In her book, Twenty Years at Hull House, the late Jane Addams
(1860-1935) wrote: “Another Sunday afternoon in the early spring (of 1889), on
the way to a Bohemian mission in the carriage of one of its founders, we passed
a fine old house standing well back from the street, surrounded on three sides
by a broad piazza which was supported by wooden pillars of exceptionally pure
Corinthian design and proportion. I
was so attracted by the house that I set forth to visit it the very next day,
but though I searched for it then and for several days after, I could not find
it, and at length I most reluctantly gave up the search.”
Later accompanied by Miss Ellen Gates Starr, they
succeeded in finding “the fine old house” and established Hull House.
The house was built in 1856 by Charles J. Hull (1820-1889), an early real
estate promoter who did much to develop the west side of
the war, she became a field nurse and after the war returned to the residence to
care for the children. Here she
nursed them during illnesses, which finally caused their deaths in 1866 and
1874. Eventually she inherited his
fortune and donated the mansion. She
is buried in Rosehill
mansion was taken over by the Little Sisters of the Poor and used for a while as
a home for the elderly. Then it
became a secondhand furniture store and when Ms. Addams saw it that Sunday
afternoon, it was being used as an office and storeroom for a factory that had
been built at the rear.
Louise Bowen was a life-long friend of Jane Addams.
Allegedly mysterious figures occupied their bedchamber on the second
floor. Canon Barnett and his wife
had restless evenings there, as did both Jane and Mary Smith who claimed to have
seen a woman in white who glided away and passed through a locked door.
girls preparing for a Christmas play reported seeing a lady in white sitting on
a box and looking at them. That was
the last reported appearance of the figure.
These stories come directly from Jane Addams book Second Twenty Years
Bowen stated that on at least three separate occasions she put out fires that
started in an upstairs room from no apparent origin.
The fires would not scorch or singe anything nearby and sometimes go out
by themselves almost as though a pyrokinetic poltergeist was at work.
Jane turned that room in a storeroom and then a dressing room for the
Hull House Theater.
that same room on the southeast corner of the building the curtains never want
to stay closed and reports of shadowy monk-like figures have periodically been
observed peering out from deep inside the room.
The building is completely locked up at night with only campus security
on patrol around the outside. These
monks are completely without any natural explanation.
the spring of 1985 a woman named Stuart saw the shutters of the north windows
flapping by themselves as though some unseen person was moving them back and
In the fall of 1979 during a visit to Hull House, this author photographed four distinct shadowy monk-like figures standing on the interior staircase leading up to the second floor. The figures are semi-transparent because you can see the stairs through their bodies! The figure directly in the center actually appears to be shrouded in monk’s habit and its two hands are locked together in prayer. These figures were invisible to the naked eye and only captured with a 35mm camera that was equipped with black and white infrared film.
have been reports of a strange night watchman often seen sitting in a chair in
the rear of the building at night. He
was observed smoking a pipe and reading a newspaper. The only problem with this
story is, again, there isn’t anyone in that building after regular business
hours. This strange figure was
reported by a group of about five people on an Excursions Into The Unknown,
Inc. tours. Of course, we
immediately rushed around to see this strange figure and when we arrived there
moments later, not only was the figure gone but the chair he was sitting in had
vanished as well, however the smell of cherry pipe tobacco was strong in the
the most fascinating and fanciful story connected with Hull House happened
around the turn of the century and was reported by Ben Hecht (1893-1964) a
famous Herald Examiner reporter. It
seems that rumors began to circulate a woman living at Hull House had given
birth to what might be best described as a Devil’s Child.
An infant with cloven hooves for feet, horns on its head and a small
tail. According to Hecht, every lead
that he ran down brought him right back to Hull House.
Jane Addams actually devoted over forty pages of her autobiography Second
Twenty Years at Hull House to try to dispel some of the rumors.
that people came to the house demanding the Ms. Addams bring out that strange
baby and mother while others mildly asked to see this strange incarnation or
offered to buy an admission. No baby
was ever discovered and eventually the story just died away.
Addams died in
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