The “alpha city” of the global economy-Chicago, isn’t very behing when it comes to ghost hunting. Home to an array of haunted places, Chicago is sure to send chills down the spines of the strongest of the lot. Read on, to find out about the Top 10 haunted places in Chicago. These set of places include a haunted theatre, murder castle, tower, pub and many more spooky locations. Get ready and pack your stuffs as you move on a journey to these haunted places in Chicago that are a way too spooky.
List of Haunted Places in Chicago
1. The Oriental/Ford Theatre, formerly the Iroquois Theatre
The theatre has witnessed numerous changes in ownership and names over the last century, but has failed to move past the great tragedy that followed few weeks after its grand opening. On the unlucky night of December 30, 1903, the building fell prey to a fire, which raged through the building, killing 572 people, and another 30 victims later succumbed to their injuries. Till date, few people claim to hear mysterious footsteps, apparently of those who perished in the fire, over a century ago. The current residents of the building that is located just behind the theater, often report to have been struck with intense feelings of uneasiness.
2. Water Tower
The haunting of this place started after the unfortunate Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The legend states that a man hung himself from the limestone Chicago Water Tower to avoid death by flames, as the flames crept upwards. The water tower is the only structure to have survived the fire in the vicinity. The locals claim that to this day, a figure can be seen dangling from the windows of the tower.
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3. H.H. Holmes’ “Murder Castle”
The enormous 3-block long hotel, previously known as the World’s Fair Hotel was built in time to serve guests of the city’s World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893 by infamous American serial killer Herman Webster Mudgett who is better known by his alias, Dr. Henry Howard Holmes—or simply, H. H. Holmes. The hotel was rechristened as the castle by the neighbours, owing to its size, but soon the stories of the horrors that happened within the building, started surfacing and it became notorious as the Holmes’ “Murder Castle.” The serial killer himself had admitted to killing at least 20 victims within the walls of his nefarious hotel. On inspection, gas chambers, crude operating tables, and pits of acid were found later, and it was estimated that the death count could be well into the hundreds. The castle was ultimately torn down, and now the Englewood Post Office stands in its place. But, the corner of 63rd and Wallace continues to attract ghost hunters, as well as USPS patrons till date.
4. Congress Plaza Hotel
This is another hotel, built to house out-of-town guests for the World’s Columbian Exposition, but not with nearly the horrific backstory as the Murder Castle. The Congress Plaza Hotel, was rumoured to be a hangout for Al Capone. Numerous stories of apparitions and paranormal activity within the hotel are prolific. One of the stories, is of the ghost of a young boy whose mother jumped with him and his brother from a high window. Sounds of pianos playing by themselves, gunshots ringing out in the banquet room are often heard by the guests. The scariest of all is the incredibly creepy room 441, where apparently a shadowy outline of a woman lurks—it is the room from which hotel security is most frequently dialed.
5. The Red Lion Pub
The Red Lion Pub has become a regular instalment on any tour of the Windy City’s haunted places, and is popular as the “most haunted pub in Chicago.” Going by the statements of city’s paranormal experts, patrons of the pub, and employees, the place is riddled with an assortment of ghosts. Numeorus ghost sightings have been reported like that of a cowboy, a lady dressed in 1920s garb, a man in a black hat, a little girl, and even a woman who lives in a bathroom stall and has the tendency to lock pub-goers in.
6. Lourdes High School (Former)
Situated in the West Els-don the school has a repute of being haunted by the ghost of a phantom nun on the third floor. Richard T. Crowe, Chicago’s most respected authority on local ghost lore, taught English and journalism at Lourdes High School in 1972/73.Heavy footsteps were sometimes heard echoing down the empty corridor, and a ghostly specter was often sighted. The new addition to the old building- The Stitch Hall, an auditorium was built during the 1950s, also reportedly experienced this activity. Several years ago, Lourdes closed and John Hancock High School opened in its place.
7. Ethyl’s Party/Tito’s on the Edge
Between 1908 and 1995, Cloetta’s Funeral Home stood on the edge of China Town and catered to the Italian neighbourhood next door. The funeral home was moved out and was replaced by a bar, the locals were weary of patronizing the new establishment. Even one of Tito’s own bartenders refused to go into what was formerly the embalming room and the cold storage area in the basement. Soon, the building’s new owners realised that it was haunted. Employees often reported sightings of a man dressed in a brown trench coat, a thick white cloud, and even an extra band member who was seen on stage for a few moments before vanishing. Tito’s on the Edge is now known as Ethyl’s Party, but the strange activity remains.
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8. Holy Family Church
The church was built between 1857 and 1859, and was the only of one of its kind to have survived the Chicago fire. Quoting Father McCarthy, “The church’s pastor in 1973, its altar was positioned above a stream that ran under the church, which itself was considered sacred ground by Americans Indians because of a battle that took place there. Traditionally, divine intervention is credited for preventing the church from being consumed in the Chicago fire, since Holy Family is located only a few blocks from where popular belief asserts the fire started”. Also, statues of two boys holding candles hang high above the altar. These are believed to be the representations of the spirits of two altar boys that led a priest to a dying woman in need of receiving last rites. Once, Father McCarthy also witnessed a figure standing in the choir loft, although it had been closed to the public for years.
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9. Excalibur Club
This Romanesque Revival building was constructed from rough granite blocks that give it a castle-like appearance. The place boasts of a long and colorful history. Built in 1892 by the Chicago Historical Society, since 1931 it has been home to the Loyal Order of the Moose, the WPA, a technology institute, a magazine company, and finally, a nightclub called the Limelight. Soon after the opening of the Limelight, the staff started noticing unusual activity, especially on the third floor. On the pool table, balls rolled around on their own. The sound of heavy boxes moving in the storage room was often heard, even though the room was locked and empty. Hauntings did not cease even after the club became the Excalibur in 1990. One bartender was reportedly trapped in a bathroom stall for several minutes, as though someone was holding the door closed. On one visit, Scott Markus (author of Voices from the Chicago Grave) claimed to hear keys rattling and witnessed a figure that seemed to vanish behind a support column. Owing to many similar incidents, the Excalibur is a favourite subject around Halloween for local radio and news stations.
10. Harpo Studios
The Harpo Studios really was originally used as a morgue after the Eastland Disaster. According to reports, 835 passengers died when the boat capsized. City morgues were unable to take all of the bodies, therefore many were brought to the 2nd Regiment Armory, where a makeshift morgue was set up. The building went through several other incarnations before it was taken over by Harpo Studios. One of the most apparitions, sighted here is of the "The Grey Lady." Other claims include hearing people crying and screaming for help, children laughing, and doors slamming without reason.