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Top 10 Haunted Hotels

Congress Plaza Hotel, Chicago

During the prohibition era, Chicago was chockfull of hotels that moonlighted as gangster hideaways, headquarters, and, quite often, grisly crime scenes. Today, one of the few left standing is the Congress Plaza Hotel on Michigan Avenue. Built in 1893 to accommodate visitors to the World’s Fair, this landmark hotel comes with history-ridden public spaces, two towers comprised of 871 guest rooms, and a lot of, shall we say, permanent residents. In the late 20s, the Congress is rumored to have been one of Al Capone’s hangouts (old-timers at the hotel say he played cards here, perhaps with fellow mobster Jake “Greasy Thumb” Guzik who lived at the hotel). Rumored secret escape routes likely stemmed from the original “Peacock Alley,” an underground marble passageway that was constructed when the hotel was built to connect it with the auditorium building next door. The Congress Plaza may not be as public with their hauntings as some of the other hotels on this list, but we got the after-dark scoop from nighttime security. Johnny D., who has been on the job for 26 years, talks about several incidents (and entities) which he says are very regular occurrences. The staff often sees the ghost of a young boy in the rooms and hallways of the north tower (legend has it that he and his brother were tossed off the roof by their mother before she took her own life and jumped); a few guards refuse to even walk into the Florentine Room (one of the banquet rooms) for fear of a female ghost that whispers in their ears; and, perhaps, most startling, is the mysterious circumstance that surrounds room number 441. Security is called to 441 more than any other room and guests all report seeing the same thing: the shadowy outline of a woman. Rates from $159/night in fall; www.congressplazahotel.com

For more trip-planning information, see our Chicago Travel Guide, then search for great offers on hotels and more with our Chicago Travel Deals.

                                                                             — Stephanie Johnnidis

 

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