Watch CBS News

Chicago Hauntings: A History Of Axe Murder At The Liar's Club Is Associated With Some Spooky Sights And Sounds

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The Liar's Club at 1665 W. Fullerton Ave. has been in business since 1995. You may have seen a band there, or maybe you've just come to have a beer and admire the KISS figurines and fez-hat lamps, among other eclectic décor items.

Or maybe you're going Wednesday night for the annual KISS karaoke contest, described by the Liar's Club itself as a "blood-spittin', fire-breathin' good time." They invite you to sing your favorite KISS song and dress up like your favorite member of the band – and makeup artists will be available to complete that process.


Posted by Liar's Club on Tuesday, October 26, 2021

But the building that houses the Liar's Club has seen some gore that isn't about camp and frivolity too. And Tony Szabelski of Chicago Hauntings Ghost Tours points out that some of the past occurrences there have ensured that the imposing building that houses the bar has been a frequent stop on ghost tours over the years.

The bar where you can now play pinball on a KISS-themed machine was the site of axe murders in the years before it became the Liar's Club. There are not too many axe murders that have ever made headlines in Chicago. The Liar's Club building has reputedly had two.

There was one in 1958, which Chicago Hauntings hasn't been able to find a backstory to confirm yet. But there was another one in April 1986 for which it isn't hard to find information – the Chicago Tribune reported at the time that it happened in a third-floor bedroom in the building.

Szabelski identifies the perpetrator as Ken Hansen, but his name was actually Frank. There was a Kenneth Hansen whose name lives on in horrific infamy in Chicago too – he murdered three boys in a stable in a crime that shocked the city in 1955 – but he is not related to this case.

Frank and Julia Hansen owned the bar back then. Frank Hansen was a smallish man who married Julia – a larger woman – and he reputedly took many years of verbal abuse from her about his physical size, Szabelski said.

Frank was convicted of the murder in 1988. The Tribune reported he confessed to police that he struck her in the head, chest, and back with the axe after she pushed him down and choked him in a fight over money – though during the trial, he testified that police had coerced the confession. The Tribune reported that Julia was pregnant at the time.

Julia's body was left in the apartment for six days before Frank called the police. Julia's ghost has allegedly been seen throughout the bar in the years since.

Liar's Club
(Credit: CBS 2)

Szabelski also reports the building had a homeless shelter operating upstairs back in 1968. There were two men living there at the time – an older man named John Parlea, described as being about 70, and a younger man named Samuel Castell Jr., 27 – who got into a physical fight over a used pair of pants, and who had ownership of said pants.

Castell went on to overtake Parlea – beating him to death with an old glass soda bottle and shoving him out the second-floor window. Parlea later died in the hospital.

Some say the ghost of a man has been seen going up and down the stairs at the Liar's Club. It has not been determined whether the ghost has pants on.

Liar's Club
(Credit: CBS 2)

Liar's Club owner Herb Rosen described one of his own experiences.

"I was in the basement doing some kind of paperwork or something in the office, and for no reason whatsoever – I didn't see anything, I didn't hear anything – I got so scared and filled with dread that I jumped up from the desk, ran upstairs, and ran out onto the street, and did not come back until the nighttime," he said. "This was in the middle of the day – no real reason. That's never happened to me before, so that's kind of strange."

But that was not all.

"Our friend Candy came in and was sitting at the end of the bar, my buddy Cookie was setting up, and Wes was in the DJ booth in the corner – and she saw a woman behind Wes in the DJ booth, but… she knew that it wasn't a real person, and supposedly that's Julia from upstairs," Rosen said, "and then the same woman supposedly in the bathroom – another friend of ours opened the bathroom door on the second floor to go in, and there was a woman in there crying. She's like, 'Oh, sorry' – shut the door, waited, waited, waited, waited – nothing. Fifteen minutes later, opens – there's nobody in there. And there's not a window you can fit out of even if you were willing to jump up there. So that one was pretty wild."

Liar's Club
(Credit: CBS 2)

Rosen said another woman got her hair pulled while by herself in that same bathroom, and a bar back got grabbed by his elbow when no one was downstairs. The swing door to go behind the bar would also regularly open and close when nobody was there.

"I wish I was a believer, and I wish something would happen to me – but nothing has happened to me good enough for me to be scared," Rosen said. "And I'll get a few in me and go upstairs and try to be like: 'OK, show yourself! Let me see a sign!' And nothing happens. But a lot of people have had that – some people are in tune and some aren't. I'm probably not in tune, but I'm not necessarily asking for it either."

Video produced by Blake Tyson. Written story by Adam Harrington.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.