2001 N Clark Street, Chicago, IL

(312) 742-2000

Status: Former City Burial Ground, Operating Zoo

Paranormal Investigations Available


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By <a href="//" title="User:Alanscottwalker">Alanscottwalker</a> - <span class="int-own-work" lang="en">Own work</span>, CC BY-SA 3.0Link


This zoo is the 4th oldest zoo in North America and one of the few left in the United States that still has free admission.

The zoo has 1,100 animals and 200 species.

The zoo was created in 1868 with the donation of a pair of swans from the city of New York.

What is not generally known is that previous to the creation of the zoo – 1843 to 1859 – this land was the city’s burial grounds. It was decided to move the bodies due to their proximity to the city’s drinking water – Lake Michigan.

Unfortunately, the job of moving the bodies was to have begun on October 8, 1871 – the night of the Great Chicago Fire. The fire destroyed the tombs and grave markers in the cemetery making it all but impossible to find all the bodies.

The city did its best but it is estimated that approximately 25,000 bodies are still buried in the ground beneath the zoo.


Paranormal Activity

Ghosts have been reported at the zoo since the day it opened.

People in Victorian clothing are seen walking through the zoo. They appear suddenly out of the blue and disappear just as quickly. They are generally completely oblivious to the people around them and do not interact with the living.

The most common apparition is that of a woman near the lion enclosure – she seems to be unaware of the living visitors around her. She is also seen in the nearby ladies washroom where she is most often seen in the mirrors; witnesses turning around see no one.

There was also a bridge in the vicinity of the zoo in the late 19th century and early 20th century. It had to be torn down because of the large number of suicides. People had taken to jumping off the bridge with a noose around their neck.

Other Activity: electrical issues including lights flickering, doors opening and closing on their own, light anomalies, feelings of not being alone and being watched.

Although the activity seems to be centered around the zoo apparitions and other paranormal activity has been reported in all areas of Lincoln Park.