What’s That Building? Haunted Chicago | WBEZ
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Morning Shift

What’s That Building? Haunted Chicago

There are dozens of buildings, cemeteries and bridges in Chicago with ghost stories attached to them. 

For help finding the spookiest spaces, Morning Shift turned to Crain’s Chicago Business real estate reporter Dennis Rodkin. He checked in with Ursula Bielski, the expert behind Chicago Hauntings Ghost Tour, and whittled it down to five haunts of note:

Jason Marck/WBEZ

In Skokie: A Ghost Who Helped Solve Her Own Murder

As legend has it, police were at a loss when it came to the brutal 1977 murder of Teresita Basa, until Basa's co-worker, Remy Chua, started channeling the dead girl’s voice. Chua’s husband called the cops, telling that that his wife had identified Alan Showery, another co-worker, as the killer. Police tracked down Showery and caught him in a web of lies. He was convicted of the murder. 

Eric Arnau/WBEZ

At The John Hancock Center: Evil Architecture 

Upon seeing plans for the John Hancock Center in the mid-1960s, Church of Satan founder and Chicago native Anton LaVey predicted it would cause all kinds of havoc and misery, Bielski said. Some Satanists believe the building’s trapezoidal shape unleashes dark powers. Since the building opened, there have been some mysterious deaths, including the suicide of a woman who managed to throw herself through glass designed to withstand 150 mph winds. 

(Joanna Dornick/Flickr)

In Chicago’s Music Box Theater: A Ghost Who Stalks The Aisles

As legend has it, a man known as Whitey managed the Music Box from 1929 to 1977, when he died on a couch in the theater’s lobby. His ghost still lingers, looking for his wife, who worked as a cashier in the building. Bill Schopf, who owns the theater today, told Rodkin he feels Whitey’s presence when he's in the building alone at night, and he often wonders how the ghost will respond to changes to the building. 

(Jason Marck/WBEZ)

In Lake Forest: The Haunted Mayflower Place Mansion

After Charles H. Schweppe killed himself at this massive estate, it stood empty on the edge of Lake Michigan for 46 years. As the house slowly decayed, one window in the master bedroom window stayed free of grime or spiderwebs. Legend has it that Schweppe’s ghost kept it clean. Today the house stands empty once again and preservationists have reported sightings of his ghost as recently as 2011. 

(Seth Anderson/Flickr)

At The Congress Plaza Hotel: As Many Ghosts As There Are Rooms

There are many stories of hauntings at the Congress Plaza. Here’s a short list:

  • Karel Langer, the ghost of a boy in knee pants who runs up and down the halls of the 12th floor
  • Peg Leg Johnny, a ghost who likes to turn lights on and off
  • The ghost of Al Capone
  • Ghostly sounds of roller-skating coming from the Florentine Room



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