A sense of an unseen presence or unexplainable phenomena can happen any time of year. However, places known or rumored to be haunted move out of the shadows and into the spotlight each year with the approach of Halloween. Here are five places within Metropolitan Chicago that lie outside the city’s limits but are worth a visit. Check them out and see if you feel or see something unexplainable.
Shane Tuohy, whose family owns The Irish Legend, will sometimes sleep upstairs at the restaurant when he has to close. However, he admits, “It’s scary.” Tuohy credits ghostly happenings in the building to when it was a speakeasy and brothel owned by the Capone family. “Things get moved. There have been visions,” he said. There still are tunnels used by gangsters that lead to nearby woods and to the Willow Springs Ballroom across the street that have since been covered. But instead of shying away from the building’s past, the current owners welcome paranormal research and events such as a séance.
Antioch Movie Theater
378 Lake St.
Antioch, IL 60002
Connections to Al Capone abound around the Chicago area including Antioch where the mobster once had a summer place on Bluff Lake. Therefore, it’s no surprise that tunnels rumored to have been used by the mobster were under the Antioch Movie Theater, a 1940s playhouse that currently shows films. Over the years, people who have stayed late to clean or lock up have said they felt a presence and have heard unaccounted-for sounds and movements.
10600 S. Archer Ave.
Lamont, IL 60439
Established as a Catholic parish between 1833 and 1837, the church and cemetery of St. James in Lamont was a place of worship and burial by Irishmen who worked the land and helped build the Illinois-Michigan Canal. The church is at Sag Bridge, however, its high ground known as Sag Ridge was also the site of a 1600s French Mission and an Indian burial ground. Stories of shadowy, hooded figures on the grounds have been discounted as fanciful tales by parish pastors. Indeed, after having too many curiosity seekers stop and desecration done to the cemetery, the pastors have discouraged casual visitors and ask serious visitors to be respectful.
Related: Chicago’s Most Haunted Places
Calvary Cemetery, across from Lake Michigan at the far southeastern end of Evanston, is the final “resting” place of important Chicago figures such as former White Sox owner Charles Comiskey, Illinois Governor/Chicago Mayor Edward Fitzsimmons Dunne and Mayhors William Dever, John P. Hopkins, Edward Kelly, Martin H. Kennelly and Senators William Lorimer and Michael Slattery. Maybe their spirits are restless because some ghost researchers and psychics say they feel a lot of activity at the cemetery’s western arched gate. But Calvary Cemetery’s main ghost story centers on a drowned man, presumed to be a pilot whose plane went down in Lake Michigan. He has been seen struggling in the water then crossing the road into the cemetery’s nondescript east gate.
Woodstock Opera House
121 W. Van Buren St.
Woodstock, IL 60098
If you go to the Woodstock Opera House, you may see seat DD113 in the down position as if someone is sitting there. The seats are supposed to spring back when empty but the ghost of a beautiful girl is said to watch rehearsals from that seat so it is often down even if it doesn’t look occupied. Similar to Paris’ opera house phantom, the Woodstock phantom has been known to express performance opinions with a sigh and move props, though not a chandelier. Described as slender, blond and wearing a filmy dress, the ghost has been seen wandering the halls. Unlike the Paris phantom, the Woodstock ghost is considered friendly rather than scary.
Related: Best Haunted Bars In Chicago
Jodie Jacobs is a veteran journalist who loves writing about Chicago, art, theater, museums and travel. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.