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Spooktacular haunted spots in Galena, IL

Galena’s historic ghost “sightings” date back the early 1800’s, when ghost sightings and stories were featured in the local newspapers. Since the 1800’s many of Galena’s finest locals and tourists have reported spiritual encounters and experiences. Have you seen the Lady in Black? Check out some of these haunted spots around Galena to get your dose of fright this year.

Ryan Mansion

The Ryan Mansion was built in 1876 by millionaire James M. Ryan, the owner and operator of a meat processing center. When the civil war broke out, Ryan was given a contract to feed all the Union troops, resulting in James making quite a fortune from the war. With these earnings, he built this mansion for himself, his wife and his four daughters. Standing four stories high, the mansion contains seven bedrooms, two dining rooms, one kitchen, four staircases, nine marble fireplaces, a library, and a ballroom.

Today, the Ryan Mansion is the spot for spiritual séances and ghostly interactions. Visitors frequently refer to this remodeled bed and breakfast as a DEAD and breakfast. As a stop in the Amelia Ghost Tours, the Ryan Mansion is said to be haunted by visitors of the Ryan Family. EMF meters frequently trigger on the first floor of the mansion, and odd figures have been spotted roaming the halls.

Desoto House Hotel

Since the mid-1800s, the De Soto House Hotel has been the center of both social and political events in Galena. Today, it is believed that some visitors who have stayed the De Soto house never completely left. According to hotel guests, most hauntings at the De Soto House occur on the third floor. Reports of figures sitting at the end of their bed, phantom cigar smoke, voices in the halls, and apparitions of people in period dress who seem to walk – or float – through walls are just a few of the spiritual experiences guests have reported.

But that’s not all, for years employees have reported sighting a lady in black walking down the stairs and disappearing into a wall. In 2011, Galena experienced a flood that destroyed the drywall in the hotel’s lower level.  When they removed the drywall, they found a brick wall with a doorway opening in the very place that the Lady in Black was said to disappear. Spooky!

Otto’s Place

Otto’s place is a quaint restaurant located in downtown Galena. Today, Otto’s place is said to be haunted by Otto Sallman, the namesake of the establishment. Sallman is a former tenant and café owner. His apparition has been seen walking the railroad tracks adjacent to the building. Restaurant-goers and employees who have reported seeing his apparition believe he stops by to check in on his café every once in a while. Most people in Galena believe Otto to be a very friendly spirit.


This Fall is the perfect time to explore some of the haunted spots in beautiful Galena. Let us know which is your favorite!