Kelly the Culinarian: Did I Capture a Ghost?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Did I Capture a Ghost?

Last night, Mandy and her boyfriend and I went on a ghost tour of Chicago conducted by Chicago Haunting Tours. It was a Groupon deal  and was $45 for Mandy and I. I drove downtown, parked at her old apartment building ($5 for the night!) and got Thai food. Then, we took the CTA to the Rock n' Rock McDonald's, where we met the bus.

Initially, we weren't sure which bus was ours. Our concerns were unfounded, it turns out.

The tour guide was Adam Selzer, a ghost hunter, young adult novelist and historian. We had a great time. The tour guide focused on only researched, confirmed tales of crime, corruption, death and dismemberment in the city. The bus took us past places where showgirls were thrown out windows, where Chicago used to hang its criminals and where they fished a homemade submarine complete with corpses (a man and his dog) out of the Chicago River. We stopped at the Oriental Theatre, which was once the Iroquois Theatre, where children and adults were trampled to death or fell out of a fifth-story fire escape during a holiday performance.

This is the site of the Eastland disaster, where 845 people on a company picnic died before the ship ever left the dock. Most people didn't know how to swim, and those who did were dragged down by people below the surface and heavy Victorian garb. They say you can occasionally see faces and arms in the water.

We also stopped at a place that might have been HH Holmes's body dump. If you read The Devil in the White City (and if you live in Chicago, you must), it's the true story of America's first and perhaps most prolific serial killer who used the World's Columbian Exposition to lure people to his mansion to never be seen again. He might have used a glass-bending factory at this site for killing and disposing of bodies, since there wasn't any glass bending going on here.

We also stopped at the Hull House, which even in her day, Jane Addams thought was haunted. There was a room she tried to sleep in once, but didn't make it through the night because a woman in a full skirt was at the foot of her bed, watching her. So here's the big question: Is this a ghost on the stairs, or a reflection? Weigh in in the comments.


Erin said...

I think I read somewhere that a large percentage of the people who died in the Eastland Disaster are buried in one of the cemeteries near my house.

Your tour looks amazing! And since part of me likes to believe in ghosts, I'll go with not a reflection :-)

Unknown said...

I got chills looking at the picture. I'm going with actual capture.