It only makes sense that something had to start the rumors that brought so many to Hull House back in the day. From what I have read, the devil baby was a phenomenon, bringing hundreds to Hull House everyday, hoping to catch a glimpse. There are a few stories about the devil baby, most having to do with some type of curse said by someone that "I would rather have the devil as a son/daughter/grandchild then a jew/irishman/atheist/insert anything else!" The most common story is a man whose wife hung a portrait of Mary above their bed, and the man, an atheist, said, "I'd rather invite the devil himself into my home than that portrait of Mary!" One of my favorites is a man with six daughters whose wife was pregnant again, who said, "I'd rather have a devil for a child than another daughter!" Lots of the rumors had to do with adultering wives or women who were with men of ethnic backgrounds other than their own as well.
So what was the devil baby really? Well, many have speculated that there was in fact a child, and that maybe this child was deformed somehow, possibly to resemble the devil. The rumors state that this baby also died at Hull House (in the attic), and so possibly this child had health problems (fetal alcohol syndrome?). It's quite plausible locals could have seen a deformed child and thought it as a devil baby, then rumors started. Again, Jane Addams did nothing but deny this. It does make for an interesting story.
Even though the devil baby story is said to be untrue, and does not have much grounding, this does not mean Hull House is not haunted! In fact, this Jane Addams did support. Many today do say they have weird encounters at Hull House, just none with a devil baby.
This is my 12th blog, so have a great break everyone! It's been a great class!