The celebrity chef took to his Facebook account to explain “one of the weirdest experiences” of his life and why he left the hotel in the middle of the night without checking out.
“It suddenly felt airily cold and I sensed that something just wasn’t right with the energy, not only in the hallway, but even more so once I was inside my room. I tried to shake it off and tell myself it was all in my head, but the extremely uneasy feelings didn’t go away, if anything it became more intense, so I grabbed my bags and pretty much ran out!” he wrote.
|Pete Evans - Frightened|
The post has attracted more than 320 comments including some from ex-employees of the hotel claiming the rooms are haunted. Others took it as an opportunity to lampoon the man who made the term “activated almonds” famous in Australia.
“It is the USA, maybe you just inadvertantly [sic] ate some GMO corn, or beef, or soy etc!” fan Bob Black posted.
Evans, who claimed to be “super sceptical about the paranormal” before the incident which occurred over the weekend, doesn’t drink coffee, green tea or alcohol.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that what I felt was real, but each to their own,” he signed off.
The Congress Plaza Hotel was built in the late 1800s and is reportedly haunted by many ghosts including that of Prohibition-era gangsta Al Capone who used the hotel as his headquarters.
The north tower of the hotel is believed to be haunted by the spirit of a little boy who was killed with his brother in the 1930s after his mother threw them off the balcony before jumping herself.
Numerous travel blogs contain stories regarding paranormal activity inside the hotel, especially in the rooms adjacent to Room 447, the one Evans was due to stay in.
“If you ever find yourself staying at the hotel, avoid room 441. Security is called there more than any other room. Objects move, strange sounds are heard and guests have even seen the shadowy outline of a woman,” a post on Chicago Now stated.
However, his room – 447, got a mention on other sites like TripAdvisor for horrors of a different kind. Photos posted by past guests show the room contains a mouldy radiator unit and is frequented by cockroaches.
Haunted History of The Congress Plaza Hotel
(From CityPass )
The Congress was originally built over a hundred years ago to accommodate visitors coming for The Chicago World’s Fair. The hotel didn’t actually become The Congress Plaza until 1908. That was about twenty years before one of its most notable (and notorious) residents, gangster Al Capone, was said to have lived here; some reports are that owned the hotel for a while and used it for his headquarters. Truth is, Big Al never actually stayed here, at least not under his name. But residents still see him from time to time, walking these hallowed halls with the rat-ta-tat of his two-tone wingtips.
Other less notorious but just as notable names haunting these halls include the homeless hobo, “Peg Leg Johnny,” who was said to have been murdered in the hotel many years ago. Then there's the workman who supposedly got buried behind the walls when the hotel was being built, but who is now just referred to as the “hand of mystery,” referring to his gloved hand that supposedly sticks out of a wall in the closets behind the balcony in the Gold Room (what is up with all the displaced body parts floating around this hotel?). And speaking of the Gold Room, it's rumored that some of the bridesmaids in wedding parties who gather around the piano for photographs do not actually show up in the pictures.
As for others, legend has it that a lone man roams the eighth floor, where the elevator is said to stop frequently, even though no one has pushed a button. And “voices” are heard in ballrooms even though no one is there. Don't book room number 441 if you plan to stay at the Congress; security is called there than any other room. Guests report seeing the same thing: the shadowy outline of a woman. But the biggest scare is saved for the 12th floor, where there is said to be a room so frightening that the door was fastened shut from the outside.