In elegant downtown St. Paul , you can find culture and many establishments that offer you a fine dining experience, but one can offer you an experience with the supernatural while you dine.
The historic Victorian mansion known as Forepaugh's Restaurant is said to be haunted by its original homeowner, Joseph Forepaugh and his ill-fated lover, Molly the maid.
Joseph Lybrandt Forepaugh was a respected businessman, pioneer, and a senior partner of the largest dry goods house in the Midwest . When Joseph was 36 years old, he built the mansion as a showpiece in 1870 for his wife, Mary, and their two daughters. The home spans over five lots and is designed so that every window offered a fantastic view of the grounds and manicured gardens.
However, Forepaugh had an irrational fear about his wealth and obsessed over his financial affairs. In 1892, at the age of 58, Joseph killed himself by a single bullet to his head. His body was found besides a pond on the grounds of his estate.
The media at the time blamed the millionaire's death on depression but other said it had to do with his illicit lover, Molly. She was a maid at the Forepaugh estate and she killed herself on the news of her master's death. She was found hanging from a ceiling fixture on the third floor bedroom.
The gossip amongst the servants tells a tale of jealous and forbidden love. It was said that Mrs. Forepaugh had caught her husband in the act of making love to Molly and forbade him from ever seeing her again. They say that the thought of breaking off the affair left Joseph in a spiraling mess that eventually claimed his life. Molly was not doing too well at the time either being pregnant with her boss' child and now being out of job and lover.
The mansion was traded by many several times but the current owners bought the estate in 1974. They modeled the home into a restaurant for fine French cuisine. It is in this restaurant that many staffers have reported odd occurrences such as lights turning on and off, strange sounds, and cold spots being felt. These experiences seem to be linked to the third floor dining room, the former bedroom where Molly took her life.
Some have claimed to have seen the ghost of Molly roaming the home. The apparition is said to resemble that of a very pretty dark haired girl, who can be seen in the photograph of the garden party at the estate. The old photograph hangs on the wall between the first and second floors. The girl who appears to be looking at someone just outside of the frame with great adoration is said to be Molly.
Many staffers say that Molly is much of a prankster. One server was locking up one night and readying to go home. As he left the restaurant and reached his car, he looked to see if there were any matters that he did not attend to and he saw a flickering light coming from the infamous third floor dining room. Thinking that he left a candle burning up there, he went to go attend to the matter and when he got there, the room was completely dark. He shrugged it off and left the restaurant and when he reached his car again, he turned around again to double check. There he saw the candle burning brightly once more so he turned around and headed up the stairs. When he reached the third floor dining room, he noticed that a candle was burning on one of the tables. He said, "Molly, I am tired and I want to go home. No more games." He then blew out the candle and locked up the restaurant. When he reached his car for the third time, he turned around and there was no candle burning.
Molly is also known to appear at large parties that are held in the dining room. During a 19 th century costume party, an unknown woman wearing authentic period clothing glided past a server, walked down a hallway, and vanished.
Joseph Forepaugh has also been reported to have been seen striding proudly through the house. Evidence of his spirit has been captured in a photograph taken at a wedding party at the restaurant. The photograph clearly shows a ghostly hand reaching towards the bride's knee. It is believed that the hand belongs to that of Joseph Forepaugh, as he was known to love the ladies.
Sadly though, this photograph was stolen from its spot on the wall and hasn't been returned. This leads many to believe that a ghostly hand had taken the photograph fearing retribution.
276 South Exchange Street
St. Paul, Minnesota
Phone: (651) 224-5606