This past weekend, friend and past guest of the Big Séance Podcast, Victoria Cosner Love, invited me (ahem… strongly encouraged me to leave my crypt) to a fascinating event, which appropriately fit the season, in my opinion anyway. It was my first visit to the absolutely beautiful Chatillon-DeMenil Mansion in St. Louis. “A Death in the Family: Death and Mourning in the 19th Century” is an annual mourning event there.
An interesting fact is that the Chatillon-DeMenil Mansion is right next door to the famous Lemp Mansion and the Lemp Brewery Complex, and so the neighborhood is always an interesting place to find yourself this time of year. (Incidentally, the boys from Ghost Adventures just featured the Lemp Mansion and Brewery in their most recent episode, and the Ghost Hunters spent some time there a few years ago as well.)
The Chatillon-DeMenil Mansion is reported to be haunted as well, and I did talk to a few people in the know, but this event didn't focus on the paranormal aspects of the place.
As you may know, I'm obsessed with staircases, especially grand ones in a historical location like this mansion. So I had to lead with the photo above, with one of the volunteers appropriately mourning in character at the front entrance.
I was very surprised to also run into several friends, some of whom I've never met in person, like my new friend Ginger of Missouri History and Hauntings. I got to meet a few other fascinating and knowledgable people, as well. I'm so very glad I went!
So back to the event itself. Here's a description of the event, taken directly from their site:
This is an open house style event, during which guests are free to visit exhibits throughout the Mansion and learn not only about mourning customs of the 19th century but illness, medical treatments, wakes, funerary practices and more from costumed volunteers and museum staff.
As well as visiting with our informative volunteers, guests get a chance to see a amazing collection of original objects related to death, mourning and medical practices, from private collections, that are on display just this one day every year.
I loved the event, but I look forward to going back again soon, perhaps to get a general tour of the place, plus they have plenty of activities. I encourage anyone in the area to visit if you haven't been.
I would have loved to have been able to get more shots of the home, but this event was well-attended, which is a good thing, but it made it difficult to get really good photos. But I hope you enjoy the shots that I did capture.
I loved the feel and the color of this beautiful, yet oddly shaped corner. I need to find more information about this room.