Lemp Haunted Mansion Tour

April 16, 2010

I went on the Lemp “Haunted” Mansion tour on Thursday night, led by members of a “supernatural investigation” group. A little over a dozen of us from the Saint Louis skeptics group went together on the tour. As skeptics, we had plenty of flashlights and cameras of our own. And we also played with two of our host’s infrared cameras.

http://www.lempmansion.com/lempExperience.pdf

I found the indoor aviary room (downstairs; part of the restaurant) most creepy, due to the dark painted outdoor scene. Unlike in my previous visit to the mansion, the gift shop was not freakishly cold this time. (The weather was different; previous trip was early winter, this trip was after a week of quite warm weather.)

It’s a nice bead and breakfast place: The two large 2nd floor rooms are very nice. I liked the cozy and modern bathroom in the Elsa Lemp Suite. I’d like to stay there.

http://www.lempmansion.com/bb.html

Being a caver, I am of course very interested in the cave under the mansion. Here is a very good site describing the cave:

http://www.trickykegstands.com/cherokeeCaveTour.html

Looks like when I stood on the 3×3 ft wood cover in the basement, I was probably standing right over a nasty 34 ft drop into the cave. Nice. Good thing I didn’t jump up and down on it. ;->

Here is a much better map of the cave than the one shown in the Lemp Mansion gift shop:

http://www.trickykegstands.com/media/cherokeeFull.jpg

(And the pool is properly marked on this map.)

Postcard from the old Cherokee Cave public tours shown at the bottom of this page:

http://www.stlouistimeportal.com/postcard_advertisement.htm

I have a VHS video tape that includes a legal visit to Cherokee Cave (and also the storm drains under Forest Park and the River des Peres. It’s a 50-minute KETC Channel 9 special called “Under St. Louis”, “St. Louis Chronicles”, 1998. “Produced in cooperation with the Missouri Historical Society.” I think it was a bonus sent to KETC members. (See it pays to be a contributing member of your local public TV and radio stations! ;-)

The eleven minute portion about Cherokee Cave is available on You Tube here:

Here’s a blog, with good pictures, of someone trespassing into the cave, a practice that is ILLEGAL and DANGEROUS!!!

http://sf0.org/MyrnaMinx/taskDetail/?id=816

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Caving Boots

April 3, 2009

The “Wellies” (Wellington boots) in the Facebook “Caving Gear” application inspired some brief conversations on good caving boots:

Some Wellington boots come with felt on the tread — which I’m told is good for traction on slippery rocks while fishing.

Some caving groups, such as the Chouteau Grotto, are known for using shoes with football cleats in very muddy caves like the Devil’s Icebox. And it occurs to me that this might be useful in Carol Cave as well — as long as the boots tie firmly enough to the foot as to not get pulled off when pulling feet out of mud! ;->

Last night at the Banff film festival, the “Canyoneer 2” shoe, at five-ten was recommended. (See “Footwear -> Water” on their flash site.) Looks like it would hold onto the foot well, and keep most mud and sand out of the shoe. But the tread doesn’t look very ambitious. Maybe I should try these for my next pair of caving boots.


(A visitor was looking for OTB Footwear Sar Water Boots, so I thought I’d mention them.)


Bottom line: I have to recommend the Norcross Shrimp Boots, recommended by John Hargreaves.
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