Category Archives: Chapter 14 – The North Side & Beyond

Flashback: Haunted Bucktown Pub, Fort Sheridan & Robinson Woods.

Waaaay back when I was in college I interned just about everywhere I would get accepted.  I had the pleasure of working at HBO Films, and even got some of my first on-set experience on “Daddy Daycare” and the seriously underrated “Hollywood Homicide” with Harrison Ford and Josh Hartnett when I worked at Revolution Studios.  However, one of the best experiences was right here in sweet home, Chicago working for CLTV.  The show was a weekly entertainment series called “Metromix.”  Even after finishing up my internship there, they brought me back on to help produce three “Haunted Chicago” segments for the weeks leading up to Halloween.

It’s insanely difficult to tell a ghost story, involving a location’s rich history, in two to two and a half minutes, so some of the segments feel disjointed (if you ask me), but it’s still fun to look back at what these locations looked and felt like in 2002 when these bits were shot:

Paranormal Activity at Robinson Woods Burial Grounds, Norridge, IL

The top YouTube comments on this video are

  • “This is where John Wayne Gacy killed the Peterson-Schuessler boys” (oy!)
  • “The deer aren’t possessed, they’re following you because people feed them.”

First thing’s first, those bodies were actually found at Robinson South. I should make a video pointing out these two different locations. They are close, but aren’t the same exact same place. It does get misreported quite a bit though. The location where the bodies were discovered is about 700 yards away and is south of Lawrence Ave. Also, those poor boys were killed in 1955 while Gacy was active from 1972-78. Totally understandable why there’s confusion as Gacy did do his killings not far from here. His house is almost exactly a mile from the Robinson Stone, to the Northeast.

As for the deer comment… well, the commenters are right.  The deer are definitely not possessed.  There was the issue of trying to tell a long, detailed story that got cut down to two minutes – most of the story was cut. Not hearing most of it, a lot gets lost.  I have an incredible story about how the deer reacted once activity started picking up on my first visit here.  I also share the native American belief that a chief may be reincarnated into a mighty buck, which I find fascinating (I’m into learning diverse cultural beliefs).  I spend a lot of time on this location in my book, of course mentioning the Peterson-Shuessler case and telling Alexander Robinson’s story. We include an interview with one of his descendants while also presenting evidence through a Pulitzer-nominated investigative reporter, that Hansen (the man believed to be the killer), was a bad guy, but possibly not the killer.

And shout out to Mary Czerwinski, my research partner on the first edition of my book, who gets some screen time!

Paranormal Activity at the Bucktown Pub

The top YouTube comments on this one are all suggestions on other haunted places in Bucktown.  Keep ’em coming!

I re-visited this location just recently and a bartender that was there when I first visited back in 2000 or 2001 (not pictured) has been working there since before the owners in the video took over.  He has spanned multiple owners and said that Tom & Piper, while nice people, chose not to see the paranormal events happening around them.  Today the location isn’t as active as it was in the years right after Wally’s death, but activity is ongoing.

Ghosts of the Haunted Fort Sheridan in Highwood

Top YouTube Comments on this video include:

  • “I’m in this neighborhood all the time – it’s not haunted”
  • As well as people telling their personal stories of paranormal activity sighted here…
  • …including, confusingly, both types of comments from the same user (huh?)

Woodstock and the Stickney House

We were planning on resting and laying low today, recovering from our awesome weekend at the Chicago Ghost Conference….but around 2 o’clock we decided we couldn’t just sit around any more, so we decided to go on the hunt for some things we’d always wanted to see!

Turns out that one of Mickey Cohen‘s bodyguards is buried in Woodstock, Illinois! Johnny Stompanato, a strongman in the LA mafia and lover of Lana Turner, was from the small town. Stompanato was stabbed by Lana Turner’s daughter, Cheryl Crane, a crime that was later ruled as self defense. His body was taken back to Woodstock after his passing and he was interred at Oakland Cemetery.

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The cemetery is old and beautiful, and also the final resting place of Dick Tracy creator, Chester Gould.

Unfortunately, Scott and I were not very successful in locating either of the graves (if you have directions to where they are let us know!)

We did however find lots of great old graves, and even saw some great wildlife.

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They even have a small pet cemetery with a bunch of sweet send offs for fur babies!

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It was a great place to spend an afternoon.  It was very restful and there were plenty of other people and their living pets walking around too.

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After the cemetery we headed into downtown Woodstock, which is super cute, and also where they filmed “Groundhog Day!”

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After a walk around the town square and some much-needed hot coffee, we headed over to the Stickney House.

The Stickney House was one of the locations covered by Scott in his book, “Voices from the Chicago Grave.”

Built in 1856 and located in the Village of Bull Valley. George Stickney, his wife Sylvia, and their family were the original residents. The house was built without any 90 degree corners.  The Skickney’s were spiritualists and believed ghosts could become trapped in such spaces. Of the 10 Stickney children only three survived into adulthood. The family held many séances in the house trying to contact the children that passed away.  Some believe that perhaps it was Sylvia’s inabilities as a medium or cultists who moved into the house in the 1970s that have caused the home to become very haunted.

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The house has gone through much renovations since we last saw the house. Thanks to the local historic society and the Stickney Foundation. The interior and exterior are both being restored to the houses original state, and I have to say, it looks fantastic!  Note in the photos below the continued use of rounded edges – even the front door itself is curved.

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From the Stickney House, we were directed to the small cemetery down the road where the family was buried. It was starting to get dark, but as we stumbled around by cell phone light, we eventually found the family. A few of the tombstones were missing, and some of the others were damaged, but overall they were in great shape considering their age.

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There was an oddly large amount of traffic on the road, considering how far out of town we were. Still, we decided to do a small EVP session at Sylvia‘s grave.

unnamed We haven’t reviewed our recording yet.  Once we do, we’ll definitely let you know of any findings!