The Legend of an Illinois Devil Baby at Chicago’s Hull House
When it comes to urban legends in Illinois, one gets brought up more often than most. It is the story that dates back to the late 1800's about an alleged devil baby in what is known as Hull House in Chicago. Let's see if we can separate fact from fiction and legend.
One of the many YouTube channels that cover Illinois urban legends mentions Hull House most prominently.
Her telling of this tale led me to Ghost Walks which elaborates on the "devil baby" and how it started. It's interesting that they note that Jane Addams who founded Hull House believed the legend was true. They quote her as saying the following:
The knowledge of the existence of the Devil Baby burst upon the residents of Hull-House one day when three Italian women, with an excited rush through the door, demanded that he be shown to them. No amount of denial convinced them that he was not there, for they knew exactly what he was like, with his cloven hoofs, his pointed ears and diminutive tail; moreover, the Devil Baby had been able to speak as soon as he was born and was most shockingly profane.
Barnes & Noble has a book by Jane available telling her understanding of the devil baby legend. How much is lore and how much is fact is hard to determine.
What is known is that Hull House is a historical location that has helped many women seek refuge from abuse for decades. The official website gives the backstory of the work it provided:
Hull-House became not only a cultural center with music, art, and theater offerings, but also a safe haven and a place where the immigrants living on Chicago's Near West Side could find companionship and support and the assistance they needed for coping with the modern city.
That much is fact. You won't find a mention of a devil baby at the Hull House website and museum, but that doesn't stop the tale being told of a child that was part human and part monster whether it's based in fact or not.