|Posted by Tony H on October 24, 2010 at 10:00 PM|
Excalibur Nightclub is rumored to be haunted by ghosts of the Eastland disaster. The building that is now home to Chicago's famed Excalibur Nightclub was once host to the Chicago Historical Society. When the Eastland disaster occurred in 1915, the bodies of many of the victims were said to have also been brought to the Chicago Historical Society building so that it too temporarily served as a makeshift morgue. Some people believe that the ghosts of those victims have been haunting the spot that is now the site of Excalibur Nightclub since the time of the Eastland tragedy. While it is widely known that several spirits do, in fact, haunt the Excalibur building, others do not believe the spirits to be those of Eastland victims.
The disturbances in the former Chicago Historical Society building have been going on for years and include things like strange cold spots that seem to move about from one spot to another, as well as drinking glasses and bottles breaking on their own. Past and present employees who've working in the building have also reported hearing familiar voices calling their names; the voices of people known to be elsewhere, people known not to be in the Excalibur building at the time. Other times staff members have heard screams coming from the downstairs restrooms when they are known to be empty and unoccupied. Things are sometimes moved around, and by whom - no one knows. The Excalibur's "Dome Room," which serves as a bar, is one of the most haunted spots in the club. Alarms are frequently set off even when no one and nothing is present.
The building has had quite a history, which might help account for who some of these unidentified apparitions are. As you know, the building was originally the site of the Chicago Historical Society. What you might not know is that it wasn't the first building to stand in there. Whatever had been there in the city's early years burned down during the Great Chicago Fire. After reconstruction of the city began, a new structure was eventually erected in that spot. The Chicago Historical Society occupied the space for a while before relocating to the Lincoln Park area. Various organizations and businesses utilized the building over the years until it became a club, the Limelight. Shortly after opening, employees and patrons of the Limelight began reporting strange events and occurrences that could not be explained. It was at that time when word first got out about the building being haunted. Since then the hauntings have continued, even after the change from the Limelight to the Excalibur.
So what could have caused this place to become haunted? Again, some believe the spirits of those aboard the Eastland still linger in what was once a make shift morgue. Still, others believe the spirits of victims of a different tragedy have taken up residence there. During Chicago's Great Fire of 1871, several women are believed to have taken refuge in the building that previously stood on that spot, only to perish when the building burned with the rest of the city. Those women are now believed to haunt the very place in which they thought they'd be safe. One of these women has even been caught on camera. She is known only as the "woman in red." A glimpse of this mysterious lady was captured in a Polaroid shot taken of the Excalibur building several years ago. In the photo, the woman can be seen walking past a window.
Who's to say whether it is victims of the Eastland tragedy who haunt the Excalibur or victims of the Great Fire. It could likely be both. But there is a third explanation that might also account for some of the hauntings in the medieval-esque Excalibur building. It seems there was a dispute over the land on which the Excalibur now stands that took place long before the area was really very developed. A gentleman had been living on the land for quite some time when another man came along claiming the land belonged to him. The two men were unable to resolve the dispute and the second man had the first murdered. The man's remains were left to rot on the very land for which he was killed. A figure can occasionally be observed traveling up and down the stairs at the Excalibur and is believed to be the spirit of that gentleman who was so viciously murdered for his land. And if there weren't already enough ghosts creeping around the Excalibur, a lawyer who committed suicide in that location long ago is also purported to haunt the establishment. The Excalibur seems to have more than its share of ghosts, but it is a nightclub after all, and maybe they just enjoy the nightly fiesta.