Haunted Chicago

October 23, 2013

you know i love all things halloween.  and i absolutely believe in ghosts, because i think i had a ghost friend as a child.  my mom said i would tell her that a girl would visit me and play with me at night, but only at night and she'd come through my closet.  i wasn't afraid of her, and i wasn't one for making up imaginary friends.  so, we're pretty sure this was a ghost.  my mom also swears she's seen the ghost of the son of the previous owners of our house.  (which just makes me sad, because he died on a boat in lake michigan and i bet he was just looking for his family.)

anyway, halloween makes me want to visit all the haunted places in chicago.  not that they aren't haunted all year round, it's just something about the chill of the october season that makes me want to encounter a ghost.  freaky, but fun.  and in true stephanie fashion, i want to share with you the best haunted locations to check out - haunted bars.

like you'd expect anything else from me.

castle nightclub, formerly excalibur.  apparently this place is haunted for multiple reasons.  (i couldn't pick a photo they're all so ... classy.  so just go look for yourself.)  first, apparently it was considered fireproof but that was a lie, so when people ran here during the great chicago fire they actually died and have haunted it ever since.  second, like many old buildings around the river, it was used as a temporary morgue for some of the 844 victims of the eastland disaster, and most places that housed those bodies are said to be haunted (including harpo studios, where oprah was filmed).  but excalibur/castle?  i've been here, and i think the 19 year olds that frequent this place with their questionable fashion choices and their even more questionable little white pills are scarier than any potential ghosts.  it's a cold, huge, and creepy place for sure, especially in the basement, but i'm certain the creepy feeling is from the guy in the corner in the floor length fur pimp coat staring you down.  i'm just not buying the haunted status of this one.  but someone else feel free to test it out for me.  bring your sunglasses and your shame.



the hangge uppe.  ohhh the hanggy uppy.  what a gem of a place.  it's exactly what you'd expect from a place that's open 'til 5 am, plays 80s music in the basement, serves shots in plastic tubes, has no doors on the bathrooms, and has at least 7 bachelorettes there on a given saturday night.  well the rumor is that it's a ghost of a girl who died here in the 20s that's turning on sinks and flooding the bathrooms and turning on the beer taps to spill all over.  surrrre it is, place that never wants to clean their floors.  sure it is.  but the bar used to be a speakeasy (which explains, i suppose, why all my favorite bars have stairs you have to go down.  i hate stairs.) and hosted many mob meetings so i think i can believe that someone was killed here at that time.  and a well dressed woman from the 60s has been spotted a few times, mostly by staff before the late night customers start filing in.  it's ok, ghost.  the bachelorettes here scare me too.  i'll give this one a maybe.  i'd check it out and search for ghosts.  during the day time of course, i don't go to the hangge uppe at night because i'm no longer of the age where i need a fake id to get in some place.



tonic room.  this is one i actually think is haunted.  this building is very old, so it's been home to many different things before the tonic room moved in, including a brothel and an irish gang hang out.  once it switched over to the tonic room, the renovations revealed egyptian symbols and pentagrams painted all over so there was probably some secret society meeting there (and a woman claims to have seen someone ritually murdered there back in the 30s.)  i imagine it being all da vinci code creepy.  i've never seen ghosts here like some people claim, but i get a creepy cold feeling every time i go there.  i won't go to the bathroom alone any more because i always feel like something is in there with me!  but that won't keep me from $3 'mystery beer' on saturday nights.  nice try, ghosts, but i watch supernatural, i know what i'm doing.


so.... who's going drinking with me?!


want to know more about haunted chicago?  you're in luck - this post is a two parter!  betsy also wrote a post today on some more historically haunted sites in chicago, so check it out and have a thoroughly spooky halloween.

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20 comments

  1. I love this post. I need to come to down and drink with you. I should do a post like this. I absolutely believe in ghosts. I've seen and heard too many things for them not to be real. It always makes me mad when people who have never seen anything say I'm paranoid. Well yeah I'm paranoid, but that has nothing to do with ghosts being real.

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  2. this is AWESOME! I'm convincing my boyfriend that we need to go to at least one of these bars this weekend. the only thing better than a bar is a haunted one. ;)

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  3. Oh wow, what a fun (creepy!) post! I love learning about local "haunts." My friends and I were discussing visiting some bars over here on the East Coast (New York has tons of them). Very cool!

    Best,
    Danielle
    http://awriterinlove.blogspot.com

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  4. There is a ghost walk in the city near us that I am totally itching to take part in! If I lived closer to Chicago, I would definitely check these out. :)

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  5. ok so this is on the list of must visit when i come for a visit!! sounds awesome!!

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  6. so check this out: my cousin's old house was haunted. NO FUCKING JOKE. they would hear all sorts of shit coming from the basement and upstairs and they really believe that the ghost from the previous house they lived in before that one FOLLOWED THEM THERE. they moved because of that ghost and whoop! there it was again!

    1) my uncle went over to cook for my cousins and while he was there, he heard the front door open/close and heard footsteps going into the basement. after he was done, he started calling my cousin to come up from the basement to eat and after 5 mins, went downstairs to get him. the tv somehow was on, BUT NO ONE WAS FUCKING HOME.

    2) my cousin got home one night with some friends to hang out. when he opened the door, he heard someone running upstairs so they thought maybe a burglar was in the house. they all grabbed bats and golf clubs etc and went up stairs BUT NO ONE WAS FUCKING THERE.

    3) my cousin was at home by herself sleeping. no one was home because they were all in jamaica. she has a lock on her bedroom door (from the inside) since she's home alone a lot and she woke up to someone shaking the handle

    SERIOUSLY WTF. I'M GETTING GOOSEBUMPS JUST REMEMBERING THESE STORIES!!

    -kathy
    Vodka and Soda

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  7. me!! I've always wanted to go to Chicago. this would be right up my alley too. I'd go with ya!

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  8. Ohhhh this sounds like A LOT of fun...I love haunted stuff!

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  9. I love haunted places! I'll go with you on a haunted pub crawl in Chicago any time. :)

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  10. This was intensely interesting.

    I never need a friend in the bathroom but if somewhere was haunted I totally would. I am a mary and I'm not ashamed.

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  11. I never knew about any of these, and I used to live right outside of Chicago! Now I live three hours west...depressing. I visit often though, I'd totally go on a haunted bar crawl with you!

    xxx
    Jaclyn
    Http://www.loveandbellinis.com

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  12. uumm what this is sooo cool! I have never heard of that before!

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  13. LOVE THIS. I'm pretty sure that we lived in a house that was haunted growing up. It was a friendly ghost though! I'd see her (she was an old lady) at night after I was in bed....or sometimes during the day when I was sick...and she would be standing in the doorway of my room- almost like she was checking in on me. I've had a few other weird ghost type experiences too! If I ever make my way to Chicago I want to do this with you!!! I absolutely LOVE these kind of things...and drinking...so it'd be PERFECT :)

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  14. When I am in Chicago next you will take me to these places and then you will feed me cupcakes laced with booze and in return I will make you bourbon filled goodies. What a perfect friendship based on mutual affection of alcoholic corn.

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  15. SO cool! I need to come back to Chicago and go to all of these places!

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  16. I'll go drinking with you!! I love 'haunted' places!

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  17. Haha I will be staying away from all of those! Although Excalibur has always creeped me out, I went a few times for Halloween and couldn't help asking myself why?!?!

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  18. I would totally go! Visiting haunted places is the funnest! Especially when you're drunk!

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  19. i want to see pinata pictures!

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  20. Ok, fist of all, I don't know why I didn't know you were also in Chicago! Second of all, I want to check out all of these places. I used to walk passed the Tonic Room all the time. I never even thought it could be a haunted place and I never even knew the history. I did know about Excalibur. They even lead tours because of their ghost stories. I've never been there though and don't particularly want to frequent it.

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