; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Thursday, October 11, 2018

St.Louis Strangeness: Protective Spirit?

I recently received the following account:

Hi Lon,

The following is an experience I had along with a few friends in St. Louis, Missouri in 2013 or 2014.

A couple of friends and I were taking the train downtown to the Cardinals game. The train was crowded as it often is when the Cardinals play, and I think it was a weekend because I remember the platforms being pretty crowded too.

We were standing on the train right next to a large window, and as the train began to slowly pull away from the Central West End station, one of us pointed out, through the window, an older African American gentleman wearing what I'd describe, for lack of a better term, as "classic pimp attire"- a baggy suit, a big fur coat, a huge hat, several large gold chains, etc. If I recall correctly, he was walking with a cane too. Growing up in St. Louis, it wasn't incredibly uncommon to see something like that, but it was definitely uncommon enough that he stood out and was noteworthy. Aside from his attire, nothing seemed unusual about him. We never saw him on the train, just on the platform walking towards the exit as we pulled away.

The train pulls away and a few minutes later we arrive at the next station, Grand Ave (the city has since added another station between Central West End and Grand, but at the time, Grand was the next stop). The train stops at the platform and idles for a minute or two as people get on and off the train. As I said, both the train and the platform were pretty crowded. Just as the doors close and the train is ready to leave, we notice the exact same man who we saw at the last stop. This time, though, he's standing directly outside our window and staring blankly right at us. We were probably in total 8 feet away from each other and separated by just a window. The trains pulls away from the station very slowly at first, so it was probably a good 10 seconds or so of direct eye contact. We had not noticed him standing there until the train was leaving, despite having been at the station for a minute or two.

At the time, we all thought it was pretty weird, because it was definitely 100% the same guy and there is no way that guy could've beaten the train from one station to the next. As I said, the first time we saw him, the train was already in motion, so it's impossible that he got on the train. The train moves quickly, faster than the streets for sure, so there's really no way he could've travelled from one station to the next by any conventional means. We were stumped for sure, but all thought it was kinda funny and didn't think too much about it.

Eventually we made our way to the ballpark and attended the game. After the game ended, we decided to walk to an area where the bars are.

From the stadium it is about a 10-15 minute walk to where we were going, through downtown. At night, downtown St. Louis is not exactly bustling, but there are still some people about, going to restaurants or bars, etc. There are obviously more people around before and after Cardinals games. Downtown has a lot of tall buildings so there are a bunch of smaller streets and alleys were you can't see very far in front of you.

We were walking down a smaller street like this, not far from the bars we were going to, when we heard something behind us. We turn around to see what looks to be the same guy from the train stations walking about 50 feet behind us. He sees us looking at him and kind of smiles and waves his hand and says something like, "You boys be careful." We all kind of smiled back and said thanks, and turned to keep walking. Just a few seconds later, as we approached the next intersection the old guy behind us shouts something that didn't sound like English. I know some French and Spanish and I don't think it was that either. But just as he shouted, a horse and carriage (these are also common in downtown, they're mostly for tourists) crossed right in front of us from the intersection. It seemed like it came out of nowhere. As it went by I looked at the carriage driver and it was a guy with a hoodie on. For a split second I thought he may not have had a face. But it happened so quickly, that I assume that was just my imagination playing tricks on me.

Nobody really thought about it until we got to the bar, but once we sat down and had a moment to think about it, everyone was like, wait, what the hell just happened?

We still talk about it and joke about it every now and then. But I don't think group ever really admitted just how strange it all was. It definitely seemed like the old man was trying to protect us, and basically, he kept appearing. I can't figure out how he could've gotten from one station to the next, or why he was looking at us at station 2. And when we met him again in the street, he seemed to just be there.. It's not likely that he had been behind us for very long, because we would've noticed. It's a pretty long walk and you're stopping and waiting to cross the street several times. We would've seen him behind us at some point. Like I said, the faceless man thing could've been my imagination, but that carriage definitely went right by us out of nowhere, and it all seemed connected at the time.

So, I don't know. I've seen some strange things around St. Louis, which is a very old city with lots of history. I'm not sure what exactly to think, but I'm not ruling out any possibilities.

Best, Al

NOTE: I could almost hear Curtis Mayfield singing 'Superfly' and a brief flash of a Flagg Brothers storefront...Lon


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