Hi. I'm Anna, and I'm obsessed with everything spooky — so when I got the chance to stay the night at Chicago's most haunted hotel, the Congress Plaza, you bet your ass I went for it.
Built for the 1893 World's Fair, the place has a colorful past.
So after some research and dusting off my Ouija board, I grabbed my spookiest friend, Ren, to stay a night with me on the hotel's fourth floor, which is said to be the most haunted.
From the moment we walked into the lobby, we got a very Tower of Terror–like vibe. The place is gorgeous and filled to the brim with history, but also feels like something dark is lingering in the air. It's hard to explain.
We went ~ghost hunting~ using the free app called Ghost Detector and found ghosts named Dora and Mabel. In our room, we met one named Mary. More on Mary later.
We then began exploring, and Ren was the bravest, so she started knocking on doors and opening sketchy closets.
We also noticed a lot of rooms were locked from the outside, and learned that rooms in the hotel are supposedly off-limits to guests when too much paranormal activity is reported.
We trekked up to the 12th floor to find the most famous room that'd been boarded up. When we knocked, it was completely hollow, and SOMETHING moved inside, because it sounded like a knock back. We could have just been imagining it, but it scared the shit out of us, so we BOLTED.
Here is a photo I took while running/falling down the stairs:
We decided to take a break to calm down, and then we slithered down to the most notoriously haunted room in the ENTIRE hotel: room 441. Just looking at the door, it seemed like someone had gone out of their way to make it look terrifying:
Ren started knocking on room 441 and lying on the damn floor to see if she could see inside.
We also played with my Ouija board in our room, but nothing happened.
The two of us were also fascinated by just how terrifying the whole hotel felt. It felt like we were in The Shining, though we 100% obviously were not. Here's some photo proof that Jack Nicholson's character would've definitely gone mad here, too:
Okay, so here was the scariest part of the night: reuniting with Mary, the ghost we met in our room.
Legend has it there's a ~shadow woman~ who kicks guests awake in spooky room 441. Her name isn't known, but Ren and I were pretty damn sure this woman was Mary — especially since we were staying just a few doors down.
It was around 1 a.m., and we were determined to come in contact with the spirit the Ghost Detector app had located in our room earlier. So I pulled out my phone again, which said we found a demon this time. Could it be an angry Mary, because we were disturbing her quiet, peaceful night?
For some reason, I yelled, "Hey, Mary, suck my ass!" because I was delirious and this is the person I am. Immediately we heard a huge BANG in the corner of our room. It had to be demon Mary. It freaked me out, and I swear I felt my stomach drop out of my ass, but I kept repeating over and over that it was a coincidence — the building is old, so it could have been pipes, right? RIGHT???? Ren wasn't convinced and it scared the shit out of her so much that she didn't sleep all night. We sat in nervous silence until I eventually fell asleep.