Haunting haunts: The scariest places in town

By Taylor Hartz, Staff Writer

Fort Dearborn at Wacker Drive and Michigan Avenue

The site once known as Fort Dearborn is said to be the oldest haunted spot in Chicago.

During the war of 1812, the intersection of Wacker Drive and Michigan Avenue was filled with American soldiers when the Pottawatomie attacked—killing 148 people, including 12 children.

Legend has it that people can photograph ghostly beings at the spot, so be sure to snap a few and look closely.

The Chicago River near Clark Street Bridge

The Chicago River may be haunted by the souls of more than 800 men, women and children who lost their lives aboard the sunken Eastland steamship in 1915.

One of Chicago’s most infamous tragedies happened on July 24, when 2,500 employees of Western Electric, their families and friends boarded the S.S. Eastland for the company’s fifth annual employee picnic.

Shortly after families boarded the ship, it rolled over into the water between Clark Street and LaSalle Street – 844 people, including 22 entire families, never made it out of the water alive. In the century since, many have reported seeing apparitions in the area.

Congress Plaza Hotel

Last year, Travel & Leisure named New Eastside’s Congress Plaza Hotel the most haunted spot in Illinois.

One of the hotels most notorious guests was gangster Al Capone and some say he may have never left as reports say he can still be seen strolling the halls.

Capone isn’t alone. The ghost of a murdered homeless man, “Peg Leg Johnny,” is said to reside in the Congress as well and is fond of playing with light switches to spook guests.

Another man’s ghost is said to roam the hotel’s eighth floor, reports say, where the elevator often stops even when no one—at least no one visible—has pushed the button.

Finally, a woman is said to haunt room 441, where multiple guests have reported seeing a shadowy outline of her body.

Chicago Water Tower

Streeterville’s iconic Chicago Water Tower is most famous for its breathtaking architecture, and for surviving the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. But the structure may have been the site of a man’s death, too.

According to legend, one employee of the water tower stayed behind to operate water pumps as the Chicago Fire raged closer. To save himself from burning to death, the man is said to have hung himself on the top floor of the tower. Many have spotted the silhouette of his body hanging in the window above the Magnificent Mile.

Published October 2, 2018

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