Richard T. Crowe, 64, famed ghost hunter, well-known for his Ghost Tours of Chicago, passed away on Wednesday, June 6, 2012, from the complications of pancreatic cancer.
Crowe set up the world’s first ghost bus tour after receiving his Master’s degree from DePaul University in 1973. I knew Rich first as a cryptid hunter, in the years before his ghost business. For example, on July 19, 1972, Richard Crowe investigated Momo (Missouri Monster) at Marzolf Hill, Louisiana, Missouri, by trekking there with fellow investigator Loren Smith, and the primary eyewitness, Terry Harrison. But it was the Enfield trek that I shared with him that I will never forget.
The McDaniel house, which was attacked by the Enfield Horror, 1973, and investigated by Crowe & Coleman. Photo from the Loren Coleman archives.
Crowe (from Chicago) and I (from central Illinos) journeyed together to investigate the 1973 anthropoid cryptid reports from southern Illinois, which has come to be collectively called the “Enfield Horror” (coined by Troy Taylor, I think). Crowe and I examined the railroad tracks, fields, and yard near the Henry McDaniel home of Enfield. Eyewitnesses included McDaniel, Rick Rainbow, news director of Radio Station WWKI, Kokomo, Indiana, and ten-year-old Greg Garrett. Garrett saw the creature in April 1973, and said it was apelike. Rick Rainbow and three other persons saw the thing on May 6, 1973, beside an old abandoned house near McDaniel’s place. They didn’t get a good look at it because its back was to them and it was running in the shadows but they later described it as about five and a half feet tall, hairy, grayish, and stooped. Rainbow taped the cry it made, as guns going off can be heard in the background. I talked to Rainbow on the phone, and played his tape on Boston’s WBUR. Soon after the Rainbow incident, Crowe and I traveled to Enfield, interviewed locals and witnesses, and then had our own experience. We did not see the creature but we did hear a weird, unusual, high-pitched daylight screech while we were searching the area around McDaniel’s home.
Richard Crowe, 2012.
Crowe was a Chicago-based collector of unusual folklore and ghostlore. Crowe has both a BA and MA in English Literature from DePaul University and organized, as mentioned, the very first ghost bus tour in the world, the Chicago Ghost Tour, for DePaul’s Geographical Society while finishing his studies there in 1973. He is a member of both the Chicago and Salt Creek Civil War Round Tables, the Westerners (Chicago Corral), and the Al Capone Fan Club. Crowe was the Chicago chapter head of the John Dillinger Died for you Society. He belongs to many other historical and folkloric societies, nationally and internationally.
Crowe had a business that consists of day and evening bus tours, summer boat cruises, Chinatown walking tours, lectures, theme parties, out of state packages, and TV and movie consultation – but everything he did revolves around ghosts, the supernatural, the unexplained!
Crowe’s events were available for the general public or as private offerings for corporate and large groups at a quantity discount. From birthday to retirement parties, senior outings to school field trips, corporate incentives to conventions, Crowe would deliver.
As the original, full-time professional ghost hunter in the Midwest , Crowe was very popular on the TV and radio talk show circuit. He has appeared on cable and network TV on programs ranging from Oprah to Unsolved Mysteries to Haunted History. His radio appearances have included WGN’s Steve and Johnnie Show, WIND’s Geoff Pinkus Show, WLS’s Roe Conn Show and George Noory’s “Coast to Coast.” Crowe was a long time member and booster of the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau (CCTB), the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, and the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce.
In 2009, Crowe was honored as a Kentucky Colonel, the highest award bestowed by the Commonwealth of Kentucky “in recognition of noteworthy accomplishments.” He was also inducted into the Showmen’s League of America, an organization founded by Buffalo Bill Cody.
A younger Crowe.
Crowe traveled and gathered new material from all parts of the world. He had been to Ireland (12 trips), England (7 times), Yugoslavia (twice), Scotland , Mexico , Jamaica , Hong Kong , Macau , and the PRC (Mainland China ). He had lead numerous out-of-state tour groups to Voodoo New Orleans, Colonial Witchcraft Salem (MA), and Civil War Gettysburg (PA).
Crowe lived in a reputed haunted house in the southwest suburbs with Carmilla, his black cat, surrounded by antiques and haunted artifacts. His book, Chicago’s Streetguide to the Supernatural was a local bestseller during his lifetime. He was also the co-producer in 1986 of the 90 minute DVD, The Ghosts of Chicago, the first in-depth study of classic Chicago haunts (considered for a local Emmy.)
Mr. Crowe, the Midwest’s original full-time, professional Ghosthunter, devoted himself to uncovering Chicago’s rich history of hauntings, ghosts and other supernatural phenomena. He pioneered the use of luxury buses and sightseeing boats to include the public on his adventures into the supernatural so you can come along and have as much fun as he has.
Funeral services for Richard T. Crowe are as follows…wake will be from 3-9 p.m. on Monday, June 11, 2012, at Modell Funeral Home, 5725 S. Pulaski Rd., Chicago, IL 60629. Funeral will be Tuesday, June 12, 2012 at 9 a.m. from the funeral home to St. Patricia Church, 9050 S. 86th Avenue, Hickory Hills, IL 60457. Interment, of course, will be at Resurrection Cemetery.
Resurrection Cemetery was on Crowe’s ghost tours, and many of his friends and family feel his burial there is only fitting. Crowe had collected numerous sightings of “Resurrection Mary.”