Best books about haunted Chicago

Chicago is, let us not kid ourselves, seriously haunted. The Great Fire of 1871 alone set the stage, but add in the 1920s gangsters, Prohibition, speakeasys, and the ghost stuff gets real. Here are a handful of books to help you figure out where to scare the crap out of yourself in the Windy City.

(Photo: Giuseppe Milo/Flickr
(Photo: Giuseppe Milo/Flickr

The Ghosts of Chicago: The Windy City’s Most Famous Haunts
By Adam Selzer

From Archer Avenue’s “Resurrection Mary,” the ghost of Al Capone to the Murder Castle of H. H. Holmes and the funeral train of Abraham Lincoln, author, historian and professional ghost hunter Selzer covers a lot of territory in this book. With special care to unearth the real histories and first-hand accounts behind urban legends, Selzer shows that the events leading to some of the gorier and scarier moment in Chicago history are sometimes way worse than the myth of a place years later.

Graveyards of Chicago : The People, History, Art, and Lore of Cook County Cemeteries
By Ursula Bielski and Matt Hucke

Ok, technically not about hauntings, this book about Chicago graveyards had to be included. (Also, a few of them in the city are unbelievably haunted.) Interestingly, this book is an often-referenced guide for history enthusiasts, researchers, students, biography and art lovers, in addition to Chicago-searching taphophiles. Covering seven geographical regions (three city, three suburban, and one outlying), this guide details distinct types of Chicago burial grounds as well as changing styles of funerary customs and art.

Chicago Haunts: Ghostlore of the Windy City , More Chicago Haunts: Scenes From Myth and Memory, and Chicago Haunts 3
All by Ursula Bielski

Combining Bielski’s unique narrative style with historical research, interviews, and insights from parapsychology, these three books are a unique and fascinating exploration of the region’s supernatural folklore. They’re also flippin’ terrifying.

Chicago Haunted Handbook: 99 Ghostly Places You Can Visit in and Around the Windy City
By Jeff Morris and Vince Sheilds

With 100 quick-hit chapters, this book is as much a Chicago travel guide as it is a ghosthunter’s guide to finding Chicago’s spirits. The book supplies information on both the history of and haunting surrounding each location, detailed directions to locate each site, and insider advice from locals.

Haunted Chicago: Famous Phantoms, Sinister Sites, and Lingering Legends
By Tom Ogden

While Bielski may be the queen of haunted Chicago books, Ogden scares the crap out of readers just fine, too, with this collection of stories of ghosts, mysteries, and paranormal happenings in the Windy City.


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