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Somebody's watching me: Tales from haunted Chicago apartments

Chicago residents tell stories of paranormal activity in their own home

  • Grace Faoro, who thinks her Lakeview home is haunted, poses in the Tribune studio recently.
Grace Faoro, who thinks her Lakeview home is haunted, poses in the Tribune… (Lenny Gilmore/RedEye )
October 29, 2013|By Courtney Griffin | RedEye

From the North Side to the South Side, remnants of haunted Chicago scatter across the city. Everything from serial killers to devastating fires have left their indelible mark and continue to haunt some of the Chicago’s most frequented locations.

But what if your ghost story took place right in your own living room? As these three Chicagoans told us, everyday life gets quite spooky when you’re living with a ghost.

Not so alone

When Grace Faoro moved into her Lakeview apartment in the spring of 2008, she found the quaint lakeside neighborhood to be instantly charming. Her apartment sits on an idyllic street, lined with trees, 1920s-era brick buildings and sidewalks filled with dog-walkers.

So it’s probably appropriate that Faoro’s first clue that her spacious one-bedroom apartment is haunted came from her dog, a 7-year-old rescue greyhound by the name of Luna.

“She started having issues when I left the house,” said Faoro, 41, of her then-2-year-old dog. Luna had never been the anxious type, but beginning in late summer, only four months after moving into the apartment, Faoro began to notice the effects of what seemed to be a bad case of separation anxiety.

“I would come home and the dog was so upset that she had eaten through the molding on the walls,” she said.

Faoro then began finding other changes around the apartment, where she lives alone. Small items appeared to be moved around; glasses and vases seemed to be mysteriously flying off of shelves and breaking on the kitchen floor. It could have all been a coincidence—after all, Faoro had only been there a few months and maybe she didn’t know all the quirks of the house. But the items grew bigger and the noises grew louder, and it became clear that maybe Faoro and Luna weren’t as alone as they thought.

“One day [Luna] was with me, and all we hear is ‘BAM!’ from the kitchen,” said Faoro, who immediately ran back to the room to find the toaster, unplugged, sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor.

Faoro soon brought in a medium, who confirmed there was a “presence” in her apartment. She then called on a priest, who Faoro said blessed the apartment, the dog and her with holy water. And that was the end of it, for several years at least, until this past February, when the paranormal activity started up again.

With the help of Chicago Paranormal Seekers, a small team of paranormal investigators and researchers, Faoro was able to determine that there is now another spirit in her house, and once again, her dogs (she now has two) are responding.

“They always get up at 2:30 in the morning and just stare in the kitchen,” Faoro said. “It’s very strange.”

A West Side Story

Brian Bridges grew up in a two-flat in Chicago's West Side neighborhood. Like many other kids in his neighborhood, Bridges grew up with his extended family, constantly surrounded by uncles, aunts and grandparents. But after an unexpected death in the family, the home that was filled with so much love and warmth seemed to become a little cooler.

The house had three bedrooms on each floor of the two-flat, all next to one another. Bridges’ room was the third bedroom on the first floor, and was situated directly below the room of the family member who had passed. While the room above him was vacant, it sure didn’t seem that way.

“On some nights I would hear footsteps and furniture moving,” said Bridges, who was 12 years old when he began hearing what seemed like some paranormal activity. “I would be so frightened some nights that I would sleep with a Wiffle Ball bat.”

Bridges would check around the house to see if anyone else had been woken up by the loud noises, but was always surprised that no one had heard anything from the second-floor bedroom. He refused to enter the room after being continually haunted by whatever may have been living inside, and eventually moved out of the house several years later.

Bridges, now 36 and a resident of Streeterville, never told anyone about what he heard, figuring they all wouldn’t believe him. But finally, after many nights of strange sounds, he told his mother about the noise from the second floor.

“My mom believed me,” Bridges said. “She told me to just pray to God for the resting of his Soul.”

Seeing Blue

Dave Shaffer had a weird feeling about his two-bedroom Humboldt Park apartment from the moment he walked in.

“It just felt kinda stuffy,” said Shaffer, 27. “It felt like someone else was there.”

The 1500-square-foot apartment was at least 100 years old, by Shaffer’s estimation, and--as he heard from a neighbor--was formerly a brothel. The same neighbor told him about a man who came into the brothel one night and murdered several prostitutes—but Shaffer had his doubts about that story.

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