Chicago’s Most Haunted #3: Jane Addams’ Hull House Museum at 800 South Halsted Street in Chicago
Hull House began with the best intentions. It was a poor house and a place for sick people to get better. Later, it became a transition center to help new immigrants get settled in Chicago.
Charles Hull and his wife opened Hull House in 1856 and it remained a poor house until the 1870s. Mrs. Hull passed away on the campus in 1860 and she’s thought to haunt the kitchen. During the 1870s, Hull House became a home for the aged, and hundreds of people died of natural causes, adding to the ghostly mix. By 1885, the property had transferred to Jane Addams. She later transitioned it to be a temporary home for new immigrants around 1910. That’s when things really got interesting.
In 1913, Hull House got one of its most unexpected residents, a devil baby. A young Italian couple allegedly abandoned their deformed son on the steps of Hull House. It became a media sensation and hundreds of spectators came to see the newborn. Jane tried to protect the boy from the onslaught. No one really knows what happened to him: He just vanished one day. Now, witnesses reportedly see him staring out the attic window. He’s active during the day and night.
The second floor also has its own ghost, a woman in white. She haunts the main bedroom in the northeast corner. Jane Addams knew about this spirit and joked about her quite often. The “Woman in White” has never harmed anyone, but she has startled more than a few people who have stayed the night in the bedroom.
You can also experience the Fountain Girls. There’s a small park with a fountain just outside the house where the spirits of 3 girls play. You can hear their laughter and feel a cool breeze when they run by you. Apparently, they used to play chase around the fountain and they continue playing it to this very day.
The other most famous ghost is a male apparition on the stairs. Witnesses have seen him slowly moving up the main stairs from the foyer to the second floor. You can tell he’s present when the chandelier moves for no apparent reason.
Why is Hull House #3 on the list?
Hull House, the museum, has very strict rules for visitors and it has very limited hours. You can only visit between 10 AM–4 PM during weekday,s and the management has frowned upon obvious ghost hunting. That makes Hull House a less desirable location for an investigation.
Ghost Hunting Tips
You need to run your investigations in stealth mode. You can sneak a digital recorder into your pocket to conduct audio collection. Take a small digital camera as well. Remember, the ghosts are strong enough to manifest as clear apparitions. Luckily, the museum now allows self-guided tours, but they may limit it to 1 hour. You can also access the second floor, where the “Woman in White” appears. The attic is off limits. If you get a chance, ask to see the archives from the 1910s when the devil baby stories ran rampant. That’s always a fun read. Actually, the staff has fun with the haunted stories. You may get a few eye rolls, but they’re happy to answer your questions.