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Hull House in Chicago | Home of the “Devil Baby”

Hull House was a settlement home for immigrants and children. To the horror of its respected founder Jane Addams, it became infamously known for a legend.

A story said to spawn the infamous horror movie, Rosemary’s Baby.

Hull House from outside the Jane Addams Museum
Current Hull House – Jane Addams Museum
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History of Chicago’s Hull House

Jane Addams founded Hull House in 1889. This is where newly arrived immigrants could find shelter. 

Named after real estate magnate Charles J. Hull. He built this vacation Summer house in 1856. Located in the “rich part of the city”. 

Virtual Tour into Hull House

Addams, along with her partner Ellen Starr, took over after Hull’s death. Hull left the house to his cousin, Helen Culver. She donated the house to Jane Addams and her cause.

Jane Addams

It started as a shelter for woman. Tending to them with midwives, and sheltering them from abusive husbands.

It’s said some very important ideas for the United States started at Hull House. Including the issues with child labor, women’s suffrage in the city, and some healthcare reform.

Jane Addams - Hull House in Chicago - Home to the Devil Baby
Jane Addams with the kids

This may be the location for the beginnings of Social Welfare.

Jane Addams had accomplishments a mile long! Most likely the reason she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931.

Legend of Chicago’s Devil Baby

The Devil Baby was said to be born to an unknown woman.

Just One Many Legends

When seen by the midwives, they screamed and wouldn’t go near it. The mother accepted her baby. Loved him, seeing past its monstrous appearance.

The Legend says the baby was born a monster because of his father. A man blessed with only daughters. He yelled to heavens in the frustration…

“I would rather have the devil in this house than another daughter!”

All versions say the Devil Baby died as an infant.

What Did Jane Think?

Jane Addams thought so (from an article she wrote in The Atlantic)…

“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 [the baby] 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.”

Jane Addams looking very stoic
Jane Addams looking really cool

Attention from the rumors upset Jane. She was quoted…

“Throughout six weeks, as I went about Hull-House, I would hear a voice at the telephone repeating for the hundredth time that day …

  • ‘No, there is no such baby’
  • ‘Again no, we never had it here’
  • ‘No, he couldn’t have seen it for fifty cents’
  • ‘We didn’t send it anywhere because we never had it’
  • ‘I don’t mean to say that your sister-in-law lied, but there must be some mistake’
  • ‘There is no point getting an excursion from Milwaukee, for there isn’t any Devil Baby at Hull-House’

Take a Virtual Tour of the Hull House

Legend Helped Women

What it did do is bring Jane amazing life stories. Tragedy and triumph of women who came to see the Devil Baby. Stayed to talk with Addams.

“Many of them who came to see the Devil Baby had been forced to face tragic human experiences; the powers of brutality and horror…”

For example, she said…

They relate without flinching the most hideous experiences. ‘My face has had this queer twist for now nearly sixty years; I was ten when it got that way, the night after I saw my father do my mother to death with his knife.’

No matter the cause of the Legend, in the end this served a purpose. Bringing women to Hull House for help. Giving them an excuse to arrive.

Jane Addams wrote a book on the legend – BUY IT HERE

Book cover - Devil Baby by Jane Addams

Is the Devil also Rosemary’s Baby?

Even though it’s not proven, there are similarities. And an accepted rumor that the author of Rosemary’s Baby (the book), Ira Levin, may have taken ideas from the legend.

Is Hull House Haunted?

Yes. After research, stories stood out around two ghosts…

  1. The wife of Charles, Millicent Hull. Now known as the Woman in White.
  2. The Devil Baby himself.

Woman in White

It starts from Jane Addams bedroom inside the house. A woman in a white dress seen moving out of the room, into the hallways. Sometimes seen going up the attic stairs.

She’s believed to be the wife of Charles Hull. Millicent Hull got sick in the Summer of 1860. The illness is unknown, but fatal. She died in that same bedroom.

It is said that Jane liked the ghost story. Not out of a love for ghosts. But instead, as a folk-legend. Respecting the history that remained through Millicent’s story.

Devil Baby

Not much to say about the legendary baby. Just some simple sounds heard inside the house to this day.

The sound… a baby crying.

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