R.I.P. Richard Crowe

With the passing of “Chicago’s Ghost Hunter, ” Richard Crowe, we’ve lost a long-time friend and Chicago has lost one of it’s most fascinating personalities.

For longer than we’ve been married we’ve been fortunate to have Richard in our lives.  Our first “encounters” with Richard were probably on dark nights when his voice came through our radio speakers during one of his guest appearances on “Chicago” Ed Schwartz’s show on WIND.  Richard’s voice and his ability to draw you in to the supernatural tales he brought with him were the perfect fit for the middle of the night and the connection was easily made.

When Johnnie started in radio at WMRO/WAUR, in Aurora, Richard was one of her first talk show guests.  When Steve segued from being a R&R dj at WLS to doing talk on WIND, the first night the opportunity presented itself, Richard was on the show.  Both of us have memories of wonderfully scary nights when Richard joined us (Separately, remember, we weren’t yet married … or even dating) on our shows at WIND.

Richard quickly became more than just a “show guest” to both of us.  A genuine friendship quickly developed and, in fact, when HimNHer finally did start dating and decided to make a permanent life style change, Richard was not only present at our wedding but, later, at the reception he caught Johnnie’s garter.  We both have vivid memories of him elbowing others out of the way to make the catch.  He later told us that his competitive “spirit” was heightened because he knew of several places on Rush St. where showing that garter would allow him to drink for free.

During the almost 27 years of our “Life After Dark” at WGN, Richard was one of our most requested guests.  Every year, starting around September, the calls, letters, texts and E-mails would begin.  “Is Richard Crowe going to be on with you this Halloween?”  “When is Richard Crowe going to be on?”  “Have you announced the date of Richard Crowe’s appearance, yet?”

Richard’s annual visit on our Halloween show was more than an appearance, it was a full-blown EVENT.  Even after a day and night when he had already given his afternoon and evening ghost tours, Richard was gracious enough to stay up to join us in the studio at Midnight and stay through til close to the end of our show.  Even after his fame as “Chicago’s Ghost Hunter” spread to other countries, Richard never failed to join us and share his ghost stories, old and new with us and our listeners.

And WHAT stories!  It was largely due to Richard Crowe that “Resurrection Mary” became the legend she is today, a legend strong enough that even local police officers would call in with new sightings to add to Richard’s files.

He was known as “Chicago’s Ghost Hunter,” but this was also a man who LOVED Chicago and was fascinated by all of her stories.  He used those tales to spread the word about his city.  Resurrection Mary … Al Capone … the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre … a local “haunted” pub and many, many more were all individually investigated and the results were enthusiastically shared with us.  There is probably a book in just how Richard combined his many passions with an instinctive promotional sense and had a, not insignificant, impact on Chicago’s tourism through his tours, pub-crawls, lectures, videos and, probably most importantly, his ability to research and then tell a GREAT story.

Richard Crowe was a Chicago original who’s own story is that of a life well lived sharing his passions with his friends.  We are very proud to have been among them.

Here’s a link to the audio of one of Richard’s last visits with us.  It includes his telling of the story of Resurrection Mary.

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12 Responses to R.I.P. Richard Crowe

  1. Bea De La Riva says:

    Enjoyed Richard during the Halloween season on your show for many years. He will
    be missed.

  2. Dawn says:

    I am truly saddened to hear of Richard’s passing. He was one of many guests on your show I grew up with. I am not a person who is “into” ghost stories or scary things (I prefer my stories to be romance!), but Richard’s stories were so engaging I couldn’t help myself. I know his spirit will live on! Miss you guys terribly!

  3. Joann Crowe says:

    What a nice eulogy for Rich…thank you for giving him an outlet for his scary stories throughout the years. Yes, Johnnie, your garter is still here, in the dresser drawer…waiting to make yet another excursion to Rush Street!

  4. David Shapiro says:

    Richard was an amazing historian and story teller who had a unique ability to tell Chicago’s story in a way that kept us all riveted. I met Richard in 1978 and had many opportunities to talk with him and take his tours. Somehow, I think Richard will find a way to keep in touch with all of us who embraced his passion for Chicago’s ghostly past. God speed, Richard, and thank you for your facinating stories. David S.

  5. Mark says:

    I ALWAYS enjoyed that nights show. He always made everything so real. We will miss him as we continue to miss you guys. PLEASE continue to keep us posted your doings!!!!!!!

  6. Kathleen A. O'Connell-Thomas says:

    So very sorry to hear about Richard. Always enjoyed listening to him on your October close to Halloween Show. Richard say Hello to everyone up there.

  7. This was a nice piece that you wrote about Richard, he will be missed. I loved when he was on your show. He was a natural story teller.

  8. pommymom says:

    I am so sorry that I never got to go on one of his tours…..

  9. james c gradle says:

    i knew richard in grammar school—-visitation—richard, eddie wallace, and i would hop on the garfield bus and go to the museum of science and industry to hear dr. dan q posen lecture. richard would stand up and ask questions about ghosts and ufos. he liked the song the duke of earl, and would dance his own version of the mashed potatoes. he admired dr. posen, edmund campion, and moose cholak. he liked the supernatural, stamp and coin collecting. everyone i know would have liked richard.

  10. Sue Ellen Stewart says:

    I had no idea he passed away and am completely shocked! I wasn’t even aware he was ill. What was the problem? I so enjoyed listening to him and being a “believer” I loved hearing his stories. RIP Richard. You will be missed!!!

  11. Robert says:

    A big fan of Mr. Crowe through the years. I grew up listening to him when he was on Ed Schwartz on WIND. I continued to listen to him when he was on your station. He is now with Eddie once again doing an all night radio show. He will be missed.

  12. Rich Betczynski says:

    Hi Steve and Johnnie!
    Two things hit me hard that I had no idea about until after they happened. I listened to you every night for years. Over the year, my new job made it very hard to get to tune in. I finally got to tune in and you were gone! Nooo! That depressed me sooo much. I grew up listening to Eddie and you.
    Then I decided to do a search this week to see if there was a show that Richard would be on this year. It’s then I read of his passing. How awful. My Chicago radio experiences are all gone. It’s very very sad to me. At least you’re still with us and I wish you the best of health for many years to come.
    The twins, my mother Bonnie and Aunt Barbara, send their hellos to you!!! Steve, in a strange way, you’ve always been a part of my family. Johnnie, the joining of you two as a team made for many years of wonderful radio listening!
    RIP, Richard Crowe.

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