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.