We are proud to share over 150 years of shared experience in researching and investigating Chicago’s paranormal 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. 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 two decades and is recognized as a leading authority on the Chicago region’s ghostlore and cemetery history. She is the author of ten popular and critically acclaimed books on the same subjects including the Chicago Haunts series and Graveyards of Chicago.
Ursula’s interests in Chicago ghost hunting began at a young age. She grew up in a haunted house on Chicago’s north side and received an early education in Chicago history from her father, a Chicago police officer, who introduced Ursula to the ghosts at Graceland Cemetery, Montrose Point and the old lockup at the storied Maxwell Street Police Station.
Since that time Ursula has been involved in countless investigations of haunted sites in and around Chicago, including such notorious locales as Wrigley Field, the Congress Hotel, the Indiana Dunes, the Red Lion Pub, Hull House, Bachelors Grove Cemetery, Rosehill Cemetery, Archer Avenue, Chinatown, the Eastland disaster site, Death Alley, The House of 200 Demons, Dillinger’s Alley and the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre site. Her paranormal travels have also led her to investigate sites as diverse and infamous as the Bell Witch Cave in Tennessee; the Oshkosh, Wisconsin Opera House; New Orleans’ House of the Rising Sun; the City Cemetery in Key West, Florida; Linda Vista Hospital in Los Angeles, the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, and the Civil War Battlefield at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
Aside from her writing, Ursula has been featured on numerous television documentaries, including productions by the A&E Network, The History Channel, The Learning Channel, SyFy, The Travel Channel, and PBS. She’s been a judge on “Paranormal Challenge” and a regular guest on “Ghost Adventures” and the “Maury Show”s paranormal specials. She also appears regularly on local Chicago television and radio and lectures throughout the year at various libraries, historical and professional societies and designs and hosts tours for Lincoln Park Zoo and the Chicago History Museum. In addition to her books, Ursula is the author of numerous scholarly articles exploring the links between history and the paranormal, including articles published in the International Journal of Parapsychology. Ursula is a past editor of PA News, the quarterly newsletter of the Parapsychological Association, a past president and board member of the Pi Gamma Chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honor society, and holds membership in the Society of Midland Authors. She also edits children’s books on the paranormal for Bearport Publishing in New York and teaches courses in Paranormal Studies for Harper College.
A graduate of St. Benedict High School in Chicago, Ursula holds a B.A. degree in history from Benedictine University and an M.A. in American cultural and intellectual history from Northeastern Illinois University. Her academic explorations include the Spiritualist movement of the 19th century and its transformation into psychical research and parapsychology, and the relationships among belief, experience, science, and religion.
David Cowan is a native Chicagoan and hails originally from the city’s West Side. He is the co-owner of Chicago Hauntings.
An 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.
Aside from his print journalism, David has appeared on several network television documentaries about historic fires, including productions by the A&E Network, History Channel, The Learning Channel, the Discovery Channel, England’s Channel 4, The Travel Channel, PBS, and the U.S. Fire Administration / Federal Emergency Management Agency. He’s also been featured on local Chicago television and radio stations, including National Public Radio, WGN radio, the Steve Dahl Show, and WTTW’s Chicago Tonight and Chicago Stories. He holds membership in a number of writers associations, including the prestigious Society of Midland Authors, for whom he served as membership secretary from 2001-2002. As a public speaker, he has lectured before numerous Chicago area historical, professional and business societies and various school and library groups..
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 fascinations on tours and on stage. Today he works at historic Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago, one of Chicago’s earliest, largest and most beautiful burial grounds.
With a passion for storytelling, Mark entertains and informs others through intriguing tales that bring Chicago’s history, legends, and the supernatural to life. He has a background in graphic design, writing, film, and theatre, as well as a love for history and Halloween. When he’s not sharing stories of the paranormal, Mark spends his time writing, creating films, and watching movies. You may also find him storytelling at the ever-popular Fright Fest at Six Flags’ Great America.
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. 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.
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 email@example.com
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/