In 1856, Hull House was constructed by Charles J. Hull in one of the most fashionable sections of Chicago. However, after the Chicago Fire of 1871, most of the upper class moved to other parts of the city and Italian, Greek and Jewish settlers began taking their place. By the 1880s, Hull House was surrounded by factories and tenement houses. It later became one of the most famous locations in Chicago.
Jane Addams and college friend Ellen Starr Gates opened the house in 1889 to provide education to the newly arrived European immigrants. West of what was once known as the wealthy section of Chicago was plagued by crime, vice, prostitution and drug addiction. Jane Addams became the "voice of humanity" for the less fortunate. Addams and Gates turned the house into a shelter mainly for women but also provided for the homeless. Over time, Hull House expanded as more space was needed. Twelve buildings were added but removed later on when the house was renovated.
In 1935, Jane Addams died but the Hull House Association continued her work at the settlement house until the 1960's. At that time, the property was purchased by the University of Illinois, bringing an end to one of Chicago's greatest achievements in social reform.
By now, I'm sure you are wondering what spirits could be roaming such a monumental home as this. A story of one ghost is that of the wife of Charles Hull who died of natural causes. Within a few months of death, her spirit was seen in the very room of which she died in. However, this would not be the only "supernatural" thing Hull House was known for.
Another story told about Hull House would be of the "Devil Baby". A child supposedly born to a devout Catholic woman and her atheist husband was said to have taken refuge there. He was described as having pointed ears, horns, scale-covered skin and a tail. According to the story, the young woman had attempted to display a picture of the Virgin Mary in the house but her husband had torn it down. He stated that he would rather have the Devil himself in the house that the picture. When the woman had become pregnant, the Devil Baby had been their curse. After enduring numerous indignities because of the child, the father allegedly took it to Hull House. It is said that after taking them in, staff members in the house took the baby to be baptized but it got away from the priest and began dancing and laughing. Not knowing what to do, Jane locked it in the attic where it later died.
No one knows how this story began, who started it or if it's even true. However, some believe that it holds some elements of the truth. There were speculations that the child was a badly deformed infant who was brought to Hull House by an immigrant woman. Another theory was that the deformed child lived within the neighborhood and the rumors led to Hull House. Jane Addams devoted forty pages of her autobiography dismissing the rumors.
However, some people have claimed to see on certain nights the face of a disfigured person. Some say they still see the ghostly image til this day.