The feminine voice came out of the 1970’s era Reel to Reel player, months after that fateful day in front of the haunted mansion at 2323 Lafayette avenue. She spoke with a thick German Accent and a cadence of unique unforgettable strangeness. Her name was Carrie Seib, according to the back label, and the year was 1949. The mystery of who she was, and why she was being recorded exploded into an experience that lead to creation of this website. Months later a local reporter gave her a title…. The lost Psychic Of Lafayette Square ….the digital article appeared as I was just beginning to uncover the most remarkable story that every came out of a dumpster.
When I first discovered the Reel to Reels tapes, it was a cool October night, I was wearing gloves and deep into a dumpster diving adventure. The street lights on that side of Lafayette avenue were few and far between, ending at an old abandoned High School near Jefferson ….that doubles as an acoustically balanced performance hall that was once a German Social club. The alleyways between this short city block are filled with hundred year old bricks and you can look through the ancient fences into the old garden that once was 2329 Lafayette avenue. A failed Trans-Atlantic flight was planned on the top floor and they say the ghosts of the three sons still haunt the grounds. Here I was in a dumpster in front of the house at 2323 Lafayette, under the last street light before Jefferson avenue in the dark with my arm between two moldy drywall pieces, pulling out a discovery that would forever change my life and it lead me to some very weird psychic places.
It started with an envelope I found earlier that week in the same dumpster and a singular name, George Seib. MD. George was the owner of the house at 2323 Lafayette avenue according to records. He had been a Professor of Anthropology at Washington University, a Medical Doctor, Lafayette Square hero, and Historical Society house preserver. George was in college when his family bought the house in 1923. The Seib family had collectively made a fortune in the Bakery business and bought the notorious mansion that now sat empty after the tragic deaths of the entire Nasse family, yet despite the ghosts, the 8000 Square feet Romanesque revival mansion was an attractive offer and the family had an ace in the hole, George’s Mother was able to talk directly to the ghosts.
Carrie was born in a small poor German village to Synod Lutherans. At age 18 she headed to America alone to the city of St Louis to live with her sister who owned a bakery. She learned English, met a nice baker named George Seib, had two smart kids, bought the bakery and fulfilled the American Dream. Yet always underneath this ordinary life was growing strange abilities, psychic one like being able to see the future in dreams and speak to ghosts. Carrie developed a unique mystical perspective of reality based on her own direct experience. Shortly after moving in to her dream home in 1923, she began a long strange journey that included channeling poetry, creating a Spiritualism Church and becoming a local healer/medium.
George Seib Jr was an intelligent man, who excelled at academia and was working with the greatest Medical Anthropologists in the country. His family claims he saw the same ghosts as them, even witnessing an older woman disappear into a wall. His questioning of the nature of reality put him at odds with the “accepted science” of 1930s, so he entered private Medical practice in 1940 and remained a fixture in Lafayette History as the resident In-house Doctor. What is important about George is he spent the early 1950’s attempting to record his mother’s philosophy and spiritual sessions with the latest technology, Reel to Reel tape recording. In the 1970’s he would spend a lot of money to get his mother’s poetry published and shipped to academic colleges all over the world. The Reel to Reel’s disappeared one day and thought lost forever until that fateful day they ended up in my gloved hands after contractors mistook the box for trash.
Come to the table,
Because nature led you, and it shall be light and clear,
That every man may find the way, and every word is a work, thus light works on earth.
Who would ask, what is truth and God?
Who should still be afraid and whisper in mockery?
The whole and the grandeur is at hand, And the glorious sprouts, the truth, –Carrie Seib–
A story is just a story and only alludes to a truth. One doesn’t need believe in “psychics” but there they are, in history, doing psychic stuff with their own personal brands of public outreach. At it’s height, the Spiritualist Movement had five million members, and contrary to “the story”, the Fox sister were not the beginning. Psychic ability seems to go back to every culture in every part of the world and is a legacy shrouded in superstition and belief. Carrie Seib did advertise herself as a Spiritualist Church in 1933, originally called it the Lafayette Center and switched to the Independent Church of Truth by 1939. All of this history is intertwined with St Louis city growing into an economic super power and the Seib family at the heart of it.
St Louis has always had a underground psychic history, from Pearl Curran writing novels with a Ouija board to the Voodoo practiced up and down the Mississippi River. We have our Masons, Odd Fellows, secret societies, creole magic, Indian mounds, human sacrifices, superstitions and more ghosts than buildings. At the same time Carrie Seib begins to channel poetry from the unknown “Eastern Star” , Edgar Cayce the world famous psychic finds himself moving towards more esoteric subjects with the help of the Theosophy Society run by a female psychic named Helena Blavasky. Dozens of Spiritualist churches operated throughout the city of St Louis and some even exist to this day. During the years between the first World War and the second, America was finding itself in a psychic spiritual revolution.
“If they would absolutely leave fear out, no longer worry about any other outside connections, but know that the inner power, the inner light, the inner force, it never died. It is ever-present in the dear ones that are absent physically, who are present spiritually. –Carrie Seib–
The Reel to Reel tapes themselves are a rare glance into the methods of this lost Psychic. The public would enter the house on the Sunday evenings and make their way up the back stairs to the 3rd floor ballroom. Carrie sat on a large chair and after her children did a musical number, she would begin with an inspirational speech about finding the inner power and discovering personal freedom. After another musical interlude she began to use her clairvoyance and mental skills to help. Her voice would get mechanical and she would address people directly, often asking about upcoming trips and relaying troubles, or directly contacting a loved one.
The criticism often thrown at psychics is that they often exploit the public, but the Seib family was already independently wealthy and after the death of George senior, George Jr, took on the financial security of the household as a successful medical doctor. Indeed the Church was simply an outlet to help the community in which they lived. Carrie’s public speeches are full of wisdom and insight, but spoken for the audience at hand, it is her poetry that her deep philosophy comes through.
Unfortunately for us non-German speakers, Carrie seemed to channel mostly in her native tongue. She wrote daily for 40 years filling several filing cabinets with linen pads of poetry. An effort to uncover and translate their secrets has been slow, but what pearls discovered are quite interesting. Her poem Reincarnation seems to illustrate a remembrance of a past-life, and Eastern Star speaks of one of the souls she contacts. f the Reel to Reels are our focus, they only reveal the tip of the iceberg called Carrie Seib. These puzzle pieces, like the 1936 Alaska trip of George Seib, Edna Seib and her scrap books, the history of 2323, the ghost of the Nasse boy and the View from 2323 are huge parts of an epic tale, a true story that is just a story, only this story is a rabbit hole, and unlike Alice in wonderland, we have actual proof.