Excerpts: Preface & Chapter 5
Like the millions of tourists who visit "The Windy City" each year, you'll make stops at world-famous museums, marvel at towering skyscrapers, explore the town's terrific neighborhoods, and speed along the shore of Lake Michigan on fabulous Lake Shore Drive. But unlike those other tourists, we won't be searching for priceless paintings, pioneering architecture, local heritage or luscious views. We're on the lookout for . . . g-g-g-g-ghosts!
Chicago's history is full of scary stories, terrible fires, hard times, and the toughest gangsters ever known. What's more, Chicagoans have always loved to tell of terrifying events that happened—and still happen—to ordinary people. Hitchhiking phantoms, mysterious handprints, perfectly preserved corpses: tales of these and other oddities are told every day in each of the city's neighborhoods, making Chicago's supernatural folklore some of the strangest in the world. But this folklore tells more than mere ghost stories; it tells a lot about the many kinds of people that have lived—and died—in this endlessly intriguing city.
So turn down the lights and get ready for a very "spirited" journey.
We're off on a whirlwind ride through the world's biggest ghost town!
Chapter 5: Scary Harry and the Curse of the Cubs
Wrigley Field—home of Chicago's usually awful National League baseball team—hasn't been haunted for too long. It's been only a handful of years since the death of Harry Caray in 1998. Harry was the longtime Cubs' announcer. He was famous for singing badly, wearing funny glasses, and shouting, "Holy Cow!"
Three Possible Ghosts
Harry is now believed to be Wrigley's resident phantom. Why do fans think Harry stayed behind? The reason, they say, is obvious. After Harry died, the Cubs began playing too well! Normally, the Cubs just weren't good enough to compete. Then, a strange and unexpected winning streak began. People started to believe that maybe some supernatural influence was at work.
In the fall of 1998, ghosthunters began investigating the possibility that Harry's ghost was indeed contributing to the Cubs' good luck. They discovered unusual electromagnetic energy in the bleachers. These seats are straight across from the announcer's box where Harry sat for years. Still, no strange activity was found in the box itself. Therefore, some believe that it's not Harry hanging around at all. Rather, it could be an unknown "Bleacher Bum"—one of the Cubs' famous fans—who may have died around the same time that Harry did.
Even before talk of a haunting by Harry, some fans believed that a musician named Steve Goodman was haunting the ballpark. In life, Goodman was a huge Cubs' fan. In fact, he wrote a number of songs about his favorite team, including Go, Cubs, Go. The singer loved the Cubs so much that he asked to be buried inside Wrigley Field under home plate. To everyone's surprise, the Cubs granted Goodman his wish. His ashes are there today!
The Curse of the Billy Goat
Whether or not Wrigley Field is actually haunted remains uncertain. No one is quite sure who or what might be hanging around this popular spot. What most Chicagoans do agree on, however, is that the Cubs themselves are cursed.
The curse was reportedly placed on the team long ago. One afternoon, a local tavern owner named William Siannis tried to take a goat inside Wrigley Field during a Cubs game. Siannis was trying to get publicity for his bar, the Billy Goat Tavern. When the gatekeepers refused to let the goat inside, Siannis put a curse on the team. The curse has supposedly kept the Cubs out of the World Series since 1945!
Since then, several people—including William himself—have tried to undo the curse. Almost every season, however, the Cubs keep losing a "paranormal" number of games. But what's even scarier? The team's fans still think that the Cubs are the greatest team around!