It’s no secret that Chicago has a pretty haunted history when it comes to horrors that have befallen the city. From the Great Chicago Fire to an extensive list of murders from back in the days of classical gangsters, there are plenty of reasons to believe that some of the places around Chicago are haunted to this day. This is why we went on a hunt to find all of the creepiest spots in Chicago. It turns out that we were in for a little more than we bargained for when we went on this hunt. So, without further ado, here are the creepiest spots we could find in Chicago. Proceed if you dare.
1. Harpo Studios
Ever wandered out by the river late at night? Even if you have, you probably had no idea that a terrible disaster occurred not far from where you were walking. Back in 1915, the S.S. Eastland capsized on the river, killing 844 passengers and crew members on board. It was the worst capsize since the Titanic, only a few years earlier. The strangest thing is the fact that the boat slowly rolled over, and the people trapped inside simply couldn’t escape. This tragedy would later lead to strict requirements for vessels and their lifeboat requirements.
So, with that great of a loss of life, you have to imagine that a few supernatural sightings and events have been experienced over the past few decades. This is especially true near the spot of Harpo Studios, where many of the bodies were dragged to after the incident. People have claimed to see everything from orbs in their photos to cold spots all over the place by the river. Some claim that they have even heard the screams of the passengers in the night. While we did experience some cold spots, we can’t say if that’s from natural weather phenomena or what. It’s definitely creepy as shit, though.
2. Castle Nightclub
Castle Nightclub kind of gets a double dose of creepy behind it when considering the paranormal. Aside from the fact that its Gothic architecture is enough to make it look like a scene out of a horror movie, Castle was also a part of the scene for two horrific events in Chicago’s history. Just like Harpo, Castle was a spot where many of the dead from a disaster were taken to for identifying. Not only that, but it also resides in a spot that was at the heart of the Great Chicago Fire in 1871.
With so much death being involved in the building’s history, it’s become quite the hotspot for rumors of ghosts. One of those ghosts, the “woman in red” was even captured in a photo a few years ago. Her ghostly appearance seemed to be sitting inside a window. If you go there long after the music cuts off, people say that you can hear her walking along the corridors. While we haven’t been there after the club closes for the night, we’ve heard that more than a few people have spotted strange things, especially the staff. Don’t be afraid to ask them if they have any stories. They’ll be more than willing to share one.
3. Congress Plaza Hotel
Al Capone had a rich, violent history in Chicago, and many believe that places in Chicago are still directly haunted because of his actions. While Al Capone didn’t actually live in the Congress Plaza Hotel, it is believed that he actually owned and operated out of it for a good chunk of time. Rumors claim that he had people killed in the hotel, but none of this can actually be confirmed. Although it can’t be confirmed, people have claimed to have seen Capone’s ghost wandering throughout the building, and also the sound of a woman and child screaming. This is usually attributed to being the screams from the wife of the man whom Capone had killed in the hotel.
The strangest thing of all is the mysterious gloved hand that protrudes from the wall. Some say that this was left here in remembrance of a man who was trapped in the wall during the construction of the building. Whatever the case may be, this is definitely one of the better places to stay in Chicago if you’re looking for a haunting, because many who stay have a very unique ghostly experience.
4. Graceland Cemetery
Some stories are just too crazy to believe sometimes, but this one just gives us the creeps just thinking about it. There’s a statue of a girl, Inez Clark, who was killed when struck by lightning back in 1880. Her parents first had the statue erected, and then put a glass casing around it to keep it from the weather. This was, apparently, to keep her from the elements in her eternal sleep.
However, it seems that there are some very strange things that go on with the statue. Apparently, during storms, the statue has been reported to completely disappear from its box. If that isn’t weird enough, some have actually seen the statue moving in the box when lighting is striking near the area. Tell us that’s not some crazy shit to think about. Not only that, but the cemetery is located next to the oldest crematorium in the city. We’ll be making the trip to check it out the next time it storms…
5. Death Alley (Behind The Oriental Theater)
Remember how the Titanic was supposed to be “unsinkable,” well, the Iroquois Theater was supposed to be “fire-proof” as well. Unfortunately for the nearly 2,500 attendees, it turns out that the theater was just a fireball waiting to happen. On the night of December 30th, 1903, a fire got out of control in the Iroquois Theater, leading to the deaths of 602 people, including 212 children. They stacked the bodies up in this alley, where they waited for them to be identified.
These days, people have heard the cries of the children in the alley, run into numerous cold spots, and have even claimed to have been grabbed by some sort of ghostly presence. We went there when it had emptied out, and we literally felt like their were presences all around us, yet no one was there. It was enough to make us feel the need to get the hell away from there, which we did.
6. The Red Lion Pub
Okay, so it’s actually a really legit, welcoming bar when you grab a drink there, and it’s not actually a creepy place per se, but the story behind it is what makes it a little creepy. There are apparently a whole group of ghosts that likes to haunt the place, including one who wore a Lavender Perfume that can still be smelled to this day. Even weirder than that is the fact that there’s apparently a ghost that has been known to lock the door to the women’s restroom upstairs on occasion. In fact, it happens often enough that many regulars have said that it’s a normal occurrence.
Photo Credit: Chicago Tribune
While no one was locked up in the bathroom while we were there, there was definitely something to those rumors about the perfumed ghost that floats through the hallways. One of the people with us swore he caught a whiff of the Lavender Perfume that everyone was talking about. The bartenders have plenty of stories to tell, so grab a seat at the bar if you want the full inside scoop on the happenings around the bar.
7. The Abandoned Biograph Theater (North Lincoln Ave.)
This is, by far, one of the more consistently interesting stories we’d heard. The gangster history of Chicago is one that’s deep and tinged in blood. So, it should come as no surprise that there have been quite a few reports of the ghosts of these gangsters haunting many spots throughout the city. In an alley next to the abandoned Biograph Theater, it’s said that the ghost of one of those gangsters can be seen nightly, running down the alley and then collapsing.
Whether it’s John Dillinger or Jimmy Lawrence is still up for debate, but people know that it’s some sort of gangster based on the clothing that the ghost is adorned in. He’s seen as a blue figure that runs down the alley at precisely 9:00 P.M. every night. He, apparently, becomes more visible in winter, when the darkness of night is deeper, earlier. While we didn’t see anything when we were there, we did hear some interesting, running footsteps in the alley when there was obviously no one else around.
8. 2122 North Clark St. (Spot of St. Valentine’s Day Massacre)
The warehouse where the massacre actually happened was torn down long ago, but the spot at which the murdered men’s ghosts haunt is still around. In case you didn’t know, Al Capone and his cronies had seven men from Bugs Moran’s gang brutally murdered in broad daylight. They were lined up by men dressed as police. The men who murdered the members of Bugs’ gang were never found nor prosecuted, which may partially be the reason why the ghosts have stuck around.
While you won’t hear about too many up-close sightings from this place, many have claimed to have seen gruesome photos and recordings when they look back over the ones that they had taken earlier. It’s not apparitions or orbs that they see, but actual blood splatters on the ground that obviously weren’t there when they investigated earlier. Yeah, that’s pretty messed up.
8. The Tonic Room
It’s always rough when someone gets murdered in a place, but some of those murdered don’t exactly want to leave the places they’re murdered at. Apparently that’s the case at The Tonic Room, where some very, very strange things have happened in the midst of this bar. No, that may not have been a creeper dude that grabbed your butt, but it may have been the ghost, which has been known to get a little touchy with patrons from time to time.
Not only is the ghost touchy, but apparently she likes to scream, too. Even when the place is packed, people have heard blood-curdling screams over the top of the music. When we stopped by, we didn’t hear any screams, but one of the girls with us had her butt grabbed. Come to think of it, that may have just been one of the desperate guys at the bar… yeah, definitely. Still, though, the story behind it is creepy as hell, and worth the time to check out anyway.
9. Holmes’ Death Castle Location
Ever heard of Devil in the White City? Well, the first serial killer resided right here in Chicago, and the details of his murders were disgusting. Some rumors claim that he killed 200 people, others say 100. Whatever the case may be, there were definitely quite a few disturbing acts committed by H.H. Holmes. He stored the bodies all over the place in his house, an kept them hidden from everyone else. Just like a scene out of horror movies, he preserved the bodies and experimented with them. After he was done with them, he sold them to collectors on the black market.
These days, a post office resides on the spot where his castle used to be, but the spirits of those murdered lives on. Not only do the locals walk on the opposite side of the road to avoid the negative energy associated with the place, but even their pets have been known to act scared and frantic when they come near that spot. You know that if a dog flips out, there has to be some bad juju at that place. You’ll just have to venture there and see for yourself.
Did we miss your favorite haunted spot? Report your experiences by commenting below. We’d love to hear your story!