In 1856, a real estate tycoon Charles J. Hull built a home in the near westside of Chicago, which in that time period was considered to be the upper class area of the city. Mr. Hull’s wife died in the second floor bedroom and shortly after a few months of her death it was reported that her ghost haunted the room. After the rest of the Hull family vacated the house the Little Sisters of the Poor and a used furniture store occupied the building and also claimed to have experienced the presence of Mrs. Hull.
After the Chicago Fire of 1871, burning down most of the westside, the wealthy moved to other parts of the city and the near westside became inhabited by Italian, Greek and Jewish immigrants. The area’s landscape went from luxurious homes with green lawns and hedges to tenement houses and factories.
Jane Adams was a social reformer who was the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace prize. In 1889, Jane Adams along with her partner Ellen Starr Gates started their social equality efforts in Chicago by opening up the Hull House as a peaceful haven for the immigrants living in the area. They provided shelter, education, and job training to improve the quality of life of the residents who resided in an area that became plagued with crime and crooked cops and was known as the “Dark Corner of Chicago”. The Hull House was purchased by the University of Illinois and still stands today as a museum of social reform efforts made by Jane Adams, Ellen Gates, and the staff of Hull House.
The Devil Baby
The Hull House became a footnote in the realm of urban legend folklore by becoming known as the House of the Devil Baby of Chicago. The story goes that a catholic woman married an atheist man. The woman tried to put a picture of the Virgin Mary on a wall of their house and the man ripped the picture down and tore it to shreds. The man yelled out, “I would rather have the Devil himself in this house than that picture.” Shortly after the woman gave birth to a child that had scales and a tail. Some variations of the story claim that the child had horns and a hooves for feet. The baby was taken to and abandoned at the Hull House. Supposedly, Jane Adams took the baby in and while trying to baptize the baby, the infant stood up, walked around, and was mocking the priest. Rumors ran rampant about the “Hull House Devil Baby” and people would visit the House and ask to see the infamous baby, some even tried to offer money for a peak of the demonic creature.
Jane Adams and the staff of Hull House denied the stories. Jane Adams even wrote in her autobiography dispelling the rumors and claims of the Devil Baby. People to this day claim to see at night a demonic face of a child appearing out the attic window of the Hull House. Whether the story has some truths or not, there are now known birth defects that could have happened that could logically explain on how this once started as a rumor then turned to the legend of the Devil Baby.
Visit The Museum. (n.d.). Retrieved June 05, 2016, from http://www.hullhousemuseum.org/overview/
Jane Addams and Hull House. (n.d.). Retrieved June 05, 2016, from http://www.hauntdetective.com/hauntings-legends-folklore/chicago/westside/85-jane-addams-and-hull-house
The Devil Baby of Hull House. (2011, October 3). Retrieved June 05, 2016, from http://www.chicagonow.com/chicago-quirk/2011/10/the-devil-baby-of-hull-house/
JANE ADDAM’S HULL HOUSE. (n.d.). Retrieved June 05, 2016, from http://www.prairieghosts.com/hull.html