Haunted Places In Chicago

Chicago is one of America's most haunted cities. If you're looking for a genuine encounter with a ghost, visit these eerie and terrifying sites.

Chicago--America's "Windy City"--is wildly haunted with ghosts from the city's past. Chicago's early settlers and gangsters still linger at historic hotels, restaurants, monuments, and alleys.

FORT DEARBORN MASSACRE

The city of Chicago--first called "Chekagou"--was founded in the late 17th century. But, the city's oldest ghosts linger from an 1812 tragedy. On August 15, 1812, over 50 men, women and children left Chicago's Fort Dearborn and were massacred by Potawatomi Indians in a surprise attack.

Today, the site of the tragedy--around Chicago's 16th Street and Indiana Avenue--is profoundly haunted by figures in pioneer and colonial clothing. Similar ghosts have been seen at the site of the old fort, at Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive. Although the fort was torn down in 1856, a plaque marks where it once stood.

Take your flash camera and use high-speed film (at least 400 ISO) to capture photos of "spirit orbs" at this haunted site.

CAMP DOUGLAS

Civil War sites are consistently haunted, and the North's largest Confederate burial ground is no exception.

Camp Douglas in Chicago was the North's Andersonville, and served as a prisoner of war camp during the Civil War. The facility was demolished after the War, but its site--around Calumet and 33rd Streets--may still be haunted.

However, far more ghosts appear where as many as 6000 Confederate soldiers and sailors--former inmates of Camp Douglas--are buried. Their coffins were placed in circular trenches at the Oak Woods Cemetery memorial known as "Confederate Mound." Look for a 46-foot Civil War monument surrounded by cannon and cannonballs.

This is another site where you may discover surprising images on your photos. For the best pictures, visit this site at dawn or dusk.

THE GREAT CHICAGO FIRE

Whether or not Mrs. O'Leary's cow started the Great Chicago Fire, the 1871 tragedy started near her west side barn on DeKoven Street. No doubt, some of Chicago's many ghosts in Victorian garb were among the 300 victims of that fire. And, the Chicago Fire Academy (on the site of the former O'Leary home) may be the home of several ghosts today.

But, ghosts also predicted the Great Chicago Fire:

Holy Family Church is the second oldest church in Chicago. Father Arnold Damen, a Jesuit priest from Holland, founded it. In October 1871, two drowned former altar boys warned the church's parishioners that a terrible fire was about to occur. Father Damen prayed that entire night and the wind shifted so that the church was spared. Seven candles are kept lit in front of the picture of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, in memory of that miracle.

Father Damen's ghost--dressed in clerical garb and also as a white, filmy spirit--has been seen at the Holy Family Church on West Roosevelt Road, and at St. Ignatius College, next door to the church.

If you see a priest walking briskly around the church or college, keep watching and he may vanish abruptly. If he does, you're one of the many people who's seen Father Damen's ghost.

Since the fire, there have been several other tragedies in Chicago, resulting in modern-day haunting.

HARPO STUDIOS' GHOSTS

In 1915, a rusting Lake Michigan steamship--the Eastland--sank abruptly in the Chicago River killing over 800 passengers, including over 20 entire families. Immediately after the tragedy, the corpses were brought to the 2nd Regiment Armory until they were identified and released to the families.

Today, the armory is part of Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Studios, and this is private property. However, ghost stories from the armory rank it among the most haunted sites in America. The ghosts range from a benevolent "gray lady" to the sounds of laughing (but unseen) children.



Ghostly screams have been heard at the Clark Street Bridge, close to where the steamer sank. Coincidentally, ghosts from Chicago's St. Valentine's Day Massacre of 1929 also haunt Clark Street.

GANGSTERS AND MOB BOSSES

Chicago's most famous ghosts are related to Prohibition and the early 20th century.

Al Capone's ghost haunts Alcatraz Prison, not Chicago. But, the spirits of his victims--from the famous St. Valentine's Day Massacre--still make appearances in the Windy City.

Gangland's most spectacular and legendary hit took place on February 14th, 1929. Seven men--members of Bugs Moran's gang--were machine gunned to death at the back wall of a liquor warehouse. The killers wore police uniforms; their real identities were suspected, but not one gunman was ever arrested.

Al Capone was behind the massacre, though he was far from Chicago when it happened. As portrayed in the movie, "Some Like It Hot," Capone and many of his cronies were vacationing in Florida on that fateful day.

The warehouse at Chicago's 2122 North Clark Street is gone. However, apparitions and strange noises have been reported at the site. This is an ideal site for photos as well as your tape recorder. Examine your pictures and recordings carefully when you get home, for the most gruesome evidence of these hauntings.

GRACELAND CEMETERY

While you're on the infamous North Clark Street, continue to 4001 North Clark Street, at the corner of Irving Park Road.

First, look for the grave of Inez Clarke, a child who was killed by lightning. It's easy to identify her memorial, because the lifelike statue is enclosed by a glass case. That case isn't to protect the statue, but an attempt to keep it from moving. Especially during thunderstorms, the figure vanishes; the next day or so later, it reappears. If the figure of little Miss Clarke is on display, examine it closely. The statue sheds tears from time to time.

Next, find the hooded monument of Dexter Graves. His statue was entirely black in 1844 when he was buried. Today, the rest of the statue is green, while his eerie black face stares at visitors from beneath the folds of his hood.

Finally, look for the hillside vault of Ludwig Wolff. It's a large site, about 30 feet long and 10 or more feet tall. On nights of the full moon, ghouls and supernatural monsters are reported at the entrance to his grave. The most common figure has glowing green or yellow eyes, and howls to protect the remains of Mr. Wolff.

DILLINGER'S GHOST

Not far from Clark Street, you can visit two more of Chicago's most haunted sites. Take West Fullerton Parkway west from North Clark Street. The next major intersection is the 2400 block of North Lincoln Avenue. Stop for a drink at the Red Lion Pub, located 2446 North Lincoln Avenue. Ask the staff about the ghostly girl whose lavender perfume lingers in the halls, and nearly a dozen other ghosts who frequent the pub. But, stay away from the ladies' room upstairs; a ghost likes to trap women in it.

Before leaving the Red Lion, get directions to the abandoned site of the Biograph Theater on North Lincoln Avenue. The blue figure of John Dillinger--or perhaps a look-alike gangster, Jimmy Lawrence--haunts the alley next to the theater. His form runs up the alley, falls, and then vanishes each night around 9 p.m. At other times, visitors report an unexplained cold spot or a chilling breeze that comes out of nowhere and lingers mid-alley.

OTHER FAMOUS ILLINOIS CEMETERIES

There are two more sites worth visiting if you're in the Chicago area and looking for ghosts.

Bachelor's Grove Cemetery reports more ghosts than all other Chicago-area sites combined. It is located at the town of Midlothian, Illinois, on the edge of the Rubio Woods Forest Preserve. Bring your camera and take a lot of pictures. When you examine the prints, look for baffling orbs and perhaps a very clear figure of a ghost. But, the cemetery is a deserted site and favorite of vandals; don't go there alone.

Resurrection Cemetery at 7201 Archer Road in Justice, Illinois, is famous for "Resurrection Mary." She was a young woman who loved to dance, and was struck by a car on Archer Avenue as she was hitchhiking home one evening. Since the 1930s, this legendary ghost has appeared in a white dress near the cemetery on Archer Road, or at the O. Henry Ballroom where she used to dance. Today, that site is known as the Willowbrook Ballroom, and Mary is seen inside and near the building.

Archer Road is famous for many other hauntings, including a phantom hearse on its way to a second haunted graveyard, the St. James-Sag Cemetery. At the St. James-Sag, watch for the ghosts of eight hooded monks that roam the site.

Chicago is one of America's most haunted cities, and offers many opportunities for encountering genuine ghosts. You'll certainly have some memorable experiences at these haunted sites. Take as many photos as you can while you're there. They may be your best evidence of real encounters with spirits from beyond the grave.

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