Chicago’s Haunted Congress Hotel

Chicago's Haunted Congress Hotel

“You do know that Al Capone holds his (cough) business meetings here, and that some of his gangsters live here full time, right? And the place is haunted. There’s the Shadow Woman, Peg Leg Johnny, whispers, footsteps, singing, the ghost of Captain Lou Ostheim who shot himself after waking from a nightmare…oh yes, we’ve got it all.”

I listen skeptically as the doorman tells me all about the Congress Hotel.

“And you know, there’s a gloved hand sticking out from one of the walls where a worker got caught during construction and never escaped. Can you imagine? He was plastered right into the wall.”

I smile and open my eyes wide, even thought I don’t believe it for a second.

“And if you’re superstitious you won’t want to stay on the 13th floor. Yep, we have a 13th floor. And room 411…don’t even get me going.”

I’m not sure why the doorman has decided to tell me all this. It’s not exactly the kind of information a prospective guest wants to hear.

But my curiosity is piqued so I wander in to find out the cost of a room for the night.

The lobby is breathtaking, full of ornate furniture, huge globe lamps and pots and pots of palms. The architecture is intricate. The marble floors are polished to perfection with expensive little carpets dotted throughout.

I already think to myself “this hotel is not for me”. And when the desk clerk tells me it’s eight dollars a night, that settles it. It’s time for me to look for another hotel.

I tip my hat to the doorman on my way out, pausing for a moment to take in the beauty of this huge hotel. But it’s a hotel only for those with dough – and with no fear of ghosts – or Al Capone.

(Writer’s note: $8 in 1920, when this postcard was written, equates to $100 today.)

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