CELEBRITY chef Pete Evans has shared details of a close encounter of the paranormal kind with his followers on social media.
The spooky incident happened in a hotel on a recent trip to Chicago — and it turns out Evans is not alone in finding the place beyond weird.
“This has to be the strangest post I have ever written ...” Evans told his 187,000 Facebook followers on May 31.
“After arriving in Chicago tonight I had a quick bite at the Girl & The Goat, then I checked into my hotel quite late. The walk from the elevator to room 447 was one of the weirdest experiences ... it suddenly felt airily cold and I sensed that something just wasn’t quite right with the energy, not only in the hallway, but even more so once I was inside my room.”
“I tried to shake it off and tell myself it was all in my head, but the extremely uneasy feeling didn’t go away, if anything it became more intense, so I grabbed my bags and pretty much ran out! I bypassed check-out, jumped straight in a cab and got the %$&# outa there.
“While on the way to a new hotel, I asked the cab driver if he knew anything about that particular hotel being haunted, he said he hadn’t heard anything, so I googled ‘Congress Plaza Hotel Chicago haunted?’ Numerous stories came up about other peoples gravely bizarre experiences in the hotel and I got some serious goose bumps!
“Check them out if you like, it says it’s the most haunted hotel in the USA. Has anyone ever had anything like this happen to them before? It was very much a first for me and it scared the s#@% out of me.
“I will admit I’ve always been super sceptical about the paranormal, or at least I was.”
The post prompted hundreds of comments, with many people sharing their own experiences of the supernormal, while others asked Evans if he had been consuming alcohol or “green tea” (possibly a euphemism for something that is smoked rather than sipped).
Another follower joked that perhaps the super health-conscious chef — whose predilection for activated almonds is well known — had inadvertently eaten some genetically modified corn, beef or soy.
“Hopefully it will just be food orientated posts from now on,” Evans posted later. “PS: For the sceptics — I don’t drink coffee or green tea or even alcohol and there’s no doubt in my mind that what I felt was real, but each to their own.”Evans is far from alone in reporting an unnerving experience at the Congress Plaza Hotel.
One reviewer on TripAdvisor who stayed at the hotel in 2009 writes of lying in bed and seeing the curtains move “as if somebody was peeking at me”, while the reviewer’s friend heard someone whistling in the room while she was in the bathroom ... on three occasions.
Built in 1893 to accommodate guests for the World’s Columbian Exhibition (later renamed the World Fair), the hotel became linked to the story of a pharmacist serial killer, Dr Holmes, who would meet young women in the building’s lobby before taking them back to his dungeon, where he would torture and kill them.
The gangster Al Capone is also thought to have owned a part share in the hotel for a time, although there are no records that he actually stayed there.
Interestingly, a travel blog warned visitors back in March not to book room 441 — just down the hallway from Evans’ suite — “as security is called there than any other room”.
The same blog refers to the legend of “a lone man who roams the eighth floor”, voices heard in empty ballrooms and a big scare on the 12th floor — “where there is said to be a room so frightening that the door was fastened shut from the outside”.