Also among the crowd were AJ Nichols and Minchah Chevalier, a couple living in Roscoe Village and the only pair to come dressed in “Jael-anna” cosplay. They’d gone out to thrift stores to purchase clothes detailed by Brianna in the White’s video. “We just came out for some good laughs,” said Minchah. “I got one and a half minutes into the video and almost cried. I was hyper-ventilating.” She’d also gotten half-way through Brianna and Jaelin’s wedding video just to see what kind of people they were. More bravery than I could muster.
AJ, who is in real estate like Jaelinn, was just happy that there was a charitable aspect to the walking tour, saying “even if we can raise $200 for charity -- it’s more than the Whites would’ve done.”
Eventually Kevin and his team split the crowd into groups for the tour. As he and Nikki Loehr took my group to the first proper stop on the tour, we passed the Berger Park Coach House where Jaelin “committed all his murders,” a mid-rise apartment building full of Time Lords, and the haunted convent which is now also Sacred Heart School. Meanwhile, the crowd was on a tour of their own making -- pointing out various dangerous landmarks to each other. Everyone knew the video inside-out and we were all ready to share it with each other. This whole night was a joke we were all in on.
We finally reached the first official stop on the tour: the Granville Redline Platform. We stayed at ground level, though, because no one wanted to cough up $5 for a ticket to ride. And just below sat the Loyola Campus Police equipped with real live security officers. We stared in delight -- some of us livestreaming the event -- as the first of many “Is that their Uber?” jokes was vocalized.
Next came the actual Subway restaurant where the Phoenicians hid from their nameless foe. While no one will ever know what sandwich Brianna ordered and almost threw up that fateful night -- the only detail she left out of her endless story -- we did learn what kind of shoe was almost lost. A great question from a man in a Sox tee, Kevin slyly answered “probably boat shoes” to a gleeful response.
Then a VW Jetta passed by. “That’s their car,” someone erupted. “See, you can’t even fit a bed in there,” retorted our guides.
As we headed onward to our next stop, a quiet voice behind me revealed she “didn’t know how much danger could happen in a single block. It’s scary.” The crack came from Alicia O’Dell, a young woman visiting from Boston for the week, “but I won’t be coming back. You can quote me on that.” The fear was palpable.
We made our way to the CVS to where Brianna and Jaelin had fled and then across the street to 1210 W Granville -- the supposed apartment building in question which had a “For Rent” sign posted above the door. We bowed our heads in a moment of silence for the homeless young couple, but it wasn’t much time before a car sped past, the driver shouting “Do you guys need an Uber?!”
The tour ended here and our guide was delighted with the warm turnout. Originally from Des Plains, Kevin Fergus was happy to have such a great response and raise some money for Care for Real -- a local neighborhood charity providing food, clothing, and counseling services to those in need.
Smiling and spent, Kevin and Nikki said goodbye to the crowd and fearlessly walked home. His only advice for the rest of us: “Just don’t repeatedly confront people who weird you out!”
Jaelin and Brianna did not have any direct comments for me regarding the event. I must confess, however, I didn’t actually reach out to them. But who knows what would’ve happened if these fragile two had stayed in our fair city? What if they wandered into Wrigleyville after a Cubs game? Or perhaps they’d find themselves caught in the middle of River North’s recent gelato fiasco. My greatest wonder, though, is what would’ve happened had they come just a year earlier and wandered into the now-defunct Ed Debevic’s?