michael: Maybe we can also tour the Lemp Mansion while you're here!

Julie: The tour by itself is really cool. Just to learn the history. The ghosts make it especially interesting.

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Yeah I'll stick to living animals thank you. Cool story for Halloween. Bet that place is popular this time of year.

DEZMOND said...

we don't have ghosts here in my country, but then again, we're one of the homelands of old vampires :)

Jay Noel said...

Sheena: I'm not too scared of a ghost dog. Unless they're carrying ghost-rabies.

Dez: I think you've got a lot of weird history over there. You don't need ghosts.

Lexa Cain said...

23 different entities? It must be pretty crowded in there - no wonder the dog likes to hang out on the lawn! lol Great post for Halloween, Jay!

Jay Noel said...

Lexa: Good point. If I were a ghost dog, I'd want to haunt my own space.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

Wellll, I do live nearish to St. Louis, but I'm too scared of ghosts to try this one out. I'd never make it. Heart attack and all. :)

cleemckenzie said...

Any ghostly fleas? Just curious. But the haunting is delicious for a writer to contemplate.

Christine Rains said...

Ooh, how cool! I'd love to have a ghost dog. No messes to clean up!

David P. King said...

A ghost. Holding a baby? That's a new one for me! :)

Mark Noce said...

Sounds pretty cool:) Also good material for a book or short-story (hint hint) :)

Intangible Hearts said...

Wow, an eyewitness! Great story!

Loni Townsend said...

Oooh! You saw the ghost dog? That sound super creepy. At least it sounds like a friendly dog.

Jay Noel said...

The dog wasn't creepy at all. Seriously thought it was just a plain dog...but dogs don't just disappear behind trees!

Gina Gao said...

This sounds really cool and fascinating. Thanks for sharing!

Carrie Butler said...

Eek. I'll stick to living dogs, thanks! LOL

Jay Noel said...

I know. I prefer living doggies too.

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