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Myrna Minx
Level 6: 1754 points
Alltime Score: 5577 points
Last Logged In: July 16th, 2015
TEAM: El Lay Zero TEAM: Team Shplank TEAM: San Francisco Zero TEAM: SFØ Société Photographique TEAM: Team FOEcakes TEAM: Public Library Zero TEAM: St. Louis Zero TEAM: Urban Picnic Society TEAM: The Cold War Reenactment Society BART Psychogeographical Association Rank 2: Trafficker EquivalenZ Rank 3: Protocologist The University of Aesthematics Rank 2: Dealer Society For Nihilistic Intent And Disruptive Efforts Rank 1: Anti

25 + 307 points

Trespassing by Myrna Minx, memory machine, Kid A, Zoo Babies Pet Animals

March 23rd, 2008 3:11 PM / Location: 38.591818,-90.21790

INSTRUCTIONS: Go somewhere you are not allowed to go.

Written by Myrna tha Minx:

St. Louis was once the beer-brewing capital of America (it's still a major industry) for a very practical reason; the entire city is built upon a huge and complex system of natural caves. No other city on earth has as many caves beneath its streets, sidewalks, and buildings. These caves allowed for the introduction of Lager to the United States by a German immigrant named Johann Adam Lemp. The term lager comes from the German verb lagern, meaning to stock or to store. Early German brewers stored their product in cooling caves during the summer, hence the use of the term.

So what does all this talk of beer and caves have to do with trespassing?

Weeeeell, around 1840 this Lemp fellow founded a very successful brewery over a cave. Cherokee Cave is the Holy Grail of exploration in St. Louis, because it is exceedingly difficult to get into, presuming you know how to find the entrance at all. Probably another reason people find it so fascinating is that the cave connects the brewery to the Lemp mansion, which is considered one of the most haunted places in the country due to the Lemp dynasty’s tragic history.

The Mansion:
Lemp mansionI’m leaving St. Louis for graduate school this fall, but there’s no way I would leave without first doing a little urban spelunking.

Problem: Entry
1. You can’t get into the cave except through the abandoned Lemp brewery, and they don’t want you in there.
2. If you manage to gain entry to the brewery, you still have to find the entrance to the cave, and…
3. The brewery is huge. And dark. And dangerous.

I began asking adventurous folks about town if they knew how to get in. I found only one person, who told me to break into one of the silos and jump over an elevator shaft. No.

I checked out a book called The Lost Caves of St. Louis, which purports to show the entrances to many of the city’s caves and map them out. It’s outdated by years of construction, but still has lots of great info on this and other caves.

I joined UER and Underground Ozarks, two urban exploration websites, hoping to find info there. But those who know are not telling. There’s always a little paranoia about who’s lurking about the site; could be a cop.

So I posted a little bit on one of UER’s forums about wanting to explore St. Louis and particularly Cherokee Cave, making sure to include a luscious self-portrait as bait. It worked. Soon I was planning an outing with an explorer named Memory Machine. He would take me and some friends into the cave. Awesome.

The Bait:
the bait.Memory Machine took us directly to one of the many buildings on the brewery's huge campus. It had 3 garage doors, the last of which was open by about a foot and a half. We rolled under. We had to lurk through the street levels of the building without our flashlights, which was dangerous as the roof had fallen in in many places and debris was everywhere. We had to drop down through a tiny grate and descend through three levels of basement. We had to pry open several locked, heavy metal doors with threatening NO TRESPASSING signs on them.

We had a couple of scares; when we were halfway through the brewery but not yet to the cave, metallic clangs suddenly started resonating from an old mechanical elevator shaft. There is NO reason for that elevator to be operating- there is NOTHING in that building. Thinking we were caught, we booked it back several rooms and waited in pitch-black silence. I'm talking zero light. I could feel my pupils widening. MemMachine wanted to turn back, but i said No Way. Later I heard some whispers. We strained to listen until we didn't hear anything. Homeless? Finally we were in a narrow corridor- almost to the cave- when the sudden sound of rushing water through a pipe sent us all running like mad, giving us a nice adrenaline rush and a good laugh.

Remember the cave was used for brewing beer, so it's got some man-made additions. The Lemps also used it for entertainment; in the days before air conditioning, a cave was a real treat (St. Louis hits the 100's every summer, and is as humid as a rain forest). They built a warm and a cool pool, a theater, and a pub down there (all in ruins now). We found great stuff inside the cave, including prehistoric Peccary bones, a toilet, and a foam rubber finger. There is no air supply in the deepest parts, making it very difficult to breathe. Still, we spent nearly 2 hours exploring the brewery and cave, leaving no trace and escaping unscathed and undetected. It was AMAZING and I hope you enjoy the pictures.

+ larger


62 vote(s)

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19 comment(s)

(no subject)
posted by Vena Nightmare on March 23rd, 2008 3:49 PM

Alliteration is awesome. Bait is brilliant. Caves are cool.

A Learning Experience
posted by Flitworth on March 23rd, 2008 6:07 PM

Thank you for the history lesson:)

(no subject)
posted by Julian Muffinbot on March 23rd, 2008 9:45 PM

those abandoned underground pools are amazing. in your research, did you find any photos of those when they were in use?

(no subject)
posted by meredithian on March 24th, 2008 8:46 AM

holy crap now that's some tresspassing.

extra points for lockbreaking, extensive research/manipulation in getting a guide, and going somewhere DARK and SCARY but not turning back or chickening out - even when the strange noises came.

also, um, awesome bait.

I could feel *my* pupils widening as I read it
posted by susy derkins on March 24th, 2008 9:06 AM

Spelunk! Shplank! Both!

(no subject)
posted by Minch on March 24th, 2008 5:14 PM

This! Is! Phenomenal!

(no subject)
posted by Loki on March 24th, 2008 7:19 PM


posted by Myrna Minx on March 25th, 2008 10:23 AM

ms. muffinbot:

i looked for some pictures for you, to no avail. but in my mind everyone's swimming in these:


especially the last one on the right.

(no subject)
posted by Julian Muffinbot on March 25th, 2008 1:01 PM

ms. minx:

omg. where did you find that picture of me and my friends at the beach??

(no subject)
posted by Dax Tran-Caffee on March 25th, 2008 5:32 PM

This trespassing is the most awesome!

The Black Dahlia is beautifully gruesome. Speaking of... has anyone in ØAK managed to find her grave? It's in the same cemetery where old man Merritt is entombed.

Your craftiness in spelunking, danger, and bait will give you quite an advantage on April 19th. I may have to send special chasers after you two.

(no subject)
posted by Lank on March 25th, 2008 8:16 PM


(no subject)
posted by JTony Loves Brains on March 25th, 2008 8:35 PM

Yes, truly wonderful. "Wow" understates.

(no subject)
posted by Zoo Babies Pet Animals on March 26th, 2008 9:00 PM

hey, i think my credit card is on the top of that pile in the second picture.... ten zillion votes for anybody who can zoom in on that number and buy something with it.

(no subject)
posted by Crazy Mama on April 3rd, 2008 10:19 AM

Awesome that you got in! I was down in the cave on March 2nd, and am going again this weekend. Question.....did you find any guitar picks at the Black Dahlia? We left 2 last month. I have taken a few interesting items and left them down there. BTW - they are turning the first sub-basement into a restaurant/shops soon, so the caves will be sealed very soon....

Crazy Mama:
posted by Myrna Minx on April 3rd, 2008 10:56 AM

Oh my... restaurant and shops? no more cherokee cave? guess i got there just in time. No, we did not find any guitar picks. Some one must have picked up after you. ;)

Have fun this weekend, and be sure to wear your galoshes.

(no subject)
posted by Rather Dashing on April 24th, 2008 12:08 AM

so. amazingly. incredible.


(no subject)
posted by Tac Haberdash on July 7th, 2008 10:20 PM

This is trespassing TO THE MAX. You sacrificed breathing for this task. BREATHING.

(no subject)
posted by Beetle bomb on August 3rd, 2008 10:55 PM

absolutely incredible! well done madam!

(no subject)
posted by Myrna Minx on August 4th, 2008 12:29 PM

why, thank you. this is, to date, my favorite task done in the name of SF0. huzzah!