Inside the Haunted Congress Hotel in Chicago
Dozens of gruesome murders, horribly tragic suicides and many other strange deaths make Chicago's Congress Plaza Hotel a possibly terrifying place to stay not only in Illinois but anywhere.
It is not out of the ordinary for guests staying at this hotel to run out into the streets screaming because of some strange occurrence in their room, or in the hallways.
The Scariest Hotel in Chicago
The legendary Congress Hotel is part of the fabric of downtown Chicago. The view of that landmark sign from Lake Michigan, through Buckingham Fountain, is unmatched.
Chicago's Hotel of Horrors
This hotel may be legendary for more than one reason. Reasons I'd bet the hotel owners would rather you just forget about these after you read some of the worst ones, below. There is no shortage of stories to be told and told by many different witnesses.
- Celebrity chef Pete Evans ran out in the middle of the night in 2014, jumped into a cab, and begged the driver to take him to a different hotel.
- Two Marines once fled the hotel in their underwear at 3:00 a.m. claiming a towering black figure came out of the closet and headed straight for their beds.
And it's not just guests who've been terrified by the things they've seen, the hotel's staff over the years have encountered plenty. Like the 'shadow people', random hands reaching out of walls, dead bodies in bathtubs, screaming, gunshots, appliances being turned on and off, carpet being ripped up, furniture moving around the room, pictures spinning on the walls, and full-bodied apparitions, including Al Capone and Teddy Roosevelt.
The Many Deaths That Occurred at The Congress Hotel in Chicago
Since the hotel opened in 1893, there have been countless deaths and some were so shocking it was tough to read.
A Spanish-American War vet was one of the earliest deaths to occur at the hotel, according to horrorobsessive.com. In 1900, Captain Lou Ostheim took his own life after waking from a horrible nightmare, with a pistol he'd just bought the day before which also happened to be his wedding day.
This next story, to me, was the most horrible thing to happen at the Congress Plaza Hotel:
During World War I & II, The Congress Plaza Hotel was used to house immigrants and refugees from war-torn countries. In 1939, a 43-year-old Czech-Jewish woman named Adele Langer was staying at the hotel with her two sons, Jan Misha (4) and Karel Tommy (6).
They were in the country on a six-month visa which was about to expire. Her husband was supposed to join them but was delayed and unreachable. Adele was anxious for her husband to arrive and becoming increasingly nervous that they would soon be deported. She fell into a deep depression and eventually suffered a nervous breakdown.
On August 4, 1939, she and the children spent the day at the zoo. When they returned to their room on the 12th floor of The Congress Plaza Hotel, Adele threw her two sons out the window before jumping herself. Here comes the worst part of this story...
Adele Langer died completely unaware that on that very day, they had received a letter informing the family they had been offered permanent refuge in Canada. When Mr. Langer received the news that his family was dead, he reportedly threatened to commit suicide himself.
The hauntings are so bad that many rooms are completely closed off to guests. The doors have been chained and no one is allowed to enter. Room 441 has received the most calls from guests reporting strange occurrences and yet no deaths have ever taken place in that room.
The 12th floor is known as the 'spookiest' of all the hotel's floors. Many have reported being chased on that floor by a ghost believed to be Karel Langer, one of the boys thrown to his death by his mother. This floor is also home to one of the sealed-off rooms and staff seem unwilling to talk about why only saying that it's just "too horrible."
It should probably come as no surprise that the Congress Plaza Hotel was the inspiration for Stephen King's short story and subsequent movie 1408 about a creepy hotel room where several suicides took place. That movie was no match for the real-life horrors lurking on South Michigan Avenue in Chicago.