Google+ Badge

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Haunted Chicago- part 2, the Original 'Sin City"

     
The Windy City
      Chicago is a famous city for many reasons. Frank Sinatra sang about his love for Chicago, after all it was his kind of town. Chicago was and, still is, home to deep dish pizza, infamous gangsters, corrupt politicians, a crazy violent history, the blues and the famous Wrigley Field. The city also boasts one of the most famous sky lines in the world. President Obama served as an Illinois Senator and Oprah Winfrey called Chicago her home for decades. There are a massive amount of haunted cities in the United States, that confidently claim to be the most haunted. In my humble opinion, Chicago, Illinois, is one of the top haunted cities no doubt. No other city can boast even close to the amount of ghosts in Chicago. 
 
One of several Ghost Tour buses
      A lot of people find it hard to believe in the paranormal. It's all about science and logic for some. But there have been many documented ghosts and haunted locations, especially in Chicago.  But for those who believe in the supernatural or are curious, Chicago is the place to get your spook on. The main "sites" are on a map so you can walk around  and explore at your own pace and go for a stroll, or you can take a guided tour, so that you can get the history the haunted sites, or just read my blog, either way.  They say if you take a walk in the middle of the night, you may see some apparitions in windows, and other encounters are always possible. I would definitely love to do that. It sounds super creepy and fun, to me, at least. I'm a bit quirky and eccentric perhaps but I love to learn new things and visit new places. Maybe have a few glasses of wine before your night time adventure. 

Photographed during a Ghost tour
      Believe what you'd like. We now know it as the "the Windy City." Back in the day it was called "Sin City," by many, due to an extraordinarily dark history of  epically fatal disasters. The ghosts reported to make Chicago their home, range from the ghosts of serial killers like; Gacy, Richard Speck and H.H. Holmes, America's first known serial killer, who still haunts his "House of Horror," where he tortured and killed unsuspecting, naive victims. I went into detail about that in my last blog. There are hitchhiker ghosts like Resurrection Mary, to the ghosts of the victims of Indian Massacres. There were also gangsters such as Al Capone, John Dillinger, Bugs Moran, and their victims, that made Chicago home to many of them in the afterlife. Tragedy is associated with ghosts and the paranormal. Usually if someone dies under tragic circumstances a ghost story follows shortly after their unfortunate death. This has proven to be true in most ghost "stories", especially in Chicago for it is just filled with stories of undeniably dark tragedy, violence, loss and haunts. I almost hate to tell you to visit and to enjoy such dark things. Alas, you and I know that would be a lie. I pride myself on my honesty. I'm not sorry, because if this didn't interest you, you wouldn't be reading my blog :) Undoubtedly if you have the chance to go visit, you should. I'm super curious naturally and have reason to believe in ghosts. I have added Chicago to my list of Haunted places I want to visit for my blog. So welcome to haunted Chicago!


     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.


Plaque for Fort Dearborn

      Then came the fires.  According the legend, the Great Chicago Fire was started by a cow that belonged to an Irishwoman named Catherine O’Leary. She ran a neighborhood milk business from her barn behind her home.  Word got around that she had possibly, thoughtlessly, left a kerosene lantern in the barn after her evening milking. People started saying that her cow kicked over it over, igniting the hay on the floor. Of course, no proof of this story has ever been offered, other than word of mouth. And I'm sure no one else near her general vicinity had a lantern? Or perhaps a lantern and a drinking problem? There are always other possibilities. People love to gossip and hear themselves talk a bit too much at times. Alas, the legend took hold in Chicago and was told around the world. Regardless of how the fire started though, on Sunday evening, October 8, 1871, Chicago went from a booming city, to a city in flames.


The Great Fire
     Before the fire, Chicago was growing faster than any other city in America. because of this, construction standards had been “loose” to say the least. The city was miles and miles of unstable, wooden structures, which made for ample fuel if there was ever a fire. Don't get the wrong idea though,  Chicago was not a wooden “shantytown”, although even the downtown hotels, banks, theaters and stores needed constant repair. Just a month before the Great Fire, the "Chicago Tribune" had remarked on the shoddy construction of the brick and stone downtown buildings. The newspaper warned that they were weak and seemed to be falling apart.  Hardly a week passed, when some stones, wood or other pieces of the buildings were not falling into the street, sometimes hitting the head of a random person. There were constant near misses.They said, if the city didn’t fall down, it was liable to burn, because absence of rain for three weeks, “ reported the "Tribune", “has left everything in so flammable a condition that a spark might set a fire that would sweep from end to end of the city”. Perhaps it was bad luck to say that. But the citizens of Chicago had received a warning.  I suppose they hadn't heard of "Murphey's Law" yet.

The chaos and looting during the Fire chaos
      Anything could have caused the fire. Perhaps the cow was innocent. People can be so ridiculous and illogical, especially in groups; there's mass hysteria. The fact of the matter is that the conditions were already perfect for a fire. The summer had been extremely dry; with barely any rain at all. There had been other, smaller fires in the city already, so it shouldn't have been a huge surprise. On the previous day, October 7, four blocks of the city had burned. This massive destruction was said to have left the fire department so worn out, that they were too slow to respond to another alarm at De Koven Street. By the time they arrived, it was too late. By 10:30 that evening, it was reported that the fire was officially out of control. A strong wind from the southwest, fueled the fire that was taking over. It blew the fire toward the heart of the city, taking it over. All hell had broken loose, and they were not in control. The element, fire, was hungrily devouring the city, from top to bottom. The air was filled with sparks and cinders that some accounts described as looking like “red rain”.
     In just over an hour, the west side of the city was in ashes and the fire showed no signs of slowing down. The fiery inferno was a force to be reckoned with and became impossible to battle, with more than a dozen different locations burning at once. The fire swept through the streets and buildings like a tornado, destroying everything in it's huge path, igniting more than 500 different buildings. One by one, these great structures fell. The "Tribune" building, that had been long thought of as “fire proof”, burned too, like  hundreds of other businesses, that were reduced to blazing ash.


      Prisoners, who had begun to scream and shake the bars of their cells as smoke filled the air, were released. Most of them were allowed to simply go free but the most dangerous of them were shackled and taken away under guard. No wonder the crime wave hit Chicago, when they had released that many prisoners?  Just after 2:00 AM, the bell of the courthouse tolled for the last time and crashed through the skeletal remains of the building to the ground beneath it. The roaring sound made by the building’s collapse was reportedly heard more than a mile away.

The Charred Ruins
      An hour later, the pumps at the Waterworks on Pine Street had been destroyed and by Monday evening, the only intact structure for blocks was the Gothic stone Water Tower. Somehow, it managed to survive the devastation. Legend has it that this structure is haunted today by the ghost of a man who stayed on the job during the fire, continuing to pump the water as the fire got closer. The story goes that this heroic city worker waited until the last possible minute and then took his own life rather than be engulfed in the flames. He was a true hero. He believed in his cause and saving the city, even though it was an impossible task. He didn't give up, he died because he was trying to save lives. His ghost has reportedly been seen hanging through an upper window of the tower.
Water Tower
      The flames were not the only thing that residents of the city had to worry about either. In the early hours of the fire, looting and violence had broken out in the city, probably due to the fact that they'd released the prisoners. Surprise, surprise. Saloon keepers, hoping that it might prevent their taverns from being destroyed, had foolishly rolled barrels of whiskey out into the streets. Soon, men and women from all classes were staggering in the streets, thoroughly intoxicated. The drunks and the looters did not comprehend the danger they were in however and many were trampled in the streets. Plundered goods were also tossed aside and were lost in the fire, abandoned by the looters as the fire drew near. This only added to the chaos of everyone trying to escape. The streets were  filled with people. Crying children searched for their parents, random survivors roamed about, confused and in shock. There were the wealthy ladies who had panicked, and put on all of the jewelry they owned, there of course were prisoners, and immigrants. There were even accounts of nearly naked prostitutes who stumbled out from rented “rooms and areas” on Wells and Clark Streets, I guess that... closed business temporarily for them? Fortunately for them, hookers can "work" anywhere, in any city. Other people carried the sick and the crippled on chairs or on makeshift litters. The bodies of the dead were transported in coffins or wrapped in bed sheets. It combined to create a vision that most of us cannot even imagine today. With the prostitutes, prisoners, and wealthy jewelry clad women running around, that would have probably have been amusing if a horrible fire hadn't just ravaged the city and taken lives. Thankfully, the fire began to die on the morning of October 10, when steady and soaking rains began to fall on Chicago. The people of the city were devastated, as was the city itself. Over 300 people were dead and another 100,000 were without homes or shelter. The fire had made it's mark on Chicago, that was four miles long and about two-thirds of a mile wide. Over $200 million in property had been destroyed. Records, deeds, archives, libraries and priceless artwork were all lost although a little of it had survived in public and private vaults. In the destruction of the Federal Building, which, among other things, housed the post office, more than $100,000 in currency was burned. What a waste. Chicago had become a burnt and depressing wasteland.


     After the fire, there were rumors of more looting in the city, though I doubt there was much to take at that point. It was said that criminals were now breaking into safes and vaults in the ruined business district. Local business owners hired Allan Pinkerton to deploy his detectives around the remains of stores and banks and soon, six companies of Federal troops arrived under the command of General Phillip Sheridan to assist in maintaining order. The city was placed under martial law with a curfew temporarily.  As terrible as the disaster was, Chicago was not dead. It was shocked and shaken, but within days of the fire, rebuilding began on a grand scale. The vigor of the city’s rebirth amazed the rest of the nation and within three years, it once again dominated the western United States. Like a Phoenix, it arose from the ashes and became the home of the first skyscraper in 1885, then passed the one million mark in population five years later. Hopefully they hired different contractors that time around, so the city wouldn't be a fire waiting to happen, again. The Great Chicago Fire triggered the beginning of a new metropolis, much greater than it was before. No doubt, some of Chicago's many ghosts wander the burn sites in Victorian wear. The Chicago Fire Academy (on the site of the former O'Leary home) may be the home of several ghosts today. 

Chicago Fire Academy- art made at site of 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. I'm wandering how they managed that? Did two little boy ghosts come to church? I think the Chicago Tribune had a more logical warning. Regardless, Father Damen prayed that entire night and the wind shifted so that the church was spared.Was it divine intervention, fate or just good luck? Seven candles are kept lit in front of the picture of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, in memory of that miracle. I do believe in a lot of things. God included. Even miracles. Ghosts. But I don't quite get the candles. But it is what it is. Father Damen's ghost; dressed in his priest robe, 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. If you are an alter boy, run, less you die like the two "psychic" drowned alter boys prior. Did they die in the church? Was it a baptism gone wrong? Were they playing by a nearby creek? Who knows. I'm sure the story, as with all stories, changed over time and people came to their own conclusions. But never doubt the power of suggestion.


The Holy Family Church
     In 1915, a rusting Lake Michigan steamship, "The Eastland," sank in the Chicago River, killing over 800 passengers. Immediately after the tragedy, the corpses were brought to the 2nd Regiment Armory until they were identified and released to the families. That should have been the kick in the teeth that the people needed to nix their "untouchable genius complexes," and slow down a bit. They knew it wasn't safe, so they overcompensated with safety equipment to make up for the rusting Eastland, making it top heavy. What a great idea!  It was moored on the south side of the river and after the passengers were on board, the dock lines were loosened and the ship prepared to depart. Then the nightmare fueled by ignorance began. The overflow crowd, dressed in their best summer attire, even on an overcast rainy morning, jammed onto the decks, waving handkerchiefs and calling out to those still on shore. There were more people because of a business meeting on an island. That they would never make it to. The ship eased away from the dock and immediately began to list to the port side. As more passengers pushed toward that side of the deck, the boat tilted dangerously. Somehow the passengers were unaware of that, like most groups of aloof, and not necessarily intelligent people tend to be. The crew of the steamer had emptied the ballast compartments (designed to provide “stability” for the craft) so that more passengers could be loaded aboard. But of course there are many theories. Greed tends to rear it's ugly head when you least expect it, even if you should. Greed has caused awful things to happen from the beginning of time. This would be the undoing of the Eastland. Moments later, the ship toppled over, with the abundance of safety equipment and all.  The passengers above deck were thrown into the water and the river became a moving sea of bodies. 

Eastland Disaster Site
      Crews on the other boats threw life preservers into the river, while onlookers began throwing lines, boxes and anything else that would float to the floundering passengers. At least they didn't just stand about like zombies, dumbfounded. To make matters more difficult, the river was now surging, due to the wake caused by the overturned ship. This paints a pretty good picture of the gruesome, chaotic scene a bit.  Many of the passengers were pulled beneath the water by the current, or swamped by the crashing waves. Worst of all was the fate of those passengers who had remained inside of the ship when it had departed. These unlucky victims were first thrown to one side of the ship as it turned over and then they were covered with water as the river rushed inside. They desperately gasped for air, but barely had a chance. A few of them managed to escape to the upturned end of the ship, but most didn’t, becoming trapped in a tangled heap at the lowest point of the Eastland. What a horrible way to die, not like there's a great way to.

The Eastland Tipping over
      Firefighters and rescue workers arrived within minutes and began cutting holes in the wood above the water line and in the steel hull below it. In the first fateful minutes, some of passengers managed to escape, but soon, it was simply too late. The rescue workers were helpless at this point. They had to resign themselves to fishing corpses out of the water, which they wrapped in sheets and transferred to the Roosevelt, another vessel that had been rented for the excursion.




      The big downtown stores sent wagons and trucks to ferry the injured and dead to nearby hospitals and makeshift morgues. Large grappling hooks were also used to pull bodies from the water. By late that afternoon, nearly 200 bodies had been taken to the 2nd Regiment Armory on West Washington Blvd. A police diver who had been hauling bodies up from the bottom of the river since mid-morning suddenly had a breakdown and became crazed, due to the carnage. It was a lot to take in. He had to be subdued by several of his friends and fellow officers. City workers began dragging the river far south of where the ship had capsized, using large nets to stop the bodies from washing out into the lake. By the time that it was all over, 835 of the ships passengers perished, including 22 entire families. Several hundred lawsuits were eventually filed but almost all of them were thrown out by the Circuit Court of Appeals, who held the owners of the steamship blameless in the disaster. 

Rescue attempts
      In recent years, the armory building, where most of the dead were taken during the disaster, has been incorporated into Harpo Studios, the production company owned by Oprah Winfrey. As one of Chicago’s greatest success stories, Oprah came to Chicago in 1984 and within a few years, she had her own television program, "the “Oprah Winfrey Show”.  She has since gone on to become the host of the most popular talk show in television history, a film star, producer and well-known personality. But all of the success and attention that the show has brought to the former armory building has done nothing to put to rest the spirits of the Eastland. Why would it? They died there, how happy could they be in any location? Many who work there, claim that the ghosts of the perished passengers are still restless in the new studios. 


      According to reports, many employees have had strange encounters that cannot be explained, including the sighting of an apparition that has been named the “Gray Lady”. Staff members would hear whispering voices, the laughter of children, sobbing sounds, old-time music, the clinking of glasses and marching of invisible footsteps, like those of a large group. They are frequently heard on the lobby staircase and nearby doors often slam shut without assistance. A large number of the staff members believe this to be a very haunted place!   You think? It sure seems to be that way.  

Haunted Harpo
      Resurrection Cemetery is by far one of the most haunted places in Illinois. Among all of the Ghosts, Resurrection Mary is the most popular. At night, some drivers claimed to have picked up a pretty hitchhiker; a blond, girl wearing a white dress.  She always appeared to be real, until she would inexplicably vanish. She gained popularity as more and more people claimed to see her.  As a result, she became more mysterious, and much more alluring. I guess that's when she got "better" at being a ghost, if that's how that works.  




     Most common were the claims of drivers who would see the girl walking along the road. They would offer her a ride and then witness her vanishing from their car. These drivers could describe the girl in detail and nearly every single description precisely matched the previous accounts. The girl was said to have light blond hair, blue eyes and was wearing a white party dress. She was pretty. Some more attentive drivers would sometimes add that she wore a thin shawl, or dancing shoes, and that she had a small clutch purse. Others had even more disturbing experiences. Rather than having the girl vanish for their car, they claimed to actually run her down in the street. They claimed to see a woman in a white dress bolt in front of their car near the cemetery and would actually describe the sickening thud as she was struck by the front of the car. When they stopped to go to her aid, she would be gone. Some even said that the automobile passed directly through the girl. At that point, she would turn and disappear through the cemetery gates. Bewildered and shaken drivers began to routinely go into nearby businesses and even at the nearby Justice, Illinois police station. They told strange and frightening stories and sometimes they were believed and sometimes they weren’t. 

Is this faded figure Mary?
     People tend to be skeptical about such things. Most researchers agree that the most accurate version of the story concerns a pretty, young girl who was killed while hitchhiking down Archer Avenue in the early 1930’s. She had spent the evening dancing with a boyfriend at the Oh Henry Ballroom. At some point, they got into an argument and Mary (as she has come to be called) stormed out of the place. Even though it was a cold winter’s night, she thought, she would rather face a cold walk home, in heels none the less, than another minute with her boyfriend. I'm sure everyone has had an experience like that at some point. She left the ballroom and started walking up Archer Avenue. Fate would not allow her to make it home that evening. She had not gotten very far when she was struck and killed by a passing automobile. What would have happened if her boyfriend had run after her and stopped her? Was it just meant to be? Was it just her time to go? Like a match in the wind, the life fades so fast. The driver fled the scene like a coward, and Mary was left there to die, on the side of the road. Blood soaked her pretty white dress. Maybe it was the first time she had gotten to wear it, and I'm sure she had anticipated a much better evening. Her parents were beside themselves with grief. They buried her in Resurrection Cemetery, wearing a white dancing dress and her dancing shoes, as she would have wanted it. She still comes back to dance occasionally, since she loved to so much in life. The ballroom is now called Willowbrook. since she loved to dance so much. Since that time, her spirit has been seen along Archer Avenue and in the cemetery. Over the years, there have been many sightings and encounters with the ghost they named “Resurrection Mary”. Dozens of young men have told of picking her up to give her a ride, or had met her at the ballroom, only to have her disappear from their car. They had probably had other things in mind when picking up a mysterious, pretty, blond female hitchhiker. Imagine their surprise. The joke was on them. The majority of the reports seem to come from the cold winter months, like the account passed on by a cab driver. He picked up a girl who was walking along Archer Avenue one night in 1941. It was very cold outside, but she was not wearing a coat. She jumped into the cab and told him that she needed to get home very quickly. She directed him along Archer Avenue and a few minutes later, he looked back and she was gone. He realized that he was passing in front of the cemetery when she disappeared. 

Resurrection Cemetary in the evening
      The stories continued, but one of the strangest accounts of Mary occurred on the night of August 10, 1976. This event has remained so bizarre after all this time, because on this occasion, Mary did not just appear as a passing spirit. It was on this night that she left evidence behind! A driver was passing by the cemetery around 10:30 that night when he happened to see a girl standing on the other side of the gates. He said that when he saw her, she was wearing a white dress and grasping the iron bars of the gate. The driver stopped down the street at the Justice police station and alert them to the fact that someone had been accidentally locked in the cemetery at closing time. An officer responded to the call but when he arrived there was no one there. The graveyard was dark and deserted and there was no sign of any girl. But his inspection of the gates, where the girl had been seen standing, did reveal something. The revelation chilled him to the bone! He found that two of the bars in the gate had been pulled apart and bent at sharp angles. To make things worse, at the points on the green-colored bronze where they had been pried apart were blackened scorch marks. Within these marks was what looked to be skin texture and hand prints that had been seared into the metal with incredible heat. 
 
The seared bars

      The marks of the small hands made big news and curiosity-seekers came from all over the area to see them. In an effort to discourage the crowds, cemetery officials attempted to remove the marks with a blowtorch, making them look even worse. Finally, they cut the bars off and installed a wire fence until the two bars could be straightened or replaced. The cemetery fiercely denied any supernatural explanation of what happened to the bars. Their "cover" story was that a truck had backed into the gates while doing sewer work at the cemetery and that grounds workers tried to fix the bars by heating them with a blowtorch and bending them. Nice try. The imprint in the metal, they said, was from a workman trying to push them together again. But something had to have pulled them apart. A truck backing into it and welding didn't explain the small hand prints that were clearly visible in the metal. The bars were removed to discourage onlookers, but taking them out had the opposite effect and soon, people began asking what the cemetery had to hide. The events allegedly embarrassed local officials, so they demanded that the bars be put back into place. I'm not sure why a little cube of fence would really be missed, and it seems a ridiculous over reaction. Once they were returned to the gate, they were straightened and painted over with green paint so that the blackened area would match the other bars. Unfortunately though, the scorched areas continued to defy all attempts to cover them and the twisted spots where the hand prints had been impressed remained obvious until just recently, when the bars were removed for good.  

 
Mary's Tombstone-kind of
      During the 1970’s and 1980’s, Mary sightings reached their peak. It was during this period that Resurrection Cemetery was undergoing some major renovations and perhaps this was what disturbed her. Whatever the reason, she was definitely not resting in piece.  During the 1990’s, reports of Mary slowed, but they have never really stopped altogether. They continue to occur today and while many of the stories are harder to believe these days, as the tales of Mary have become a big part of Chicago's history and culture, to such a degree that she is practically famous. Some of the stories still appear to be chillingly real. So, who was Mary in real life? She was pretty and loved to dance. Her white dress was a "Flapper" style dress, so she's also called the Flapper ghost, in addition to Resurrection Mary. Does her ghost still haunt the cemetery? Many remain skeptical about her, but many people are close minded, and simple minded if you want my honest opinion. Even if you don't want it, you are getting it. I'd love the chance to try and see her. While many may not believe in Mary, others are still seeing her walk along Archer Avenue at night and are giving her rides, that end in her disappearance, every time. So let the scientists furrow their brows in the lab trying to come up for logical solutions for that. Sometimes you have to throw logic out the window and take the chance to think outside the box, to expand your mind. Who knows, you might actually surprise yourself. Curiosity-seekers still come to see the gates where the twisted and burned bars were once located and some even roam the graveyard, hoping to stumble across the place where Mary’s body was laid to rest. I would definitely have to go to the Resurrection Cemetery during the night time as well. Mary remains very mysterious her legend lives on, not vanishing, as Mary does, quite often, especially when she reaches the gates to Resurrection Cemetery.Unless she's busy mangling bars.

    
      Another phantom hitcher haunts the roadways near the Evergreen Cemetery Park, in Chicago. For more than two decades, an attractive teenager has been roaming out beyond the cemetery, trying to get a ride. A number of drivers claim to have spotted her and in the 1980’s a flurry of encounters occurred when motorists in the south and western suburbs reported picking up this young girl. She always asked them for a ride to a location in Evergreen Park and then mysteriously vanished from the vehicle at the cemetery, very much like Resurrection Mary. According to the legends, she is the spirit of a child buried within the cemetery, but there is no real folklore to explain why she leaves her grave in search of a ride, or travelers. She probably is just lonely. It would probably be pretty lonely and boring being a ghost. She is what some would call the typical “vanishing hitchhiker” but there is one aspect to this ghost that sets her apart from the others. In addition to seeking rides in cars, she is resourceful enough to find other transportation when it suits her. One evening, a young girl climbed aboard a bus and breezed right past the driver without paying the fare. She walked to the back portion of the vehicle and sat down, seemingly without a care in the world. Irritated the driver called out to her, but she didn’t answer. Finally, he stood up and walked back toward where she was sitting. She would either pay, he thought, or have to get off the bus! Not surprisingly though, before he could reach her, she vanished before his eyes!  In recent years, encounters with this phantom have also taken place at a bus stop that is located directly across the street from the cemetery. Many have claimed to see a dark-haired young girl here who mysteriously vanishes. According to reports, many people have had the same eerie experience at this bus stop. Now, let's move on to other haunted places in Chicago. Sin City! 

Bachelor's Grove
     Bachelors Grove Cemetery has been investigated by Paranormal Investigators for many years and they all say that the same basic thing. Bachelors Grove Cemetery is one of the most haunted places they have ever been. Burials in the cemetery date back to 1830 or before and it is estimated that 300 or more graves are in the cemetery. People see what they call shadow people like a ghostly shape sometimes caught on camera. 

A possible ghost of Bachelor's grove?
      There are also darker spirits that shove people and demand that they leave the cemetery. Orbs are seen often in the cemetery. Many people over the years have heard a baby crying, and searched for hours for a crying baby they can not find. Police have been called many times over the years to find the crying baby which no one can find. It remains yet another mystery. The ghosts of Bachelor's Grove are slightly more intimidating than the hitchhikers. Watch your back. Because they will be watching you.

   
     Located on Dearborn Street on the north side of Chicago, Excalibur is a three story Gothic style building that was built after the Chicago Fire. The building became a nightclub in 1989. It was the hot spot in Chicago for a while, before it was the site of the Chicago Historical Society. Excalibur is three stories and is one of the largest clubs in Chicago.  Rumors of hauntings began after the Eastland disaster on July 24th, 1915. The building that is now Excalibur served as a temporary morgue for the people who had died on the ship. During The Great Chicago Fire of 1871, two women had taken refuge in the building that was standing before Excalibur was built. Many believe the two women died in the building and their spirits have remained. 

Excalibur nightclub
     In the Excalibar night club, some of the paranormal activity includes glasses and beer bottles breaking by themselves, cold spots and ghostly apparitions like 'The Lady In Red'. Present and past employees claim to have heard screaming in the club. Some of them say the screams sound like a familiar voice calling their names. The Dome Room of Excalibur is said to be the most haunted place inside the club. The club exploits the rumors of hauntings by having a 'Houdini Sceance' on Halloween and allowing ghost tours inside the building. Excalibur Night Club has been featured on the TV shows Sightings and America's Most Haunted Places.

Excalibur
      It is said by some that, Wrigley Field is the most haunted ballpark in the world. People believe that Wrigley Field is haunted by Harry Caray, Charlie Grimm and the singer / songwriter of the Cubs anthem 'Go Cubs, Go', Steve Goodman.Charlie Grimm was a player and former manager of the Chicago Cubs. It's been said that his ashes are buried in left-center field. His ashes are not the only ones buried in the park. Steven Goodman's ashes are also buried in the park, under home plate. Fans have been known to scatter ashes of loved ones around the park as well. According to ball players and fans, balls that have been hit into the ivy tower have vanished on numerous occasions. Harry Caray's ghost has also been seen along with other dark figures in the bleachers. There are unexplained cold spots throughout the ball park. Security guards have reported that the bull phone will ring late at night. The bull phone is a direct phone line from the dugout and cannot be dialed from anywhere else. Marty Moore, who was a security guard for seventeen years backs up the story and believes Wrigley Field is haunted. He had said the ballpark is quite frightening when there alone.


     Many people lived and died in Chicago, more than a lot of places in America.  The ghosts don't seem to necessarily "Rest in Peace." They still "live" in Chicago. They give it character and intrigue. So many people died horrible, vicious deaths, and had to stay behind for whatever reasons. Hopefully their tormented souls find some rest one day. I really can't wait to visit Chicago! There are so many opportunities for ghost-sighting and it's such a busy city with so much to do, not just ghost hunting. Enjoy!

5th Annual Chicago Ghost Conference