Book: Voices from the Chicago Grave: They’re Calling. Will You Answer? 2nd Edition, by Scott Markus
A GUEST POST by Dr. Jessie Voigts
I’d like to share an incredibly scary book of ghost stories. Why so scary? – because they are TRUE. The book? [amazonify]1933272198::text::::Voices from the Chicago Grave: They’re Calling. Will You Answer? [/amazonify]2nd Edition, by Scott Markus, published by Thunder Bay Press. Scott divides the ghost stories into 14 well-researched – and hard to put down – chapters (i.e., fine food and spirits, city haunts, Chicago’s darkest hours, our Mafia Town, etc.). If you head to the accompanying website, you’ll see more information and thousands and thousands of additional photos.
[Note from A Traveler's Library: The lovely thing is that you can actually visit most of these places when you travel to Chicago, and wait around for the ghosts, if you wish]
We were lucky enough to sit down and talk with Scott about his book, and work. Here’s what he had to say…
Wandering Educators: Please tell us about your book, Voices from the Chicago Grave.
Scott Markus: Well, it’s about eight years and three generations in the making. In 1999 I combined two of my interests (ghost stories and filmmaking) to create a feature-length documentary called Voices from the Grave. In researching for the video I found way too many great stories. As great as video is, unless I planned to do a Ken Burns-length documentary series, Id have to make a lot of cuts.
I went to work exploring ideas for an extensive book on the topic with myresearch partner, Mary Czerwinski. It was the first book I wrote and I wanted this one to be completely mine, so I decided to self-publish it without ever looking for a publisher. That book was completed and available for sale in 2003.
The 2003 book came with a CD-ROM containing 1,000+ pictures. The idea was to give the reader the complete picture of what the different areas are like without having to actually go there. For the second edition of the book, the photographs and hundreds more are now on the web site.
WE: With the exhaustive research you put into this book, you must have been surprised by a few – can you share your favorites/most surprising tales?
SM: My first surprise was how ghost stories are accepted as fact. When I firststarted researching, I thought the question was, Are ghosts real? The answer came back, ‘Yes, and here’s where you can go to find them….’
Other than that, it was hard not to notice how many disasters have befallen the city. Chicago boasts the worst single plane crash in American history (Flight 191 in 1979), the worst shipwreck (The Eastland Disaster), the worst theater fire (the Iroquois Theater Fire), and the list goes on.
Though events like that are obviously sad, Chicago’s history is really a popcorn movie: generations of notorious gangsters and criminals like John Dillinger, a rich Native American history, it was the backdrop of world events like the Worlds Fair and the ’68 riots, and the birthplace of invention with so many of America’s first industrialists calling Chicago home.
The biggest surprise to me about the project overall was how much a casual interest in ghost stories got me involved with American history in general, a topic that I never had that much of an interest in prior to writing the book.
The top photo is complements of Wandering Educators and Slim Pictures.com. The fog picture was taken by VMB . All rights reserved on both photos. Please contact owners before using.
Jessie: Thanks for an interview about a book that will be of definite interest to visitors to Chicago, one of my very favorite cities.
If you (reader) want more about Chicago, you might want to look at a post on an immigrant family from Ireland, and this movie about bad guys. Also this road trip thriller book visits Chicago. And keep an eye on the photos in the top right hand corner because the shiny “egg” that shows up once in a while is from Millennium Park in Chicago.
How about you? Do you like to visit ghostly places? Creepy cemeteries? Haunted Hotels? Possessed parklands? Weird restaurants?