Ken has confirmed that they heard the infamous gunshot noise in the old ballroom. He was running the tour on Friday while I was in Florida.
He says that there was a strange knocking sound in the first ballroom they hit at the Congress, though that could have been any number of things.
They were just leaving the second ballroom when the sound came - at first, everyone seemed to think it was a gunshot, but then, when there were no screams or footsteps, decided that perhaps it was a folded-up table falling onto the ground in the nearby hallway. This is the exact reaction my group had, as well. A thorough checking of the premises revealed nothing that could have made the sound.
Ken had a couple of theories - that it was an industrial oven closing, or that it was the furnace, which is directly below the ballroom. I had speculated that it could have been an electrical shortage, which can cause that kind of noise. None of these theories really hold up, though. The furnace is two floors down, and the noise wouldn't sound so close. There's no oven that close by, either, and certainly none were being used on the floor. If there had been an electrical shortage, some flashing lights should have been in evidence, but weren't.
Now, we're not saying that this was something in the realm of the paranormal - only that we don't know what's causing it, which is usually as far as we can go on these things. If we assume, hypothetically, that the shots are ghostly in origin, why are they showing up when they do? Is it only when the moon is in a certain phase, when the weather is just right, at a certain time of night on a certain day or the week, or what? Could the sound of the gunshot rung so heavily in the brain and energies of a guy who was about to be shot to death in the split second before they were cut off as the bullet hit its target have left some sort of "imprint" on the environment that can still manifest under just the right conditions as a sort of echo? Who knows?
We haven't found a record of anyone being shot in that hallway, though LOTS of people were shot in the Congress over the years (the listing of strange and grisly deaths there in our book is only a partial listing), and if someone was shot in an out-of-the-way service hallway, the whole point would be so that no one would find out about it. We'll keep searching!
In the mean time, there should be new posts here daily throughout October. The next couple of days are just "oddball stuff" posts, but they'll get good and spooky in October, when we'll discuss The Whitechapel Club, Resurrection Mary (including cool new information that few Mary hunters have ever seen!) and other famous Chicago haunts!