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Chicago’s top 5 haunted locations

Chicago and its environs are home to many haunted locations. Here are some of the sites that made the top five lists of our experts Ursula Bielski and Dale Kaczmarek. Check them out and see if you find any specters or spooks!

 

Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery in Chicago. Photo: Scott Thompson

Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery

This plot of land in Bremen Township, just outside Chicago, was at the top of both Bielski and Kaczmarek’s lists. It’s one of the first places Kaczmarek investigated in the 1970s, and Bielski has written a book about it, entitled Haunted Bachelors Grove. “It’s a settler’s cemetery that goes back to the 1830s,” she explains. “A lot of phenomena are experienced there by many people, including me.” She mentions “a woman in white, a vanishing house, ghost lights, moving tombstones and a phantom black dog.”

Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery

5900 West Midlothian Turnpike, Midlothian

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Hull House

Built in 1856, Hull Mansion became part of a complex of settlement agency residences for recently arrived immigrants. Mentions of ghosts there date back to the 1880s. Kaczmarek cites “reports of shadowy monk-like figures, a woman dressed in white passing through walls and closed doors” and a rocking chair that rocks by itself. The building is now home to the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, honoring the life of a peace activist who was also one of the first women to win the Nobel Prize, in 1931.

Hull House

800 South Halstead Street, Chicago

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Photo: Congress Plaza Hotel

Congress Plaza Hotel

Bielski describes the Congress, built in 1893, as “one of the most haunted hotels in the world.” Her investigations have confirmed “dozens of haunted rooms.”

Congress Plaza Hotel

520 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago

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Eastland Disaster Area

Bielski and Kaczmarek agree on this Downtown Chicago spot, between the LaSalle and Clark Street bridges, as one of their top five. In 1915, the passenger ship SS Eastland rolled on her side while moored to a dock in the Chicago River. Many of the bodies pulled from the wreckage were taken to a nearby armory. It was on the same site that Oprah Winfrey later ran her Harpo Studios. “Oprah talked for years about how she and her staff would see figures dressed in Edwardian attire in the hallways,” Bielski says, adding that to this day, struggling, luminescent forms are reportedly seen and heard in the river, crying for help. That same location is now McDonald’s corporate headquarters.

Lincoln Park

Stretching for seven miles along Lake Michigan on the north side of Chicago, and encompassing a zoo, a conservatory, comedy clubs, museums and even the celebrated molecular gastronomy restaurant, Alinea, Lincoln Park doesn’t seem like a creepy location. But Bielski reports that a graveyard was once located on this tract of land. An attempt to relocate the bodies was interrupted by the Great Fire of 1871, cutting the job short. Thereafter, the park was built over unmarked graves. She tells of “countless reports of encounters” with full-body apparitions, voices and other phenomena.

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