A History of Haunted Citings in Chicago

  • Fort Dearborn Massacre

    Fort Dearborn Massacre
    During the War of 1812, Fort Dearborn (what is now known as Chicago) was ambushed by a band of nearly 500 Potawatomi Indians. Captain Nathan Heald reported more than 50 American lives lost, including 26 regular soldiers, 12 militia, two women and 12 children. An additional 29 survivors were taken as prisoners and sold to the British as slaves.
  • Founding of Camp Douglas, a confderate prison camp

    Founding  of Camp Douglas, a confderate prison camp
    Named after Stephen A. Douglas, Camp Douglas, once a training camp, turned into a prison camp for rebel soldiers captured by Ulysses S. Grant during the Civil War. By the end of the war, more than 26,060 men had been imprisoned there. The prison had an exceptionally high mortality rate: one in seven prisoners died, due in part to poorly constructed buildings, harsh weather and rudimentary sanitation. Source:
  • Great Fire of 1871

    Great Fire of 1871
    More than 300 people died during this famous Chicago blaze, rumored to have been started by Patrick and Catherine O'Leary's cow.
    By the time the firefighters arrived at the O'Leary residence, the fire was spreading out of control. Houses, commercial and industrial property and mansions were burnt to a crisp, leaving more than 100,000 people homeless and approximately $200 million worth of property damage.
  • Haymarket Square Riot

    Haymarket Square Riot
    The Haymarket Riot quickly turned into the Haymarket Tragedy when union workers, who were demonstrating for the 8-hour work day, were fired upon by police, after a bomb was thrown at them.
    The union members and militant anarchists were picketing at McCormick Harvesting Machine Company. Seven policemen and several protesters were killed.

    It is considered the first Red Scare in U.S. history.
  • H.H. Holmes' Murder Castle Debuts at World's Fair

    H.H. Holmes' Murder Castle Debuts at World's Fair
    Dr. Henry Howard Holmes is considered America's first serial killer, after he was convicted of 27 counts of murder in the first degree. In addition to killing, Holmes was also a drugstore owner who purchased a hotel. He selected his female victims from a pool of employees, hotel guests and lovers. Holmes' murder spree continued across the USA before he was finally arrested in 1894. Estimated victims are 100.
  • The Murder of Louise Luetgert

    The Murder of Louise Luetgert
    Sausage king Adolph Luetgert owned the A.L. Luetgert Sausage and Packing Co., which was a successful business for a while. When finances turned sour, so did his relationship with his wife Louisa, who was reported missing on May 1. Police believed Luetgert murdered his wife and dissovled her corpse in a vat of boiling potash.
    He was later convicted and given a life sentence in prison.Source:
  • Iroquois Theater Fire

    Iroquois Theater Fire
    This deadly fire started during a vaudeville performance of "Mr Bluebird" at the Iroquois Theater in Chicago. It was believed to have been caused by faulty wiring on a spotlight. More than 600 people died in the fire or from related injuries, including many children who had come to see the show. The passageway behind the theater is called "Death Alley" after the hundreds of bodies that were placed there after the blaze.
  • Eastland Steamer Capsize

    Eastland Steamer Capsize
    Of the 2,408 passengers and 72 crew members aboard the Eastland steamer, 835 lost their lives when the vessel tipped on its side and sank in Chicago Harbor. It is considered the most deadly tragedy to occur in the Great Lakes. While the exact cause of the disaster is still unknown, authorities eventually attributed fault to an engineer who had failed to properly fill the ship's ballast tanks.
  • Goodyear Dirigible Disaster

    Goodyear Dirigible Disaster
    The Goodyear dirigible (a precursor to the blimp) called Wing Foot, crashed into the Illinois Trust and Savings Building on LaSalle St, shortly before the bank was about to close. The dirigible was powered by extremely flammable hydrogen. The bank was engulfed in flames, trapping tellers and stenographers who were inside. Twelve people died and many were injured. After the Hindenburg crash (1937), dirigible use was abandoned.
  • The St. Valentine's Day Massacre

    The St. Valentine's Day Massacre
    On Feb.14, four men posing as policemen conducted a routine raid on a warehouse used by George "Bugs" Moran and his gang. The "cops" lined up the gang members and produced machine guns from under their overcoats and opened fire. Crime legend Al Capone, was suspected of ordering the hit, as Moran's North Side posed a threat to Capone's crime operations. The case is still unsolved.
  • Satan is Born in Chicago

    Satan is Born in Chicago
    Anton Szandor LaVey was the founder and high priest of the Church of Satan and wrote the Satanic Bible. He was born in Chicago in a Jewish family. In addition to worshipping Satan, LaVey was a musician and occultist who warned against the trapezoid design of the John Hancock building. Later, the building would become a setting for many mysterious occurrences.
    LaVey died in 1997 from heart failure. Source:
  • The Death of John Dillinger at the Biograph Theater

    The Death of John Dillinger at the Biograph Theater
    After watching a film called Manhattan Melodrama at the Biograph Theater in downtown Chicago, John Dillinger, an expert bank robber, was gunned down by a FBI agent Melvin Purvis.
    However, almost a century later, and still, there is a mystery as to whether the victim was truly John Dillinger. Source:
  • Meet Resurrection Mary

    Meet Resurrection Mary
    Chicago's most famous ghost, Resurrection Mary makes her debut outside the gates of Resurrection Cemetery and goes on a date with Jerry Palus and dances the night away at the O'Henry Ballroom, before disappearing back into the graveyard. While no one knows who Mary is exactly-- all they know is that she was killed nearby in a hit-and -un-- she is reportedly the most spotted ghost in Chicago, with dozens of sightings.
  • LaSalle Hotel Fire

    LaSalle Hotel Fire
    Sixty-one hotel guests soon learned that the LaSalle Hotel was not fireproof when a haphazardly thrown cigarette ignited a fire in a hotel elevator shaft. Flames spread to the seventh floor, spreading smoke throughout the hallways. Many guests opted to stay in their hotel rooms, thinking the smoke was a prank. Eventually guests began to hurl luggage and themselves out the windows, hoping for a futile escape. Source:
  • Schuessler-Peterson Murders

    Schuessler-Peterson Murders
    John Schuessler (14), his brother Anton (11) and friend Robert Peterson (13), went missing after watching a movie at a Chicago theater. Their naked strangled bodies were discovered a couple days later in a ditch near a river. While the brothers' parents were initially suspects, the true killer turned out to be Ken Hansen, a man who worked for crime lord Silas Jayne. Hansen contiued to maintain his innocence until his death.
  • Grimes Sisters Murder

    Grimes Sisters Murder
    Chicago police are still perplexed by the mysterious murders of Patricia and Barbara Grimes, two sisters who never returned after going out to see an Elvis film about a mile away from home.
    Nearly a month later, their bodies were discovered frozen and naked by Devil's Creek in Cook Country. There were many sightings of the sisters, but none were ever confirmed. Source:
  • Our Lady of Angels Fire

    Our Lady of Angels Fire
    Three nuns and 92 children perished during a deadly conflagration that struck Our Lady of Angeles School on Chicago's west side. The catholic school lacked many modern day amenities, such as fire alarms, smoke detectors andsprinkler systems. The fire was believed to have been started in a trashcan in basement stairwell. The students heard the sirens before they recognized the smoke. The nuns encouraged the children to pray. Sources:
  • Death at the John Hancock Center

    Death at the John Hancock Center
    One of the tallest buildings in the world, the John Hancock Center has been a residence to many famous people and many mysterious deaths, beginning with Lorraine Kowalski, 29, who fell from her boyfriend's 90th floor apartment.
    Experts still don't know how she broke through the apartment's glass window pane.
    Some believe the building's bad luck comes from being built on "cursed land."
  • John Wayne Gacy is found guilty

    John Wayne Gacy is found guilty
    John Wayne Gacy was a perfectly normal middle class Catholic citizen, who sometimes played a clown at neighborhood parties and also sometimes sexually tortured and strangled teenage boys in Chicago during 1972-1978. He is the most prolific serial killer in America; he was convicted of 33 murders in 1980. He was put to death in 1994 by lethal injection. His final words: "Kiss my ass."