The month of October brings Chicagoans many wonderful things: a reduced amount of tourists, boots, scarves, pumpkin spiced lattes, and of course, Halloween, and everything that comes with it. It’s the time of year for horror movies, costume parties, and of course, haunted houses. Here at Chicago Genie, we love haunted houses as much as the next person; however, we also think that they’re arguably unnecessary because basically the entire city is a rumored to be haunted. While some of these places are well known, we’re willing to bet you had no idea some of them could be on the list. Here are the four most haunted places in Chicago:
The Congress Hotel is supposedly one of the most haunted places in Chicago. Built in 1893, the Congress was one of the major attractions during the World’s Fair. The hotel hosted many different guests, stars, and even politicians. With such a diverse guest list, there was always something interesting going on at the Congress—but not always something good. As years went on, mysterious deaths began happening there, and it gained the reputation of being haunted. Some of the most notorious stories are of “The Judge” and Karel Langer. The Judge was one of the last elderly people to live in the hotel. During his last few years, he would entertain himself by roaming the hallways with a remote control, turning peoples’ TVs on and off. Guests of the Congress have been known to call down to the front desk and complain of their TVs acting strangely. Karel Langer was a six-year-old boy whose mother went insane, killing him, his brother, and herself. Guests have reportedly seen a little boy running up and down the halls of the 12th floor (where he stayed), standing in people’s rooms, and hanging around in the kitchen.
Before there was the Titanic, there was the Eastland Disaster. The S.S. Eastland was known as “The Speed Queen of the Great Lakes.” On July 24th, 1915, the Eastland was one of five boats meant to take employees of Western Electric across Lake Michigan to Michigan City, Indiana for the company’s annual picnic. The Eastland was set to be the first to depart that morning, and many employees wanted to get on first. The boat slowly began to list back and forth from port to starboard, and guests thought nothing of it until they began to fall. Passengers and the ship’s captain failed to realize what was going on, and nobody was evacuated from the ship. The Eastland capsized very suddenly causing 844 people to die in the river that day. There have been reports from Chicagoans and tourists alike of hearing blood-curdling screams, people yelling for help and splashing in the water. Some people even claim to have seen people drowning, only to vanish within seconds, making it one of the most haunted places in Chicago.
The Hancock Center is not only one of the most recognizable skyscrapers on the skyline, it’s also reportedly one of the most haunted places in Chicago. Completed in 1968, The Hancock Center has a trapezoidal design. This design is thought to have caused the mayhem that has taken place over the years. Anton Szandor LaVey created what he called the “Church of Satan,” and he was very interested in the building’s structure. LaVey believed that the trapezoidal shape served as a doorway for evil forces. About three years after completion, a woman named Lorraine Kowalski fell to her death from her boyfriend’s 90th-floor apartment. This occurrence remains a mystery to this day as Kowalski broke through glass made to withstand 200 pounds of pressure and 150 mile per hour winds. Two other men are reported to have fallen to their deaths from the 97th and 91st floors. The Hancock Center has been linked to many mysterious deaths over the year including Heather O’ Rourke, star of Poltergeist, whose health took a turn for the worse after doing her final publicity plug in Hancock Studios. Harold Ramis was inspired to write Ghostbusters when hearing about the building’s strange structure.
Now, you might not think that the post office on 63rd Street would be one of the most haunted places in Chicago, there are plenty who’d disagree. Chicago is famous for its organized crime. From Al Capone to John Wayne Gacy, there are quite a few notorious criminals who’ve spent time here. The original Chicago criminal doubles as America’s first known serial killer, HH Holmes. Holmes was a doctor, and he apparently built an extravagant hotel, supposedly meant for the World’s Fair. This site is nicknamed “The Murder Castle” because of the gruesome deaths that took place there. The castle was built with secret passageways and torture chambers which allowed Holmes to kidnap, maim, and kill his victims. The house was eventually burned down, and it remained a vacant lot for years with people reporting hearing screams from the ground. Some time later, a US Post Office was built on the lot, but people still report strange occurrences from cold spots, dogs barking and pulling away for seeming no reason, and uneasy feelings.
This year, instead of going to the typical haunted houses, try visiting some of the most haunted places in Chicago for a real scare!