Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Richard Crowe: Chicago Ghost Hunter, Renaissance Man and Reagan Conservative

I know Richard Crowe.

Most Chicagoans who watch TV or listen to the radio will surely hear of him or see him in the coming weeks as we approach Halloween -- or as it is called in the Roman Catholic disposition -- All Hallows Eve -- or All Souls Day.

Richard Crowe is the pre-eminent ghost hunter in the Chicago metropolitan area -- if not in the entire nation. And if there is one venue that is awash with ghosts and mysterious entities -- it is Chicago.

I first met Richard Crowe, back in the early 1980s. He was conducting one of his regular meetings of ghost aficianados (a rather strange lot to say the least) at a non-descript bar somewhere in the near Southwestern suburbs.

I was only there because one of my fellow Chicago conservatives knew Richard and he thought it would be amusing to go to his event. So a bunch of us young conservatives tagged along. (Richard, if you're wondering who the ringleader was, let me just say that the initials of Edgar Allan Poe were incorporated into his North Shore given name.)

So we went to this dreary bar -- made eminently less dreary, in our perception, by copious consumption of bourbon-based potables.

There, Richard Crowe was holding court amongst a devoted group of fellow ghost hunters.

There were about 20 of them there -- the throng swelled by about 6 of us fun-loving, booze guzzling, skeptical, Chicago conservatives out for a bit of South suburban slumming.

One woman brought forth a hand-held cassette tape recorder, which she had placed on a grave and told us to listen to the sounds that it had picked up.

She swore that it was saying: "Minnah ---- Minnah"

It sounded like so much tape static to me, but the woman was convinced.

Minnah, is in fact a Jewish woman's nomenclature.

Anyway, the glorified seance ended and Richard repaired to a neighboring pizza joint with us, his fellow conservatives.

I remember that the big-screen TV there was playing an MTV video of the Jefferson Starship singing their new hit, "We Built This City on Rock 'N Roll," and Richard Crowe (more than several years my senior,) commenting on how Gracie Slick was still looking hot after all these years.

I begged to differ.

So anyway, that is my experience with Richard Crowe.

By virtue of his very inspiring example, I, along with a woman named, Sandy Troutman, put together a "Ghost Tour" of Washington, D.C., just for fun, in the early 80's, which was covered by the Style section of the Washington Post.

Thank you, Richard.

The man is truly an interesting Chicago original.

I hope I won't be harming his business by pointing out that he is also a die-hard, Reagan Conservative. We love him for that!

He is also a fellow, fallen-away Roman Catholic, who, I believe, was the first person who ever uttered to me the telling, and quite memorable phrase: "I didn't leave the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church left me."

What is it with we cradle Catholics and ghosts?

(More than 40% of surveyed Americans believe that they have seen a ghost. On All Hallows Eve (Halloween), I will post the story and total account of the ghost that I actually and truly saw, some 16 years ago in East Rogers Park, Chicago.


  1. I remember him! I saw him on a show 2 or 3 years ago, when I still had TV. My husband writes horror stories, and we were searching around for ghost type things for ideas. No idea he was conservative, but so happy to find out he is. :) And a Reaganite to boot! Yay! :)

  2. I remember he was so lacking in confidence of the viability of paper money during the inflationary Carter years that he was big on buying gold. Particularly South African Krugerrands. If he held on to that, I'll bet he's quite well off from that alone. He is really a hard-line conservative.


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