9 Most Haunted Places in Chicago, IL

Chicago, or the Windy City, is a popular travel destination in the United States. People visit the city to attend sporting events or visit the countless historical and entertainment venues. People also visit because of the countless haunted places in Chicago. Below is a list of just a few of the city’s more remarkable haunted sites.

Let’s explore some of the most haunted places in Chicago:

9. The Red Lion

Any tour of the most haunted places in Chicago worth going on includes a stop at the Red Lion Pub in Lincoln Park. The Red Lion Pub is home to countless ghosts that have been sighted on multiple occasions over the decades. Everyone from staff members, to patrons of the pub, to the city’s consummate ghost hunters has experienced an assortment of paranormal activity at the Red Lion. Some of the spirits people have witnessed at the location include a bearded man, a mentally challenged girl people call Sharon, a woman in 1920s attire, and a cowboy. People have said one ghost locks people at the pub in the bathroom stalls while others have witnessed plates fly out of the hands of servers.

8. Jane Addams Hull House

Jane Addams and her friend Ellen Gates Starr made the decision that they were going to help immigrants and the poor. The best way to achieve their goal was to establish the Hull House settlement house. Addams and Starr provided immigrants to America with a temporary home along with countless services until they found a permanent home of their own. With so many people coming in and out of Hull House it is only natural that it became the location of tremendous paranormal activity. Lights have been known to flicker off and on, windows have broken with no justifiable reason, and motion detectors have also gone off. In the front rooms of Hull House the ghost of a “lady in white” has been spotted. There are also claims ghosts haunt the attic.

7. Excalibur Club

Individuals interested in visiting a haunted location in Chicago that has a very castle-like appearance need to make their way to the Excalibur Club. When the club was built in 1892 instead of using wood, the contractors used rough granite blocks. In the more than a century the Club has been around it has been home to countless groups and organizations. It has been home to a magazine, the WPA, the Loyal Order of the Moose, and the Limelight, which was a club.

Paranormal activity at the Excalibur Club has varied over the years. Some people have heard keys rattling when it was obvious no one, living, was the cause. A bartender, while using the restroom, felt as though someone was pushing against the stall door preventing him from leaving. The storage room is another area where people have heard what sounded like boxes moving around when it was, in fact, empty and locked. People have also witnessed the balls on the pool table moving around on their own.

6. The Oriental/ Ford Theater

Long before the Iroquois Theater came to be known as the Oriental/Ford Theater it had a tragic past. Only weeks after it opened a horrific tragedy occurred on December 30, 1903. A fire broke out in the building housing the theater killing a staggering 572 people. Countless others were injured, 30 of those individuals would end up perishing as a direct result of their injuries. Following the fire more than 100 bodies were stacked behind the theater in an alley. Some of those bodies were people who died when they leapt from the fire in hopes of surviving.

In the decades since this horrific tragedy, people living in, and visiting, the building behind the theater have experienced different paranormal activity. Some people have stated they have heard footsteps they believe belong to individuals that perished in the fire. Additional unexplained sounds have been heard behind the theater as well. Other people have said they are left feeling incredibly uneasy when behind the theater.

5. Clark Bridge

In 1915 a horrible tragedy occurred when the S.S. Eastland, carrying more than 2,500 crew members and passengers, rolled over onto its side. More than 800 people perished on that day. At the time of the tragedy the vessel was docked at the Clark Street Bridge. The Clark Bridge remains standing today and overlooks the site of the horrible tragedy that took the lives of entire families. People who have crossed the bridge have made claims that bodies can be seen floating in the Chicago River before they end up sinking. There is an overall eerie feeling when one is on the bridge or looks out onto where the Eastland sank.

4. Congress Plaza Hotel Stay at the Congress Plaza

In all of the haunted places in Chicago, none is bigger or appears to have the level of paranormal activity that people have experienced at the Congress Plaza Hotel. The Congress Plaza Hotel has accommodated everyone from presidents, to celebrities, to millionaires, and gangsters such as Al Capone since 1893. In the history of hotels, no other hotel has had a longer strike by the hotel than the Congress Plaza.

The stories from people who have either visited the Plaza or stayed there have varied. Room 441 is said to be the home to the shadowy outline of a woman. It is such a creepy and unnerving room, security for the hotel has been called there countless times.  People have heard pianos playing when no one is near them; gunshots in the banquet room are another sound people have heard. People have seen the ghost of a young boy they believe died when he and his brother jumped out of a window with their mother. When attending weddings in the Gold Room, photos of people taken around the grand piano have come back with people not in the photos. A room on the twelfth floor is sealed permanently and covered with wall paper because of how terrifying the room is said to be.

3. Chicago Water Tower

When the Chicago Water Tower was built in 1869 using Lemont limestone, no one knew the devastation it would live through. The Great Fire of Chicago, which took place in 1871, devastated the city destroying almost everything in its path including killing more than 300 people. One thing the fire did not destroy was the Chicago Water Tower. One man, who people say was manning the water pumps to ensure that water continued pumping to help with the fires, eventually, hung himself from one of the towers when the fires came too close. The ghost of the man who hung himself, instead of dying in the fire, is often seen in the tower’s window.

2. Tonic Room

If you find yourself visiting the haunted places of Chicago, no tour would be complete without a visit to what is now the Tonic Room. The building that is now home to the Tonic Room has a colorful history dating all the way back to the roaring twenties. It also has a history of unusual paranormal activity. Furthermore the building is home to a tremendous amount of speculation as to what the building was used for over the years. In the building’s history it was home to a tavern, which proved to be one of the North Side Irish gang’s favorite hangouts. Upstairs a brothel was run out of the apartment units.

When the Tonic Room owner’s opened their business they made an unusual discovery. Someone had painted a pentagram on the basement floor and on the ceiling someone painted Egyptian iconography. The presence of these symbols has led people to believe the basement was a secret meeting place for the Golden Dawn’s American Chapter. Claims were made by an elderly woman that a murder occurred at the location in the 1930s. Over the years people have seen ghosts in the main bar area as well as in the basement.

1. H.H. Holmes' Murder Castle

H.H. Holmes or Dr. Henry Howard Holmes is the aliases of Herman Webster Mudgett, a notorious serial killer in America. In 1886, Holmes moved to Chicago and eventually opened the World’s Fair Hotel. The Hotel was huge spanning 3 blocks. Holmes built the hotel to accommodate visitors to the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. The Hotel would gain the nickname of “The Castle” because of how massive a structure it was at the time.

The size of the hotel is not what makes the H.H. Holmes’ Murder Castle famous. At least 20 people, if not countless more, died in the hotel at the hands of Holmes. The actual number of deaths in the hotel may have reached into the hundreds but Holmes only admitted to the 20. Found within the hotel’s walls were pits of acid, gas chambers, and even makeshift operating tables. With the revelations about what transpired within the walls of the Murder Castle, eventually it was torn down only to be replaced with a Post Office. Ghost hunters frequently visit the location in hopes of experiencing some sort of paranormal activity ranging from sighting apparitions or hearing unusual sounds.

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