A Night in Chicago's Most Haunted Hotel
My Stay in the Congress Plaza Hotel on Halloween Weekend
I very unknowingly spent a weekend in Chicago's most haunted hotel on Halloween weekend.
Last year I booked a weekend for my then boyfriend (now ex) and I in Chicago. The plan was to road trip from Niagara Falls, Canada to Chicago and spend the weekend sight seeing and going to a Chicago Bears game. Trying to save money, as we are both students, we booked one of the most affordable hotels we could find through Hotels.com. His mom even offered to book it for us so we could use her discount code. She booked us two nights in The Congress Plaza Hotel.
The price was really reasonable, and the hotel was close to all the hot spots we wanted to visit, and the stadium, so we didn't bother to look up any reviews before booking or arriving. Upon arrival, at first glance the hotel was beautiful. The lobby was very elegant and the staff was friendly. Now, this is a very old hotel, it first opened in 1893. While it's gone through many renovations and updates, the hallways, elevator and rooms still feel very old, and even eerie. The hallways looked like they were straight out of The Shining, and all the decor was very old fashioned.
Our room was on the 13th floor - yes, it had a 13th floor. The elevator ride up was nothing unusual. The layout of the floors were a little confusing though. There were a lot of doors you had to pass through to get to the rooms, a weird amount of mini corridors.
After settling into our room we decided to hang out and plan what we wanted to do the next day. My ex Googled something like "best things to do in Chicago". Of course, the first article to come up is "Most Haunted Places to Visit in Chicago on Halloween Weekend", and the very first item on the list is to visit The Congress Plaza Hotel. My ex loses it.. He hated anything horror or paranormal related, I on the other hand really enjoy it. He read story after story about paranormal reportings and weird things that have happened in the hotel.
Apparently the elevator in the East Wing (the wing we were staying in) frequently stops on the 8th floor while going up, but there won't be any one there when the doors open. There's a room on the 12th floor of the East Wing that is permanently sealed up due to it being so haunted that not even the cleaning staff will enter it. Reports of voices in the Great Hall, numerous ghosts, and other weird occurrences. If you search "Chicago Haunted Hotel" tons of different stories and theories will come up.
Our first night in the hotel I woke up around 3 am to my ex literally hiding under the covers shaking because he swears he heard someone outside our room trying to get in and jiggling the door handle. We hadn't heard or seen a single person on our whole floor, so it did seem suspicious, but I assured him he was just paranoid.
The next morning he's still convinced something - or someone, was trying to get into our room. We're in the elevator going to the Lobby and it stops on the 7th floor. The doors open but there's no one around. They close again and I laugh and say well it wasn't the 8th floor so it wasn't a "ghost". The doors close and the elevator starts going up.. It stops at the 8th floor, the doors open, and there's no one there. I hit the close door button a couple times and they finally close after what felt like an unnaturally long time, and the elevator goes down to the Lobby. Of course my ex is completely spooked now, he swears it was a ghost and starts reciting all the horror stories and reviews he read. I just brush it off as technical issues, it is an old hotel.
That night we're going to bed, and the same thing. I wake up at 3am to my ex huddled under the covers telling me someones trying to get into the room. I reassure him its nothing and to go back to sleep.
The next morning was check out, and the end of our stay. I personally think there is an explanation to everything we experienced in the hotel. I wanted to stop by all the sealed up rooms and enter the Great Halls but my boyfriend refused to stay in the hotel even a minute longer than we had to. I didn't experience anything that made me believe it was really haunted. While the old decor and creepy sealed up rooms can cause your mind to play games with you, I didn't have any paranormal encounters.