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Congress Plaza Hotel - Chicago


In summer of 2011, I accompanied my Uncle back to the US. He now lives in Dubuque, IA. I spent a week with his family before returning back to Cebu, the Philippines. On my return trip, I decided to take a few more days off and see the sights of Chicago. I have been to the US on numerous occasions but this was my first to Chicago. I was so looking forward to baseball and food! I booked a room at the Congress Plaza Hotel because of its accessibility and reasonable rate. It was close to subways where I could go with ease to a Sox's game at Comiskey Park and to O'Hare for my flight home.

The hotel is quite old and it looks old, you can hear it creak in some areas. The room I was assigned to was on the 4th floor I think. It was on a corner and you could see Roosevelt University on E. Congress Parkway when you look out the window. The hallway outside leading up to my room was always eerily quiet. The first night after I got back from eating out, the room became really cold. I thought it was really strange because it was nice and warm outside. Also, it got cold suddenly not gradually. I ended up sleeping with the bed sheet, blanket and bed cover on top. It was cold just that one night, the rest of my stay there was quite warm.

I would be out during the day to explore the city and get back after dinner. Every time I get to my room, some of my stuff would be moved. I initially thought it was the cleaners so I hung a do-not-disturb sign outside my door. I would still get back to my room with my stuff moved. Nothing was missing though, all my stuff were accounted for.

What validated the rumours I've heard that this place is haunted was when I saw a shadow figure. There was a dresser at the foot of the bed with a biggish mirror. While in bed one night, recalling my visit to Chicago's Field Museum that day, I saw reflected on the mirror a shadow. It was peeking out from the bathroom door that was slightly ajar. The lights were off inside the bathroom but I could still make out a distinct human shape. It was darker than the dark bathroom but it was solid. I stared at the reflection for I don't know how long. I couldn't really tell if it was staring back at me as it had no face (but somehow I had the feeling that it was espying me). There was just solid blackness where a face should have been. I blinked to make sure I wasn't just seeing things and sure enough, it was still there. I got out of the bed to confront it (honestly, I'm not sure what I was thinking then) but it had vanished. I went back to bed, looked at the mirror again, it was no longer there.

Has anyone been to this same hotel and experienced these?

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, Marine, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

Ivanvreid (5 posts)
10 years ago (2013-12-20)
The hotel has had many different owners, and one of them was supposedly Al Capone who used the hotel as his headquarters. Jake "Greasy Thumb" Guzik, a member of Capone's gang, lived at the hotel for years. I read that some people think that Capone and Guzik's ghosts still reside in the hotel.
One of the hotel's most famous apparitions is Peg Leg Johnny, the ghost of a hobo who was murdered there. Hotel staff have reported sightings of a ghost with one leg in the south tower.
If you ever find yourself staying at the hotel, avoid room 441. Security is called there more than any other room. Objects move, strange sounds are heard and guests have even seen the shadowy outline of a woman.
There's a legend of a worker who was walled up in the drywall during the hotel's construction. This 'hand of mystery' can actually be seen in the closets behind the balcony in the Gold Room.
Many of the house staff have reported seeing the ghost of a little boy playing in the north tower of the hotel. Legend has it that the boy's mother threw him and his brother off a balcony before she jumped herself.

The scariest part about the hotel is that on the 12th floor there is supposedly a room so horrifying that the door was screwed shut from the outside.
Marine (6 stories) (42 posts)
11 years ago (2013-05-13)
Hi rockangel13 - It actually never crossed my mind to ask any of the staff. I guess I was just too excited to be in Chicago

Hi sds - thanks for the comment. I guess what I experienced was nothing in comparison to what other people might have experienced there. I'm just thinkng about this now and there was no negative vibes around the place that I can remember of

Hi mysterious_sunset - it wasn't the first time I saw a shadow "person". The house I currently live in is full of them, hehehe. I don't really know what they are. They seem to be always watching... And that gives me the creeps.
mysterious_sunset (1 stories) (16 posts)
11 years ago (2013-05-13)
Marine, I had the exact same experience at night at my grandmother's house and at my school after hours. They really creep me out because they always peek at the ajar door or around the corner. Honestly I don't know what those black solid shadows are but its been most scary to see them, I just tried not to open my eyes and fall asleep.
sds (14 stories) (1436 posts)
11 years ago (2013-05-13)
Hi Marine, nice narration and thanks for sharing. Thank God you did not get into any problem owing to the activities. I think what Val said is right, one of my friends, who lives in Chicago, did tell me about this Hotel during his visit to India and said it is one of the most haunted hotels around there. I would like to ask the same question what rockangel asked. Did you ask any of the staff or receptionists about such activities? If you did, please post us.

Regards and respects to you.

rockangel13 (guest)
11 years ago (2013-05-13)
Nice story. Valkricry seems to know a lot about this hotel! Did you talk to the receptionists about this activity/history of the hotel? Take care.

Marine (6 stories) (42 posts)
11 years ago (2013-05-12)
Hi Valkricry - The hotel was actually suggested by my uncle, because its right smack in the city center and a short walk away from Lake Michigan. He did warn me though that it COULD be haunted and told me stories of supposed hauntings there. I never really gave it any serious thought, I was just excited to be in Chicago.

The 4th floor hallway seriously gave me the creeps. It was always quiet and cold. I was more intrigued than scared the whole time I was there. I got back one time and the souvenirs I bought the day before were taken out of the shopping bag and neatly arranged on the dresser. If it was the ghost of the little boy, he was more than welcome to play 😁

Thanks for sharing some of the stories surrounding this hotel. These will give me a head start in finding out more about this place.

The next time I'm in Chicago, I'll definitely book a room here again.
valkricry (49 stories) (3273 posts) mod
11 years ago (2013-05-12)
Dear Marine,
It doesn't surprise me that you had encountered some activity there - it's rumoured to be one of the most haunted hotels in Chicago. Having grownup in and around Chicago I know I've heard many stories about it. There is a little boy that supposedly roams the 4th floor, perhaps he was the one moving your stuff. His story is very sad - supposedly his mother threw him off the balcony and then herself, killing them both. I also hear that one wants to avoid room 441. Security gets called to that room the most often, and people report seeing the shadow of a woman there. On the 12th floor, there is said to be a room so frightening that the door was screwed shut from the outside, as well as elevators that run by themselves. The hotel was built to house the travelers attending the 1893 world's fair, so obviously it has seen alot.

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