Famous Chicago ghost hunter enters netherworld

June 8, 2012 1:09:29 PM PDT
Richard Crowe, who became one of Chicago's most colorful characters by leading tours to the city's dark side, has died. Mr. Crowe was 64 and had pancreatic cancer.

For more than 30 years Crowe hosted visitors on sightseeing missions to Chicago's many "haunted" outposts. Many of the locations had been the scenes of grisly crimes or ghastly accidents.

Because of the city's long and storied reputation as a haven for organized crime, Mr. Crowe also became a self-styled expert on gangland murders. His tours made regular stops at the scene of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre at 2122 N. Clark St and also outside the Biograph Theatre on N. Lincoln, where John Dillinger was gunned down by a federal agent.

Crowe owned several of the original bricks from the warehouse wall where seven mob associates were lined up and slaughtered on Feb. 14, 1929.

Over the years Mr. Crowe appeared numerous times in ABC7 news reports about the Outfit and on ghost-related matters, especially near Halloween. For many in the media, he was the "go-to" guy for anything supernatural.

His Chicago Supernatural Tours were popular with tourists and local residents and offered the world's first "ghost bus tour" according to his website.

Crowe is considered responsible for publicizing the local legend of "Resurrection Mary," a young Polish girl who was hit by a car and killed in the early 1930's while walking home from a ballroom dance in southwest suburban Willow Springs. She is buried in Resurrection Cemetery.

Crowe began collecting accounts from motorists who claimed that they had picked up a young female hitchhiker on Archer Ave. who was wearing a ball gown. They reported taking the person to the ballroom, at which time she would vanish.

The story of Resurrection Mary has ended up in a song and as the basis of a Hollywood movie.

Mr. Crowe's funeral will be Tuesday.

His final resting place: Resurrection Cemetery, 7201 Archer Ave.

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