The Windy City is the most haunted city in Illinois, according to a list compiled by the website Mysterious Heartland.
Chicago won the title for its supposedly haunted hotels, including the Congress Plaza Hotel and the Drake Hotel. Guests of the Drake have reported seeing the ghostly figure of a “woman in red” roam the halls.
Mysterious Heartland also chose Chicago as the most haunted Illinois city because of its bars and pubs. More than a half dozen locations are haunted, according to the list. Ethyl’s Party in Chinatown is believed to sometimes contain guests from the afterlife. The building once served as a former funeral home.
Suburban St. Charles and Naperville also made the most haunted list. Although now closed, Al Capone’s Hideaway and Steak House in St. Charles was believed to be home to ghostly spirits. The west suburb came in seventh on the list.
Naperville ranked the tenth most haunted city it Illinois. In 1946, two trains collided, killing 47 people.
According to Mysterious Heartland, neighbors on 4th Avenue have reportedly felt cold spots and heard strange noises around the scene of the crash where the victims’ bodies were laid out.
Here is Mysterious Heartland’s full list of the most haunted cities in Illinois:
“In 1946, [Naperville] was the scene of one of the worst train disasters in US history when two passenger trains collided, killing 47 and injuring 125,” according to Mysterious Heartland. “Eyewitnesses have seen lost and disoriented specters walking along Loomis Street. Residents of 4th Avenue, where bodies were laid out right after the crash, have also allegedly experienced cold spots, strange noises, and shadows.”
“First opened in 1855, the DeSoto House [in Galena] is one of the oldest operating hotels in Illinois,” according to the website. “According to hotel staff, guests have witnessed apparitions in old fashioned dress passing through walls where doorways once were. Others have heard voices in the hallway and caught the scent of an old cigar.”
“Author Troy Taylor has spent more than a decade documenting and offering tours of Decatur’s haunted places,” according to the ranking. “High on the list are the Avon and Lincoln theaters, Millikin University, and Greenwood Cemetery.”
7. St. Charles
“Though not well known for its ghostlore, St. Charles is home to a surprising number of haunted places,” the website says. “Al Capone’s Hideaway and Steak House, which closed in 2012, was probably the most famous. The Arcada Theater, Dunham-Hunt Home, Hotel Baker, and St. Charles East High School are all also believed to be haunted.
“Aside from its position as the political hub of Illinois, it is known for its numerous museums and connections to President Abraham Lincoln, whose tomb is located in Oak Ridge Cemetery,” Mysterious Heartland says. “The ghost of Lincoln himself has been spotted numerous times around the old State Capitol.”
“Southern Illinois University is rich with ghostlore, and many of its buildings are believed to be haunted,” according to the ranking. “Oakland Cemetery is also no stranger to the unusual. The ghost of a young woman in a flowing white gown, a mausoleum that unlocks on its own, vapors, glowing balls of light, and even strange creatures have all been reported there.”
“Peoria is home to more than its fair share of haunts,” the site reads. “The Meyer-Jacobs Theatre at Bradley University is one of the most haunted theaters in the state. Equally haunted is the Peoria Public Library, which was allegedly built on cursed ground and is occupied by as many as a dozen different ghosts. At the Peoria Players Theatre, Lights flicker and props seemed to move on their own. Once, the grandson of a volunteer saw the ghost of a man in a gray suit sitting in the auditorium.”
“In the past, Rockford was home to a Women’s baseball team called the Rockford Peaches, and social reformer Jane Addams graduated from Rockford Female Seminary in 1881.” The site reads. “Rockford Female Seminary evolved into present-day Rockford University, which is home to numerous ghost stories. The laughter of past students has been heard in the vicinity of Adams Arch, which was constructed using a doorway from the original campus.
“During the mid-19th Century, it was a hotbed of abolitionism and a hub on the Underground Railroad that smuggled slaves out of the South onto free soil,” the site reads. “Alton has a disproportionately high number of allegedly haunted places. Most famously, it is home to the McPike Mansion, which is one of the most haunted houses in the Midwest. Often, a building has been repurposed, leaving behind ghosts of the past. That was the case with the former Enos Sanitarium, which is now an apartment complex, as well as the Mineral Springs Mall and Old Milton School.”
“With a population of over 2.8 million, it is the political and economic powerhouse of Illinois. With so many people living and dying here, it comes as no surprise that Chicago would be home to so many ghosts,” the site reads. “More than half a dozen bars and pubs in Chicago are believed to be haunted. Ethyl’s Party in Chinatown, for example, was a former funeral home, and employees have seen the ghost of a man dressed in a brown trench coat, a thick white cloud, and even an extra band member who was spotted on stage for a few moments before vanishing.”