View from 2323 - Strange Folk Festival

Carrie Seib Biography

Carrie was born on June 21, 1884 in Germany, in the small village of Talheim by Velberg, near the town of Hall, in Wuerttemberg.   Her father was John George Proellochs, a farmer and her mother was named  Eva Rosine .     By her own words she began to have prophetic dreams that would come true as a young girl.   At a local chapel near her hometown that had once been a monastery, she witnessed ghost monks moving up and down the center aisle with their feet submerged in the floor as if walking on the original ancient chapel ground.  Despite her lack of education and speaking no English, Carrie would come to America at the age of 16 and move into the tight-knit German Evangelical communities of Missouri.   If her growing “gifts” had been a factor for her leaving her tiny ancestral home or the desire for freedom, she came to live at a bakery with her older sister Marie Gaessler.

Taken from the inside cover of her poetry book “The Truth in Light”

The Gaessler Brothers bakery was within eyesight of the towering Anheuser Busch Brewery in the South Broadway Neighborhood and a popular lunchtime destination for the German Brewers.   The Gaesslers were doing quite well when young Carrie came to America.   She was a very intelligent young woman and a quick study of her fellow man.  Working the front counter, English became easier and she became a fixture not only in the German community but in the heart of a young baker from Illinois named George Seib.   They were married in 1902 and lived above the bakery together with Edward Seib (his brother) and his wife Pauline.   Carrie’s younger sister Pauline would join her in America, marry Edward and remain a life long supporter of Carrie’s work.    In 1906 after saving a collective amount, the four would buy the bakery and build their riches as a symbiotic unit.

Edward, Pauline, George Sr, Edna and Carrie Seib.

In 1922 a neglected mansion became available for a very low price in Lafayette Square.   As the men talked on the ground floor, Carrie and the young wandered the epic Romanesque Revival home built by August Nasse.   It is claimed by some that they all saw ghosts immediately.   What is known for sure is that Carrie would be the one to push for the purchase.  Through a hard German work ethic and lifestyle where family is the central goal of living,     they would raise their children with the hopes of fulfilling the great American dream.   Stories come down that during those years at the bakery Carrie would help her friends using her gifts, with a “smile and a sandwich”.    Her reputation as a psychic would grow in an area that contained both a disdain (German Lutheran) and appreciation (French/ Creole/Bohemian) for the power to see the “other side”.

George Seib shortly after leaving Wash U for Medical Practice.

In 1923 the large family settled into 2323 Lafayette Ave, their hard work paying off with more time for leisure and personal projects.  Her children flourished.   George would attend Washington University becoming a professor of Physical Anthropology by his early 20s.   Edna would join the Art Department at the same school, her work became refined and her reputation grew as did her own growing family, adding two girls to the mix.   George senior would fish at the family farm and every Sunday the whole family would return for church.

With retirement Carrie began to explore her gifts in a more serious manner.   She would recite spontaneous poetry in German and English for the family and in June of 1924 she felt a compelling force to begin to write.  Carrie would find the “stillness within” and without conscious effort she would write quickly upon linen writing pads.   Upon reading what she had written, was amazed as no such thoughts had entered her mind.   Certain words were in  Dutch, French, Prussian, and Metaphysical terms have been found that were unknown to Carrie and the furious nature of her output is astounding.  She wrote like this for the next 30 years producing tens of thousands of poems.

For 10 years at 2323 Carrie simply wrote.  A family member describes people stopping by the house to talk to her about their issues and her gifts became more nuanced as she moved into maturity.   St Louis was in the midst of a Spiritual wave with Pearl Curran’s fame reaching outward towards national attention.   Spiritualist churches dotted the landscape each with it’s own unique take on the faith.  Carrie honed her psychic ability, studied and became ordained as a Minister in the Spiritualist church.   The reasons for this as we are told is the growing numbers of the public coming to see her and to experience her psychic ability had become spiritually draining for daily life.  Maintaining a desire to serve her community and to guide others on the path of self realization.  In 1933 she created the Lafayette Center and began to do Spiritualist services.   By 1939 the name had changed to the Independent Church of Truth, until the War when the church stopped advertising…. yet continued to meet, remaining underground and out of the spotlight.

On the top floor of the house at 2323 Lafayette ave is a Ballroom with tall ceilings,  and a raised platform in the center with one solitary pulpit.   The services were held at 8 pm and contained the usual singing with an accompaniment of grand piano and violin by the young Seib family members.   Carrie would talk in a cadence that seemed as if the teachings themselves were channeled.   She spoke of higher powers and turning oneself into “receiver”  for the Spirit.  Her philosophy was unique and yet is quite universal.

In the 1950’s George Jr would use a Reel-to-Reel player and record her teachings.    In those recovered recordings we have most of the clues to Carrie’s abilities.   During the second half of the service she would enter a trance-like state and begin to speak to the crowd.  She could see the ghosts of love ones and spoke to certain individuals of their future.   In one tape from 1950 she speaks of wireless technology and gives an example like sending pictures from the “Old Continent”.   In another she predicts a persons travel plans and gives advice for avoiding troubles.   Carrie always claimed her visionary ability was not only possible for anyone, but was simply the Great Spirit speaking through her.

Carrie Seib would continue to hold services even after husband’s death in 1946.   She would retire to the family farm and sit in silence during the week and return to Lafayette Square for ceremonies.  Her health began to falter in 1964.  A story that is told that once she was very sick ….. in the those late sixties….. and her son (the Doctor)  told her not to do the Sunday service.  She waved him off and continued anyways slumped in her special chair.   As she began to channel she stood up  and started moving with incredible energy.   She had recovered completely from her sickness in mere seconds.   Her audio tapes contain dozens of speeches coming directly from this historical time period and house.