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Wicker Park, Bucktown's Most Haunted Spots

Every Halloween we search for spooky stories and hauntings in Wicker Park & Bucktown and the stories behind these neighborhood spots have stood the test of time. 


Bucktown Pub - 1658 W. Cortland Avenue

Bucktown Pub has its share of stories. In the 1970's former owner (only known as Wally) shot himself in an upstairs apartment above the pub. Wally wasn't the nicest bar owner in town and was known to be pretty rough (verbally) to his employees. After his death, objects started flying through the air; as if to punctuate a point that was being made.


One report via the Chicago Bar Project noted the following: One night, however, I didn't like being alone when I closed, so I always kept a regular patron around with me after I locked the doors to clean and close the bank. One night, my patron and I were chatting a little longer than normal after I had already put everything away. Well, our spirit friend didn't like us there that long. So, he decided to take two of our beer signs—that were NAILED into the wall—and slammed them down on the bar while we were talking. Needless to say, we both shut up in amazement that they came down one at a time. BAM....BAM!


Club Lucky- 1824 W. Wabansia

Club Lucky was one of the early Bucktown pioneers in the neighborhood when it opened in 1990. It was then that co-owners Jim Higgins and Bobby Paladino purchased a Polish corner neighborhood bar and the adjacent, abandoned community center and transformed it into Club Lucky over the span of a year. Club Lucky also served as a speakeasy during prohibition, with a hardware store front and gin martinis as the signature drink.

In the 1970's - long before Jim & Bobby owned the Bucktown restaurant - a man was shot and killed there. They still have the evidence of the gunshots in the bar. And at night, when the employees are getting ready to close, they occasionally hear footsteps walking in the bar above them. But of course... no one is there.

The Congress Theater -2135 N. Milwaukee Avenue

Originally a movie theater built in 1926, our neighbors to the north at The Congress Theater is thought to be one of the most haunted spots around. Featured in a SyFi Ghost Hunters episode in 2009 and the subject of investigation by the Chicago Paranormal Investigators, The Congress Theater doesn't disappoint due to the paranormal activity being reported there.


Building manager Dylan Castle, who invited the famed paranormal researchers of Ghost Hunters to visit, says that some of the venue’s workers have been so scared of the place that they quit. Among the suspicious hotspots:

  • -An aisle, where a woman in a blue dress paces before disappearing.
  • -The basement, where people have heard ghostly foosteps behind them.
  • -The stage, where there have been reports of an apparition of a man raising his arm.
  • -The Congress Theater was built in the ’20s, and Houdini performed at the palace in the ’30s. Local lore has it that the mob used to meet in the basement.

 Additional details are provided via the Chicago Sun-Times Blog Article: SyFy's 'Ghost Hunters' Investigates Congress Theater.


 This eerie comment about The Congress was posted on a website called: Chicago Unbelievable.

Anonymous said...

This place is soooo haunted. When I went there I had a very creepy paranormal experience about 6 years ago. I never could find any information about it until I saw it on TV. I walked out of the second floor woman's washroom and I heard someone shout into my left ear "Hey I think we got him!" As I walking quickly past the stairs I felt an impact in my chest that stopped me in my tracks. I think I was metaphysically shot in the chest. No an everyday occurrence for me.



"Orbs" are thought to be spirits which are seen as circular lights. The Congress Theatre certainly has their share of those:

And other strange things have happened. In the video below, the investigator asks "Where did you die?" and a male voice whispers:  "Home".

Gold Star -1755 W. Division Street

Back in the the time of prohibition, Gold Star, among others was a speakeasy on the 1st floor and a brothel on the 2nd floor. And Gold Star has had its share of violence. One instance occurred in the 1950s when a bartender shot a would-be robber in the tavern's front doorway. People have reported an "odd feeling" in the doorway. A visiting psychic also noted a presence in the bar's front doorway-the site of the murder. An apparition of a girl in a lime green dress and a man in a straw hat have also been reported by Gold Star patrons and staff.



Know of other haunted Wicker Park, Bucktown area spots? Let us know.

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