There are many ghost stories and lore in the Chicagoland area. Many of these stories are recorded in books concerning area ghosts. Chicago is not unique; most places have their recognized local haunts. Every city seems to have books about their “locals”. However, by the time these stories become popularized I suspect the ghosts are long gone. Hauntings don’t last forever.
Take the story of Resurrection Mary, which is the classic hitchhiker ghost. There may have been something real to this story long ago but it’s unlikely the spirit still wanders the streets looking for a ride. These popularly known stories soon get told and retold with embellishments added that they soon enter into the realm of modern folklore and urban myth. When “haunted” places are stops on ghost tours, we can be sure nothing remains to scare us.
Where are the current “live” ghosts? Are they all gone? Few current ghosts get any recognition. Perhaps we are just smarter now and less gullible. Are all known hauntings now debunked? I suspect ghosts are still all around but remain unrecognized. Perhaps in the 21st century our attention span has diminished with so many distractions. It would take something really dramatic to get noticed and ghostly phenomena are subtle at best.
Chicago area ghost enthusiasts have many useful references for local ghost lore. One book I recommend is Chicago Haunts by Ursula Bielski. I even have an autographed copy I bought long ago at a book signing. This past Halloween there was a local television show about area ghosts shown on a public TV station. It was “Hauntings of Chicago” hosted by author Ursala Bielski. Below is this show in two parts. It is not comprehensive, and deals with the past, but is worth a view.