Chicago’s haunted Red Lion Pub



Ghost hunting is a fun hobby.  It is a nice way to socialize with people from different backgrounds who share this common interest.  It’s a great excuse to get together, hang out and share ghosts stories and unusual experiences.  The best place to for such social ghost hunting is at a haunted pub! 

Once a small group of us ghost enthusiasts went to visit the famed Red Lion Pub in Chicago.  This pub is called the most haunted pub in the city.  It is right across from the Biograph Theater where gangster John Dillinger was shot down in an alley.  The over 100-year-old building had a history of being involved with the Chicago gangsters of the 1940s.   Here is a link to the Red Lion’s website that tells about the fascinating history of the pub:

Second floor at the Red Lion

Second floor at the Red Lion

The stories about the Red Lion Pub concern multiple hauntings.  The stories of ghosts include a young cowboy, a blond guy, and a bearded man-in-black. The most enduring ghost story involves the ghost of a young lady.  Some stories suggest a beautiful young woman had died (was murdered?) in an apartment over the pub.  Other stories say she is a flapper from the 1920s.  Most convincing are the stories of a mentally challenged woman who lived and passed away at the building.  These hauntings are said to occur on the pub’s second floor.

Tarot reading for the dead

Tarot reading for the dead

The stories of the manifestations include sightings of vanishing people, objects moved in closed rooms, voices heard when no one is present, cold spots, invisible touches, the scent of a powerful perfume, and ladies getting locked in the women’s restroom…and then released after a few minutes with nobody around.

The evening our group arrived at the Red Lion Pub, we immediately went upstairs where the haunting is said to occur.  Luckily it was empty so we were able to take photos without attracting attention.  Not that it mattered.  We are not the first to visit the pub with ghostly intentions.  We all shared our stories and speculated about the pub and the nature of whatever might be present.  When a ghost story involves what seems to be multiple spirits, that is really baffling.  Solitary ghosts make sense, but what to make of multiple ghosts?  We could only speculate that spirits gather together, just as the living does.  Maybe ghosts like to socialize as well?

I did a tarot card reading, not for the living, but for the dead…for whatever unseen might be present.  There actually is logic involved in tarot card readings for the dead.  A tarot reading in a public place immediately attracts attention.  I have done readings for people at social gatherings as something fun to do, and it always gets noticed.  If it attracts the attention of the living, why not the dead as well?  The dead probably don’t pay

2nd floor women's restroom

2nd floor women's restroom

much attention to ordinary activity, but something new and unique might pique their interest…and perhaps allow us to take their picture!  Looking at the cards I laid out, using the celtic cross method, I noticed a strong element of tragedy in the cards…very apt for the situation. 

As the evening got late, other people eventually came upstairs and we put our cameras away.  Of the pictures we took, the most intriguing picture was taken by one of our lady comrades.  She took this picture in the second floor women’s restroom.  This is where there were reports of women getting mysteriously locked in the lady’s restroom and then released.  It is a picture of multiple orbs in a swirling pattern.  The most persistent haunting story involves a ghostly female, and it is of note this photo was taken in the women’s restroom.  Mere coincidence?

Myself under the Red Lion

Myself under the Red Lion

7 Responses to “Chicago’s haunted Red Lion Pub”

  1. Cat Says:

    I would love to visit the Red Lion again..How do you all feel about 3/13 at 9pm??

  2. David Says:

    Hi Cat,
    It has been awhile since I’ve been to the Red Lion. I heard that it had been torn down and rebuilt? Know if that is ture or not?

  3. Cat Says:

    I will be in Hollywood 3/28-4/4/09…
    (If you can give me exact addresses…I will try to take the pictures “If I have time!!!!!!!)
    We stayed at the Roosevelt…….next door to the Marilyn Monroe suite……2/2006…….
    Nothing much ghostly…….I have a few friends who do not belive the Red Lion photos……I am set to get a group out on 3/21/09 maybe they can sit in the ladies room and prove me wrong!!!

  4. David Says:

    Hi Cat, take more pictures and see what you get! That restroom photo is intriguing…the way the orbs seem to follow a swirling pattern. I think those orbs don’t represent multiple entities, but the electro-magnetic trail of one spirit on the move.

    This summer I will have more time to explore our Chicago area haunts. We are lucky to have so many locally. Currently I barely have the time to blog. But by June I will have more time freed up.

  5. law of attraction Says:

    Great post, thanks for the info

  6. Tobin Says:

    Spent three years in Chicago working in Medicine and frequented this local haunt (pun intended). Colin and I quickly became friends and I’ve gone back since several times over the years and have had private parties upstairs. It is quite the unique place (or was, since Colin told me he was having it raised and rebuilding better).
    I have searched online to see the results to no avail. Anyone know if it’s rebuilt yet? Tried calling the number listed and it’s no longer active.
    Will be traveling to Chicago next month from Europe and will update anything I find out.

  7. David Says:

    Hi Tobin,
    The original ghost haunted Red Lion is history. I have not been back to check if something better is there. I like this link for a good overview:
    What intrigued me were the ghosts of Red Lion. I truly believe something was there. I’ve been upstairs, and sure enough something was knocking around. But they are no more. A sure way to banish ghosts is to remove what they remember. A part of Chicago history is gone. But they live on in my blog, even if only a handful of ghost hunters will remember. I should post more photos of the place now that it is gone. I have a few!

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