I'm Spiritual, Dammit

More haunted sites in Chicago

I know Halloween is over, but that doesn't mean you have to stop ghost hunting.  Did you know there are a couple of bars in Chicago known for their persistent hauntings? The Excalibur and what used to be the Red Lion Pub.

Let's start with Excalibur.  The building alone is intimidating.  Once used as a temporary morgue after the Eastland disaster of 1915, this nightclub has scared off many an employee after hours. 

One Manager told me that an bartender was leaving after closing early in the morning, and when she peered through the doorway of one of the other rooms, she saw a huge party happening.  Only it wasn't people partying- it was ghostly apparitions whooping it up.  (Why do I keep hearing about ghosts who like to party?!)  Keys often went missing, she explained.  Glasses thrown.  Once, she says, the gargoyle that sits near the ceiling of one of the larger dance rooms literally moved from one end of the ceiling to the other.  A STONE gargoyle just up and moved! 

What the??!!

When medium/psychic Denise Guzzardo was asked to take part in one of those "haunting" shows on cable about Excalibur, I watched as a camera followed here around the premises.  She saw young kids dressed in garb from the early 1900's.  One little girl kept playing with the light switch.  Denise said she was one of the kids who died from the Eastland disaster.  As she said this, the lights kept turning on and off.

The capsized S.S. Eastland, 1915

The Red Lion Pub on Lincoln Avenue in Chicago has also been known for it's ghosts.  The "cold spot" often felt by guests on the second floor of the bar has been known to freak out many beer drinkers.  I was sent to "the Lion" as us regulars liked to call it when I was a reporter for the WGN morning news.  We were doing a segment for Halloween of course, so I brought along Denise Guzzardo to see what she could pick up.

She said that a little girl who had died from the flu was sticking around because she had a crush on the owner.  She had no ill-will, but was merely enjoying her time with her new house mate. 

The owner later confirmed for us that he had always been told that a young girl who used to live there died at a very young age.  It was believed that she died from complications of the flu or the measles. 

As I was recording my stand up for my piece on the second floor, I looked into the camera and said "This is the spot where many visitors say they feel the temperature start to change..."  I did this a couple of times, changing my words up a little bit.  And on the third take, as I put my hand in what was supposed to be "the spot"- it felt as if I had just dipped my hands in a bowl of ice. 

"Oh my GOD!"  I belted, looking up.  The cameraman, Denise, and everyone around me put there hands near mine.  They also felt the chill.

I'm totally outa here...

While there had been plans to renovate "The Lion", I was so sad to hear after I started writing this piece that the classic pub had to close.  

So now, I wonder what happened to that little girl ghost?  Maybe she's gone to another bar along Lincoln street? 

Or maybe now she'll head over to Excalibur.  At least she'd be among ghostly friends.



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