Grave Robbing 101 | September - Atlas Obscura
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Chicago, Illinois

Grave Robbing 101 | September

Tour relics of the old city cemetery and learn all you need to know to launch YOUR career as a 19th-century body snatcher — today!

When the area now known as Lincoln Park was City Cemetery during the 1840s to 1860s, it was a regular smorgasbord for grave robbers — medical schools tended to have a "no questions asked" policy, and a fresh cadaver could pay as much as a month in the coal mines.

Author and tour guide Adam Selzer leads "pupils" on a walking tour of Lincoln Park, showing relics of the old cemetery, a tomb snooping demonstration, and repeating stories and quotes from the archives about all of the body snatching that took place on the grounds — featuring enough tricks of the trade to launch your very own career. Humorous, entertaining, and educational as all get out.


  • The event will run rain or shine.
  • Meet outside the Chicago History Museum on North and Clark. Look for the guy with the clipboard outside the cafe.
  • The tour is approximately 2 miles.
  • This tour is family friendly but parents have to keep an eye on their kids.
  • The event has limited ADA access. Pavement will be available, but we might also be walking off the path in the grass.
  • Wear your walking shoes and bring your cameras!
  • Street metered parking is available around the museum and at the Museum Parking lot located one block north of the Museum at Clark and LaSalle Streets.
  • This ticket is non-refundable, but you can transfer it by following this handy Eventbrite tutorial.

About Field Agent Adam Selzer

Adam Selzer is the author of several Chicago history books, including the upcoming Mysterious Chicago: History at its Coolest, and Just Kill Me, a recent novel about a ghost tour guide who makes places more haunted by killing people there. Over the years he's run ghost tours, riverboat architecture tours, grave robbing tours, and more, and has practically lived in the newspaper archives. Ask him about the 1893 article about a woman dressed in mourning who asked a guy to come into Graceland with her to "comfort" her, then robbed him. 



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Advance ticket sales only. All ticket sales are final. No refunds or exchanges.