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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Congress Hotel Chicago Haunted History

James M Nederlander Theatres Death Alley

Chicago Hauntings: All Kinds Of Ghosts At The Congress Hotel

24 W. Randolph Street, LoopOver on Randolph Street in the heart of Chicago lurks a pedestrian alleyway known as Couch Place, which has a far more sinister history than the name might imply. While the Nederlander Theatre, erected in 1926, now occupies the adjacent lot, the turn-of-the-century Iroquois Theatre once stood in its place. The Iroquois was built in the Renaissance-style, and was said to have cost a whopping 1 million dollarsthats 32 million dollars todayboasting a grand opulence that surely attracted large audiences.

At the time, the newspapers claimed the theater was completely fireproof, quelling public fears leftover from the Great Chicago Fire 32 years earlier. During a sold-out show on one chilly December day, flames erupted from a stage lights spark, and, panicking, the 1,724 patrons couldnt find the exit doors. The hysteria led to many people jumping to their death, landing in the alley where a growing number of bodies piled up on top of one another. By the time the fire was extinguished, a total of 602 people had lost their lives.

The tragedy resulted in much-needed updates to fire safety measures both in Chicago and around the world, but at a massive cost. Today, there are documented accounts of screams, faint cries, physical pushes, cold spots, and other paranormal activity in and around Couch Place, earning itself the ghoulish nickname Death Alley.

The Haunted History Of Manteno Insane Asylum

The Manteno State Mental Hospital opened in December 1930 during the Great Depression and the creators wanted more of a community than a hospital. It included cottages and a dedicated staff. Patients raised crops in nearby fields as a way to contribute and gain valuable skills.

Everything went well for the first eight years before the so-called Manteno Madness struck in 1939. The madness was typhoid fever, and the administrators were too slow to respond. It killed 47 patients by the time doctors contained it. Things got worse from there.

During the 1940s and 1950s, the patient population swelled. While the hospital was designed for 3,600 patients and 760 staff, by 1953, it had 5,300 patients and half the staff. Thanks to overcrowding and underfunding, treatable diseases became lethal cases. In 1941, 462 patient lives were lost due to wrongful experimentation while nearly 200 more escaped from the Manteno Insane Asylum.

Hotel Del Coronado San Diego

Kate Morgan has been the resident ghost at the Hotel del Coronado since 1892. The 24-year-old checked into a room on the third floor on Thanksgiving and stayed for five days, waiting for a lover to join her. When he didnt arrive, she took her own life, and her presence has been felt in the guest room where she stayed and in the hotels gift shop.

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Horrors Of The North Tower

There are the rooms that I promised the management not to number: the room where the pictures on the wall rotate 360 degrees before the eyes of astonished residents the room where an impromptu exorcism was held, on some unidentified Chicago winters night not so long ago, before the victim was moved to a local convent. There is the room fled by two Marines in 1989, running through the lobby in their boxer shorts at 3 a.m., with the later explanation that a towering black figure had entered the room from the closet and approached their beds, and the room where a woman slit her wrists in the bathtub after a night on Rush street in the 1970s, who is said to still be glimpsed during the night by weary boarders.

Congress Plaza Hotel 12th Floor Sealed Room

In Room 474 a once-resident judge eternally changes the channels on his cherished television set. In Room 759 another erstwhile resident pulls the door shut from inside when guests try to enter. It is said that he was an elderly gentlemana longtime residentwhose son had come to take him to a nursing home many years ago. Wanting to stay put at the hotel, he mustered the strength to try to keep his son from opening the door. Even now he remains, determined to live at the Congress forever.

And then there is THE room.

Most Haunted Hotel In Chicago

The Congress Plaza Hotel and Convention Center Paranormal ...

When we booked our stay at the Congress Plaza Hotel we chose it for it’s convenience and reasonable price. After the fact we had found out it had a reputation for being one of the most haunted hotels in Chicago. It did not deter us at all. Not believing in ghosts we figured we’d take our chances but wanted to know more about it’s history. It’s a great old hotel with lots of character and a colorful past. We wanted to explore the beautiful ball rooms, which are kept locked, so one late night we inquired about viewing those rooms. With a little prodding we were taken up to the secured rooms and given a private “ghost tour”, not actually seeing or hearing any spirits present. They were spectacular and worth letting your imagination run wild. We did a little further exploration on our own but found no sign of ghosts. Just a big, sprawling old hotel with a a luscious past, helpful staff, and great proximity to culture, entertainment, and transportation. Would recommend it to anyone. The only thing I would note is that if you are in a room that faces the back you will hear the trains go by all day and night.More

  • Trip type: Traveled with friends
  • Rooms

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The Unbelievable Story Of The Chicago Congress Plaza Hotel And Its Haunted History

Chicago Street Paver Bricks1893 Worlds Columbian Exposition

The first section, the north tower, of the Auditorium Annex.
Peacock Alley, Circa 1908.

The Congress Hotel.

Benny Goodman And His Orchestra, live from the Urban Room at the Congress Hotel In Chicago. Originally Aired January 6, 1936, 30 minute program.

The New Glass Hat Congress Hotel, ChicagoChicago’s smartest Supper Club! A completely new room, located at the south end of the world-famous Peacock Alley, offering the finest in luxurious dining, dancing, and entertainment. Michigan Avenue at Congress Street.
“The White House presented this chair to the owners of the Congress Hotel. It was a favorite of Presidents Polk, VanBuren, Harrison, and Harding… and it’s a favorite of ours too!”


Facsimile of Peg Leg Johnny


The “Hand of Mystery” appears to have fingers and a thumb.


The Original Florentine Room.


The Gold Room.


The Captain was last seen alive on Saturday night at 9 o’clock, when he asked Clerk Arthur O’Connell for the key to his room. The cause of the suicide was a mystery. Nothing was left in the room to throw any light on the matter. This is the first case of self-destruction reported at the Auditorium Annex since it began business six years ago.



The Room In The Congress Hotel

Rumors have long flown that it was a room here at the Congress Plaza that partly inspired writer Stephen King to create his short story,


, a gripping tale of a professionaland skepticalghost hunter who meets his match in a mysterious hotel room said to be too haunted to lease. Unbelieving, the young man convinces the hotels manager to let him have the room for a night, though the previous tenants all took their own lives during their stays in it. The real-life 1408 was always believed to exist on the Congresss most haunted floor: the 12th floor of the older North Tower. Some point to a room which is padlocked and say thats the one. Others say its the one thats been boarded up. Still others claim you cant even place it anymore: its been papered over to remove any sign that it was every there. This room does, in fact, remain. But its not on the 12th floor.

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Hotel Chelsea New York City

Built in the late 19th century, the Big Apples Hotel Chelsea has been a muse to artists for generations, from Mark Twain to Andy Warhol to Ethan Hawke. With such high-profile guests, it comes as no surprise that the hotel has seen equally high-profile scandals, most notably, the unsolved murder of Sid Viciouss girlfriend, fellow rocker Nancy Spungen. Now under renovation, the hotel is currently closed to short-term visitors but is expected to reopen in 2018.

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As I Got Closer And Closer To Room 441 My Heart Beat Faster And Faster

We stayed in a Haunted Hotel | Congress Plaza Chicago

Although the hallway leading up to room 441 was no different than the others, it definitely felt different. There were two heavy doors at either end of the hallway, making me feel trapped.

I also noticed this hallway was completely silent. There was no noise coming from any of the hotel rooms. The feeling I was completely alone in this hotel crept up again.

I wish I could say I found room 441 and stood in front of it bravely. But truth be told, I freaked myself out. I ran out of the hallway and back toward my room without even stepping foot in front of the supposedly haunted room.

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The Ghosts Of Jane Addams Hull House Museum And Where To See Them

First, in 1913, Hull House got one of its most unexpected residents â a devil baby. It’s said that a young Italian couple allegedly abandoned their deformed son on the steps of Hull House. Addams tried to protect the boy from the onslaught of media interest and gawking spectators. No one really knows what happened to him, he just vanished one day. Now, witnesses reportedly see him staring out the attic window. You may get a glimpse of his spirit as he’s active during the day and night.

The second floor also has another ghost, a woman in white. She haunts the main bedroom in the northeast corner.

Then, there are the three fountain girls. They used to play chase around the fountain, located just outside the house where their spirits continue to play to this day. You may hear their laughter and feel a cool breeze when they run by you. Don’t get too close to the fountain, though. Some say it’s a portal to hell.

Watch Out For Peg Leg Johnny

You can’t help but get an eerie feeling looking up at the bold, blood red “CONGRESS HOTEL” sign lit up on the hotel’s roof. This hotel was built in 1893 to help house the traffic of the World’s Columbian Exposition, also known as the World’s Fair.

This large hotel has a dark and mysterious past. Rumors hold that Al Capone and members of his gang owned the hotel and committed some gruesome acts here, but these theories have met some criticism. Al Capone isn’t known to have frequented the Congress Plaza as much as some other, more notorious hotels in Chicago.

Mob rumors aside, if you find yourself staying in the South Tower of the hotel, keep an eye out for “Peg Leg Johnny,” the spirit of a hobo that was brutally murdered at the hotel. The North Tower is not much better. Many security guards have been quoted as seeing an apparition of a young boy playing. This young boy is believed to be the spirit of a boy that was thrown off the North Tower roof by his mother who soon after committed suicide as well.

The oddest haunting seems to be that of Room 441. No one is sure why this room in particular, but visitors have often reported seeing the outline of a woman as well as objects in the room moving, or lights turning on and off at random. Room 441 to this date still receives the most security calls.

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That First Night I Could Barely Sleep Because The Ghost Stories Were Swirling Around My Mind

In bed in the dark, I couldn’t stop thinking about the ghost stories I read when I first arrived at the hotel. At one point in the night, I turned on the lights in the room because I kept imagining a ghost in the far, dark corner whispering. I even imagined a ghost ripping the blankets off me.

Around 3 a.m., I made two decisions: First, I was going to sleep with the lights on, and second, if anything strange did happen to me, I would check out the next morning and get a new hotel.

Luckily, I fell asleep with the lights on and the rumored ghosts weren’t active.

In June I Booked A Three

Chicagos Most Haunted Hotel: The Congress Plaza ...

The Congress Plaza Hotel stands on Michigan Avenue in the middle of Chicago’s Loop neighborhood. The hotel opened in 1893 for the World’s Fair. Over the decades, it has undergone many transformations and seen many guests. It’s said that some of those guests never checked out.

In fact, Travel + Leisure once named the Congress Plaza Hotel the most haunted place in Illinois and, as I would learn, for good reason.

I didn’t know any of this before booking a three-night stay at the Congress Plaza Hotel, but I was to find out more about its spooky past during my visit in the first week of June.

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The Top 20 Haunted Hotels In America

According to some paranormal enthusiasts, some of the oldest hotels across the country might have guests that have long overstayed their welcome. Weve rounded up ten such properties, from a bohemian hot spot in New York to a favorite haunt of Hollywood celebrities , that boast incredible histories, lengthy rosters of famous visitors, and, allegedly, some otherworldly residents. To celebrate Halloween this year, why not take a trip to one of these properties for a spectral adventure? Whether youre looking for a luxury accommodation or a cozy getaway, weve found hotels for every type of ghost hunter. Discover the most haunted hotels in America and book a stay you’ll never forget.

Site Of The St Valentines Day Massacre

2122 North Clark Street, Lincoln ParkIt doesnt take a historian to assume that Chicagos famed Mob Era might be responsible for at least one or two local ghost stories. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, notorious gangster Al Capone ran most of the northsides illicit underground activities, from drug peddling and bootlegging to sex trafficking and other nefarious trades. On one cold Valentine’s Day in 1929, rival gang members disguised as cops entered a nondescript garage on North Clark Streetwhich also happened to be prominent mob boss George Bugs Morans headquarters. The ambush was a success and the phony cops shot all seven of his men execution-style, while Moran narrowly escaped.

While its never been confirmed that Capone personally ordered this hit, Moran was his known enemy. The only witness to the bloody night was a dog named Highball, who belonged to Morans mechanic. Highball was the one who alerted the authorities, howling loudly into the morning. You might have passed this seemingly innocuous Clark Street lot before without feeling the slightest chill, but stroll by with your four-legged friend in tow and see what happensdogs in the area have been known to become quite distressed, triggered by the chilling events poor Highball saw go down that fateful day.

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