Chicago is a city well known for its haunted places and most are world famous. Nevertheless, there are several lesser-known haunts that don’t get the attention they deserve. As a researcher and investigator of ghostly phenomena, I want to change that. Here are five lesser-known haunts of the Windy City that are just as terrifying as their famous counterparts.
Chicago Board Options Exchange, 400 S. LaSalle St
What better place to begin our tour of lesser-known haunts than in the heart of the Chicago financial district, LaSalle Street. The Chicago Board Options Exchange is the largest US options exchange outside of New York City. Since its founding in 1973, the CBOE is the place where millions are made, and millions are lost. With business being done at such a fast pace, you would hardly think it was haunted. And yet, it is.
In 1979, a tense day of trading resulted in two traders going for each other’s throats. After a yelling match broke out on the trading floor, the two men decided to take the conflict outside where most fights typically end up.
According to eyewitnesses, the second they stepped out into the courtyard by the horse fountain, they began to pummel each other. The police were called to break up the fight, but before they arrived, the unthinkable happened. One of the combatants struck his head on the fountain and died. The other man was taken into custody and spent the rest of his life in jail.
Since that fateful day, employees of the CBOE, claim to experience the inexplicable by the horse fountain. The sounds of a struggle and two men yelling at each other are heard. After a few moments of the spectral fight, the courtyard goes silent. The tragic event has left an indelible mark on the CBOE for all time.
Triple Crown Restaurant, S. Wentworth Ave.
Our next stop is on Chicago’s near South side in its famed Chinatown neighborhood at the Triple Crown Restaurant. Opened in 1996 in an old apartment building, the Triple Crown claims to offer the best Chinese food in a relaxing environment. The restaurant may be well known for its dim sum, but what most people don’t know is it’s supposedly haunted.
The Triple Crown is rumored to be haunted by a former resident. A transparent ghostly figure of a man has been seen throughout the restaurant, but mostly by the bathrooms. This spectral resident is known to be helpful in the kitchen. According to employees, if dirty plates are left in the sink after closing, they return the next day to find them clean and put away.
What restaurant wouldn’t want that kind of help?
Green Hornet Disaster Site, 63Rd and State Street
In my opinion the best way to get around Chicago is to take advantage of CTA buses and the L. However, up until 1958, there was a third option, streetcars. The reason Chicago no longer offers this service was due in large part to a horrific accident.
On the evening of May 25, 1950, a CTA Green Hornet streetcar was traveling south on State Street when it collided with a gasoline truck. The ensuing explosion killed 34 on the streetcar and 50 more in the area were injured. It was determined the accident was entirely caused by operator error. The streetcar was traveling too fast and the operator was not paying attention.
Since the deadly accident, the sound of a streetcar barreling through the intersection of State and 63rd is heard. People have also heard people screaming, a crash and then silence. These poor souls are seemingly being forced to relive the tragic event that ended their lives so long ago.
Benton House, 3052 S. Gratten Avenue
For over a century, Benton House in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood has been a blessing to struggling citizens of the city. Not only does Benton House offer social services, but it is also home to the Greater Chicago Food Depository, the city’s food bank. Benton House is also one of Chicago’s lesser-known haunts.
Benton House was built in 1909 and is believed to be haunted by its original owner, Ma Benton. The apparition of a woman in old fashioned clothes is regularly seen in the building. At night, when the building is quiet, the sounds of phantom footsteps are heard, as well as the sound of doors opening and closing. Ma Benton may be a friendly ghost, but she won’t tolerate people disrespecting what she still perceives to be her home.
St. Rita of Cascia, 6243 S. Fairfield Avenue
Our last stop of lesser-known haunts brings us to St. Rita of Cascia, a Roman Catholic Church on the city’s west side. While St Rita is not haunted in the strictest sense of the word, it was the site of a frightening episode integral to the city’s ghostly lore.
On All Souls Day in the 1960s, a small group of parishioners were gathered in the church to pray for their dearly departed. That silence was broken when the organ began to belt out a tune, but it was being played by an unseen person.
The parishioners watched in horror, as six ghostly monks, 3 in red robes and 3 in white suddenly appeared and walked aggressively towards the group. When they tried to flee, the parishioners discovered the doors were locked and they were trapped, forced to endure whatever this was.
After a few minutes, the organ stopped playing and the spectral monks vanished. As the parishioners stood in silence attempting to wrap their anxious minds around what happened, a booming disembodied voice filled the church demanding the people pray for them. The doors were then unlocked and the people fled the church in terror. The sinister figures were never seen again.
There are so many great places across the city unknown even to the most astute student of the strange. There are several more lesser-known haunts in and around Chicago that deserve to get more attention.
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