10 Chicago Spooky Spots Only The Bravest Ghosts Will Explore

10 Chicago Spooky Spots Only The Bravest Ghosts Will Explore

Do you dare?
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Welcome to the Windy City, home to Chicago-style hot dogs, deep dish pizza, and World Series champions. What tourists coming from around the world might not know, though, is that Chicago has a spooky side. In this article, I will tell you about ten spooky and scary places to visit in Chicago. Grab your ghost hunting gear as we delve into the rich and, albeit, tragically dark history of some of Chicago’s most popular attractions.

1. Site of the Eastland Disaster

On July 24th, 1915, a steamer called the Eastland capsized in the Chicago River between Clark and LaSalle, leaving its 3,200 passengers in the cold waters. 835 passengers, including twenty-two entire families, drowned in the river, either from being below deck or getting caught in the currents caused by the capsized steamer. Now, a plaque rests on the Clark Street bridge for the victims of the Eastland Disaster. According to urban legend, cries of terror can be heard at night near the river, cries that may belong to those who had died from the tragedy.

2. Excalibur Nightclub

As a result of the Eastland Disaster, there are two other places that have become haunted. One is called the Excalibur Nightclub. This location is on 632 North Dearborn Avenue, near the Loop. The rumor goes that the nightclub had been used as a makeshift morgue for the 635 victims of the Eastland Disaster; though, this hasn’t been completely confirmed. Another legend says that the building might be haunted because the previous building had burned down in the Great Chicago Fire, with three women trapped inside. Employees at the nightclub have reported cold spots in rooms, along with glasses breaking for no reason. They even captured one ghost known as “the Woman in Red” on polaroid camera.


3. Harpo Studios

Another building associated with the Eastland Disaster is Harpo Studios, famously known as the recording location of "The Oprah Winfrey Show". Before the days of Oprah, the building also used to be an armory, based near the river. After the Eastland Disaster, the building was used as a morgue and, as a result, has produced few hauntings. The crew from "Oprah" had reported seeing apparitions behind the scenes that may have been lost spirits of the Eastland victims. Harpo Studios is located 113 North May Street.

4. Fort Dearborn

Early in Chicago’s history, Fort Dearborn lay on the edge of the Chicago River. During the War of 1812, the fort came under attack from 500 Potawatomi Native Americans. The battle lasted a total of fifteen minutes and resulted in a victory for the Native Americans, along with the death of thirty-eight military and fourteen civilians. A monument now rests on the site of the old Fort. As far as the hauntings go, the site had been quiet for years; though, during construction in the 80s, bones were unearthed that had belonged to victims of the massacre. Since then, it’s been reported that apparitions have been seen on the site, wearing military and pioneer clothing.

5. Site of the Valentine's Day Massacre

In the 1920s, Chicago had become known as the home of the infamous Al “Scarface” Capone. It had also become a victim of the tragic St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. On February 14th, 1929, Al Capone’s men opened fire on seven men who were a part of a rival north side gang. The site is famous for those interested in the history of the old Italian mob. Haunted location enthusiast may be happy to know that locals claim to have heard the sounds of screams and machine gun fire near the site. The location of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre was on 2122 North Clark Street.

6. Oriental Theatre

In the 1900s, buildings had a loose fire code, and things were relatively less safe back then. For example, buildings didn’t have fire exits, and doors opened inward. Improvements to these designs didn’t come about until some awful accident showed these flaws to be dangerous. The Iroquois Theatre, which is now the Oriental Theater, learned about these flaws the hard way. During a production, the theatre which was filled to capacity at the time experienced a fire on-stage. The audience clamored to the exit but became trapped as people pushed against the doors that only could open inward. When firefighters broke into the theatre, they found that nearly six hundred people had been burned alive or trampled on. The theatre was torn down and replaced with what is now the Oriental Theatre. Guests and employees have reported having seen ghouls from people who may have looted the bodies of the victims of the fire as well as shadowy figures and mysterious faces in photographs. The Oriental Theatre is located at 24 West Randolph Street.

7. Graceland Cemetery

Graceland Cemetery isn’t exactly a popular tourist attraction, though some famous people are buried here, including Charles Dickens’ brother who died in the city, penniless. However, the cemetery has an interesting urban legend about the photo above. The photo is a monument for a girl known as Inez Clarke. No one really knows who Inez was; however, the urban legend claims that at age six, she was struck by lightning and killed. Some people have reported seeing a little girl dressed in clothing from the 1800s running around the cemetery, and guards have even reported that, during thunderstorms, they’ve found the plastic case empty, as if Inez had been scared of the thunderstorm and left to hide somewhere. The cemetery is located at 4001 North Clark Street.

8. Congress Hotel

The Congress Hotel, located in Chicago’s South Loop, is listed as one of Chicago’s most haunted hotels. Numerous spirits lurk through the halls, including Al Capone’s. The hotel has had a bloody past including a history of people jumping out of windows to their death and a story of a captain who allegedly shot himself in the hotel. Most of the hauntings can be found on the 12th floor. There even is a room that is completely sealed off because the hauntings were considered too horrible to continue use of the room. Though, Room 441, not the aforementioned closed room, is considered to be the most haunted room of the hotel. Another fun fact is that the hotel inspired Stephen King’s novel “1408.” The hotel is located at 520 South Michigan Avenue.

9. Drake Hotel

The Drake Hotel might not be as haunted as the Congress Hotel, but it does have its fair share of ghosts. One, in particular, is the woman in red (not to be confused with the one from Excalibur) who, according to legend, had caught her fiance with another woman at a New Year’s Eve party in the 1920s and resultingly threw herself from a window on the 10th floor. Employees have reported seeing the woman in red linger around the 10th floor. The hotel is located on Michigan and Lake Shore Drive.

10. Chicago Water Tower

One of the most iconic Chicago landmarks, the Chicago Water Tower also haunted. The Chicago Water Tower, one of the last few standing relics pre-Chicago fire, attracts plenty of tourist annually, but it also stands as an attraction to members of the afterlife. One legend is that a shadowy figure of a man hanging can be seen through one of the windows. Not much is known of why this figure can be seen, but it is speculated that the man may have been a victim of the Great Chicago Fire. The Chicago Water Tower is located on 835 North Michigan Avenue.

Cover Image Credit: pexel

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If You Give A Girl A Little Brother

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I remember back to my childhood, standing at the top of the steps yelling down to my parents "Why did you decide to have another child?" I remember riding in the backseat yelling "Mom, was I not good enough for you?" as my brother threw snow at me .

I remember crying when my mom made us share our first cell phone. I remember playing in a pool at a waterpark, and my dad couldn't play with me because my brother couldn't swim and needed my dad to be with him. I played by myself, thinking "They must have not wanted a girl when they only pay attention to him."

But now, at almost 22, I realized that the best gift God has ever given me was my little brother.

Give a girl a little brother, and you give her a pain in her ass.

Oh, he'll be annoying. He'll get in the shower just because you said you were going to. He'll start talking every time you do. He'll pull stupid pranks, he'll make you listen to bogus music, he'll make you watch stupid tv shows, he'll smell up the bathroom (and probably smell himself.) and boy, I promise there will be day's you will resent him. But he's just training for living with your husband one day.

Give a girl a little brother, and you give her a role.

As a big sister, I had somebody copying all my moves. If I did something, so did he. If I didn't eat something, neither did he. If I didn't like somebody neither did he. He was like a little shadow that did everything I did, so I was always motivated to make good choices and make him proud of me.

Give a girl a little brother, and you give her a rough side.

I wouldn't have done half the things I did if it wasn't for him. Play basketball in the drive way, spend hours on our bikes, spend the summer days in the pool, or down at the park. I wouldn't have learned that it's okay to get in the dirt and have some fun. I wouldn't have played half the made up, imaginary games we played every day. I wouldn't have played with Hot Wheels, or Lincoln Logs, or Leggo's. I would have played with Barbies by myself all day long, and what's the fun in that?

Give a girl a little brother, and you give her the best friend she'll ever have.

In the end, when our parent's both pass away, I won't be alone, because I will have my little brother. When the world gets tough, and everyone turns away from me, he will always be there. No matter where he end's up in life, I know he will drop everything and come running when I'm in need.

For Christmas this year, I bought my brother his first tattoo. We got matching tattoo's on our sides. Our lives our different now, because we're grown up and live on opposite sides of the state. But no matter where we go in life, if we look up, we will be looking at the same sun and moon. We are made up of the same matter, 'made' by the same people, and love each other more than I think we'd like to admit.

Alex is my true other-half.

Give a girl a little brother, and you made her whole.

Cover Image Credit: Abby Engel

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Gillette Is Not The First Polarizing Company, And It Will Certainly Not Be The Last

There is a never-ending push and pull between how companies spend their advertising dollars and cultivating customer support. Why should we be surprised when a company takes a social or political stance?

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I don't think it's too far of a stretch to say that political activism is at one of it's highest points in recent years. As with most things, social media has not only amplified activism but made avenues of activism more accessible. There are so many accounts out there tackling some of the most complicated and nuanced issues in our society today. I think over the last decade, we as a society have spent a lot of time reflecting internally and reprioritizing our values.

Somewhere along the line, I think people also began to think more about where their money goes, what products they buy and which companies they support. People nowadays choose their products not only for functionality or quality but what that product is intended to express.

Essentially, when we buy a product or wear a certain brand it's often in an attempt to express some sort of value.

So I think it's only natural that brands are now more aware of not only where they're advertising but the messages they choose to express. For instance, if you wear Patagonia it could get an expression that you enjoy more expensive, high-quality clothes but that you also support fighting climate change of some sorts.

Companies have already begun to think more about their messaging and who they support with their advertising dollars. Keurig at one point pulled their advertising from Sean Hannity, much to the ire of his fans. Most recently, Roku removed the infamous InfoWars channel from their platform, following suit of other platforms such as Facebook and Spotify.

Ultimately, corporations essentially act and are treated as private citizens. They've been influencing politics for so long that it's almost a natural progression that they then begin to influence and make statements on public opinion. Since the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission Supreme Court decision, spending money on political causes is protected by the First Amendment under free speech. Companies can then give money freely in politics, so long as it wasn't going directly to any politicians. Many companies have already spent hundreds of millions of "dark money" to secretly fund campaigns and political parties.

Gillette wasn't the first company to make a statement/advertisement that comes off as polarizing, and it certainly won't be the last. If anything, these past few years have proven that companies can say such things without fear of greatly damaging their businesses. For instance, Nike's sales increased by 31 percent following their Kaepernick ad. As we become more socially aware, so will the companies that we purchase from.

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