Ursula Bielski is the author of the critically acclaimed Chicago Haunts book series, the founder of the award-winning Chicago Hauntings Ghost Tours, and the host of PBS's The Hauntings of Chicago.
An historian by training, Bielski has been writing and lecturing about Chicago's supernatural folklore and the paranormal for nearly 25 years, and is recognized as a leading authority on the Chicago region's ghostlore and cemetery history.
Ursula's interests in Chicago ghost hunting began at a young age. She grew up in a haunted house on Chicago's North Side and received an early education in Chicago history from her father, a Chicago police officer, who introduced her to the ghosts at Graceland Cemetery, Montrose Point, and the old lockup at the storied Maxwell Street Police Station. Since that time Ursula has been involved in countless investigations of haunted sites in and around Chicago, including such notorious locales as Wrigley Field, the Congress Hotel, the Indiana Dunes, the Red Lion Pub, Hull House, Bachelors Grove Cemetery, Rose Hill Cemetery, haunted Archer Avenue, Chinatown, the Eastland disaster site, Death Alley, Dillinger's Alley, and the St. Valentine's Day Massacre site. Her paranormal travels have also led her to investigate sites as diverse and infamous as the Bell Witch Cave in Tennessee; the Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Opera House; New Orleans's House of the Rising Sun; the City Cemetery in Key West, Florida; and the Civil War Battlefield at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
Aside from her writing, Ursula has been featured on numerous television documentaries, including productions by the A&E Network, The History Channel, The Learning Channel, SyFy, The Travel Channel, and PBS. She's been a judge on Paranormal Challenge and a regular guest on Ghost Adventures and the Maury Show, as well as a regular on Chicago television and radio. She lectures frequently at libraries, historical societies, and professional associations. In addition to her books, Ursula is the author of numerous scholarly articles exploring the links between history and the paranormal, including articles published in the International Journal of Parapsychology. Ursula is a past editor of PA News, the quarterly newsletter of the Parapsychological Association, and a past president and board member of the Pi Gamma Chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honor society.
A graduate of St. Benedict High School in Chicago, Ursula holds a B.A. degree in history from Benedictine University and an M.A. in American cultural and intellectual history from Northeastern Illinois University. Her academic explorations include the Spiritualist movement of the nineteenth century and its transformation into psychical research and parapsychology, and the relationships among belief, experience, science, and religion.
In her spare time she is working with her fellow taphophiles and ghost hunters towards a permit to restore her favorite cemetery, Bachelors Grove, and still spends a lot of Saturdays watching Chicago’s Svengoolie or horror movie marathons at the Portage Theater. She lives in Chicago with her two daughters. She also loves to cook, sing at church, and buy dresses (which she notoriously even wears to graveyards).