A few weeks ago, celebrity chef Pete Evans had a spooky encounter with the paranormal while staying at the Congress Plaza Hotel in Chicago. The strange mid-adventure caused the health-conscious cook to abruptly flee from his lodgings in fright! And because it is Friday the 13th, one of the creepiest days of the year, we have compiled our list of the most haunted places in the Windy City. And don’t forget to read it in a Vincent Price voice, because that’s totally how we wrote it!
1. Bucktown Pub
Some things go bump in the night, while others are just a little clumsy. The latter seems to be the case with this classic Chi-Town haunt (ha!). Reports of ghoulish activities like mysteriously spinning bottles and slamming doors occurring after last call have earned this pub an eerie reputation. Maybe the restless spirit of former owner Wally Bochenek is angry with the current management, or maybe he just needs to put on his glasses before he goes a-haunting.
2. The Drake Hotel
You know this old gem: some chick finds out her BF is two-timing and then throws herself off the roof of the hotel they are both staying at during said hotel’s grand opening, then proceeds to haunt the halls for all eternity. It’s so cliché it barely even warrants a “Zoinks, Scoob!” By the way, this picture has nothing to do with the ghost story, but isn’t it cool?
3. Cigars and Stripes
This bar has its share of some creepy stuff. Some patrons claim to have seen a strange, fast moving shadow with no arms and no legs disappearing around corners in the wee hours of the night. Others have been contacted by Rose, a former owner, who seems to have taken up the job of otherworldly matchmaker. It gives us the warm fuzzies and a chilled spine all at once!
4. Tonic Room
The cellar of this joint had Egyptian hieroglyphs on the walls and a pentagram painted on the floor when the original owners bought the place back in the 1920’s. It’s said to be the site of ritual murders committed by the secret society The Golden Dawn, one of which was witnessed by Ursula Bielski when her father took her to a meeting in the 1930’s. You know, lighthearted family fun.
Sure, it could just be the pulsing beat emanating from the DJ’s speakers that’s giving you those good vibrations. On the other hand, it could be the tormented souls of the risen dead haunting this nightclub built on the charred ashes of the Chicago Historical Society’s former location. The original burned down in The Great Chicago Fire in 1871.
6. Red Lion Pub
The Red Lion Pub is home to a hoary host of paranormal personages. From flapper girls to cowboys, there are many of the spectral persuasion that call this the place “where everybody knows their name”. But don’t worry, Ted Danson hasn’t shown up, yet.
7. California Clipper
While there is no evidence to support the claim (that we made up for the sake of this blog post) that Chicago’s California Clipper is secretly home to the North American branch of the Wilkie Collins Fan Club, there is definitely (for the sake of this post) a woman in white haunting the establishment. She can be seen in booths 1 and 9 late at night, and her perfume can be sniffed occasionally around the women’s bathroom.
8. Edgewater Lounge
The Edgewater apparition may be less of a grumpy ghost and more of a paranormal prankster. Mary, the former owner who died shortly after selling the bar, has been known to turn off burners while cooking and knock on doors to confuse both staff and customers.
9. Webster’s Wine Bar
Some people just don’t respect last call. The second floor of this former bordello is home to a spectral cowboy who refuses to leave. The spirit makes himself known by walking around upstairs, and occasionally appearing to the staff.
10. Congress Plaza Hotel
Pete Evans wasn’t kidding about his spooky encounter at this Windy City institution. Not only are the ghosts of Al Capone, Peg Leg Johnny, The Hand of Mystery and others known to roam the hallways and ballrooms, but multiple close encounters with a mysterious and angry shadow-woman have been reported in room 441. It’s also just around the corner from H.H. Holmes gruesome murder castle. Oh, and don’t get us started on the room on the 12th floor that has been bolted shut to hold whatever’s in there…