Casa Madrid Investigation

This location is known as an office, residence, gambling club and bar of a second-rate Chicago mobster in the 1950’s.  In its prime, this club was the center for crime syndicate development and was constantly under scrutiny by the authorities.  Throughout its use, gangster related shootouts, holdups and murders were common.   Several reports of torture executed on the premises are known; if you were an unlucky client indebt, one could expect to be dragged and tortured in this concrete fortress without the ability to be heard by anyone.   

Also was the headquarters of one Rocco DeGrazia. He claimed to be 23 when he entered the U.S. and most newspapers accepted 1900 as his birth date. (Probably 1897).

He arrived from Italy in 1923.In July, 1932; he suffered serious spinal injuries in a wreck two miles west of Bloomingdale, Illinois, and was hospitalized in Elgin, where he refused to discuss the machine gun in the back seat of his car or the police star he was wearing at the time. (With him was gangster Anthony "Tony the Mouth" Bagniola, and they had crashed into a farmer's vehicle while driving at high speed to a roadhouse, partly owned by DeGrazia that had just been raided.

He is arrested in a barber shop at 954 Harrison Street along with Anthony Accardo and Sam"Golfbag" Hunt. All were charged with disorderly conduct and discharged in municipal court Nov.16, 1932.Started as a driver for the Capone mob. Later makes his way up the ladder as gunman and gambling chief. DeGrazia was reputed to be in charge of accommodations for the St. Valentine massacre shooters. In 1934 Rocco, living at 1040 North Elmwood in Oak Park, threatened to kill IRS agents until he learned who they were. He and his brother Nick, residing in Maywood, were indicted on July 27, 1934, for failure to pay income taxes during 1929 and 1930 on some eighteen handbooks in Melrose Park, for which he paid $1,200 a month protection. On February 5, 1935, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to eighteen months in Leavenworth, plus a fine of $1000. In 1946 Rocco and his brother Andrew, partners in a tavern called the Lumber Gardens, were picked up and questioned for allegedly threatening a Melrose Park pharmacist over opium and morphine, which they were demanding to settle the druggist's gambling debts. Rocco surrendered to authorities on March 19, 1946, disposition of that case unknown. (Rocco had insisted that the drugs were for doping horses, although his brother was believed to be addicted. Andrew's wife later committed suicide with a gun, and Andrew himself ended up, in May of 1958, falling asleep at the table and choking to death on Italian sausages. Another of Rocco's brothers, Anthony, served as a Chicago police lieutenant until a 1959 vacation trip to Europe with Tony Accardo led to his suspension.

This scandal also brought unwanted publicity to Rocco, whose undertaking license was revoked on the basis of "poor moral character" and with "hoodlum connections." He had been running an undertaking establishment at 3425 Chicago Avenue.  He had also been working for the city as a safety lane inspector. He was suspended after accepting bribes to let faulty autos drive through without penalty.  

 In his later years DeGrazia dropped in stature, becoming a minor henchman of Sam Battaglia. His sole remaining holding was his lavish gambling club, the Casa Madrid at 171 North 25th Street in Melrose Park, which doubled as his residence. On September 23, 1961 Rocco was arrested at the Casa Madrid and safes were seized, but the disposition of the case is unknown. The club was later closed, but Syndicate bosses continued to meet in the basement as late as 1969. DeGrazia's wife Margaret died in 1975 and he faded into obscurity afterwards, dying largely unnoticed of natural causes in Melrose Park on December 17, 1978.  

It was also alleged that a shooting death occurred right at the bottom of the stairs where a circular bar used to be. A small restroom at the bottom of the stairs is where the gangsters used to take people to get their attitude adjusted. In the back room is a restroom where the urinals are painted pink. Today it is known as Big Timer's Sound Shop. 

Located at: 171 N. 25th Ave., Melrose Park, IL  60160  


Hauntings:  Lots of poltergeist activity occurs in the Rim Room where tires and rims sometimes fall over for no apparent reason. Dark shadowy figures are often seen in the front gambling room.


Equipment setup: The G.E.I.S.T. was set up in the large room at the bottom of the stairs. I positioned a static IR camcorder and illuminator in the Rim Room along with the Epod and EM Pumps.


Experiments performed: EVP sessions were performed in the Rim Room, boiler room and later again in the other side of the Rim Room.



Casa Madrid in 1958

The Ghost Research Society investigated Casa Madrid on June 30, 2012. Team members included: Kathie Para, Marge Sucha, Stan Suho and Dale Kaczmarek with help from Len Dorman. 







                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Rocco DeGrazia

Personal experiences:

Stan Suho: In spite of the name this was really a tire shop. The second floor had apartments which were off limits to us. We concentrated of the basement which had stacks and stacks of tires and rims, piled all the way to the ceiling. There were many rooms in the basement and with our limited crew we couldn't possible cover them all. We were given a walk through by Ursula and this was recorded on my VHS Camcorder.

Set up was in a room just off the stairway on a new folding table Dale had just bought. We were joined by another investigator and Kathie and Marge. Since there were no doors in the basement the sounds echoed from room to room. G.E.I.S.T. was set up in a room adjoining the tire storage room. The complete setup was used along with the DVR and a Laptop running Audacity. The other investigator had setup a Camera and several IR Devices in the room to the right of us.

The usual walk around was made with 35mm, Digital Camera, and Night Vision Viewer. Several EVP sessions were conducted of which I attended only one. This one proved to be the most interesting. It was conducted in the large tire storage room. I walked in and sat down on a short stack of tires. A few minutes later I moved across the aisle to another stack.

After about 5 minutes sitting there, a stack close to where I had been setting let go and came crashing to the floor. The stack just collapsed to the floor with no one around it. IR and flash pictures were taken to document the event. It remains unexplained.

Conclusion: Due to the distractions we were not able to accomplish all we had planned. If we were able to get in under conditions which we controlled, I think we could get some very interesting results. Reviewing my videos and photos turned up nothing paranormal.  

Kathie Para: I, Kathie Para, attended this investigation with Marge Sucha, Dale Kaczmarek and Stan Suho. This event was hosted by Ursula Kalin and was also attended by Len Dorman, a member of Ursula’s team.

We conducted our investigation strictly in the basement. Upon arriving and preparing to set up equipment in the “Bar Room” Ursula left the area and Len gave us a brief tour.

Our first EVP session was in the large “Rim Room”. This room was the main focus of the investigation. We had video cameras with audio and other various pieces of equipment set up throughout the room. Prior to our starting the EVP sessions we had distinctly heard music and conversation coming from this room through the audio recorders we had set up. Present for the EVP session was Marge, Dale and myself. I had K-II meter, audio recorder and digital camera. In addition Dale used an Ovilus. We were getting pretty good responses from the Ovilus and also were hearing some noises in the room for about ten minutes. Then Len came in and told us we needed to be quiet because Ursula came back and was conducting her own EVP session in the “Bar room” and our voices were carrying. We continued our session for another ten minutes or so but the activity had been getting had slowed down dramatically.

Marge and I then went back to the rear of the basement in what I’ll call the “Old Boiler Room”. We had audio recorders, digital cameras and a K-II meter. We pretty quickly heard what sounded like a table being dragged across a floor. It sounded like it came from the Rim Room area but since there are apartments on the second floor we thought it may have came from tenants. Although directly above us we believe is the garage but couldn’t be sure.

Our next EVP session was with Dale in the same area of the Old Boiler Room. We had the same equipment as before and Dale had his Ovilus and Ghost Box. We had very good responses from the Ovilus the entire time. It was very interesting.

The last EVP session was in the Rim Room. This time there was no other people in the basement other than Len who was a couple rooms over. We had the same equipment as the other sessions. We got Ovilus good responses once again. About ten minutes into out session there was a very loud noise within feet of us. Even though there were tires stacked all over the room this did not sound like tires falling and pictures taken at the beginning of the night and after this incident show that there was no significant movement of tires in the area of the loud crashing sound. Seconds before this loud sound I had asked “Did you move something down here?” About fifteen minutes later we heard another shifting noise followed by tapping sound. At the very end of our session there was what sounded like a whimper.

I got no K-II hits at all during the entire night. Photos showed nothing abnormal and I got no EVPs. But the responses to the Ovilus, I thought, were pretty impressive and the music and conversation coming out of the Rim Room (more than once) while no one was in there was also very cool! I have no explanation for the loud crashing sound near the end of the night either.

All in all I thought this was a very active place and would be excited to go back in a more professional setting. Unfortunately this investigation was run in a very unprofessional manner by Ursula. In spite of that I think Casa Madrid proved itself to have paranormal activity.  

Marge Sucha: While we in the command area Kathie, Len and I thought we heard a conversation going on in the rim room.  It went on for approximately 30 seconds.  We walked into the rim room and it stopped.  

1st EVP Session in the Rim Room

We seemed to have picked up someone by the name of Eddie who was asking for help.

We could hear Ursula in another room doing an EVP session.  Later we were asked to talk quieter because we were disturbing Ursula and Dale was asked to turn his Ovilus down.   

Kathie and I went into the old (boiler) furnace room.  After a few minutes into our EVP session we heard a loud noise.  It sounded like someone was dragging a large table from a small room between the furnace room and the rim room.  After not finding anything we went back to the furnace room and started another EVP session again a few minutes later we heard the same noise.  We walked out to the command center to see if they were moving something making that noise they weren't and didn't hear what we heard.  Later when we went back we noticed the door w/ stairs and it could have been one of the apartments above us.

Kathie and I walked around to some the other rooms.  At one point we heard a tapping after further investigation discovered it was condensation dripping from a pipe to the concrete floor.  

(Boiler) Furnace room w/ Kathie, Dale & Stanley & myself

Dale thought he saw something by the stairway.  Took a picture but nothing unusual showed up.  Also thought Ovilus said "help hide or I'll hurt you"

At one time thought I heard movement behind me.

I also picked up talking that was coming from the command center area.  Ursula's guest must have arrived then...    

(Rim room) During the EVP session w/ Kathie, Dale & Stanley & myself we heard a noise to the right of me we thought came from Stan.  Stan heard it but it wasn't him.  A few minutes later we heard a large crash I also saw something to the right of me move which looked like a tire had fallen.  Later we noticed a tire seemed to have moved more into the middle of the room.  I took pictures to try to compare to earlier pictures but the angles were different and I couldn't confirm it was moved.  

Later Kathie heard some tapping but my recorder picked up a lot of noise that I don't think was paranormal.  Sounded more machinery.  

Evidence collected:  

Certainly.MPG during an EVP session in the Rim Room a question was asked, “Are there too many of us?” The Ghost Radar responds with, “Certainly.”  

Ed eddie.MPG during an EVP session in the Rim Room a question was asked, “Can you say that again? What’s your name?” The Ovilus responds with, “Ed, Eddie.”  

Help hide hurt you.MPG during an EVP session in the Boiler room the Ovilus says, “Help hide hurt you” when also running a Ghost Box in the background.  

I need help.MPG during an EVP session in the Rim Room the Ovilus says, “I need help.”  

Tires.MPG during an EVP session in the Boiler Room the Ovilus said, “Tires.”  

Tires fell.mpg the video file showing the entire interaction and what Stan first heard, then followed by the question asked,"Did you move something down here?" and the sounds of tires falling.  

Whisper.MPG during an EVP session in the Boiler room a whispering voice is heard talking over our voices. I can’t tell what its saying.  

Yeah I do.MPG during an EVP session in the Boiler room a question is asked, “Come on, you got to know all the good places to hide. Where’s a good place to hide?”  The Ovilus responds with, “Yeah I do.”  

Yell in distance.MPG during an EVP session, the sound of a "Yell" is heard in the distance.

Yes, MPG during an EVP session in the Boiler Room I thought I saw something or someone standing next to me by the stairwell so I asked the question, “Are you standing by the stairway next to me?” A clear Class A male voice responded with, “Yes” which also sounded like it echoed a bit within the room but no one heard the voice in real time.  

The Ghost Radar said: state, certainly, younger, roar and highway during the first EVP session in the Rim Room.  

The Ghost Radar said: lower and part during the 2nd EVP session in the Rim Room.  


Since this was “an Event” rather than a real investigation much of the time was wasted and very little was actually devoted to investigating the site. Our host never bothered to show us around nor tell us the history or hauntings associated with the building but we secured most of that information from fellow researcher Len Gorman which was greatly appreciated. Much of the time, the lights were constantly being turned on and off which greatly affected the ability of the IR camcorders to function properly and with late arrivals being given last minute guided tours through the property while camcorders were running didn’t help in filtering out extraneous noise from possible EVPs captured. Add to the fact that both our host and two guests arriving late to the investigation smoked in the building added a serious breach of investigative protocol not to mention Illinois state law of smoking inside commercial businesses. Simultaneous EVP sessions conducted in adjoining rooms also further contaminated possible spirit voices that might have been picked up during communications including the last eight minutes of the first EVP session conducted in the Rim Room. There was also over 33 minutes of light contamination in the Rim Room and later an additional 81 minutes of audio contamination of loud talking which was picked up on the audio track of the camcorder placed in the Rim Room.

There were a lot of intelligent responses both on the Ovilus and Ghost Radar throughout the night and later object manipulation when a set of tires fell over next to us just after a question was asked about moving something.

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