Ray Johnson was just a freshman in high school when he had an encounter with the paranormal. He and his younger brother were horsing around, running back and forth from the living room to the kitchen, where they saw their mother standing at the stove cooking dinner. The next time they entered the kitchen it was mysteriously empty, and Ray’s mother came down from the upstairs apartment where she’d been all along. Ray and his brother could never explain the woman—or shadow of a woman—they’d both seen cooking that day, but it did spark Ray’s interest in solving mysteries, leading him to become a criminal investigator and, later, a historical and genealogical researcher.
A Chicagoland native and history buff, Ray explores the legends and mysteries swirling around the Windy City—which fill his book Chicago’s Haunt Detective, the blog he writes for ChicagoNow, and his narration during Voices From Beyond tours. Working with two paranormal experts who handle the technical side of ghost hunting, Ray leads walks through Elmhurst’s spookiest sites, including the Elmhurst College Mill Theatre, the White Birch homestead, and Cottage Hill.