With Halloween just around the corner, we’re all looking to add a little mischief to our lives! You might have to look a little outside the city if you’re looking for haunted houses, corn mazes, or pumpkin patches. However, if you’re seeking Halloween-esque activities right here, the most haunted places in Chicago await you.
Chicago is an enchanting city, perhaps more enchanting than you might hope. With a complicated history rife with tragedy, the city’s spiritual underbelly finds a way to show its ghostly face to unsuspecting witnesses. Meet the local ghosts in your neighborhood with this list of the most haunted places in Chicago, and get yourself into the spooktacular spirit!
1. Couch Place (The Alley of Death)
In late December 1903, a crowd of 1,700—mostly women and their children—eagerly attended the newly built Iroquois Theater. The matinee production was a whimsical musical comedy called Mr. Bluebeard. Before the second act would close, one-third of those in attendance would perish.
It was an unspeakable tragedy. In The Great Chicago Theater Disaster, Marshall Everett later wrote that it was “a calamity which…bereft hundreds of homes of their loved ones and made Chicago the most unhappy city on the face of the earth.”
When firefighters arrived, all those inside had perished. As they went through the remains in search of survivors, they began to pile the bodies in the alley behind the theater. That alley has come to be known as “Death Alley.” It is here that cries, wails, and apparitions are said to haunt us to this day, which is why it’s still deemed one of the most haunted places in Chicago.
📍Address: 24 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601
2. Lincoln Park, Site Of The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre
On February 14, 1929, four assailants dressed as police officers lined seven North Side gang members up against a wall at a garage on 2122 North Clark Street and gunned them down with Thompson submachine guns. The incident would come to be known as the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.
Since then, the building and garage have been torn down. It’s said, however, that the location still bears ghostly remnants of the massacre. Those killed in the incident are said to haunt the premises, inspiring reports of voices, screaming, machine-gun fire, and phantom mists.
📍Address: 2122 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614
3. Graceland Cemetery
Graceland Cemetery has often been puzzled by the mysterious grave marker of one Inez Clarke. A glass-encased statue features a life-sized sculpture of Clarke as a young girl. When she was only six years old, Clarke was on a picnic with her parents when lightning struck and killed her.
On stormy nights, it’s said that her sculpture vanishes, hiding from the rain only to return when it clears. Inez’s ghost is also said to have been spotted in the cemetery, running and playing.
📍Address: 4001 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60613
4. Congress Plaza Hotel
You’ve heard of Room 237 in The Shining’s Overlook Hotel. But have you heard of Room 441? Past guests who have stayed in Congress Plaza Hotel’s infamous room have reported sites of darkened silhouettes, having the bed shake, and the covers ripped off as they slept, and other eerie tales that have caused multiple visitors to request a room change in the middle of the night.
The Congress, built in 1893, has hosted a number of notable guests, including Al Capone and HH Holmes, the latter being the very same who operated his own Murder Castle at West 63rd Street and South Wallace Avenue. It still remains one of the most haunted hotels in Chicago.
📍Address: 520 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60605
5. Glessner House
The Glessner House is a National Historic Landmark built in 1887, located near the lakeshore, a couple of blocks over from Soldier Field.
This traditional Victorian-style mansion was the former home of Francis Glessner Lee, a pioneer of forensic science whose work inspired CSI’s Miniature Killer episodes. Today, it’s said that the house is haunted by the ghost of its architect, Henry Hobson Richardson, who died before the home was completed.
📍Address: 1800 S Prairie Ave, Chicago, IL 60616
6. The Site of The Battle of Fort Dearborn
During the War of 1812, a grisly battle ensued at what is now the intersection of Michigan Ave. and Wacker between a contingency of settlers at Fort Dearborn and the Potawatomi tribe. After the dust cleared, 83 people were killed.
However, it wasn’t until the 80s, when a construction company working the road accidentally unearthed the remains of bodies that had long been buried, that paranormal reports began to occur. Since then, witnesses have reported ghosts running and screaming at the site of the battle. So, if you walk at this intersection, know that it happens to be one of the most haunted places in Chicago.
7. Marina City (East Tower)
Originally built as a city-within-a-city to keep white Americans from fleeing to the suburbs during an era of systemic racism, Marina City has long been subject to grisly murders, untimely deaths, and suicides. However, the peculiarity lies in all these tragedies in the East Tower.
📍Address: 300 N State St, Chicago, IL 60654
8. Lincoln Park Zoo, Original City Cemetery
Where the Lincoln Park Zoo’s pleasant and homely barn stands today was the former location of the original city cemetery. In the mid-19th century, the city relocated the interred to cemeteries. However, thousands of bodies were forgotten. During the barn’s construction, several bodies were dug up.
After repeated unreturned calls to the city, the builders left the bodies where they were. Now, visitors have reported hearing voices in the barn and visions of shadowy figures cloaked in garments from the 1800s.
📍Address: 2400 N. Cannon Drive, Chicago, IL 60614
9. Hull-House Museum
The Hull House began in 1856 as a residence for the sick and poor. As time passed, it would become an elderly home, and by 1885—when Jane Adams took over—a temporary residence for immigrants to shelter while they found their footing in their new country.
Unfortunately, the legacy of the house would be marred by the arrival of a demon baby soon thereafter. The tales of its origin vary, but the baby was said to have had horned ears, cloven hoofs, and a tail. As a baby, the baby was able to speak. Adams sought to protect the child from the public until one day, when it simply disappeared.
Today, the face of the demon baby is said to have been seen lurking in the attic window. A ghostly woman in white is also said to haunt the halls of the second floor, as well as a trio of girls often seen playing around the fountain.
📍Address: 800 S Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60607
10. Eastland Disaster Site
Visiting the Chicago River is something every Chicagoan should do at least once. The port says otherwise. The capsizing of the S.S. Eastland mini-cruise ship docked in the Chicago River on July 24, 1915, killed 844 people. It was the most significant loss of life in a single incident in the history of Chicago.
Since then, there have been numerous reports of phantom screams coming from the location of the disaster, as well as sites of drowning faces and bodies in the water. Unlike the tragedy at the Iroquois Theater, the city largely ignored the Eastland disaster and didn’t affect any change in policy for nearly a century.
📍Address: 200 N Breakwater Access, Chicago, IL 60601