Chicago’s Towers of Death, 300 N. State St.

Towers of Death at Chicago's Marina City Complex

When it comes to constructing high rise buildings in major metropolitan areas, workplace accidents, while tragic, can be expected. You might say it’s an unfortunate occupational hazard. There are two towers in downtown Chicago that have had more than their fair share of accidents, suicides and unexplained deaths. All these untimely demises have led some to believe that Chicago’s Marina City Complex might just be cursed.

Construction of the curious corn cobbed shaped towers began in 1961. The two buildings had the distinction of being the first post-World War II urban high-rise buildings in the United States. The towers offer luxury apartments and commercial space for several businesses. Every apartment has scenic views of the city, the Chicago River as well as Lake Michigan. What future residents didn’t bargain for, were the many deaths that darkened the complex.

The first recorded accidental deaths at Marina City occurred in 1961 while the east building was under construction. Three workers plunged over forty stories to their deaths when a scaffold they were standing on suddenly gave way. Upon investigation, no reason for the scaffold’s failure could be ascertained. The following year, William Jones, became dizzy and disoriented as he worked on the fortieth floor. Everyone working below helplessly watched in horror as he plummeted to his death on the concrete below.

When construction for Marina City was finally completed, people started moving into their apartments and businesses began setting up shop. With the construction completed, the deaths in the buildings would not come to an end. Between 1966 and 1976, a string of suicides, murders and mysterious deaths threatened to drive potential tenants away and shut down the complex for good. A few of the deaths that stand out are almost too horrific to be true.

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The first suicide to happen in the east tower was wealthy real estate developer, Roy Holland. In August 1966, Holland’s partially decomposing corpse was discovered in his forty-eigth floor apartment. When he was found, it was determined that he had been dead for almost a month. Next to the body were three suicide notes in his own handwriting. Those who knew Holland, considered him to be friendly and not capable of harming anyone, most of all himself.

A year later, Jane Fleck, inexplicably jumped from her fiancé’s balcony days before they were to marry. In, 1969, a former government worker shot his elderly mother in the face and then turned the gun on himself. When their bodies were found, no one had heard the shots. Several more residents ended it all by jumping to their deaths and a resident was viciously stabbed to death outside the building. The last two suicides happened in 2009 and 2012. Death has cast a very long shadow over the two buildings.

When looking back on all these deaths, we are left with one very simple question, what the hell is going on? It hardly seems natural that all this death would happen in just two buildings. Paranormal researchers have offered the explanation the buildings were constructed over a Native American burial ground and the spirits are angry. While others have cited the odd design of the buildings as a possible cause. Whatever the case may be, one thing is certain, all of these deaths have resulted in hauntings.

The east tower, where the majority of the tragedies occurred, appears to be a hotbed of unexplained phenomena. Several sightings of apparitions have been reported by residents and visitors. Terrifying black shadows are seen lurking in the parking garage. Lights and elevators are known to malfunction for no reason and an icy cold draft is felt throughout the building. The most disturbing thing residents have reported is the feeling of soul crushing despair and anxiety that overcomes them. Some residents have even reported the overwhelming urge to jump from their balcony.

Is it possible that the Marina City Complex was just born bad? Perhaps cursed by some unknown force that means nothing but harm. Or, is there a rational explanation for all the broken lives the east tower has consumed? I really can’t say with any certainty. And apparently, neither can anyone else.

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About Rick Hale 106 Articles
Rick Hale became interested in anomalous phenomenon at an early age after encountering an apparition in his grandparent's home. Rick is the author of "The Geek's Guide To The Strange and Unusual: Poltergeists, Ghost and Demons," and "Behold! Shocking True Tales Off Terror...And Some Other Spooky Stuff." Rick has been published in Haunted Times Magazine, Paranormal Underground Magazine, The Supernatural Magazine, and Legends Magazine. Rick appeared in Ghost Tapes 2 and Ghost Tapes: The Series found at


  1. Definitely would love to investigate the towers. My father works here back in the 70’s. He and his coworker were doing maintenance painting on the exterior when his co-worker fell to his death. My father painted in many of the buildings that make up this amazing skyline.

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