The Jane Addams Hull House National Historic Landmark
Few houses in Chicago date back to before the Civil War. Even fewer can claim that they were the home of a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, and are now a National Historic Monument. But the Hull House/Jane Addams Museum has another story to tell. Tales of hauntings and strange events have plagued the structure for more than 150 years, beginning while the Hull family still lived there. Ms. Charles Hull complained of strange noises, sounds of dripping water and apparitions. The Hulls left and the family donated it to Jane Addams in 1889. Both Addams and fellow workers spoke regularly of seeing the figure of a woman in white appearing in the master bedroom, on the staircase and reflecting in mirrors and windows. Yet the greatest tale is that of the Hull House “Devil Baby.” Legend has it that a poor immigrant woman sought refuge in the house after her abusive lover beat her while pregnant, and swore that he would rather have the devil in the house than another child. After nine months a baby was born inside Hull House which was said to have cloven feet, horns and a tail. Although Addams disavowed the story, spectators still lined up around the block for weeks to try and see the demon, which is said to have inspired the book, “Rosemary’s Baby.” Today there are more tales of the “Devil Baby” appearing in the window and people seeing female ghosts on the staircase. Yet unlike many of Chicago’s other haunted sites which are now parking lots or senior centers, the Hull House still has its French windows, white pillars, faux gas lights and nineteenth-century feel, a much better setting for gothic horror.
800 South Halsted, (312)413-5353, uic.edu/jaddams/hull
Best of Chicago 2013