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Head 2 Head: Excalibur Club vs. Knox College

Excalibur Club vs. Knox CollegeLocations: Excalibur Club in River North, Chicago versus Knox College in Galesburg.

Histories: Constructed from rough granite blocks that give it a castle-like appearance, the building now home to the Excalibur Club has had a long and colorful history. Built in 1892 by the Chicago Historical Society, since 1931 it has been home to the Loyal Order of the Moose, the WPA, a technology institute, a magazine company, and finally, a nightclub called the Limelight.

Steeped in history, Knox College is a private liberal arts school that was founded by abolitionists in 1837. The college’s Old Main building is the last remaining site of the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858. In 1874, Knox County built a brand new, red brick jail across the street from the college. A few years ago, Knox College purchased the jail and it is now home to the Center for Global Studies.

Hauntings: When the Limelight opened, its staff almost immediately noticed unusual activity, especially on the third floor. On the pool table, balls rolled around on their own. The sound of heavy boxes moving in the storage room was often heard, even though the room was locked and empty. Hauntings continued when the club became the Excalibur in 1990. One bartender was reportedly trapped in a bathroom stall for several minutes, as though someone was holding the door closed. On one visit, Scott Markus (author of Voices from the Chicago Grave) claimed to hear keys rattling and witnessed a figure that seemed to vanish behind a support column.

The basement of the former jail at Knox College is reportedly haunted by a number of tortured spirits from the past. One prisoner, having been recaptured after an escape attempt, committed suicide in his cell. Today, university staff members have been overcome by negative feelings when they approach the old cells. Troy Taylor, after climbing into solitary confinement, found that his flashlight and camera stopped working, only to work again upon exiting the room. One unconfirmed story associated with the college itself was that a student hung himself from his dorm room window. Mistaking his body for a Halloween prank, students left it there for an entire evening before realizing their tragic error.

Which of these two locations do you think is the scariest? Leave your comments below!

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