Carpet Bagger Antiques at 1408 Market Street in Hannibal is a fascinating place to spend a couple of hours on an idle afternoon, perusing an assorted array of antique furniture and items used by citizens of Hannibal in past years…possibly by our very own grandparents or great-grandparents. People have always loved their “stuff.” Is it possible that some of us are even reluctant to leave behind certain beloved items when it is our time to pass on from this plane of existence? Perhaps, a departing spirit leaves a piece of themselves behind – attached to the item.

Ray Delaporte has been running Carpet Bagger Antiques for over 14 years now. He - as well as many other coworkers and visitors to the shop - have experienced a variety of paranormal occurrences in the building starting right before they moved their business in, and continuing to the present time.

Ray was alone in the building when he had his first paranormal experience there. All of the other workers had gone home for the night. He was upstairs on the second floor moving a glass-front cabinet. He started to fall; and, although he knew he was alone, instinctually yelled out “help” to the empty room. Immediately something from behind him helped Ray regain his balance and stand back up.

Initially, the paranormal activity was only on the second floor. Ray and the other employees would often find a chest of drawers with the drawers open…even after they had just closed them. Often, footsteps could be heard walking around upstairs, but there was never anyone there when they investigated the sounds.

One evening after work, three of the employees were sitting on a couch upstairs and heard the sound of a log chain being dropped right in the room with them.

Eventually, activity began to occur downstairs as well including abrupt temperature changes, a black mist floating from one part of the store to another, objects being moved around, the feeling of being touched and even visual apparitions.

In the second room of the antique store, there was once a fireplace with a child’s rocking chair placed in front of it with an old doll on the seat. Ray would often come to work in the morning to find the chair moved several feet, the doll would be on the floor, and toys would be scattered around the area. After the fireplace was sold, all activity in that area ceased.

When objects were found to be moved around in the store, Ray and coworker Rachael Bradney Rice set up a camera in an attempt to find out what was going on when they weren’t around. They set the camera up in a glass display case. What they captured was disturbing: the figure of a man walking toward the case and the dark shadow of an arm reaching through the front glass of the case and turning the camera off! When they watched the footage, Rachael commented that the figure looked like a thinner version of Ray.

The image of a man dressed all in black and wearing a black derby hat has been glimpsed several times in a booth full of antique toys.  “That’s especially interesting,” commented Ray, “because Mr. Landau won a prize at the St. Louis Fair in 1904 for his hats, and the Derby was one of them.”

On the wide staircase leading to the second floor, Ray and another man were pushed by an entity running by them on the stairs.

An especially creepy event occurred with a mirror. They were videotaping with a camera in the very back of the store. Ray and another man walked by a mirror hanging on one of the walls. The camera caught their movement in the mirror after Ray and his friend had walked by it.

In 2005, some kids broke in and ransacked the building. They stopped short of the upstairs, though. Later, after the juveniles were caught, one of the kids told Ray that they had some really spooky stuff going on upstairs.

A couple of local paranormal groups have investigated the location. Ava and Doug Potterfield of Aegis Investigations encountered several entities during their investigation a couple of years ago.

Ava saw the man in black wearing the derby hat that Ray had come across previously. She did not pick up any negative energy from this entity. She also picked up on a clean-shaven male entity who was frustrated with them for being in his space. Ava felt that this spirit was attached to an item that had come into the shop rather than the building itself.

Ava and Doug also picked up on the spirit of a cat associated with one of the antique beds upstairs. The covers would be rumpled up often; and, they captured an EVP of a cat meowing in the area. Another small spirit found on the second floor was that of a baby. Ava detected the sound of a baby crying from an antique baby buggy. They would take turns straightening the covers in the buggy, only to return second later to find them rumpled.

“I think we leave pieces of ourselves and our emotions everywhere,” explained Ava. “That’s why we sometimes feel emotions from items…anger, sweetness…you can feel if an object was loved.”

Ava and Doug did do a cleansing to remove only negative energy lingering in the building. I wonder, with the number of items moving in and out of Carpet Bagger’s from estates all over the area, if this is something that needs to be undertaken regularly.

Ray said the Carpet Bagger’s Antique building at 1408 Market was built in 1864. The location was initially given the address of 152 Market Street in 1885 when the Sanborn Fire Insurance maps began listing Hannibal streets. Eli Albertson ran a dry goods business at this location throughout the late 1800s until 1895 when brothers Jacob J. and Adolph N. Landau took over the location. They ran a dry goods, furniture and clothing business. There were also boarders living on the second floor during the time Albertson and the Landaus owned the building.

Adolph Landers died on March 19, 1936. He had been in business at 1408 Market Street for 41 years. Jacob passed away in 1943. They are buried with their families in the Jewish section of Riverside Cemetery.

Ray said he was told that there was a fire in the building in 1945 and a young woman named Sarah True lost her life in the fire. The building was abandoned for over ten years after the fire. Elder Furniture was located there in the 1970s; and, Market Street Mall and Antiques moved in prior to Carpet Bagger’s Antiques. Other businesses located at this address over the years include a tavern, hardware store and carpet store. Levering Hospital stored paperwork and files in the building for years as well.

I did find evidence of a Sarah True who lived in Hannibal at various addresses including several in the 200 and 300 blocks of Market Street beginning in 1901, but I haven’t found any research to substantiate that she ever lived at this location. This Sarah True didn’t perish in a fire, but died at the age of 80 in 1940 from heart disease.

Antiques are fascinating to me. I love speculating about the possible lives of the previous owners…maybe we need to give more thought to the previous owners than I’d initially thought!

One last comment of interest about 1408 Market to those of us who grew up in Hannibal: “This is the last remaining building of the true wedge,” said Ray.