Meet our Chicago Hauntings ToursTeam! We are proud to share over 150 years of experience in researching and investigating Chicago’s paranormal and dark history. Meet our seasoned veteran tour guides, each with his own special take on the city’s supernatural side!
Ursula Bielski is the founder of Chicago Hauntings, Inc. the leader of our Chicago Ghost Tour Team, and the host of PBS’ “The Hauntings of Chicago” (WYCC). An historian, author, and parapsychologist, she has been writing and lecturing about Chicago’s supernatural folklore and the paranormal for almost three decades and is recognized as the leading authority on the Chicago region’s ghostlore and cemetery history. Ursula is the author of twelve popular and critically acclaimed books on the same subjects including the Chicago Haunts series and Graveyards of Chicago.. Ursula has been on a ton of TV shows, including “Ghost Adventures” and “The Maury Show” (NOT a baby daddy episode). She also edits children’s books on the paranormal for Bearport Publishing in New York and teaches courses in Paranormal Studies for Chicago’s Harper College. Ursula received her Bachelors degree in history from Benedictine University and a Masters in American cultural and intellectual history from Northeastern Illinois University. Ursula loves recording the voices of the dead, listening to her weather radio, singing sacred music, making German and Polish dishes from her mom’s old recipe binders, and watching horse racing, Downton Abbey and Jamie Oliver cooking shows. She is also a hypnosis practitioner with a YouTube channel, www.magicwordshyhpnosis.com , and loves helping people feel better through hypnosis. Ursula grew up in a haunted house in Chicago’s Northcenter neighborhood and first learned about Chicago’s ghost stories from her police officer dad, who once shot at a ghost in their house with his service revolver.
David Cowan is a native Chicagoan and hails originally from the city’s West Side. He is the co-owner of Chicago Hauntings, and a proud member of our Chicago Ghost Tour Team!. He has hosted the Chicago Ghost Tour, the Devil in the White City Tour, the Gothic Chicago Tour and the Killers of Chicago Tour, along with many other specialty tours through the years. A former decorated firefighter and accomplished journalist and writer, David is co-author (with John Kuenster) of the best-selling and critically acclaimed book To Sleep With the Angels: The Story of a Fire (Ivan R. Dee, Inc.), considered the seminal and authoritative work on the 1958 Our Lady of the Angels school fire in Chicago. After its 1996 publication, the book was made into an Emmy-award winning television documentary entitled “Angels Too Soon” by PBS station WTTW in Chicago, and is now used as a text for courses taught at the National Fire Academy in Maryland and in collegiate fire science programs throughout the United States. David also authored Great Chicago Fires, Historic Blazes That Shaped a City (Lake Claremont Press), a non-fiction anthology documenting Chicago’s unique and legendary fire history, focusing on fires that resulted in important changes to national fire safety laws and others of significant social and historical importance. David’s writings and reviews have also been published by major newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Magazine, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Cleveland Plain-Dealer, New Orleans Times-Picayune, Reader’s Digest, U.S. Catholic, the Associated Press, and a host of smaller publications. He also contributed to the Encyclopedia of Chicago History, published in 2004 by the Newberry Library of Chicago. Dave likes to swim, run, drink coffee and eat peanuts, camp, ride his motorcyle and write poetry. (Ursula’s note: Dave is freakishly book smart. We call him the walking encyclopedia of history. He reads at least three books a week–most of them literary novels and poetry–and makes notes in them. In 2019, I found a copy of James Joyce’s “Ulysses” that he had been reading and had almost finished. He had made notes on almost every paragraph through the entire book. I couldn’t even read past the first page! He also served in the Air Force including at Lakenheath in England, where he saved a man’s life in an airfield explosion. He’s also a really good dad. We have two daughters together. And he is really, really funny. –Ursula)
Always a showman and performer, Cemetery Larry is a native of Chicago, having grown up across Marquette Park, Little Village, Cicero and Berwyn. Having been a tour guide for years his obsession with Chicago legends, lore and cemeteries lead him to finally share his fascination on tours and on stage. He has worked at historic Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago, one of Chicago’s earliest, largest and most beautiful burial grounds and hosts cemetery tours along with our classic Chicago Ghost Tour and Loop and River North Walking Tours. He’s a great addition to our Chicago Ghost Tour Team! (Ursula’s note: Larry is so fabulous and cool. He is nicknamed “Cemetery Larry” because he knows so much about Chicago’s cemeteries: even more than me! He hosts the Chicago Cemetery Crawlers Tours also, and he and H.H. Holmes have the same hat and mustache. But don’t let that fool you . . . Larry is the sweetest teddy bear in the whole world . . . except when he drinks too much Black Mountain Dew!)
Tony Grew up in the old town neighborhood of Chicago, where he learned to appreciate the great architecture of the city . He attended St Michael and St Angela schools and graduated from St Patrick High School, going on to attend Loyola University and The College of Dupage. Tony is a long time paranormal investigator with various teams in the Chicago area, and has appeared on My Ghost Story on the Biography Channel and on Fox news in Chicago, as well as on the reboot of Psychic Kids and WGN News. He started as a tour guide with Haunted Hometowns Corporation in 2011, doing ghost tours and cemetery ghost hunts in suburban Chicago, and loves showing visitors and natives the haunted history of our storied region. Tony has three children and lives in the Western Suburbs of Chicago. (Ursula’s note: Tony is so modest. Do not let him fool you. He is the crown prince of Chicago ghost hunting and our number one guide. Tony can do anything. I can say to Tony, “Hey what about doing a 6-hour tour taking people to all of the bars where H.H. Holmes was believed to have drank at and ghost hunting at each of them?” And Tony will say, “I actually was just putting together something like that.” He grew up in Old Town, one of the oldest and most historic and fantastically haunted neighborhoods in Chicago. He went to the same parish school where my mom went to high school in the 1940s. He knows everything about every haunted place in the Tri-State area and is an astute and respectful paranormal investigator. He is a gracious, gracious person. Polite and professional but also so funny. He is warm and kind and captivates everyone he works with. He is such a blessing to our company and to me, personally, as my friend.)
Joanne Wegiel was born and raised in Chicago’s Southwest suburbs. A self-proclaimed book worm, she developed a deep interest in the paranormal and unexplained at a young age after reading about the local urban legends and the Chicago Haunts series. Joanne is in love with the city of Chicago and has explored many of its neighborhoods and surrounding suburbs. She strives to expand her knowledge of Chicago’s rich culture and history, and loves to share what she learns with others. When she is not out traveling, Paranormal investigating or re-reading her favorite true crime books, Joanne spends her time with her husband, their young Alex, and her beloved pets. (Ursula’s note: Joanne is a teacher and is great hosting our larger bus tours and pub crawls, as she just puts on her “teacher voice” when the crowd starts to get out of control. Her smiling, petite package can be deceiving!)
If you call Chicago Hauntings, you just may talk to Nick Sarlo, our terrific customer service professional! Nick has been investigating the paranormal for over 10 years. After having his first experience, Nick, has wanted to find out just what happend that July night. Today, Nick is lead investigator and founder of the group Shadow Hunters, located in the very haunted and historic Lake County, Illinois. He and his team have completed tons of investigations and they have a great time doing it. “Yes you will see us laugh or being funny on our investigations. Think about it: you are doing something that (the spririts) know. You’ll get more evidence”
Nick currently works for PetSmart, but when he’s not working with dogs he is helping Chicago Hauntings in the office, co-hosting CH’s Lake County tours, or out with his team Shadow Hunters finding answers of the unknown. Have a question for Nick? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ramiro is a bilingual (Spanish/English) tour guide, passionate about comedy performance, public speaking and the paranormal. Growing up in Argentina, Ramiro first came into contact with ghosts at a young age while playing “El Juego De La Copa” with a group of friends, a ritual that is similar to the Ouija board. This experience lead to an increased interest in the spiritual world and a lifelong passion for horror movies and the occult. Ramiro’s goal as a tour guide is to entertain and make sure that everyone leaves the tour energized and interested in the amazing world and history of Chicago’s most haunted sites. For more about Ramiro’s background and activities, go to http://ramirolynch.com/