ILLINOIS        
       2212 CLARK ST. (CHICAGO) BACKGROUND: The site of the infamous “St. Valentine’s Day Massacre”. The SMC Cartage Company Garage located on the property doubled as the bootlegging headquarters of mobster George “Bugs” Moran, the rival of Al Capone for Chicago gangland superiority. After staking out the garage for weeks, a hit was planned by the Capone family by staging a stolen liquor drop off at the garage that morning. Moran was running late and when he arrived he saw a police car parking in front of the garage so he ducked into a nearby coffee shop to avoid going inside. The “policemen” entered and informed the occupants that they were conducting a raid and to face the wall. At that point, the faux cops opened fire on the men with submachine guns and shotguns, leaving only one survivor, Frank Gusenberg, who in the true gangster code refused to disclose who executed the hit on them. PHENOMENA: People have reported disembodied sounds of sobbing and moaning coming from the murder site, the sound of phantom gunfire and the odd reaction animals have to it. Dogs will bark and growl at an unseen force or entity or refuse to go any further into the area. The bricks of the former garage also hold an interesting story. Souvenir hunters claimed a vast number lying around when the garage was being torn down and many of these still displayed blood and bullet holes. Many people who possessed them reported a litany of unfortunate events in their lives with some going so far as to return the bricks to their original location. James Clarke was one of the victims of the Clark St. shooting and not very long afterwards, Capone was sentenced to eight months in Eastern State Penitentiary in Pennsylvania on an illegal arms charge. While locked up, he repeatedly begged "Jimmy" to leave him alone, even though he was in a single prisoner cell. Jimmy’s spirit was said to follow Capone for the rest of his life and he even employed a medium named Alice Britt to help send him away. ASHMORE ESTATES (ASHMORE) BACKGROUND: From 1857 until 1869, the Coles County Poor Farm was located in Charleston Township near the small town of Loxa. In 1870, the county purchased 260 acres from A. N. Graham in Section 35 of Ashmore Township for a new farm, which sat astride the Indianapolis & St. Louis Railroad. Coles County retained the farmland around the property, but sold the almshouse to Ashmore Estates, Inc. in February 1959 whoopened the building as a private psychiatric hospital by the same name. In October 1964, after only five years in operation, the psychiatric hospital closed down because of debt. The institution re-opened in 1965, but changed its focus from a private facility to one that accepted patients from state mental institutions. By 1968, the shelter care facility housed 49 residents, including 10 afflicted with epilepsy. Ashmore closed in 1986 and stood abandoned until 2006, when it was opened as a commercial haunted house.                     The haunting of the property dates back to the 1920s when a man named Darby and his daughter were staying at the former poor farm. Darby claims to have been the victim of a ghost named Elva Skinner who apparently died in a fire at the original almshouse. Since that time, many people confirm that her spirit does indeed still exist there. << (This is based on a fictional story written in 2004) There are also claims of shadow people on the 2nd and 3rd floors and visitors being pushed, scratched and shoved in various stairwells. A little girl spirit named Margaret is a permanent resident of the house as well as a negative entity that is said to inhabit the boiler room. Footsteps and loud bangs are a staple of the building as are disembodied voices TRIVIA: Ashmore Estates has been featured on Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures and Booth Bros. films Spooked and Children of the Grave. AVON THEATER (DECATUR) BACKGROUND: The Avon opened in 1916 and was specifically designed to show “moving pictures” though a lot of people back in those days looked at movies as nothing more than a passing fad. Owner James Allman purchased only the best equipment to enhance the movie-going experience. In the 1920s it was purchased by the Constanopoulos family who previously owned a candy and soda business. The family name was Americanized to “Constan” and it was son Gus who threw himself headlong into the theater business. By the mid-60s he was bought out by a larger theater chain and while on paper the family ran the business, in reality they had little say. Legend says when Gus was finally ordered to leave, he refused, so his belongings were thrown out onto the street. The theater fell into a state of disrepair by the 1950s and for several years remained closed because of lack of community interest. By the 1980s, the venue had become a very run- down establishment and in 1986, it’s doors were closed. In 1999 it became a destination for art film enthusiasts and alternative entertainment. Renovation is still ongoing, but the look of the theater is starting to resemble its original form. PHENOMENA: Management and staff claim objects are constantly moved or go missing and footsteps are heard throughout the building. There are also sounds of a typical theater night with laughter, applause and disembodied voices coming from an empty auditorium. There has also been a high level of physical contact with one worker reporting being groped in the projection booth. A hallway and a bathroom upstairs are particularly “hot” areas with staff and visitors telling of phantom footsteps, unsettling feelings and confrontations with apparitions. While doing some work inside one day, theater operator Skip Huston came face-to-face with the ghost of a man in an upstairs office. When called out to it, it turned away and completely vanished. A large number of people participating in a public ghost hunt there witnessed what they felt was the ghost of Gus Constan in the balcony. BACHELOR’S GROVE CEMETERY (MIDLOTHIAN) BACKGROUND: The land surrounding Bachelors Grove Cemetery was originally settled by English homesteaders who relocated to the area from New England, including Stephen Rexford, arguably the most well known of the first wave of Anglo settlers, around 1833. The name is a subject of debate as some say only single males were buried there, but most likely it is a form of the name of an early German immigrant family named Batchelder. The land was designated as a burial ground by its donor, Samuel Everden and at one point was the prototypical garden-style cemetery with people going there to picnic, swim and fish in the nearby pond. By the 1960s the road leading in was closed in favor of a more modern highway and the land became a spot for lovers, vandals and some say, cultists. As a result it fell into total disrepair and degradation with gravestones destroyed, spray painted and knocked over. Grotesquely, graves were dug up and in some cases the remains removed and bones spread about the cemetery. PHENOMENA: Two park rangers on night patrol reported seeing a horse pulling a plow being controlled by a ghostly old man come out of the pond and cross in front of their vehicle before disappearing into the woods. Incredibly, others claim to have seen the same thing and there is documentation of a farmer in the late 1800s being dragged into the pond by his spooked horse and drowning. There are reports of a phantom farm house that appears to hikers and then gets smaller when approached before it simply disappears. There is said to be a phantom car that terrorizes motorists that is first seen ahead of a vehicle, then brakes and pulls off the road but the startled driver following it sees nothing as they pass by it. Others actually pass the car then claim they do not see it in their rear view mirror. Ghost lights are another common sight as they dart down the path to the cemetery. There have been a host of apparitions seen over the years with the most famous appearing in a photo that’s been labeled “The Madonna of Bachelor’s Grove”, a woman sitting on an ornate bench who is said to be mournfully searching for her deceased child. DCI BIOLOGICALS (CARBONDALE) BACKGROUND: Formerly the Carbondale Post Office, DCI has become known for more than its plasma donors. PHENOMENA: Staff there hear the sounds of disembodied footsteps and watch as doors open and close by themselves. They also have seen the apparition of a woman wearing a white dress who wanders the main part of the building and sometimes shows up in photographs posing with the subjects. Employees have seen a lobby chandelier swing back and forth and one custodian actually quit his job because of “the intensity and frequency” of the activity. Another was locked in a closet when the door was pushed shut on him. The manager has heard a phone ring in the basement even though there are no phones installed down there. CHICAGO RIVER (CHICAGO) BACKGROUND: On July 24, 1915, a picnic had been planned for Western Electric employees and their families and four ships had been rented to take over 7,000 people across the lake to Indiana. One of these vessels was The Eastland, a steamer with a 2,750 capacity that had a reputation as being top-heavy and unstable, and on this day it’s estimated that it was filled beyond capacity with over 3,200 people on board. Shortly after leaving the dock, the ship began to list dockside and things got worse when passengers followed their instinct to head to that area. Above deck passengers were thrown into the water and as the ship turned over, many were trapped inside or under the vessel. Despite the efforts of the other ships to throw anything in the water that could be used as a flotation device, 835 passengers perished in the disaster. PHENOMENA: At the site of the tragedy, the sounds of screams, moans and cries have been heard many times by passersby. A nearby armory where most of the bodies were taken has since become Harpo Studios, Oprah Winfrey’s production company, and it is said to be haunted by the souls of the victims to this day. Employees have had a number of paranormal experiences including the sighting of an apparition simply known as “The Gray Lady.” Faint disembodied voices have been heard, as well as the sounds of laughter and crying, music from a by-gone era, doors slamming shut on their own and the unmistakable sound of footsteps on the lobby staircase.  CHICAGO WATER TOWER (CHICAGO) BACKGROUND: The building was originally constructed between 1867 and 1869 to handle Chicago's water system and contained a huge water pump to draw water from Lake Michigan. It is the second-oldest water tower in the United States and was designed by William W. Boyington, one of Chicago’s best-known 19th century architects. The tower gained prominence after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. While some incorrectly believe that the tower was the only building to survive the fire, a few other buildings in the burned district survived along with the tower. The tower was the only public building in the burned zone to survive, and is one of just a few of the surviving structures still standing. In the years since the fire, the tower has become a symbol of old Chicago and of the city's recovery from the fire. In 1918, when Pine Street was widened, the plans were altered in order to give the Water Tower a featured location. PHENOMENA: A story exists about a line worker who remained there during the fire to man the pumps and when all was lost as the flames grew higher, he went to the upper floors and hung himself. Today, workers claim to see the silhouette of a man hanging from the rafters, going so far as to call the police who upon arrival, find nothing there. In one case, visitors witnessed this phenomena and the officer who responded to their call also witnessed it. It is also possible that the figure seen might be the spirit of one of two German immigrants who also committed suicide there in the 1800s by jumping to their deaths. TRIVIA: In 2004 and 2017 the tower was featured in the finale of The Amazing Race 6 and The Amazing Race 29 respectively. CHOATE MENTAL HEALTH CENTER (ANNA) BACKGROUND: Known as the Southern Hospital for the Insane when it opened in 1875. In 1881 and then again in 1895, fires destroyed a significant amount of the hospital. PHENOMENA: Visitors and staff have reported apparitions, shadowy figures and strange faces staring out windows. One patient is said to have been attacked by a “hell hound” inside his room. He called for help and waited until the orderlies came, but when the lights were flipped they saw nothing except scratches covering the his body. There are tunnels that connect different buildings and people venturing into them report being touched by invisible hands. CONGRESS PLAZA HOTEL (CHICAGO) BACKGROUND:  After opening for business in 1893, for the World's Columbian Exposition, the hotel underwent two major expansions and renovations, first in 1902 and then again in 1907 which brought the total complex up to 1 million square feet. The design and construction of these two additions were overseen by the firm of Holabird & Roche. The hotel now features 871 guest rooms and suites. The hotel is not currently affiliated with any national chain. It has been owned by a group of investors led by Albert Nasser of Tel-Aviv, Israel, since 1987. There is an unfounded legend surrounding it that claims it was once owned by the Capone syndicate who ran a host of criminal activities out of it. PHENOMENA: Despite no documentation he was truly attached to the hotel, it’s said Capone’s ghost wanders the lobby. One of most-seen spirits is said to be that of “Peg Leg Johnny” who frequents the dining room, lobby and a few of the guest rooms. It’s said he was a transient who was murdered an an alley behind the hotel. Security has reported the apparition of a young boy in the North Tower who, it’s claimed, was thrown along with his sister from the tower by their mother who feared deportation. Another version has her waiting for her husband who was serving in WWII and never returned. Despondent, she killed her children and then herself. In Room 441, guests have seen the shadowy apparition of a female who wakens people from sleep, moves objects around turns lights on and off. Security has paid numerous visits there in response to complaints. Notorious serial killer H.H. Holmes was said to have used the hotel to lure victims to his “Murder Mansion” a few blocks away. The Gold Room is the subject of the “Hand of Mystery” thast concerns a worker who was trapped inside a wall that was plastered over and suffocated to death. It’s said his spectral hand reaches out from the wall to touch the living. In the Florentine Room, a female spirit whispers in guest’s ears, moves chairs around which has been seen by security details, and may be a source for the disembodied voices heard from within. Allegedly, there is a room 666, which remains locked and off limits to guests. TRIVIA: Presidents who have stayed at or visited the Congress include Grover Cleveland, William McKinley, Teddy Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Franklin Roosevelt. CRENSHAW HOUSE (EQUALITY TOWNSHIP) BACKGROUND: The house was constructed in the 1830s and was the main residence of John Crenshaw, his wife, and their five children. Crenshaw was a legal slave trader who leased the state-owned salt works and became so wealthy that at one point, his taxes amounted to one-seventh of the revenue of the entire state. The Crenshaw House was a "station" on the Reverse Underground Railroad that transported escaped slaves and kidnapped free blacks back to servitude in slave states. Crenshaw lost a leg in an attack by one of his slaves who, when watching Crenshaw beat a female slave in his fields, picked up an axe and severed the leg. PHENOMENA: Visitors claim to hear voices and odd sounds in the attic, at times moans and other times what sounds like the singing of religious hymns. Other reports concern the sound of chains rattling and the sight of blood stains on the walls. The slave quarters are a haven of sad feelings, cold chills, physical contact and feelings of an unseen presence walking past. DRAKE HOTEL (CHICAGO) BACKGROUND:  Founded in 1920, it soon became one of Chicago's landmark hotels. Second-generation hotel magnates Tracy Drake and John Drake acquired the property from the estate of Potter Palmer in 1916. The building was financed by a syndicate of family friends including members of the Palmer, Armour, Swift, and McCormick families and the hotel's architects, Benjamin Marshall and Charles Fox. Including the land, construction, and furnishing, the Drake cost $10,000,000, which in present-day dollars is roughly $120 million. Notable guests included Winston Churchill, Eleanor Roosevelt, Presidents Herbert Hoover, Dwight Eisenhower, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan. Prince Charles and Diana, Elizabeth Taylor, Judy Garland, Hugh Hefner, Walt Disney, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Charles Lindbergh, King Hussein of Jordan and Julia Roberts. Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe carved their initials into the wooden bar of the Cape Cod Room during a visit, which can still be seen today. Diana, Princess of Wales, stayed at the Drake Hotel during her only visit to Chicago in 1996, one year before her death. PHENOMENA: The most famous ghost is a woman in a red dress who was said to to have jumped from the 10th floor after witnessing her husband dancing with another woman at a New Year’s opening night gala in 1920. The “Woman in Red” now roams the Gold Coast Room and Palm Court as well as the 10th floor. The parents of 15-year-old Bobby Franks who was murdered by two wealthy U. of Chicago students, “Leopold and Loeb”, who committed the crime just to see if they could get away with it, are said to haunt the hallways in the place they stayed after selling their home after the trial ended. In 1944, socialite Adele Born Williams was shot and killed by a middle-aged woman while returning to her suite with her daughter. The killer eluded police, but the following day the murder weapon was found in a stairwell that had previously been searched. Adele’s ghost is said to still haunt the Drake to the present day. TRIVIA: Scenes from the movies Risky Business, My Best Friend's Wedding, Hero, What Women Want, Continental Divide, Flags of Our Fathers, Wicker Park, Mission: Impossible, and Carol were either filmed at or set at the hotel. EXCALIBUR NIGHTCLUB (CHICAGO) BACKGROUND: The building was constructed in 1892 and served as the home of the Chicago Historical Society after its original headquarters burned down in the Great Chicago Fire, and prior to its relocation to Lincoln Park in 1931. From 1985 to 1989, nightclub entrepreneur Peter Gatien operated The Limelight nightclub in the building, one of his chain of nightclubs under that name andat some point he bought the building. In January 1989, he sold the building to Fred Hoffman for $3.5 million who spent $1 million renovating the building, and in 1989 opened Excalibur and Vision, two "sister clubs". At the time of their openings in 1989, the two clubs were the largest non-hotel entertainment facility in Chicago. Excalibur and Vision closed in mid-2012. On December 31, 2012, after six months of remodeling, the club was re-launched as "Castle Chicago". It is now known as “Tao”, an Asian-inspired restaurant and nightclub. PHENOMENA:  The ghost of a little girl has been spotted roaming and laughing through the building during the day and a lit candle was observed on a ledge in the Dome Room some 70 feet off the floor. Beer bottles open by themselves and show up on tables on the first level after closing during the lock-up. There are also claims of a crying child, raspy breathing and a feeling of heaviness in that same area. Pool balls tend to rearrange themselves, staff hears their names called, faucets turn on for no reason and there are sounds of something being dragged in the basement. There are also reports of a man in a glowing white tuxedo standing behind the bar and a blue mist that appears to travel up a staircase. TRIVIA: In 2012, the building was featured on an episode of Ghost Adventures. On April 24, 2001, it was reported that a waitress for Excalibur, Colleen Gallagher, was tipped $11,000 by a customer who had run up a $60 bar tab. Notable guests who played at Vision included Rihanna and Moby. FIRST UNITARIAN CHURCH (ALTON) BACKGROUND: The site of the Alton Unitarian Congregation since 1855, when it bought the site of a former Catholic church that had been damaged by fire. The original building was opened in 1855, but was torn down in 1905 and a sanctuary was built. In 1928, Rev. Phillip Mercer became the church’s pastor by all accounts was a very quiet and polite man, but something happened to change him into a more caustic individual and in 1934 he hanged himself in a doorway of the church. Some parishioners suspected there was more to his death with the absence of a suicide note or any hint that he was dealing with some serious problems. PHENOMENA: Mercer’s ghost is said to haunt the church and in the vicinity where he took his life strange sounds, smells and footsteps have been reported. A shadowy figure has been seen through a stained glass window as well as the apparition of a man dressed in a white shirt and black trousers. Doors open and slam shut with no reasonable explanation. There have been reports of a negative entity that dwells in the basement and have a sense of welcomeness there. Visitors will often leave that area because of a harrowing experience. The church is said to have been part of the Underground Railroad with tunnels underneath it that were used to hide and transport slaves passing through the area. It’s assumed some of the activity in the building may be triggered by those individuals. There are also claims of physical contact by invisible hands. FORT DEARBORN (CHICAGO) BACKGROUND: Built in 1803 beside the Chicago River, in what is now Chicago, Illinois. It was constructed by troops under Captain John Whistler and named in honor of Henry Dearborn, then United States Secretary of War.  In 1779, a trading post was built along the Chicago River by settler Jean Baptist Point du Sable, a French Canadian trapper. In 1800 he sold it to a man named Jean Lalime and shortly thereafter the idea of constructing a fortification was introduced. On Aug. 15, a military garrison was evacuated but quickly ambushed by Potawatomi warriors and a total of 68 people were killed, survivors were taken captive and the original Fort Dearborn was burned to the ground. PHENOMENA: Said to be haunted by the souls of those lost in that battle. Human bones were discovered during an excavation in the 1980s that were thought to be those of cholera victims, but have been identified as more likely to be those of victims of the attack. A short time after they were unearthed, people claimed to see spirits of men in military uniform and pioneer clothing where the dig took place. FORT DE CHARTRES (PRAIRIE DU ROCHER) BACKGROUND: A French fortification first built in 1720 on the east bank of the Mississippi River in present-day Illinois that was used as an administrative center for the province. Due to river floods the fort was rebuilt twice, the last time in the 1750s in the era of French colonial control over Louisiana and the Illinois Country. A partial reconstruction exists of this third and last fort and the site is now preserved. The fort's stone magazine, which survived the gradual ruin that overtook the rest of the site, is considered the oldest building in the state of Illinois. PHENOMENA: Urban legend alert >>There is an amazing legend about a phantom funeral that only can be witnessed on a 4th of July that falls on a Friday. In 1889, two women saw a midnight funeral procession that started at the fort and ended at the site of a small cemetery. They counted 40 wagons, 13 groups of soldiers and a casket being drawn. The procession made no sound, a neighbor came outside to see what his dog was barking at and he saw the exact thing the women did. Years earlier, a local merchant was killed in an argument with a French officer and the fort commander ordered it to be kept quiet and the burial to take place after midnight. Perhaps these witnesses saw the residual energy of the event repeating itself. As a result, people still come to the location on the dates that fall in the proper parameters to catch a glimpse of the ghostly procession. GRACELAND CEMETERY (CHICAGO) BACKGROUND: Established in 1860, its main entrance is at the intersection of Clark Street and Irving Park Road. After the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, Lincoln Park which had been the city's cemetery, was de-consecrated and some of the bodies moved here. The edge of the pond around Daniel Burnham's burial island was once lined with broken headstones and coping transported from Lincoln Park. Lincoln Park then became a recreational area, with a single mausoleum remaining, the "Couch tomb", containing the remains of Ira Couch. PHENOMENA: Urban legend alert >>There is a legend of a young girl that was struck by lightening named Inez Clarke who is buried at this cemetery. It’s said her parents, John and Mary, commissioned a life-sized statue to be made in her likeness to place over her grave site and according to a night watchman who claims he witnessed this, on stormy nights when thunder and lightening are present, the case it’s kept in will be found empty. Today, visitors leave gifts for Inez and claim to hear her cries near the statue and sometimes see her ghost dancing through the cemetery. In reality, the final resting place of John & Mary Clarke is actually located to the north of the statue and the statue may actually represent Inez Briggs, Mary Clarke’s daughter from a previous marriage. It is equally possible the statue was placed there by a sculptor advertising his work. In any event, if the tales are true, there is still a little girl that wanders the cemetery in the afterlife. GREENWOOD CEMETERY (DECATUR) BACKGROUND:  The cemetery initially was a sacred burial ground for Native Americans but in the early 1800s, settlers to the area buried their own dead there and by 1857 the cemetery was incorporated and given its current name. PHENOMENA: Reported activity here begins in the 1920s when the cemetery began to fall into a state of decay with no money available for upkeep. A couple of decades later the site was a haven for gang activity and occult practices. There is a set of five steps leading up to the burial plot of the Barrackman family and there are multiple reports of the apparition of a woman standing at the top step at sunset, crying and distraught. Then there is the story of a young woman whose family disapproved of her impending marriage to to a local bootlegger. When he didn’t show up one night, she learned he had been murdered by a rival who dumped his body into the nearby Sangamon River. Overcome with grief, she threw herself into the river in the hopes of reuniting with her love and drowned. Buried in her wedding gown, she is said to haunt the cemetery in that dress combing the headstones to find that of her fiancée. Urban legend alert >>There is also something called “The Devil’s Chair” at the cemetery whose reputation is somewhat overblown as it is actually called a “mourning chair” placed by a grave site so visitors can sit and reflect. The legend is whomever sits in the chair will encounter misfortune by essentially falling into league with the Devil himself. For seven years good fortune will come your way until he comes to claim your soul.  There is also a haunted mausoleum on site that decades ago fell into such disrepair that families were asked to re-inter their dead somewhere else. There are now claims of screams, crying and odd light anomalies coming from the common burial ground across the street where some of the bodies ended up being moved to. There is also a Civil War burial area where some Confederate troops were buried after a yellow fever contagion struck. The Sangamon River flooded thereafter and washed away a great deal of their remains. There are anguished cries of the displaced dead soldiers and strange light anomalies seen on the hills of the cemetery. Lastly, their are reports of visitors witnessing phantom funerals at Greenwood, years after the actual burials took place. H.H. HOLMES MURDER CASTLE (CHICAGO) BACKGROUND: Henry Howard Holmes came to the city of Chicago in 1886 and found work in a drugstore where he was an exemplary employee and genial man who eventually bought the store. He was actually born Herman Webster Mudgett in New Hampshire in 1861 and attended the University of Michigan as a medical student where he orchestrated fraud on insurance companies with experimental cadavers. He was also married at this time with a son and when the marriage dissolved he moved to New York where he was a suspect in the disappearance of a young boy and then on to Pennsylvania where another boy died from medicine purchased at a pharmacy he was working at. So successful was he in Chicago, that he bought a lot across from the drugstore and built a hotel on it. In a bizarre employment condition, workers there had to agree to obtain insurance policies making Holmes the beneficiary. At the time of the 1893 World’s Fair, there were even more insurance scams with Holmes and an associate named Benjamin Pitezel conspiring to fake their own deaths to collect the money. In Pietzel’s case though, there was nothing fraudulent about his actual disappearance which Holmes was suspected of orchestrating and was arrested for in Boston in 1894. A search of his hotel revealed one of the most gruesome and sordid examples of a serial killer ever known as police found trap doors, secret passages, and holes that were used to spy on guests and to insert hoses to pump poisonous gas into rooms. There were soundproof rooms and some had chutes built in that led to the basement. When they investigated the basement they found piles of animal and human bones, most of which belonging to children, and an acid vat that was used to dispose of his victims as well as a table used to dissect those he murdered. In all he would confess to 27 murders and was hanged for his crimes in 1896. PHENOMENA: The building would eventually burn down, but people reported screams and moans emanating from the ruins as well as shadow figures roaming the area. A post office was built there in 1938, but the hauntings continued as postal workers claimed to hear strange noises, see objects moving on their own, apparitions, cold spots and the ghost of H.H. Holmes himself. Much of these reports originate in the basement of the building which is the only part of the hotel that still exists.   HOTEL BAKER (ST. CHARLES) BACKGROUND: It was 1926 when the groundbreaking began at a site of a garbage dump at the Main Street bridge. Col. Edward J. Baker envisioned a luxury hotel, a resort and escape for the community of St. Charles, and an icon to the world for what big things were happening there. The Hotel Baker opened on June 2, 1928 and was called “The Honeymoon Hotel” based on its beautiful riverfront view and reputation as a vacation getaway. The Baker was Col. Baker's home. He was a farmer who, along with his niece Dellora Norris, inherited the fortune of the founder of Texaco Oil, Col. Baker's brother-in-law John Gates. It was built on the site of an old mill and also housed a hydroelectric facility, a radio station and its own parking garage. PHENOMENA: Local legend says a chambermaid working at the hotel drowned herself in the Fox River after being left at the altar by her fiancée. A different version tells of her lover leaving her after a bad night at the poker table. What is now the penthouse suite on the 6th floor would probably have been her living quarters and guests staying in that room have heard disembodied voices and cries and felt an unseen entity tugging on the bed clothes. HULL HOUSE (CHICAGO) BACKGROUND: Hull House was a settlement house that was co-founded in 1889 by Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr. It was named after the original home's first owner Charles Jerald Hull and open to recently arrived European immigrants. Hull House became, at its inception, "a community of university women" whose main purpose was to provide social and educational opportunities for working class people in the surrounding neighborhood. The "residents" held classes in literature, history, art, domestic activities and other subjects and attended concerts that were free to everyone, free lectures on current issues and joined clubs for both children and adults. At the beginning, Addams and Starr volunteered as on-call doctors when real doctors either didn't show up or weren't available acting as midwives, saving babies from neglect, preparing the dead for burial, nursing the sick, and sheltering domestic violence victims. PHENOMENA: Addams had already heard tales of hauntings in the attic when she moved into the building. Mrs. Charles Hull died in 1860 and her ghost is said to haunt the 2nd floor as footsteps, her apparition and odd noises from her old room seem to bear out. Urban legend alert >>It was in 1913, that the most famous Hull House ghost story came to life. It has been long said a man once stated he would rather have a picture of the devil in his house than the Virgin Mary and shortly thereafter a child was born to him with pointed ears, horns, scale-covered skin, and a tail. Not knowing what to do with this deformed infant, the mother took it to Hull House where Addams had it baptized and according to some accounts, kept it in the attic away from prying eyes. While long-told, the story has no basis in reality, but Addams was fascinated on the effect it had on the community with people lining up at the house to see the Devil’s spawn in person. Despite that, or more likely because of it, some still insist they see a small face peeking out of an upstairs window. LINCOLN THEATER (DECATUR) BACKGROUND: The Lincoln Theater was built in 1916 and welcomed performers like Bob Hope, Ethel Barrymore, Al Jolson and Harry Houdini - who got permission to cut a hole in the stage floor for the purpose of draining a water tank that still exists today. The property was formerly home to the Arcade Hotel which was destroyed by a fire in 1904 but was soon rebuilt. In 1915, an even more devastating fire broke out at the hotel when a night watchman could not extinguish a couple of oily rags that ignited near the boiler. It took less than a half-hour for the building to be consumed and efforts were focused on saving the surrounding buildings as the walls of the hotel collapsed. Two lives were lost in the blaze and a year later, the Lincoln Theater was constructed on the same spot. Architects went to great lengths to ensure this building was completely fireproof and that would be tested successfully on a couple of occasions with fires breaking out in other buildings nearby. In its early days the focus was on vaudeville and live shows with a band eventually hired to provide background music for the assembled crowds, but by the late 1920s the theater was showing more motion pictures which effectively signaled the end of the vaudeville era in that region. By the 1980s the lease had run out and save for a few special events the theater remained empty until a civic group raised enough funds to begin a renovation project to save it. PHENOMENA: The notion that the theater contained a ghost goes back to the 1930s, but in the present day it’s said a ghost named “One-Armed Red”, who is said to be a former stagehand who lost the limb in an accident as a young man, that haunts the building. The story goes that he took a nap during his lunch break one day and never woke up. People claim to hear strange noises and disembodied footsteps when the theater is empty that they are convinced is Red wandering the building. The ghost of a woman in a long dress has been witnessed as have many shadowy figures. There have also been reports of physical contact and the apparition of a man on a spiral staircase located backstage. MCPIKE MANSION (ALTON) BACKGROUND:  Built in 1869 by Henry Guest McPike a notable local businessman with dealings in real estate and box making who served as mayor of Alton and as the Librarian of the Alton-Southern Illinois Horticultural Society in the late 1880s. McPike died in 1910 and in 1925 the mansion was purchased by Paul A. Laichinger who lived there until his death in 1945. When the house sat abandoned for years after, there was some interest in demolishing it and converting the land into a shopping center, though this fell through due to zoning issues. In the meantime, the house was ransacked of its furnishings, wooden banisters and even the toilets, becoming a victim of vandalism and negligence. Though listed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 17, 1980 it was left derelict for many years before being purchased by Sharyn and George Luedke in an auction in 1994. PHENOMENA: Sharyn Luedke maintains that the ghost of Paul Laichinger still haunts the house. She was outside watering not long after purchasing the home when she claimed to have seen the apparition of a man standing inside looking out a window directly at her wearing a striped shirt and tie which resembled the outfit Laichinger is wearing in a photo inside the home. A former maid named “Sarah” is also said to be present as Luedke says she has been touched and in some cases even hugged by the spirit. A strange mist was filmed in the basement during a public paranormal investigation that went viral on social media and on various television documentaries about the house. Footsteps have also been recorded in the basement accompanied by a door opening on its own. MINERAL SPRINGS HOTEL (ALTON) BACKGROUND: No longer a hotel, but now an antiques mall, the Mineral Springs hotel opened in 1914. Originally it was meant to be an ice plant but during excavation a natural spring was uncovered. The water was tested and said to have medicinal properties, so a spa was opened there instead. The hotel also began bottling the water and for a while a very successful business was run there. It closed in 1971, was resurrected as a mall in 1978. PHENOMENA: Among the spirits said to reside here is that of an artist who painted a mural of the city in order to square up his bar tab. The mural still remains albeit unfinished as he passed away before its completion. He haunts the bar area where he has been seen standing with a confused, perhaps inebriated look with the smell of liquor accompanying him. The swimming pool is a particular hot spot as its said a man who was struck in the face by his wife with her stiletto heel for flirting and dancing with another woman at a party there in the 1920s and ultimately unnoticed, fell in and drowned. He’s been spotted in a tuxedo bearing an angry look. The “Jasmine Lady” named so because of her preferred perfume, haunts the lobby staircase. Infidelity again played a role as its said she was caught with her lover by her husband, ran toward the stairs and either tripped or was pushed to her death. Guests have seen this replay itself, watching her tumble down the stairs. Phantom footsteps, disembodied voices and unusual cold spot are also prevalent inside the building.  OLD TOWN TATU (CHICAGO) BACKGROUND: Often said to be Chicago’s first funeral home, the building has stood since the 1920s though the actual foundation dates back decades earlier. It purchased by Rich “Tapeworm” Herrera in 2003 and converted to a tattoo parlor. PHENOMENA:  It was when Herrera first moved in that paranormal activity became an issue. There was a host of activity encountered like objects moving or being thrown and problems began with electrical equipment. At one point an employee was pushed down a staircase by an unseen entity where employees have also witnessed the apparition of a man in a suit. Herrera boldly challenged the spirits, saying if he should die in the building he would battle the entity responsible in the afterlife. Three weeks after making that claim on television no less, Herrera died of a heart attack. His loyal friends have kept the parlor running but believe Herrera’s spirit remains there watching over things. The business phone rang after his passing and the caller ID was that of Herrera himself. ORIENTAL THEATER (CHICAGO) BACKGROUND: The theater opened in 1926 as one of many ornate movie palaces built in Chicago during the 1920s by the firm Rapp and Rapp. It was built on the same location as the former Iroquois Theater (later the Colonial Theater) site of a disastrous 1903 fire that claimed over 600 lives. The city fire inspector and the building commissioner had both labeled the building as “fireproof”  even though there were no sprinkler systems or alarms installed. While there were many backstage exits, there was only one public exit and the fire quickly spread with many victims trapped in the balcony. Others who made their way to the exit doors discovered they opened inwards and the crush of bodies doomed their escape. Although the facade looks identical, the Oriental retained nothing from the building that once stood on the same site. The Oriental continued to be a vital part of Chicago's theater district into the 1960s, but patronage declined in the 1970s along with the fortunes of the Chicago Loop in general. Late in the decade, the theater survived by showing exploitation films. It closed in 1981 and was vacant for more than a decade. PHENOMENA: Behind the theater is “Death Alley” where many trying to escape the fire leaped to safety with some surviving and with others not so fortunate. Once the fire was extinguished, the alley became a makeshift morgue where bodies were sorted for identification. Pedestrians passing though today claim to hear the cries of children, unusual cold spots and at times, actual physical contact. A shadow figure has been seen cavorting on the exterior walls of the alley with some suggesting it is the ghost of Nelly Reed, a trapeze artist who perished in the blaze. RED LION PUB (CHICAGO) BACKGROUND: The Red Lion Pub was originally built in 1882 and is well-known as being the place across the street from the Biography Theater where gangster John Dillinger was gunned down by Federal agents. The pub fell into a state of disrepair but a Chicago architect named John Cordwell decided to turn it into an English-style pub. His son Colin now runs the business. PHENOMENA: The pub bears a stained glass window that commemorates the passing of Colin’s father and those who pass by it sometimes complain of dizziness and at times claim to see an apparition standing in front of it. A young handicapped girl passed away in the building and at times the scent of lavender is attributed to her presence. Female patrons speak of a strong presence in the upstairs ladies room and a man in what is described as cowboy attire is sometimes seen elsewhere in the building. Other apparitions reported are that of a gentleman who walks up a stairway and through the downstairs bar, a blond-haired man and a bearded man sporting a black hat. Another resident spirit is that of “Sharon”, a woman alleged to have died of measles in 1959 when the building was a residential complex. She is said to be mischievous, knocking books from shelves, playing with the sound system and opening locked windows. RESURRECTION MARY (CHICAGO) BACKGROUND: Since the 1930s, several men driving northeast along Archer Avenue between the Willowbrook Ballroom and Resurrection Cemetery have reported picking up a young female hitchhiker. This young woman is dressed somewhat formally in a white party dress and is said to have light blond hair and blue eyes. There are other reports that she wears a thin shawl, dancing shoes, carries a small clutch purse, and possibly that she is very quiet. When the driver nears the Resurrection Cemetery, the young woman asks to be let out, whereupon she disappears into the cemetery. The story goes that Mary had spent the evening dancing with a boyfriend at the Oh Henry Ballroom. At some point, they got into an argument and Mary stormed out. Even though it was a cold winter's night, she thought she would rather face a cold walk home than spend another minute with her boyfriend. She left the ballroom and started walking up Archer Avenue. She had not gotten very far when she was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver, who fled the scene leaving Mary to die. Her parents found her and were grief-stricken at the sight of her dead body. They buried her in Resurrection Cemetery, wearing a beautiful white dancing dress and matching dancing shoes. The hit-and-run driver was never found. PHENOMENA: Beyond vanishing into the cemetery, there are also claims that she disappears inside the vehicle en route to the cemetery. One of the more bizarre stories concerns a motorist who claimed to have struck the woman, hearing a sickening thump. but finding no one in the road after stopping to check. In another strange experience, a driver reported driving right through the woman. Even more stunning is the time a passerby saw a woman inside the cemetery after hours holding on to the gates and then driving to a local police station to inform them someone had been locked inside. Upon arrival an officer saw no one, but noticed the bars had been bent at a severe angle, charred, and with hand prints etched into them. Eventually the gates were replaced to discourage curiosity seekers. ROBINSON WOODS (CHICAGO) BACKGROUND: The land is named for Andrew Robinson, a trader who was able to develop strong relationships with both white settlers and the local tribes which was difficult in those times. The land was made available to him by local chief Powowatomi in 1829 and Robinson opened a saloon there a year later. After a brief time spent in Iowa, he returned to Chicago and was instrumental in helping new settlers habituate there by selling pieces of his property to them. His family maintained a presence there until 1955 when their home burned to the ground. In that same year a horrific crime took place when the bodies of three men were discovered bound and naked in a ditch at one of the property’s boundaries. The case remained unsolved until 1994. PHENOMENA:Today, Native American apparitions and odd light anomalies are seen in the woods with the sound of drum beats heard as well as voices and the sound of wood being sawed. At times, police have been called in to investigate these disturbances but find nothing upon their arrival and subsequent search. Much of the activity there is in close proximity to the Robinson family plots. TONIC ROOM (CHICAGO) BACKGROUND: The building itself dates back to the 1920s and was said to be a favorite “haunt” for the city’s Irish mob as well as a well-known brothel that was run out of the upstairs apartments. It was also said to be the headquarters in the 1930s for the occult group Golden Dawn, a secret society said to embrace ancient Egyptian symbolism and human sacrifice. Claims mainly based on the discovery of Egyptian iconography on the basement ceiling as well as a pentagram painted on its floor. An elderly woman who once attended a meeting in the building basement with her father swears she witnessed a ritualistic killing there. PHENOMENA: In the 1960s, a male witch named Frederic De’Arechaga bought the building and turned it into an occult shop. It’s no surprise that paranormal activity runs rampant there, with most sightings occurring in the bar area and the basement with many ghosts seen in each. There is a mist that forms around the bar that has been witnessed a number of times as well as the apparition of a man who appears in form of a gangster from a bygone era. RETURN TO PARANORMAL WORLD DATABASE
THE PARANORMAL WORLD DATABASE           . PHENOMENA       TRIVIA: One of the people who were scheduled to be on Eastland was 20-year-old George Halas who went on found the Chicago Bears
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