He's a folklore expert, author and…ghost conservationist? Yes, Richard Crowe is a real-life ghost hunter who's made a living studying the supernatural and sharing his passion for psychic phenomena with others. Jean talks with Richard about how his successful haunted ghost tours business got its start. Plus, Richard talks about the ghostly history of Harpo Studios, home of The Oprah Winfrey Show.
Back in 1973 while Richard was attending DePaul University in Chicago, he put together a historical bus tour for a class project—and since Richard had a reputation for telling great ghost stories, a professor suggested he sprinkle in some of that knowledge, too. Richard says so many people turned up for the tour—which was the first of its kind anywhere in the world—that they had to turn away over 200 people.
Richard says shortly thereafter, he was contacted by a shopping mall that wanted a private tour. As the saying goes, the rest is history—soon more companies, schools, clubs and others wanted rides on Richard's fascinating bus tours. In fact, he says advertising the company wasn't even necessary. "You don't really have to market this per se to a target audience because the interest in ghost stories and the supernatural ranges from 5- and 6-year-old kids to senior citizens," Richard says.
Richard says Chicago is quite possibly the most haunted city in the United States, and he says Harpo Studios, the home of The Oprah Winfrey Show, contributes to the Windy City's supernatural status in a big way. In 1915, more than 800 people drowned during the Eastland Disaster when the ferry they were aboard capsized in the Chicago River. The building that is now Harpo Studios was turned into a makeshift morgue, where survivors and family members could come identify the deceased. Richard says that in recent times, numerous ghostly apparitions, disembodied voices and phantom smells and music have been documented by those working in the building.