Zoom in: West Town 

The Polish Museum of America just might be haunted by a former Polish prime minister

The Polish Museum of America (984 N. Milwaukee) is best known as a museum devoted to Polish history and culture—because, of course, that's what it is. But it's also maybe, possibly, potentially haunted by the ghost of composer and former Polish prime minister Ignacy Jan Paderewski, many of whose belongings were donated to the museum after he died in 1941. According to a museum newsletter from 2004, staff members and volunteers have felt a strange presence in the Paderewski Room and noticed odd occurrences like a cassette tape starting and stopping on its own and the sound of someone typing when no one was around.

The Ghost Research Society investigated one night in 2005, setting up video cameras, audio recording devices, and equipment to gauge fluctuations in electromagnetic frequency, temperature and humidity, radiation, negative ions, and electricity. A few team members reported feeling uneasy in the Paderewski Room, but the equipment didn't pick up any unusual activity. The report concludes: "The evening in the museum was enjoyed by all but it was extremely quiet and quite inactive. While this does not rule out the possibility that the museum does harbor some ghosts or entities, it does suggest that either they were aware of the investigation that was going on and unwilling to make an appearance or perhaps there was just a lull in the activity that particular evening. Ghosts are very spontaneous beings and often don't like to perform or 'make an appearance' in front of a large group of people or paranormal investigators."

Have a peculiar observation or favorite oddity about a neighborhood? E-mail it to zoomin@chicagoreader.com.

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