Whether or not you believe in tall tales concerning ghosts and ghouls, you've got to admit that the stories behind them are quite fascinating. Chicago, of course, boasts its fair share of such stories, which range from what's been dubbed "Death Alley" in the downtown theater district to the so-called residence of the "devil baby" rumored to have inspired "Rosemary's Baby."
We've gathered 13 of the most memorable--and scariest--sites around Chicagoland, including bars, cemeteries and restaurants.
Adobo Grill. That Steak Joynt occupied this Victorian-style structure in Old Town before its current owners. During its 30-plus-year existence, managers, staffers and customers reported incidents of paranormal activities, including moving objects, apparitions, cold spots and shadowy figures. Adobo's owners have not reported any haunted goings-on, but the site remains a popular attraction for ghost hunters and such. The restaurant was closed following a fire in 2015, but is now back open for business around the corner from its Wells Street location.
215 W. N. Ave.
Bachelor's Grove Cemetery. An abandoned cemetery is creepy enough, but throw in stories of ever-present ghosts, satanic rituals and phantom vehicles and you have the most frightening spot in Chicagoland. Bachelor's Grove is located in Midlothian Township, and the exact location is southwest of the Rubio Woods Forest Preserve entrance on 143rd Street, just east of Ridgeland Avenue. Call 708-978-1234 for additional details.
Biograph Theater/Victory Gardens Theater. Notorious Depression era bank robber John Dilliger was gunned down by FBI agents at this Lincoln Park theater in the 1930s. Ever since, his ghost has been rumored to haunt the alley in which he was shot as well as the theater. Theater-goers and staffers reportedly have spotted his ghost as well as cold spots in different areas of the venue. 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., 773-871-3000
California Clipper. Just call the shadowy female figure dressed in a flowy white dress a friendly ghost. She's supposedly haunted the halls of the old-timey cocktail lounge for many years now, yet she keeps a low profile. The Clipper had always been a quaint neighborhood hangout until the guys behind Au Cheval, Bavette's and Green Street Smoked Meats decided to buy it and fix it up. 1002 N. California Ave., 773-384-2547
Castle Nightclub. The current structure that was home to the former late-night River North nightclub was built in 1892--more than 20 years after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. That's when the original building completely burned down, killing several people as a result. Halloween season is especially popular for ghost tours to view the building. 632 N. Dearborn St.
Congress Plaza Hotel. From sightings of several spirits reportedly roaming the halls to Room 441 designated as containing paranormal activity, the Michigan Avenue hotel is considered the city's most haunted venue. The creepiest sighting? An apparition of a little boy wearing period clothing that disappears when approached. 520 S. Michigan Ave., 312-427-3800
"Death Alley" behind Ford Center for the Performing Arts/Oriental Theater. Just after the turn of the 20th century, the Iroquois Theater hosted a holiday concert that was attended by hundreds of people, including many children. When a fire broke out, everyone attempted to escape at once, however, the doors to the theater opened inward, trapping everyone inside and burning them to death. Until the construction of the Ford Center for the Performing Arts/Oriental Theater was completed, no other performances had occurred in that venue.
Legend has it that many of the audience members that perished in the fire still haunt the premises--in period clothing. 24 W. Randolph St., 312-384-1501
Gold Star Bar. A would-be robber of this notoriously grungy tavern was gunned down by the owner in the 1950s. He allegedly still roams the bar late at night, according to employees and patrons. There are also reports of cold spots in certain areas of the venue. 1755 W. Division St., 773-227-8700
Graceland Cemetery. Perhaps it has something to do with "Children of the Corn," but most people get spooked out the most when it comes to dead kids. Take, for example, Inez Clarke, the six-year-old girl who has supposedly haunted the city's most famous cemetery since the late 19th century. Inez was killed in a lightening storm and her parents built a sculpture in her likeness and placed it under a transparent plexiglass. It has been reported over the years that during storms the sculpture disappears, and on some nights her ghost wanders through the cemetery.
4001 N. Clark St., 773-525-1105
Hooters. Short shorts, hot wings and a haunted basement?! The latter's the supposed story reported by the restaurant's managers and staffers since it opened in 1991. The basement was used as a morgue following the 1915 Eastland cruise ship disaster on the Chicago River in which 844 people died. Reports of strange voices, shadowy figures, cold spots and more have been documented. 660 N. Wells St., 312-944-8800
Jane Addams Hull House. The social reform pioneer helped build an institution that served as refuge for the poor as well as immigrants on the Near West Side. One couple allegedly gave birth to a "devil baby" with horns, scaly skin, pointed ears and a tail. It was abandoned by its parents and hidden away in the attic during the late 1800s. Passers-by swore that they saw its deformed face in the window, and guests of the house claimed to see it wandering the halls at night. 800 S. Halsted St., 312-413-5353
Liar's Club. Punk rockers and preppies patronize this popular New Wave-focused watering hole in Lincoln Park. Legend has it that a woman was butchered by her husband in the upstairs apartment, and her ghosts continues to haunt the premises. 1665 W. Fullerton Ave., 773-665-1110
Chicago Water Tower. Built only two years before the Great Chicago Fire, the water tower, located on the Magnificent Mile, is now a historical site. Its claim to infamy is a ghost that supposedly haunts it in the middle of the night. Visitors to the area have claimed to see an apparition of a man hanging through the tower's upper window. He was rumored to be a worker at the structure who helped put out the fire, yet could not escape it. His only out was hanging himself. 800 N. Michigan Ave., 312-742-0808