For those who love all things spooky, this is your time to shine. When the leaves start to change color and every single department store has Halloween decorations filling up every corner, you know it's time to start embracing your love for fall.
It's the perfect time to start watching all your favorite horror movies and justifying staying up late to read Wikipedia entries on the craziest ghost encounters. Don't try to deny it — we've all done that last thing because it's not that hard to fall deep into that Wikipedia rabbit hole.
If you really want to embrace your love for all things macbre, you need to step things up and actually go to some of these famous haunted spots in Illinois. You don't necessarily need all the ghost hunting gear to get a kick out of it. Just be open to seeing some spirits and you might just find yourself brushing shoulders with some famous apparitions.
Remember, there's strength in numbers. So round up your friends and head out onto the road to see what paranormal experiences you can have. Oh, and make sure you always review your photos and videos after you visit. You never know if you've caught something on camera in the background...
Congress Plaza Hotel
There are too many ghost stories to tell from this place. If you're a skeptic, you might want to try staying a night here. That's only if you can handle it, of course. Supposedly, the 4th and the 12th floors are the most haunted. On the 4th floor, there's Peg Leg Johnny who loves being mischievous and plays pranks on guests all the time. But if you're looking a truly scary night, just ask to stay on the 12th floor. There's a door with no handle on it and you might run into some ghostly children running around.
Englewood Post Office
The Murder Castle is no more, but strange things still happen here. The Englewood Post Office was once the hotel where H.H. Holmes killed and robbed several visitors to the world's fair back in 1893. He designed the hotel himself to be a death trap where many visitors and employees disappeared there.
Holmes confessed to murdering 27 people, but some historians believe the number could be upwards of 200 people. To this day, postal workers have said they've seen strange things in the basement. One person even said that the place is always ridiculously cold and that she felt a woman touch her and say, "Excuse me" but nobody was there.
Jane Addams Hull-House Museum
This one's straight out of a horror movie. Hull House is most famous for supposedly keeping a "devil baby" safe. Legend has it that a baby was born with pointed ears, horns, a tail, and skin covered in scales. The staff of the house tried to baptize the baby, but somehow the baby escaped from the priest and eventually the baby was locked in the attic of the house where it died. Some visitors have said that they've seen a disfigured boy in the attic window.
You might enter as a skeptic and leave as a believer. When you enter the cemetery, you'll notice that there's only one statue that's behind glass. That's where Inez Clarke was buried, a girl who died from a thunderstorm. Supposedly, people have said that the statue disappears at night and reappears in the morning. Not only that, if you hang around the statue and listen carefully, you'll hear a girl crying. Some people have even claimed that they've seen a young girl in old-fashioned clothing dancing and running around.
Be careful! You're stepping onto cursed land. Forests are always creepy, but you're going to want to steer clear of here as soon as it gets dark. People haev long reported strange occurences like flying orbs of light, the sound of tribal drums playing, and voices that seem to come from nowhere. You're bound to have a paranormal experience here. The question is... do you want to?
This place is bad news. People haven't reported seeing ghosts here, but they supposedly always feel very uneasy while on the bridge. There are supposed to be random cold spots and random noises that can't be explained. Acid Bridge is one of seven in the area, which is referred to as "The Seven Gates of Hell." Rumor has it that if you pass under all seven bridges at exactly midnight, you will pass through a portal that leads directly to Hell.
The Original Springs Hotel
Beware of the Lady in White. This hotel has seen it all and it's always survived through countless owners, remodeling, and even death. It's not surprising that employees have claimed that they always feel like someone or something is watching them while they work. They can never shake that feeling until they leave to go home. Others have reported hearing old timey music and spotting a woman dressed in all white who floats down the hallway. So stay here for the experience! But know that you should watch out for any bizarre events.
The Devil's Backbone Park
Where: Grand Tower
You should be scared off by the name alone. It's a nice place for hiking and camping, but be warned: you will be on edge at night and you will hear some strange things. The story goes that a woman plunged to her death off the top of a high cliff after learning that her lover had died. And at night, you can still hear her wailing and sobbing over her loss and on some days, you might spot her emerging from the mist.
Come pay your respects to a witch here. The Chesterville Cemetery is most famous for the grave of a young woman who was regarded in the community as a witch. Rumors spread that she was practicing witchcraft and was a servant of the devil, but she disappeared shortly after the accusations came up. Her body was found, but people were scared she'd somehow come back alive, so she was buried and a tree was planted on her grave so her spirit would be forever trapped in the tree. Legend has it that if the tree dies or is cut down, her spirit will escape and she'll seek revenge. The sequel to The Witch, perhaps?
Cave In Rock State Park
You might want to think twice about visiting this cave. The cave that overlooks the Ohio River was once a place that was visited by outlaws, thieves, and murderers. They found refuge here and would steal or kill the unsuspecting travelers as they floated down the river. It's said that if you listen closely, you can still hear the travelers screaming for help. So don't spend too much time exploring that cave. Who knows what will come from the shadows.
Raven's Grin Inn
Where: Mt Carroll
This house was bought to be run as a haunted mansion. But is there more to it? This haunted attraction is open all year round and the owner will guide you through the house filled with monsters, secret passageways, and horrific animatronics. Supposedly, the owner's first wife left him because she couldn't stand the ghosts in the house. They would pull on her hair and play pranks on her. So is it haunted for real? You'll have to see for yourself!
Where: Lake Forest
This mansion has been on the market for awhile. Even with price reductions, it's speculated that people aren't interested in buying a haunted mansion. It's been said that the original owners, Laura and Charles Schweppe, are roaming the halls as spirits who never want to leave the mansion. According to legend, even the servants are ghosts who can't seem to move on to the next realm to find peace. So, if you're interested in buying a multi-million dollar house that come with some extra guests, you know where to go.
Where: St. Charles
Sometimes, it's the charming hotels that hold the darkest secrets. There are several versions of the story, but it's said that a chambermaid who worked at the hotel drowned herself in the Fox River after her lover left her at the altar. The chambermaids used to stay on the 6th floor, which has now been converted to a penthouse suite. People who stay there — couples looking for a romantic weekend getaway — have reported hearing strange noises and voices coming from inside the walls. And what's even creepier is that they've had their bedding pulled by someone that can't be seen.
This once used to be a speakeasy and a mansion! The original owner and the first family to live there absolutely loved the place. Unfortunately, the wife died and the husband couldn't bear living there by himself so he sold it. But there have been many stories from people saying that the ghost of the wife still haunts the property because she just couldn't find it in herself to part from the place. And now all that's left is a shallow moat and some ruins, but you never know if you'll run into her ghost...
It's been called "the most haunted place in the Midwest." If that doesn't give you an indication of how scary this place is, well, you've got some kind of high tolerance for these things. If you're brave enough, you are more than welcome to take a guided tour of the place.
The current owners have said many times that they've had paranormal encounters while there. People have been hugged by ghosts and they've seen ghosts standing by the window and just staring out onto the property. But the most haunted place in the house is the wine cellar. Apparently, you can always hear footsteps and voices down there... and the door has been known to move by itself.
University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign
There's one very famous ghost on campus. She's known simply as "The English Building Ghost." The building originally served as womens dormitory and legend has it that a former student found out she was pregnant and was worried she'd be shunned so she drowned herself in the pool on the lower level. She often appears in the form of flickering lights, eerie and mysterious voices, and slamming doors. If you can, avoid this building. You never know what could happen. And most certainly do not go to the pool at night.
Fort de Chartres
Where: Prairie Du Rocher
Long ago, three people witnessed a phantom funeral procession. In 1889 at 11 pm, there were over 40 wagons and several groups of soldiers carrying a casket down the road. Despite how many people there were, the group never made a sound and disappeared down the road never to be seen again. Did you just get a shiver down your spine? That sure is one creepy legend.
Bachelor's Grove Cemetery
This place is infested with ghosts. Officers who have patroled the surrounded woods have reportedly seen several strange and unusual activities happen at night. Supposedly, they've seen evidence of dark magic and occult rituals in the graveyard. Some people have reported seeing weird inscriptions and writing carved into trees or written on tombstones. You don't want to witness this by yourself or at night.
Something is in there. But who knows what it is? You can actually take a tour of the mansion and you can even stay overnight there to do some late night ghost investigations with a group of people. It's been said that things move on their own in the dark and you'll often hear voices coming from empty rooms. This is an experience that isn't for the faint of heart.
Cairo Public Library
Are you ready to meet Toby? Toby is the resident ghost here at the library and he loves to pull pranks on the librarians. He'll move furniture around, push books off of shelves, and flash a white light across the room. What's with the name Toby, eh? This ghost might actually be more well-liked than Toby from The Office.
If you want to stay here, you're going to run into Sarah Rose. She's the former owner who just can't get away from the property. She loves to roam the hallways on the second floor and she'll move items around during the night just to confuse the guests. People have also reported hearing a female voice when they're in their rooms. Maybe Sarah's lonely and wants to have a chat! It doesn't seem like she has any ill will towards guests. A little small talk might go a long way. You don't want to get on her bad side.