The Haunting of The Drake Hotel: Chicago’s Ghostly Getaway

  • By: Gareth Popovic
  • Date: 20 January 2024
  • Time to read: 7 min.

Introduction of Drake Hotel

Welcome to The Drake Hotel, a place where history and mystery intertwine. Nestled in the heart of Chicago, this iconic establishment holds secrets that span decades, lurking within its grand halls and shadowy corners. Dare to venture forth as we unravel the enigmatic tales and chilling encounters that have left an indelible mark on this historic haven.

History of Drake Hotel

Nestled in the heart of Chicago, The Drake Hotel boasts a storied history that dates back to its grand opening on New Year’s Eve in 1920. Originally envisioned by the prestigious Drake family, the hotel was designed as a symbol of elegance and opulence, catering to the city’s elite and distinguished guests.

From its inception, The Drake Hotel became a beacon of luxury in Chicago, featuring lavish ballrooms, opulent furnishings, and a world-class dining experience. Over the years, it hosted an array of prominent figures, including politicians, Hollywood celebrities, and international dignitaries, solidifying its reputation as one of the city’s most distinguished establishments.

Throughout the 20th century, The Drake Hotel witnessed significant historical events, playing a pivotal role in the city’s cultural and social landscape. During the Prohibition era, its famous Palm Court and Coq d’Or became secret gathering spots for bootleggers and socialites, adding to its allure and mystique. As World War II dawned, The Drake Hotel transformed into a hub for military activity, accommodating soldiers, dignitaries, and government officials. Its historic significance during this time further cemented its place in American history.

Haunting Legends and Supernatural Phenomena

Within the illustrious walls of The Drake Hotel, an otherworldly presence lingers, beckoning brave souls to explore its eerie mysteries. Tales of haunting apparitions, chilling encounters, and unexplained phenomena have woven a tapestry of paranormal activity that has intrigued visitors and investigators alike. Step into the enigmatic realm of this historic haven, where the line between the living and the spectral blurs, leaving a chilling aura of the unknown.

The Woman In Red

In the shadowed annals of The Drake Hotel’s history, the haunting tale of The Woman in Red weaves its chilling web. Back in 1920, on New Year’s Eve, amidst a grand gala attended by Chicago’s most influential, a woman adorned in a blood-red dress stole the night’s attention. Heartbroken and betrayed, she sought solace on the tenth floor or perhaps even the roof, where she met her tragic end—falling to her demise.

Since that fateful night, her spirit lingers, wandering the Gold Room, the Palm Court, and the very floor from which she took her fatal plunge. Guests have reported encountering her ethereal presence, most frequently on the haunting tenth floor, where the echoes of her sorrowful tale reverberate through time.

Woman In Black – Mysterious Murder

Black unfurls its enigmatic tale. In the ominous year of 1944, a harrowing murder unfolded within the hotel’s elegant walls. Adele Born Williams, a prominent socialite and esteemed wife of a state department attaché, fell victim to a deadly encounter.

As she retreated to her room with her daughter, a mysterious figure emerged—an unsettling middle-aged woman with gray hair, draped in a haunting Persian lamb coat, black as the depths of the night. Shockingly, she opened fire, forever staining the hotel’s legacy with tragedy. The woman vanished into the shadows, leaving behind an unsolved mystery that continues to send shivers down the spine.

To add an eerie twist, a week later, the murder weapon materialized on a staircase—a staircase the police had meticulously searched multiple times. Stranger still, the spare key that had been reported missing from the room reappeared at the front desk, casting an eerie cloud over the investigation.

Ghost of Frank’s Family

In the eerie lore of The Drake Hotel, the chilling tale of Bobby Franks sends shivers down the spine. Kidnapped and brutally murdered at fifteen, Bobby’s own cousin Richard Leob and accomplice Nathan Leopold perpetrated the heinous crime in 1924. Thrill-seekers hungry for notoriety, their shocking deeds made headlines, earning them infamy.

Fleeing prying eyes, the grief-stricken Frank family sought solace within The Drake Hotel, their refuge from the outside world. Here, they spent their remaining days, both in life and death. In 1928, the father’s heart gave way, succumbing to a fatal heart attack within the hotel suite. A mere nine years later, the mother, too, breathed her last within the hotel’s enigmatic embrace.

Today, whispers echo of their spectral apparitions, forever wandering the haunted halls, trapped in eternal mourning for their beloved son. The presence of sorrowful spirits lingers, leaving an indelible mark on this historic and eerie haven—the enigmatic realm of The Drake Hotel.

As night descends upon The Drake Hotel, the veil between realms grows thin, inviting whispers from the past to echo through its halls. The haunting presence of lost souls, the shadows of long-forgotten tales, and the enigmatic allure of the unknown continue to enthrall those who dare to embrace the paranormal realm within this iconic establishment.

Popular Culture and Media Coverage of Drake Hotel

Renowned for its mysterious history and ghostly allure, The Drake Hotel has garnered attention in various paranormal documentaries and TV shows. Notably, it featured prominently in the gripping series “Phantoms Unveiled: Haunted Secrets,” where investigators explored its spectral tales and chilling encounters.

In literature, The Drake Hotel has left an indelible impression, gracing the pages of books like Haunted Chicago: Famous Phantoms, Sinister Sites, and Lingering Legends by Tom Ogden and Chicago Haunted Handbook by Jeff Morris. These literary works unravel the supernatural stories enveloping the hotel, offering riveting accounts of its haunted past.

Today, The Drake Hotel stands as a must-visit destination for history buffs and paranormal enthusiasts, allured by its enigmatic presence in popular culture and media. This iconic establishment emanates an aura of mystery and the otherworldly, beckoning all who crave an immersive encounter with its eerie and captivating ambiance.


As you bid farewell to The Drake Hotel, remember that its haunted history lingers on, forever enigmatic and elusive. The echoes of the past whisper through the walls, drawing you into the realm of the unknown. As twilight falls, the shadows dance, and the spirits of the past continue their spectral journey, leaving you with an eerie sense that some mysteries may forever remain unsolved.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Where is The Drake Hotel located?
A: The Drake Hotel is located in Chicago, Illinois, United States.

Q. Is The Drake Hotel really haunted?
Yes, The Drake Hotel has a rich history of reported paranormal activity and haunting legends that have captivated guests and staff alike.

Q. Who is The Woman in Red, and where can her ghost be seen?
The Woman in Red is a ghost said to haunt The Drake Hotel since a tragic New Year’s Eve in 1920. Guests have reported encountering her ethereal presence on the tenth floor, where she met her demise, as well as in the Gold Room and the Palm Court.

Q. What is the story behind The Woman in Black’s mysterious murder?
The Woman in Black refers to the perpetrator of a harrowing murder that took place in 1944 at The Drake Hotel. Adele Born Williams, a socialite, was the victim of a deadly encounter within the hotel’s walls. The murder remains unsolved, with strange occurrences surrounding the investigation.

Q. Are the ghosts of Frank’s Family seen at The Drake Hotel?
The tragic tale of Bobby Franks, kidnapped and murdered in 1924, is connected to The Drake Hotel. Bobby’s grief-stricken family found refuge within the hotel, and their spectral apparitions are said to wander the haunted halls, forever mourning their beloved son.

Q. Can visitors experience ghostly encounters at The Drake Hotel?
While we cannot guarantee ghostly encounters, The Drake Hotel’s haunted history has left many visitors with spine-tingling experiences and a sense of the enigmatic realm that surrounds the property.

Q. Is The Drake Hotel safe to visit despite its haunted reputation?
Absolutely! The Drake Hotel is a renowned and safe place for visitors to enjoy their stay. The haunting legends add to its allure, but the hotel continues to welcome guests with its historic charm and exceptional service.

Q. Can I take a ghost tour or learn more about the hotel’s haunted history?
Currently, The Drake Hotel does not offer official ghost tours. However, guests can immerse themselves in the hotel’s history and legends through exhibits, historical information, and interaction with knowledgeable staff.

Q. Are there any specific rooms or areas known for frequent paranormal activity?
The tenth floor, where The Woman in Red met her tragic end, is often associated with paranormal activity. Additionally, the Gold Room and the Palm Court are places where guests have reported encounters with supernatural phenomena.

Q. Has The Drake Hotel been featured in any paranormal investigations or television shows?
Yes, over the years, The Drake Hotel’s haunted history has attracted the attention of paranormal investigators and television programs exploring supernatural phenomena.

Q. Can I request a room with a history of paranormal activity?
While we respect the legends and history associated with our hotel, we prioritize the comfort and preferences of our guests. We cannot guarantee specific rooms associated with paranormal activity but are committed to providing a memorable and enjoyable stay for all.

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