Friday, June 17, 2011

Old Town Tatu

The Old Town Tatu Shop on Chicago's North Side opened in 2003 as Odin Tatu.  Named after owner Ritchie "Tapeworm" Herrera's son, the tattoo shop was built in what was once the Klemundt funeral home, the oldest operating funeral home in the city, opened in the 1800s.  It also now has the distinction of being certifiably haunted, and possibly, the most haunted tattoo shop in America.

There are many different reports and several different entities that are said to reside in the building.  An EVP session by Weird Chicago came up with the name Walter, who was the original owner of the parlor and who died in the building of a heart attack, but there are also at least three other entities, including a little girl, and perhaps even Ritchie "Tapeworm" himself.

Before Ritchie passed away in 2006, he had several incidents of where something tried, and eventually succeeded, in pushing him down the stairs.  After being pushed down the stairs, Ritchie loudly proclaimed that if he ever died in the shop, he was going to come back and kick the ghost's ass.  Sadly, Ritchie DID pass away in the shop.  He died of an apparent heart attack in the upstairs apartment, three weeks after the stair incident, on July 6, 2006.

Today, the shop is owned by friends of Ritchie, who out of respect, changed the name to Old Town Tatu, and plan on turning ownership over to Ritchie's son, Odin, as soon as Odin finishes college.  Activity is still present, and it is believed that Tapeworm may even still be there.  New employees who use his former tattoo station report electrical problems.  When someone who knew Tapeworm uses the station, everything works perfectly. 

The shop is also plagued with poltergeist activity.  A mask on the wall has flown off several times, and keys have flown off a counter.  Before Ritchie's passing, he and Nick, a current owner, were staying in the upstairs apartment with their dog, Rocky.  Nick was sleeping while Ritchie was away from the apartment.  Nick was awakened by the door opening and closing, and figured it was either Ritchie returning, or the dog.  It stopped for awhile, then started up again, so he investigated.  Ritchie was not there, and the dog was locked out on the back porch.


  1. I remember seeing this location on Ghost Lab, I think. I believe there are several tattoo shops in the country that are reportedly haunted but this one is the most well known by far.

  2. Just a few corrections from a Klemundt Family Member - The Old Town Tatu building (Which we called the "Old Chapel" was built in 1923 by my Great Grandfather, John A. Klemundt, and was used until the New Chapels were built next door in 1955. Prior to this in the teens, the Klemundt Funeral Home was located at the corner of Byron and Spaulding, across from Immaculate Heart of Mary Church. (The land was donated to the church by my Great Grandfather, and serves as a parking lot today).
    The Klemundt Funeral business began when my Great Grandfather graduated Mortuary School in 1909. While it was one of the oldest family run funeral homes in Chicago, The Building and the Business do not date from the 1800s.
    My Great Uncle sold the buildings in 2004 to a Real Estate Investor. And the shop didn't open until that year or later, as Richie did a lot of work getting the Old Chapel fixed up.
    I met Richie about 2 weeks before his death. By luck, what had been an old family apartment next door was for rent, and I got to move back in to the apartment next door at the end of June 2006. (I had lived there previously for 3 years before the buildings sold, and moved out in 2004.) I met Richie as I was moving in, and he showed me around the place, and all the improvements he had made. Took me upstairs to what had been my Uncle's Apartment, told me of the Ghost experiences. He was such a great guy, and loved that a family member was back living on the premises. We were planning on hanging out as soon as I got settled after the move. Sadly, just a little over a week later, he passed away. The shop was closed for months after... and I was just glad it reopened, and is still there and thriving.
    Do I believe the Ghost Stories? Kinda.... I do believe in spirits and Ghosts, but have my own ideas of who might be haunting the place and why. I think it's important though that facts about the family and business don't get skewed to fit a Ghost Story, as Family History is an important thing to me. Besides - Sometimes the truth is much more interesting than the fables created!