This story was originally published by DNAinfo Chicago in 2015. Block Club Chicago has updated it.
DOWNTOWN — When it comes to ghost stories, Chicago is no Second City.
You can head to Uptown if you want to catch sight of Al Capone’s ghost, or drive down to Hyde Park if you want to meet up with the spirits of Confederate soldiers held at Camp Douglas. Want to experience all of that and more? Block Club Chicago has you covered.
Here are 11 spooky spots to check out (and where you can eat and drink after visiting them):
What: The cemetery is famous for its connection to Chicago’s history. Victims of the Iroquois Theater fire, which killed more than 600 people, are buried here, as is George Pullman (the guy behind the Pullman Palace Car Company), several mayors and influential politicians and Bruce Graham, the architect behind the John Hancock Building and Willis Tower.
Plus, it’s said that if you look into the eyes of a famous monument there, “Eternal Silence” (or the “Statue of Death”), you’ll see a vision of your own death. That’s more than a little scary.
Where: 4001 N. Clark St.
While you’re there: You can walk over to Ten Cat Tavern, 3931 N. Ashland Ave., for a drink and a few rounds of pool. They’ve also got a fireplace and board games, which is probably just what you’ll need to relax after, you know, seeing a vision of your death at Graceland Cemetery.
What: This is one for the Civil War buffs: Camp Douglas was a prisoner camp for Confederate soldiers during the Civil War. Its conditions were deplorable, and thousands of prisoners of war died from starvation, disease and the wet and cold. The area is now home to archaeology digs and condos. Maybe you’ll see a ghost peeking out of someone’s window.
Where: The land from Cottage Grove Avenue to King Drive and 31st Street to 33rd Place.
While you’re there: Check out Yassa African, 3511 S. King Drive, for traditional Senegalese fare. It’s BYOB, so don’t forget to bring your favorite booze.
What: This cemetery is the final stop for dozens of Civil War soldiers and historical figures like John G. Shedd, Oscar Mayer, Leo Burnett, Richard B. Ogilvie and more. Local legend has it that spirits from Rosehill Cemetery often drift into the nearby Fireside Restaurant and Lounge to play tricks on patrons intruding on their space.
If you stop by, make sure to listen for moaning and the rattling of chains from (long-deceased) resident Charles Hopkinson.
Where: 5800 N. Ravenswood Ave.
While you’re there: Across from the city’s largest burial place sits the Fireside Restaurant and Lounge. The tavern’s original owners opened the building at 5739 N. Ravenswood Ave. in 1904 as a saloon, eatery and temporary resting place for those going to visit their deceased loved ones.
Congress Plaza Hotel
What: This hotel opened in 1893 for the World’s Columbian Exposition — which means it’s had 125 years to acquire a bevy of ghosts. Among the ghouls is said to be Chicago gangster Al Capone; Karel Langer, a child who goes along the hotel’s halls; and Peg Leg Johnny, who will flick your light switches to spook you, according to WBEZ.
The Congress was even named the most haunted spot in Illinois in 2017. If you want to join in on the spooky fun, you can head to the hotel’s annual Haunted Halloween Ball.
Where: 520 S. Michigan Ave.
While you’re there: Once you’ve haunted the halls of the Congress, you can grab a drink at 2Twenty2 Tavern at 222 S. Wabash Ave.
Green Mill Cocktail Lounge
What: The Green Mill Cocktail Lounge was co-owned by notorious gangster and Al Capone associate Jack “Machine Gun” McGurn, who is said to have played a major role in the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. The Green Mill itself served as a speakeasy and hideout for the gangsters, and it has the trap door to prove it.
If you stop by, don’t forget to check out the joint’s artwork, which shows how McGurn tried to do away with a highly paid singer who attempted to leave the Green Mill.
Where: 4802 N. Broadway Ave.
While you’re there: Trying not to go too far from this haunt? You don’t have to. The Green Mill is still open — and it’s serving up the booze and jazz that made it infamous. There will be live music 8 p.m.-midnight on Halloween, so make sure you bring your dancing shoes.
What: Hull House was famous for helping immigrant families. But, as Halloween nears, it’s remembered for something else: The stories say a “Devil Baby” with hooves, horns and scales was taken there after its family abandoned it and it was raised in the Hull House attic.
The story became so widespread that Hull House founder Jane Addams even tried to quash rumors of the Devil Baby, writing in a 1916 story for the The Atlantic that the baby’s existence was a “legend.”
But the story lives on. Maybe you’ll hear its cries if you stop by the museum this year? You can reserve a visiting time online.
Where: 800 S. Halsted St.
While you’re there: If you work up an appetite while hunting for the Devil Baby, you can head to Little Joe’s at 1041 W. Taylor St. The bar also serves food.
Eastland Disaster site
What: More than 800 people died when the Eastland turned over in the Chicago River and filled with water a little more than 100 years ago. Twenty-two entire families were lost. Some say you can hear screaming, crying and splashing from the river, and if you look into the water you will see the faces of the victims peering out of the depths.
Where: Along the river between the Clark Street and LaSalle Street bridges.
While you’re there: You’re in Downtown, so the world is your oyster. But if you’re looking for something within walking distance, you can see what’s open along the Riverwalk or get a drink at The Kitchen, 316 N. Clark St. It’s stocked up with craft beers that will help you forget anything spooky you might have seen.
Chicago World’s Fair
What: The Museum of Science and Industry was built for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. Originally called the Palace of Fine Arts, the building is one of few structures that remain from the White City of the World’s Fair.
Now it’s said to be home to several ghosts, including those of people who died during the World’s Fair. You can even stop by on Halloween. Go online to make reservations. (And it’s OK to be concerned if you bump into someone who’s transparent and knows just a bit too much about the fair.)
Where: 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive.
While you’re there: Turn on the jukebox at the Cove Lounge, 1750 E. 55th St.
Bonus: Can’t make it to the museum for Halloween? Famed civil rights lawyer Clarence Darrow said that if he returned as a ghost then he’d show up at the bridge behind the museum on the anniversary of his death, March 13. It’s not too early to plan a spring visit.
What: The Iroquois Theater was supposed to be “fireproof,” but a fire there killed more than 600 people in 1903. It remains the deadliest single-building fire in United States history, and though the Iroquois Theater was razed (it’s now the spot of the Oriental Theatre) many report seeing odd, shadowy figures or capturing ghosts in photos while in the theater or in the nearby “Alley of Death.”
Where: 24 W. Randolph St.
While you’re there: Head down the street to the Randolph Tavern, 188 W. Randolph St., for a drink and some food. It’s just what you’ll need to end the night after a visit to the Alley of Death.
What: The Hancock Center is famous for its height and amazing views of the city — but it’s also been home to supernatural experiences, according to at least one ghost tour host.
The center’s seen several deaths, and a Church of Satan founder wrote that its trapezoidal shape made for a “brooding spectacle.” No wonder it’s earned itself a place on the Chicago Hauntings Tour.
Where: 875 N. Michigan Ave.
While you’re there: Feeling ritzy? You can hobnob with the building’s ghouls at the Signature Lounge. Just take an elevator to the 96th floor to enjoy an evening of cocktails (and screams, if you get scared by a ghost).
What: The hotel is said to be haunted by a mysterious “Woman in Red.” Legend says the poor lady caught her husband cheating on her while at a New Year’s party at the hotel in 1920. In despair, she jumped to her death from the building; now, she stalks the hotel halls.
Where: 140 E. Walton Place
While you’re there: If you’re desperate to draw out the Woman in Red, you need go no further than the Drake: The hotel’s bar and restaurant, Coq d’Or, offers dining and cocktails Thursday-Sunday.
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