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Expanded: Chicago's Most Terrifically Terrifying Hauntings

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It's time to renew our annual observation of the paranormal— not Halloween, silly, but the Curbed Chicago map of real world hauntings. We're not saying no to candy and costumes, but the seriously invested will always want more of the pagan holiday. For all you big believers and the merely curious too, Chicago ain't a bad place to get your spook on. Chalk it up to all those decades as Sin City, a healthy share of epically fatal disasters, and mobster killings, and you end up with boatloads of disgruntled ghosts. Curbed has cobbled together 23 of the gnarliest sites, made such by murders, suicides, unsettling deaths, freak accidents, and extreme loss of human life. Makes you wonder how many fresh hauntings are in the works for generations to come. The mapped city sites are fairly centralized. You can take a sanctioned tour of some of these paranormal hot spots, or just stroll on by in the middle of the night for some in-window apparitions.

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1. The Eastland Disaster Historic Site

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Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL 60601
(877) 865-6295
Visit Website

The Eastland steamship disaster remains the deadliest Great Lakes maritime catastrophe. More than 800 Western Electric employees and their family members died when the overloaded, top-heavy ship fell on its side in 20 feet of water at the Clark Street bridge. The immediate site and several nearby sites are believed haunted by ghostly cries and moans.

2. Excalibur Night Club

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632 N Dearborn St
Chicago, IL 60610

The Excalibur's hauntings are tied to the nearby Eastland Steamship disaster. The Excalibur served as a temporary morgue for some of the 800+ that perished. Which leaves us with some fun apparitions as 'The Lady in Red' and reports of various paranormal activity. Party hard!

3. Museum of Science & Industry

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5700 S Lake Shore Dr
Chicago, IL 60637
(773) 684-1414
Visit Website

When your moniker is "Attorney for the Damned", it's almost guaranteed some will claim to have seen your ghost. That's the case with Clarance Darrow, defense attorney for Leopold and Loeb. Darrow's ashes were spread around Jackson Park's lagoon, and visitors to the museum have reported seeing his ghost sitting on the back steps.

4. Saint Andrew's Inn

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5938 N Broadway St
Chicago, IL 60660
(773) 784-5540
Visit Website

The Ole Saint Andrews Inn near the Rogers Park border is visited by just one apparition, and not an uncommon one if paranormally-inclined. Originally called Edinburgh Castle, its first owner died on his barstool some 50 years ago due to overindulgence. Ever since, despite two ownership changes and a renaming, Frank Giff makes unannounced appearances to help clean or tend the bar. Hey, if it doesn't work for you at least you'll have gotten out of the house.

5. Rosehill Cemetery

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5800 N Ravenswood Ave
Chicago, IL 60660
(773) 561-5940
Visit Website

[Photo: Flickr/Penfold the Hampster]All cemeteries have their hauntings, but Rosehill is notable for the tomb of Bobby Frank, victim of Leopold and Loeb. Enter the case of the restless spirit, which has seemingly vanished since the death of Nathan Leopold in 1971.

6. Jane Addams Hull-House Museum

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800 S Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 413-5353
Visit Website

This haunting began rather benignly-- with the ghost of Mrs. Hull pestering Jane Addams. But then things went off the deep end with rumors that Addams took in a severely deformed orphan, dubbed "The Devil Baby". Addams denied this, but passerby claimed to see the little monster in an upstairs window. This became the inspiration for "Rosemary's Baby".

7. Site of Valentine's Day Massacre

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2036 N. Clark
Chicago, IL 60614

The St. Valentine's Day massacre was Capone's big coming out party. Dressed as cops, his henchmen stormed a garage at Clark & Dickens, gunning down a rival gang. Apparitions of men walking the now-empty lot and the barks of the dog that witnessed the slayings are the chief hauntings.

8. Wrigley Field

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1060 W. Addison St.
Chicago, IL 60613
(773) 404-2827
Visit Website

[Photo: Wikipedia Commons/ Rdikeman]Wrigley's paranormal problems are famous: there's the ghost of Harry Caray, cold spots, lost balls in the Ivy, ghostly figures in the bleachers, and, of course, the Billy Goat curse. In other words, stay away!

9. Site of Fort Dearborn

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360 N Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL

[Photo: TonyTheTiger/wikipedia commons]This site's dilemma stems from the Fort Deaborn Massacre of 1812. Eighty-six soldiers, women, and children were mowed down by a Potawatomi Indian ambush as the fort was being evacuated. Hauntings are par for the course. A plaque on today's London Guarantee Building commemorates the fort.

10. The Irish Castle

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10244 South Longwood Drive
Chicago, IL 60643

"Chicago's only castle", as the Irish Castle is sometimes known, sits pretty on a hilltop in Beverly. Built in the 1880s as a single-family residence, it has long since adopted a church function. The principal haunting is the apparition of a young girl who died of the flu on site in the 1930s. Many speculate it was the girl's confused state at the cusp of death that led her spirit to linger.

11. Congress Plaza Hotel

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520 S Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60605

The Congress Plaza Hotel played host to a lot of gangster capers, including the some Capone shenanigans. The sheer volume of gore has produced several regular apparitions. Watch out for room 441-- A woman's shadowy outline has been observed many times.

12. The Site of HH Holmes' Murder Castle

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This one needs no introduction. If you've been in Chicago long enough, or read "Devil in the White City", you'll know about H. H. Holmes' murder castle: a poorly constructed apartment building outfitted for the murder of some 300 women. An Englewood post office branch now occupies the site.

13. "Death Alley", At Site of Old Iroquois Theater

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24 W Randolph
Chicago, IL 60601

[Photo: Flickr/Creative Commons]You'd think "death alley" might be another Capone-induced name, but its actually the passage behind the old Iroquois Theater-- the one that burnt to a crisp in 1903, along with 602 people. Bodies were stacked in the alley, and faint cries, cold spots, and the touch of unseen hands are the keepsakes. Oh, and never trust an 'absolutely fireproof' claim.

14. Red Lion Pub

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2446 North Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 348-5100
Visit Website

The Red Lion opened in 1984 and closed in 2008. But as our Eater brethren report, the owner held on to the property and is partly demolishing the old building to make way for a rebuilt and redefined Red Lion-- still British but less divey British. When the pub reopens next year Chicagoans can once again visit the seven distinct manifestations, products of violent acts that went down on site or nearby in the address' 130-year history.

15. Graceland Cemetery

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4001 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60613

[Photo: Flickr/Brule Laker]This is some creepy shit. A serene statue of Inez Clark, boxed in by glass panes, sits atop the six year old's tombstone. Killed by lightning, her stone likeness is said to self-animate and walk around the Graceland Cemetery during thunderstorms.

16. Adobo Grill Building

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1610 North Wells Street
Chicago, IL 60614

The Old Town building that houses Adobo Grill is rife with paranormal activity, much of it believed to be sourced to a pair of murders in Piper's Alley more than a century ago. The alley has been built over but the manifestations continue-- so much so that psychics and investigative reporters have bunkered down to try and snag evidence. As the story goes, they weren't disappointed.

17. John Hancock Center

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875 N Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 751-3680
Visit Website

Some believe the Hancock's laundry list of fatal accidents, murders, and suspicious deaths trace back to Cap Streeter's deathbed curse on the neighborhood. Streeter, embroiled in development fights, promised no one will find happiness in what is now Streeterville.

18. Marshall Field Mansion

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1919 S Prairie Ave
Chicago, IL 60616

[Photo: VHT]The Marshall Field Mansion was the site of Field, Jr's suspicious suicide in 1905. Claims of showy figures, footsteps and "inhuman cries" rendered the mansion uninhabitable. No word on the experiences of the new condo owners.

19. Chicago Water Tower

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806 N Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60611

The Water Tower survived The Fire intact. But that's not what makes it haunted. A suicide years later has passerby seeing ghosts-- namely, a hanging man through one of the windows.

20. Biograph/Victory Gardens Theatre

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2433 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL

The Biograph Theater, now Victory Gardens, is a storied movie house and a Chicago Landmark. It's also where John Dillinger met his death by FBI gunfire, allegedly. Conspiracists would disagree. Either way, renovations to the theater may have unearthed some manifestations. Spooky!

21. Glessner House Museum

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1800 S Prairie Ave
Chicago, IL 60616
(312) 326-1480
Visit Website

The historic Glessner House is thought to be inhabited by the ghost of its architect, Henry Hobson Richardson, who died just before the mansion's completion. A portrait of Richardson hangs in the entryway and visitors and museum staff alike report visible white apparition and a cold presence lurking the house from time to time. One theory is that Richardson is claiming the house as his own. Spooky!

22. Profiles Theatre

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4139 N Broadway St
Chicago, IL 60613

Present day Profiles Theater and former National Pastime Theater occupy the spot of a secret ballroom and Prohibition speakeasy. The building is an ordinary housing block with ordinary storefronts, except that the theater's entry leads to a back ballroom that once lent itself to illicit use. The hauntings, however, are happy ones: "merry spirits" who participate in theater productions, tamper with lighting, and reportedly help move furniture around. For some visitors it's all about the positive aura.

23. The Art Institute of Chicago

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111 S Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60603
(312) 443-3600
Visit Website

The Art Institute of Chicago is a pure and almost-holy edifice. Claims of paranormal activity are restricted to select works of art such as Carl Andre's "Steel Aluminum Plain". Once again, violent life circumstances are to blame for the "heightened electrical activity" measured near certain works.

1. The Eastland Disaster Historic Site

Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL 60601

The Eastland steamship disaster remains the deadliest Great Lakes maritime catastrophe. More than 800 Western Electric employees and their family members died when the overloaded, top-heavy ship fell on its side in 20 feet of water at the Clark Street bridge. The immediate site and several nearby sites are believed haunted by ghostly cries and moans.

Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL 60601

2. Excalibur Night Club

632 N Dearborn St, Chicago, IL 60610

The Excalibur's hauntings are tied to the nearby Eastland Steamship disaster. The Excalibur served as a temporary morgue for some of the 800+ that perished. Which leaves us with some fun apparitions as 'The Lady in Red' and reports of various paranormal activity. Party hard!

632 N Dearborn St
Chicago, IL 60610

3. Museum of Science & Industry

5700 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60637

When your moniker is "Attorney for the Damned", it's almost guaranteed some will claim to have seen your ghost. That's the case with Clarance Darrow, defense attorney for Leopold and Loeb. Darrow's ashes were spread around Jackson Park's lagoon, and visitors to the museum have reported seeing his ghost sitting on the back steps.

5700 S Lake Shore Dr
Chicago, IL 60637

4. Saint Andrew's Inn

5938 N Broadway St, Chicago, IL 60660

The Ole Saint Andrews Inn near the Rogers Park border is visited by just one apparition, and not an uncommon one if paranormally-inclined. Originally called Edinburgh Castle, its first owner died on his barstool some 50 years ago due to overindulgence. Ever since, despite two ownership changes and a renaming, Frank Giff makes unannounced appearances to help clean or tend the bar. Hey, if it doesn't work for you at least you'll have gotten out of the house.

5938 N Broadway St
Chicago, IL 60660

5. Rosehill Cemetery

5800 N Ravenswood Ave, Chicago, IL 60660

[Photo: Flickr/Penfold the Hampster]All cemeteries have their hauntings, but Rosehill is notable for the tomb of Bobby Frank, victim of Leopold and Loeb. Enter the case of the restless spirit, which has seemingly vanished since the death of Nathan Leopold in 1971.

5800 N Ravenswood Ave
Chicago, IL 60660

6. Jane Addams Hull-House Museum

800 S Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60607

This haunting began rather benignly-- with the ghost of Mrs. Hull pestering Jane Addams. But then things went off the deep end with rumors that Addams took in a severely deformed orphan, dubbed "The Devil Baby". Addams denied this, but passerby claimed to see the little monster in an upstairs window. This became the inspiration for "Rosemary's Baby".

800 S Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60607

7. Site of Valentine's Day Massacre

2036 N. Clark, Chicago, IL 60614

The St. Valentine's Day massacre was Capone's big coming out party. Dressed as cops, his henchmen stormed a garage at Clark & Dickens, gunning down a rival gang. Apparitions of men walking the now-empty lot and the barks of the dog that witnessed the slayings are the chief hauntings.

2036 N. Clark
Chicago, IL 60614

8. Wrigley Field

1060 W. Addison St., Chicago, IL 60613

[Photo: Wikipedia Commons/ Rdikeman]Wrigley's paranormal problems are famous: there's the ghost of Harry Caray, cold spots, lost balls in the Ivy, ghostly figures in the bleachers, and, of course, the Billy Goat curse. In other words, stay away!

1060 W. Addison St.
Chicago, IL 60613

9. Site of Fort Dearborn

360 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL

[Photo: TonyTheTiger/wikipedia commons]This site's dilemma stems from the Fort Deaborn Massacre of 1812. Eighty-six soldiers, women, and children were mowed down by a Potawatomi Indian ambush as the fort was being evacuated. Hauntings are par for the course. A plaque on today's London Guarantee Building commemorates the fort.

360 N Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL

10. The Irish Castle

10244 South Longwood Drive, Chicago, IL 60643

"Chicago's only castle", as the Irish Castle is sometimes known, sits pretty on a hilltop in Beverly. Built in the 1880s as a single-family residence, it has long since adopted a church function. The principal haunting is the apparition of a young girl who died of the flu on site in the 1930s. Many speculate it was the girl's confused state at the cusp of death that led her spirit to linger.

10244 South Longwood Drive
Chicago, IL 60643

11. Congress Plaza Hotel

520 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60605

The Congress Plaza Hotel played host to a lot of gangster capers, including the some Capone shenanigans. The sheer volume of gore has produced several regular apparitions. Watch out for room 441-- A woman's shadowy outline has been observed many times.

520 S Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60605

12. The Site of HH Holmes' Murder Castle

Chicago, IL 60621

This one needs no introduction. If you've been in Chicago long enough, or read "Devil in the White City", you'll know about H. H. Holmes' murder castle: a poorly constructed apartment building outfitted for the murder of some 300 women. An Englewood post office branch now occupies the site.

13. "Death Alley", At Site of Old Iroquois Theater

24 W Randolph, Chicago, IL 60601

[Photo: Flickr/Creative Commons]You'd think "death alley" might be another Capone-induced name, but its actually the passage behind the old Iroquois Theater-- the one that burnt to a crisp in 1903, along with 602 people. Bodies were stacked in the alley, and faint cries, cold spots, and the touch of unseen hands are the keepsakes. Oh, and never trust an 'absolutely fireproof' claim.

24 W Randolph
Chicago, IL 60601

14. Red Lion Pub

2446 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL 60614

The Red Lion opened in 1984 and closed in 2008. But as our Eater brethren report, the owner held on to the property and is partly demolishing the old building to make way for a rebuilt and redefined Red Lion-- still British but less divey British. When the pub reopens next year Chicagoans can once again visit the seven distinct manifestations, products of violent acts that went down on site or nearby in the address' 130-year history.

2446 North Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, IL 60614

15. Graceland Cemetery

4001 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60613

[Photo: Flickr/Brule Laker]This is some creepy shit. A serene statue of Inez Clark, boxed in by glass panes, sits atop the six year old's tombstone. Killed by lightning, her stone likeness is said to self-animate and walk around the Graceland Cemetery during thunderstorms.

4001 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60613

16. Adobo Grill Building

1610 North Wells Street, Chicago, IL 60614

The Old Town building that houses Adobo Grill is rife with paranormal activity, much of it believed to be sourced to a pair of murders in Piper's Alley more than a century ago. The alley has been built over but the manifestations continue-- so much so that psychics and investigative reporters have bunkered down to try and snag evidence. As the story goes, they weren't disappointed.

1610 North Wells Street
Chicago, IL 60614

17. John Hancock Center

875 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

Some believe the Hancock's laundry list of fatal accidents, murders, and suspicious deaths trace back to Cap Streeter's deathbed curse on the neighborhood. Streeter, embroiled in development fights, promised no one will find happiness in what is now Streeterville.

875 N Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60611

18. Marshall Field Mansion

1919 S Prairie Ave, Chicago, IL 60616

[Photo: VHT]The Marshall Field Mansion was the site of Field, Jr's suspicious suicide in 1905. Claims of showy figures, footsteps and "inhuman cries" rendered the mansion uninhabitable. No word on the experiences of the new condo owners.

1919 S Prairie Ave
Chicago, IL 60616

19. Chicago Water Tower

806 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

The Water Tower survived The Fire intact. But that's not what makes it haunted. A suicide years later has passerby seeing ghosts-- namely, a hanging man through one of the windows.

806 N Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60611

20. Biograph/Victory Gardens Theatre

2433 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL

The Biograph Theater, now Victory Gardens, is a storied movie house and a Chicago Landmark. It's also where John Dillinger met his death by FBI gunfire, allegedly. Conspiracists would disagree. Either way, renovations to the theater may have unearthed some manifestations. Spooky!

2433 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL

21. Glessner House Museum

1800 S Prairie Ave, Chicago, IL 60616

The historic Glessner House is thought to be inhabited by the ghost of its architect, Henry Hobson Richardson, who died just before the mansion's completion. A portrait of Richardson hangs in the entryway and visitors and museum staff alike report visible white apparition and a cold presence lurking the house from time to time. One theory is that Richardson is claiming the house as his own. Spooky!

1800 S Prairie Ave
Chicago, IL 60616

22. Profiles Theatre

4139 N Broadway St, Chicago, IL 60613

Present day Profiles Theater and former National Pastime Theater occupy the spot of a secret ballroom and Prohibition speakeasy. The building is an ordinary housing block with ordinary storefronts, except that the theater's entry leads to a back ballroom that once lent itself to illicit use. The hauntings, however, are happy ones: "merry spirits" who participate in theater productions, tamper with lighting, and reportedly help move furniture around. For some visitors it's all about the positive aura.

4139 N Broadway St
Chicago, IL 60613

23. The Art Institute of Chicago

111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603

The Art Institute of Chicago is a pure and almost-holy edifice. Claims of paranormal activity are restricted to select works of art such as Carl Andre's "Steel Aluminum Plain". Once again, violent life circumstances are to blame for the "heightened electrical activity" measured near certain works.

111 S Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60603