From 2005 to 2007, I worked the night shift at an old hotel in downtown Chicago which had a reputation for being haunted. Before I started working there, I didn’t believe in ghosts, but after hearing lots of different people describing the same exact things, I am having a hard time disbelieving now. For example, over twenty different, unrelated people (some employees, some guests) have had sightings of a young boy in brown short pants and a brown and white striped shirt. That is too many times in my book to be simply explained away.
Most notable events before I started working at the hotel:
A woman died in the bathroom of 1244 (in the late 80s) by falling into the bathtub at a weird angle and snapping her neck. People in 1244 complain of hearing a woman moaning and seeing a white figure pace around their bed at night.
Room 441 – Two military guys were staying in this double room. They were in bed, watching tv, when they swore they saw a man come out of their bathroom, cross the room, open a closet door, and step inside. When they checked the closet, it was empty. They ran down to the lobby, in their t-shirts and boxers, and checked out. They refused to go back to the room for their belongings and Security had to go pack their things and bring it down.
What follows is a log I kept during my time at that hotel of strange sitings and experiences. Some of these are not direct from the source, but told to me later when I got into the hotel (as everyone knew I was keeping a log and made sure to tell me when things happened).
September 7, 2005
*The lobby bar – The Night Operator was leaving the bathroom in the Tavern Tap and saw an elderly man in a white shirt sitting at one of the tables. His head was down and his arms were hanging limp at his sides. She did a double-take and the man was gone. (recounted by Night Operator)
October 24, 2005
*Room 502 – Guest complained about hearing scratching and knocking noises coming from within the walls. The rooms on either side of her are empty. Noise stopped when security checked out the room. Guest is currently napping on a couch in the lobby, unwilling to return to her room. (Recounted by guest)
*Fifth floor, hallway – A lady from housekeeping staff was walking down the hallway. She passed a woman with curly hair wearing an out-dated dress. The woman smelled like something rotting. After she passed, the housekeeper turned around to look at her. The woman turned to look back and the housekeeper noticed the woman had no eyes, just empty sockets. (Recounted by Housekeeper via Security)
November 6, 2005
*The lobby bar – The bartender was cleaning for the evening when she turned around and saw a man in a white shirt standing on the other side of the room. As she watched, he walked through the wall and disappeared. (recounted by the bartender)
December 3, 2005
*Room 361 – A guest called saying that for the past twenty minutes she had been hearing someone walking up and down the hall. She said the walker had a peg leg and that she thought it was a ghost, because she couldn’t see anyone in the hallway. (recounted by Guest via Phone Operator)
We sent security up there and neither saw or heard anything. Over the next 2 weeks, we got roughly 8 – 10 guest complaints (all from different guests) complaining about this peg leg walker.
February 13, 2006
*Room 1240 – Manager checked in a husband, wife, and their child into room 1240. They go up to the room and come back down minutes later. The husband is irate, yelling at Manager that she booked them in a room that was already occupied. Both husband and wife described noises like a party going on inside their room. Lots of voices. Clinking of glasses. Manager apologized and quickly gave them a new room. She also sent Security up to the room because there wasn’t supposed to be anyone in there. Security visits room no more than five minutes later and enters. The room is clean and empty. (recounted by Manager)
April 5, 2006
*Room 441 – I go on a little mini-ghosthunt with a co-worker and the Night Engineer. We enter 441 and I comment on how the clock is off. It was almost four in the morning and the clock said 12:44. Night Engineer lays on a bed for a quick nap and co-worker and I are just chatting, and we start surfing through my iPod to find some good songs.
Coworker says, “Hey look at the clock.” The clock no longer shows any numbers, just the two red dots between the hour and minutes. I go back to scanning through the songs and click on a particular song. Suddenly the “record audio” screen pops up and starts recording. We’re silent, just listening. I get up to record from the bathroom and closet, and we notice the numbers are back on the clock. I replayed the sound file later and heard nothing. (recounted by me)
*Basement – Much earlier in the evening, the Night Engineer was walking around the basement, starting his rounds. He turns a corner and sees a figure in a black sweatshirt and black pants about forty feet down the hall in front of him. The figure takes several steps toward a wall and literally disappears. Engineer jogs forward to see if the person perhaps turned a corner–there’s no one around. (recounted by Night Engineer)
April 24, 2006
*Kitchen – The third shift kitchen cleaner was mopping the floor when something came up and pushed him from behind. Pushed him to the extent that he had to take a few steps forward to avoid falling over. He turned around and there was no one behind him. He also listens to the radio while he works and claims that the radio will switch off randomly during the night. (recounted by Kitchen Cleaner via Night Engineer)
April 25, 2006
*12th floor – As a bellman walked by room 1280, he said the door started shaking and rattling. The room is empty. Also, as he walks around the 12 floor, he’ll hear doors closing, but the hallways are always deserted. This has happened several times and is always in the wee hours of the night/morning. (recounted by the bellman)
*12th floor – A long time ago a guest reported seeing a little boy standing by her bedside. He ran into the bathroom and disappeared. The guest checked the bathroom (empty) and room door (locked). Just last night a guest asked if the 12th floor was haunted, saying she kept seeing a little boy, wearing brown shorts and a brown and white striped shirt, running through the halls.
May 7, 2006
*Room 729 – Night Engineer was in the room, taking a break and watching some TV. He turned the lamps off when he entered the room to watch TV in the dark. About ten minutes later, the lamp next to the phone suddenly switched on. (recounted by Night Engineer)
June 8, 2006
*A certain Event Room, Night Engineer was walking through the room, checking the air conditioning unit. He is using a flashlight because all the lights are off. He hears creaking footsteps behind him. He swings his flashlight in the direction of the footsteps which stop abruptly. He waits a couple seconds and then continues walking through the room. The footsteps start again and speed up, coming toward him. Night Engineer leaves quickly. (recounted by Night Engineer)
August – September, 2006
*Room 905 Every couple of weeks, for a one or two day period when the room is vacant, it calls the front desk. When you pick up, the line is all staticky and eventually disconnects. Some nights we get as many as five calls from this empty room. This does not happen on the other shifts, just the night shift.
October 28, 2006
*Room 333 – A guest called down stating that they had just turned the lights off to go to bed. They had left the bathroom door half open. Moments after getting into bed the bathroom door slammed shut with a loud bang. They got up and checked the bathroom and noticed a small crawlspace in the ceiling. Afraid that someone descended into their bathroom through the crawlspace, they called for Security to come and check out the room. Security goes up and opens the crawlspace to reveal a tiny space giving access to water pipes. No person could fit. Security said the bathroom door stuck in the jamb and a lot of force would have been required to slam it completely shut. There was no open window or draft in the room. (recounted by guest and Security)
December 30, 2006
*Room 754 – Coworker received a call from this room. There was no one on the other end, but she heard a lot of weird static and banging noises. That entire floor was closed and so she sent Security to the room to check it out. Security went to the room and reported back that it was empty. As Security was leaving, he noticed the room next to it had it’s door wide open. Security went to close the door and the door wouldn’t move as if something were keeping it in place. Security left it alone. (recounted by Security and Coworker)