Saturday, November 7, 2009

Fall Day with Miss V

It was a gorgeous weekend in Chicago. What better way to capture that than in pictures with my two favorite people — and yes, I consider Violet "people." :-)

Halloween Fun

While we didn't dress up this year, we did do more to celebrate All Hallow's Eve than in years past.

On the 30th we went on a triple-date with some friends from work and their significant others. The main event for the evening? A guided tour of haunted Chicago. To be completely honest, our lack of belief in all things paranormal made it a less than scary, more silly experience — but, all that aside, we did get to see some parts of Chicago that we hadn't before and got a good laugh out of looking for "orbs" in our photos.

Haunting 1: Valentine's Day Massacre

Many people have heard the story of the brutal mass killing known as the St. Valentine's Day Massacre (if you don't, click here). But what many people don't know is that Al Capone was supposedly haunted by the ghost of one of the victims. In "fact," people claim to have seen Capone and the ghost arguing in his car on multiple occasions. Ooooooo....

Haunting 2: Mausoleum in Lincoln Park

Before it was home to the post-frat masses, Lincoln Park was the site of Chicago's biggest graveyard. That spooky fact, along with its proximity to water supposedly make it prime haunting territory. We stopped at one of the last mausoleums left in the park to hear stories about ghost dogs and wandering spirits and, of course, to take a few pictures.

Haunting 3: John Hancock Evil Vortex

On our way to the next paranormal hot spot we drove down Lake Shore Drive and heard about how Anton LaVey, founder of the satanic church, begged the architects of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill not to build the John Hancock Building. Why? Well, not only is that the former site of an Indian graveyard, but the architectural plans actually create pentogram-like shapes which create a vortex for all things evil. Scoff if you will (we did), but our guide claims there have been several suspicious suicides and other activity that later became the inspiration for the Ghostbusters movie. See more here.

Haunting 4: Eastland Disaster

I was surprised when our big old tour bus stopped on Wacker Drive, next to the Chicago River. As it turns out, that area was the scene of what is now referred to as the Eastland Disaster, a mass drowning in the summer of 1915. More than 800 people died and, according to our guide, their spirits still haunt the river walk. Some people claim to have seen children's faces in the water. It was more sad than scary. Especially considering how beautifully tranquil everything seems now...

Haunting 5: Hull House Devil Baby

By far the weirdest story we heard was about Chicago heroine Jane Addams and her experience with the "devil baby of Hull House" which, according to our guide, was the inspiration for the movie Rosemary's Baby. As the story goes, a young pregnant woman came to Hull House scared for her life. Not only did many women die in childbirth at this point in history, but she was married to an abusive husband who beat her regularly. Addams and Co. told this woman that they would send a midwife when the time came to give birth and that if her husband hit her again, to come tell them and they would do what they could to help.

As it turns out, this young woman was also a devout Catholic who regularly prayed to Mary. Her husband was, as described by our guide, an "angry atheist." One night he was beating her and then noticed that she was holding a picture of Mary, praying. He grabbed the picture and, as he tore it to shreds, said he would rather have her give birth to the devil himself than pray to Mary. As legend has it, he got what he asked for...his wife gave birth to a "boy" with a forked tongue, horns and a tail. The husband—disgusted—dropped him at Hull House. For the rest of the story, click here.

Hull House seemed pretty peaceful in spite of the devil baby being buried in the backyard.

After our tour, the 6 of us went to Il Quartino for tasty Italian, good wine and a good laugh.

On Halloween itself we joined Keith and some friends of his from out of town for the Halloween parade on Halsted. There were dogs, kids, cheerleaders, drag queens and plenty of great costumes as you can see here:

It was definitely a fun way to spend the weekend.