Haunted Chicago and Sherlock Holmes

by | Oct 17, 2018 | On writing | 5 comments

On Sale December 4th–a Sherlock Holmes inspired Anthology!

by Jamie Freveletti

Halloween is upon us. I know this because I’m stocking up on candy and Ichabod Crane and his skull friend (see photo below) are on display in the window of my house. We found Ichbod on a trip through the town of Sleepy Hollow a few years ago. I like Halloween and I also like the annual retelling of stories about haunted places in and around Chicago. In fact, I liked them so much that I added these highlights to my soon- to- be- published story featuring Sherlock Holmes. The Case Of The Ghost On The Lake. 

A little background; Leslie Klinger, an avid Sherlockian, and Laurie R. King, author of the Mary Russell series featuring Sherlock Holmes, have been editing anthologies featuring the character for a few years now. In fact, our own Gayle Lynds wrote for an earlier anthology, A Study in Sherlock. Last year they approached me to write a short story for the upcoming collection. The resulting anthology also includes stories by a whole host of great writers and launches on December 4th.

Initially I was petrified. Sherlock Holmes is such an iconic character that I wasn’t sure I was up to the task of bringing him to life. But as I thought about it, an idea started forming in my mind; what if he solved a case in present day Chicago? And what if the mystery involved some the most haunted and/or unique locations around the city? I also wanted to throw in some hidden facts that only a Sherlockian would know. As you can imagine, there are reams of Holmes fans around the world and I figured I could put in an “Easter Egg” or hidden hint, in the story. It’s there, but I won’t reveal it here. Just a fun thing that only Sherlockians would be able to pinpoint and embellish upon.

Ichabod Crane from the
Legend of Sleepy Hollow

There are plenty of “haunted” places here in Chicago. One of the most famous involves the old Congress Hotel, where Al Capone stayed and kept an office, among others. Room 441 in that hotel is said to be haunted by a translucent female ghost, eerie noises and moving furniture. This room supposedly garners the most calls to security in the hotel to this day.

Then there is Resurrection Mary, believed to be the ghost of a young woman killed by a hit and run driver. As the legend goes, Mary started her haunting career in the 1930’s when she began appearing near the old Resurrection Cemetery. Said to be dressed in a white, vintage-looking gown and wearing dancing shoes, she hitches a ride, asks to be let out near the Resurrection Cemetery, and promptly disappears.

I’m not sure I believe in ghosts, but I have friends who swear they’ve seen one so perhaps I’ve never been in the right place at the right time. And honestly, that’s just fine with me.

Have you seen a ghost or experienced a strange phenomenon? Do tell in the comments below or on our Facebook page and Happy Halloween!

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  1. Karna Bodman

    Fascinating piece about the city where I grew up. Now I simply must pre-order your new Sherlock story! And from reading your description, this certainly sounds like a "made-for-movie" endeavor! Thanks for a great post — and happy sleuthing.

  2. Robin Burcell

    Yes, I have experienced a ghostly moment… I may have to save that for my upcoming post. It's a bit long for a comment! I love ghost stories. Ghost Whisperer certainly had plenty of success on TV dealing with ghostly plots. And, since I adore Sherlock Holmes (who doesn't) I'm looking forward to the anthology!

  3. Gayle Lynds

    I'm thrilled your story is in the new anthology, Jamie. I'll bet it's fabulous, and can't wait to read it! And I loved hearing about Resurrection Mary. What a tale!

  4. Chris Goff

    Yes, like Robin, I have had a ghostly moment. Actually several. Can't wait to read the stories! And I'll never stay in Room 441 of the Congress Hotel–one of my favorite places to stay when I visit Chicago. Glad to have the inside track on this!