Date: October 8, 1999
Address: 632 N. Dearborn St., Chicago, Illinois 60654
the Chicago Historical Society moved its headquarters to the
building is comprised of approximately 45,000 square feet, 17,000 of which were
added in renovations. The name
“Excalibur” was derived from King Arthur’s magical sword while “Aura”
was the Chicago Historical Society’s lecture hall/auditorium.
Within Aura, sometimes referred to as the “Dome Room” is a mural of
the mythical god Zeus which was created by Paseka used to stare down upon
patrons within the room.
Hauntings: Just after opening as the
Limelight, it was alleged that the building was considered to be haunted.
Poltergeist activity, in particular, was encountered on the third floor
landing of the Dome Room by the former Special Events Director.
Things would fall over by themselves and glasses would often fall and
break without any living persons nearby. Pool
balls would move around certain pool tables as though “someone” was having
at a game and employees would often hear their names being called in the empty
building by someone they didn’t recognize.
sounds of large crates or boxes were heard being dragged around the downstairs
storage room but when opened, nothing was amiss.
Cold spots were reported in the past in the women’s restroom which was
later plagued by crying sounds and faucets turning on by themselves.
are many rumors and legends associated with this location including that some of
bodies from the Eastland tragedy were brought here and temporarily stored in the
Dome Room. This is absolutely untrue.
Initially the bodies were brought to the Reid Murdoch Building across the river
from the disaster and when it became apparent that this building was overflowed
with bodies, they were then sent to the 2nd Regiment Armory, later the site of
Harpo Studios where the Oprah Winfrey Show was taped.
complain of candles relighting themselves in just a few seconds after having
been blown out in preparation of closing the room.
An apparition of a small child has been seen on several occasions leaning
over the second floor railing of the Dome Room.
When eye witnesses look back a few moments later, she is gone.
Surely what was seen was not legal age of entry to this establishment.
McFall, Excalibur’s former corporate supervisor, spoke of a number of strange
and unusual events during a 1996 Chicago Sun-Times article.
Beer glasses were often found scattered about by the opening crew even
though the motion detectors had not been set off by the motion.
A light blue colored figure of sorts was observed on two occasions
floating up the stairs by McFall.
other alleged possibility is the persistent rumor that early Chicagoan John
Lalime who lived very peacefully on a section of land on the banks of the
The paranormal television show Sightings, hosted by Tim White, did a segment here in 1997 with psychic Jorianne De’Frey and, ghost hunter, Peter Moscow. They apparently were also told that the Eastland victims were brought here in small numbers. The psychic was quoted as hearing a child’s voice saying, “Stop and watch me.”
Waitress, Julia Rosenwinkel at the time of the segment, heard a really small voice crying while washing her hands in an upstairs bathroom in the Dome Room. Bartender, John Karrer, saw a white tuxedo figure reddish hair glowing behind a bar which once existed on the east end of the room.
On February 26, 1997, this building was designated a Chicago landmark.
The Ghost Research Society investigated Excalibur on
October 8, 1999. Team
members included: Stan Suho, Lucy Solis, Howard Hight, Greg Maurer and Dale Kaczmarek
Equipment setup: The G.E.I.S.T. hardware was setup and the Negative Ion Detector and Tri-Field Natural EM Meter was connected to the device. Infrared and visible light cameras were employed. One filming the Ouija session table and another facing down the upstairs passage. Our Command Center was one floor above where the Ouija experiment table and participants were. Recording devices were also used to pick up any strange sounds.
Experiments performed: Howard Hight, Lucy Solis and Stoker Hunt were involved with the Ouija Board session. Hight and Solis were actual participants while Hunt took notes of any board movement towards letters or words.
Dale Kaczmarek: There were some minor EMF spikes on the Tri-Field Natural EM meter that could have been something as this device does not pick up interior AC fields. Besides that no one in our group experienced anything out of the ordinary.
Evidence collected: No evidence was collected during this investigation. The group took a number of pictures which came out perfectly normal and videotape was also shot on which no anomalies were collected.
Conclusions: This was a fascinating location to investigate given the past history of hauntings by numerous employees and patrons to this establishment. This entire investigation, albeit it was a television show primarily, was shot in visible light in daylight conditions and there were some sounds from other locations in the building due to the fact that employees were cleaning up in preparation for the evening's business.
It wasn't an ideal scenario for collecting paranormal evidence and the board barely moved at all. It did spell out any words and never even moved close to a single letter. This location needs to be investigated under proper conditions for any credible evidence to be collected.
Ghost Research Society (www.ghostresearch.org)
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