Creepy Chaos Haunted Tours make for a Spook-tacular Night!

Even the Indiana Dunes State Park can look spooky around Halloween

On a dark and snowy morning back in 1906, dozens of people who came to this country for the promise of a better life instead died when the passenger train bringing them to our country’s heartland collided head-on with a freight train just outside Chesterton.

The victims, many of whom were young children, suffered unimaginable fates—dying instantly or being burned to death while trapped in the wreckage.

Mike McDowell thinks some of the dead are still at the site today, haunting it.
“With that much death, there’s going to be something left behind, even if it’s one or two ghosts,” said McDowell, owner of Chaos Haunted & Historical Tours.

McDowell, who does tours all year long to possibly-haunted places like the train wreck site, said he’s taken strange pictures and recorded a little girl’s voice and a man’s voice at the location where the victims perished.

McDowell and his group lead about 35 scheduled walking tours, bus tours, haunted pub crawls and overnight excursions each year. In addition, they will do private tours for groups big and small.

McDowell says his tours are one part history, one part interesting stories and another part ghost hunting. Tour attendees get to see and test out ghost hunting equipment that records voices, senses temperature changes and tests the electromagnetic fields of moving objects.

Indiana Dunes Country is rich in possibly-haunted places, McDowell believes. Legend has it that the dunes are haunted by Alice Gray, the woman who reportedly skinny-dipped in Lake Michigan and on whom the Diana of the Dunes legend is based. His tours often include stops at or stories about such places as a public execution site in Valparaiso, the Porter County Courthouse and the Porter County Museum of History/Old Jail Museum. The pub crawl stops at businesses with ghost stories to tell, like Val’s Famous Pizza & Grinders in Chesterton.

For those who are really interested in ghosts, an overnight stay might be in order. Inn at Aberdeen, located in Valparaiso, says some believe the inn has the friendly ghost of a little girl. The inn plays on that theme by hosting mystery dinners, luncheons and overnight mysteries.

McDowell, who has been leading ghost tours since 2001, packs as many as 20 scary and fascinating stories into each tour. He first became interested in ghosts when he was 10 years old and was the only one of his friends to see a boy hopping along on a pogo stick on a foggy day. He believes what he saw was the ghost of a boy who reportedly died while on his way to school.

To learn more about ghost tours, and to check for upcoming tours, visit, send an e-mail to or call 219-714-3761.

For less creepy ways to spend your Halloween weekend, check out our calendar of events!

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