Haunted Buildings In Chicago


1964 photo of the Holy Family Church from the Historic American Buildings Survey

What if we were to tell you that your favorite restaurant is haunted? Would you still call it your favorite? Each city has tons of history and it’s unlikely that you’ll ever come across a building that doesn’t have some eerie history connected to it. But you would like to know, right? We can’t get enough of the spooky stuff. So even if Halloween is over, here’s 13 haunted houses in Chicago that have a reputation for their spooky history.

1. Adobo Grill (formerly That Steak Joynt)

This is currently a Mexican restaurant but was once the most haunted restaurant and steakhouse in the city. In the 1980’s, a medium held seances in a dining room upstairs and people would sometimes get violently ill during them. Since then, the wait staff and visitors alike have experienced a ton of paranormal activity there such as phantom footsteps, strange scents, lights flickering, noises, and the feeling of being touched. 

2. Tonic Room

Since the 1920’s, this place has served a number of different roles including a brothel, a tavern, and a meeting place for a paranormal organization called Golden Dawn. Patrons currently state that spirits can be found throughout the bar and while there is no concrete reason for why the space is paranormal, there are rumors that a ritualistic murder occurred there during a paranormal meeting.

3. Holy Family Church

This was one of the few buildings of its kind to survive the Great Chicago Fire, despite being only block away from where the fire is believed to have been started. Divine intervention is often cited as the reason why it wasn’t engulfed in flames. People has said to have seen the spirits of two altar boys, as well as a figure standing in the choir area, despite the church being closed. 

4. Drake Hotel

The current haunting of this hotel can be traced back to the opening night of this hotel. It was one of the most beautiful hotels in all of Chicago, but was doomed from the beginning. The “Woman in Red” committed suicide on opening night after seeing her husband with another woman and since then, her ghost has been seen throughout the hotel and even on the very roof she jumped from.

5. The Congress Plaza Hotel

This hotel was rumored to be a favorite hangout of the famous Al Capone. While there are disputes about what is causing the haunting in this hotel, there is no doubting something paranormal is residing there. There are sightings of children, pianos playing themselves, hearing gunshots, and more.

6. Ford/Oriental Theater

Despite this theater changing names and ownership numerous times throughout the years, one thing it cannot change is its dark history. In 1903, a fire ravaged through the building, which killed around 600 people in total. Today, the place is haunted as people claim to hear footsteps and are engulfed by a general uneasy feeling.

7. The Red Lion

Any tour of haunted locations and places in Chicago isn’t complete without making a stop at the Red Lion Pub. According to people who work there, visitors, and paranormal experts, the place is crawling with spirits. It is unknown why they reside there, but they definitely do. People claim to see a number of different human-like apparitions from throughout history.

8. Murder Castle

While this place is no longer around, it has one of the most horrific and haunting histories of any building on the planet. H.H Holmes is one of the most infamous murders on the planet and opened a giant hotel called the World’s Fair Hotel. In the hotel, he murdered around 20 people in a variety of ways, but he could have killed far more. Now, a post office sits where this hotel used to be and is without a doubt haunted as people have experienced strange things there, such as weird smells, sounds, and a general sense of unease.

9. The Chicago Water Tower

When the Great Chicago Fire ravaged an entire section of Chicago in 1871, this was one of the few buildings to survive. With all the death and suffering that occurred around it, it’s no surprise that this place is haunted. There are a number of different stories (such as a man hanging himself to avoid the fire and dedicated workers staying back to try and fight the fire). In addition, there have been a ton of reports of paranormal activity near the tower.

10. The Cullerton Hotel

This was another place that was a spot Al Capone regularly hung out. As you could expect, some pretty awful things happened here over the years and Capone seemingly left spirits and negativity everywhere he went. There is currently an auto body shop here and there are plans for apartments to be put up as well. Rent will likely be cheap as the site has been home to a ton of paranormal activity over the years.

11. Harpo Studios

Way back in 1915, a passenger ship used for tours in Chicago rolled over, which killed 884 people. Many of the dead bodies were taken to the Second Regiment Armory, which used to sit where Harpo Studios currently resides. As a result, the studio now has many different haunting stories from people who have experienced spooky things happening there.

12. Jane Addams Hull House

The Hull House was used as transitional housing for immigrants to stay while they tried to find a more permanent and long-term housing option. For years, the home has had several different paranormal experiences take place and even Jane Addams herself has joked that it’s haunted. Lights will flicker on and off, windows will break, and people will often see strange figures.

13. The Clark Street Bridge

This bridge was very close to where the passenger ship rolled over and killed 884 people. As a result, dozens of tourists and locals alike say that they can see bodies floating and sinking in the Chicago River while they are sight-seeing on the bridge, which would obviously be a very frightening thing.

Do you dare to check these sites out?

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