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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12 Struggles Only Portuguese Girls Can Relate To

It's like "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" but Portuguese edition.
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As mentioned before in my "8 Ways You Know You're Portuguese" article, I'm 100% European Portuguese. Which means that if you're reading this, you're probably somehow related to me (see #5). You know these 12 things to be true if you grew up in a Portuguese household:

1. You're pressured to marry a Pork Chop.

A Pork Chop is a Portuguese person. The older generation feels that this term is derogatory, but Portuguese Americans self identify as 'Pork Chops.' Some families will probably disown you if you don't marry a Portuguese guy, but I lucked out and my family is pretty open minded. Let me put it this way, if you're not married by the time you're 28, your grandma and your mother are going to take you to the Portuguese club to find a nice Pork Chop to settle down with. You may not be forced into a Portuguese marriage, but it's highly preferred that you marry within the culture.

2. You're always too fat, even if you're skinny.

Portuguese people are a feminist's worst nightmare. They will body shame the hell out of you and feel no remorse. You could lose 20 pounds and look/feel amazing and a Portuguese person will still say "well, you could stand to lose a few more pounds."

3. You must remember your Portuguese classes that you took when you were five years old.

It is a crime against humanity to a Portuguese person if you don't at least understand the language. If you can speak it, read it, and understand it, you've automatically earned yourself the "golden child" title. Every time I move to a different state, my Grandma's only warning is "don't forget your Portuguese," because someone's got to carry on the culture.

4. Am I white? Mixed? Hispanic? Unclear.

I grew up thinking I was some kind of Latina just because the Portuguese language is so similar to Spanish. You probably feel comfortable in Hispanic communities because of your Portuguese background. I eventually realized that I'm white, but I still get told that I look racially ambiguous. Whenever someone asks what nationality I am, I give them three guesses. It's rare that people ever guess Portuguese, but upon finding out that I am, I suddenly become "exotic."

5. You have 55 first cousins.

This is not an exaggeration. My dad actually has 50 first cousins. I have 13, but I have way more cousins in Portugal that I've either never met, or I've met them, but wouldn't be able to pick them out of a line up. If you go to Portugal and visit all of your relatives, the faces and names start to blur together and it's safe to call every man "Joao" and every woman "Maria" or "Ana Maria" and they'll be delighted that you remembered their names.

6. You have to make sure you don't marry your own cousin.

Portugal is such a small country that if you meet a fellow Pork Chop in America, chances are, you're somehow related or your families are friends. I suggest drawing an extensive family tree before shacking up with a Pork Chop.

7. Somebody is always praying for you.

Portuguese people are devoutly Catholic, so it doesn't matter if you're temporarily down on your luck or a self made millionaire, you have a tia (an aunt) that you probably only see when someone in the family passes away, who prays on the rosary every night for you.

8. You must have a name that can be pronounced in Portuguese.

There are two criteria for naming a Portuguese baby: is it the name of a saint, and can it be pronounced in Portuguese? If your uncle twice removed that you see every six years when you go to Portugal can't say your baby's name, you need to pick a new one. Names like "Riley" and "Jackson" won't get Grandma's approval.

9. You're considered adventurous if you move out of your parents house before you're married.

It's rare that Portuguese women don't live with their mothers until they find a spouse, and even once they do get married, it's not uncommon for their mother to move in with her daughter and her (hopefully Portuguese) husband.

10. You've been given something with Our Lady of Fatima on it.

Fatima is Portugal's claim to fame. It's the city in Portugal where three kids claimed they saw the Virgin Mary in 1917 and it's now a popular, religious tourist destination. Your grandma has probably given you something with the Blessed Mary on it to put in your car or in your bedroom so that you stay '#blessed' all the time.

11. You're not allowed to be a vegetarian.

Portuguese people are fishermen and their specialty is codfish, so it's nearly impossible to maintain a vegetarian diet in a Portuguese household. You can be pescatarian though!

12. You have to warn people before you introduce them to your family.

Have you ever seen "My Big Fat Greek Wedding?" That's what it's like to bring a non-Portuguese boyfriend to a Portuguese family gathering. Good luck.

Cover Image Credit: CDMPHY / Flickr

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'Culling' The Bullsh*t; Taking A Deeper Look At The Antibiotics In The Livestock Industry

You want the truth? Here it is.

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As many people have seen around the internet, one of the hot topics is having cattle or other livestock antibiotic free. This has lead to a movement that is not only incorrect with their basic information, but they are hurting family farms across the nation. This stems from the idea that antibiotics contaminate meat products and will affect the consumer. In this article the main points that "justify" the antibiotic culture will be broken down and simplified. I hope by the end of reading this you will be more knowledgeable about this subject, and will make the best decision for you and your family.

1. "If you don't specifically buy antibiotic free meat, you will buy meat with antibiotics in it."

The FDA has control check on the processing line when livestock is processed. This means that the likelihood of any "antibiotic filled" animal to make it through is slim to none. If by chance a ranch or feedlot gets flagged by FDA, they will be fined with a bill in the thousands. This type of flag will make it difficult for that ranch to ever sell livestock in the normal market again. This is only one of the incentives for ranch owners to stay in the clear.

2. "Antibiotics are used to promote growth"

This statement is false. Antibiotics are used to treat an illness. Yes an animal might gain weight after treatment. But that is because when we are sick we tend to not eat as much. Once you start to feel better, it stirs up your hunger. Antibiotics are and have never been used to promote growth.

3. What happens to the animal on an antibiotic free farm when it gets sick.

Let's do a comparison example. If your child got sick what do you normally do? Take them to the doctor and if he prescribes a medication for them you would provide the correct amount to treat the illness. This is the same way with the livestock industry. Most antibiotics and medication in general are a prescription based. Therefore, a vet will need to sign off on the treatment of the animals. While most ranches will treat the illness and move on, antibiotic free farms need to move that animal off site to another ranch. Some of the time they have a secondary place where those treated animals go to live out their life. Not treating a sick animal is inhumane.

These are only a few of the antibiotic free lies that surround the livestock world. And I am not saying for someone to completely change their beliefs over one article, what I am saying is do your research. From both sides of the argument. Then base your final decision from what you have learned. The agriculture industry has many that oppose that will use fear-tactics to push their agenda. And although we are not a perfect industry, we are a very important part of society. And we hold high standards for ourselves because of that.

Thank you for reading,

if you have a suggestion of what I should talk about next leave a comment.

-Chrystal B.

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