Weird News, Ghosts and the Paranormal.

The Haunting of Al Capone

al-capone scary ghost

Al Capone is one of the most famous faces in the history of organized crime as well as one of the biggest ‘names’ of the twentieth century.

His legacy is forever entwined with that of the city he almost ran, Chicago, Illinois.

Alphonse Capone would move to the Windy City of Chicago in 1920 on the heels of crime boss and mentor Johnny Torrio. Torrio had hand picked Capone for his Chicago operations, where he hoped to be become rich with bootleg liquor sales in the wake of prohibition.

Eventually Capone would become a celebrity and a very powerful man no one wished to cross. It was after one of his most infamous acts of violence, the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, that Capone would find himself haunted by the spirit of one of his victims.

After arriving in Chicago, Torrio and Capone waged a war against rival gangs that was spread across the streets of Chicago and the daily papers.

In 1924, Torrio’s involvement in the death of North Side Irish mobster Dion O’Banion caused to him to move back to the East Coast, leaving Capone in sole charge of a crime empire worth millions at just twenty-six years of age.

The assassination of Dion O’Banion would be the catalyst in the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. After Torrio fled East, a war ensued between Capone and the North Side Mob, controlled by another famous mobster Bugs Moran.

al-capone-scarface-516x250

Capone and his men created an elaborate plot to get Bugs Moran into the open. Capone had a mutual business associate of both Capone and Moran call Moran to inform him that one of his warehouses on the North Side of Chicago would be receiving a truck full of illegal Canadian whiskey.

Bugs Moran arranged to inspect the stolen goods the day after the phone call: Valentine’s Day.

On the morning of February, 14th, 1929, at the warehouse located at 2122 North Clark Street, seven men awaited the arrival of Bugs and the illegal contraband, including Moran’s brother in law and second in command, James Clark.

According to eyewitness accounts, a sedan pulled up with four men inside it, two dressed as Chicago police and two dressed in suits, overcoats and hats.

These men went into the warehouse, had all seven men line up against the wall of the garage before opening up on the men with two Thompson machine guns.

Afterwards, the ‘officers’ escorted the other two murderers back onto the sedan without incident and drove away.

Victim's oPhotoshop8BIMLf the St. Valentine's Day massa

Six of the men died on the premises while the seventh victim survived for around twelve hours after the attack, refusing to speak a word about the incident or the identitys of his attackers.

Bugs Moran was late to the meeting on Clark Street that morning and that likely saved his life as well as one of the murdered men having a similar build and coat color as Moran, so the killers probably believed they had acquired their target.

Speculation on the massacre would go on for decades and would also become one of the infamous tales of prohibition era Chicago and the mobsters of that era.

It was also an event that seemed to have a significant impact on Al Capone himself.

Later in 1929 Capone and his bodyguard traveled to Philadelphia and would be picked up by the police on a concealed weapons charge and sentenced to a year in prison at Eastern State Penitentiary.

al_capone_double

While in prison Capone had many luxuries not afforded to a usual prisoner, such as a private cell. But according some accounts, Capone was not alone.

Inmates recall hearing Capone pleading for “Jimmy” to leave him alone on numerous occasions. It would appear that James Clark would not go so easily into the great beyond without facing the orchestrator of his murder.

After being released from prison, Capone continued to see the ghost of James Clark during his stay at The Lexington Hotel back in Chicago.

Capone’s body guards heard their boss pleading for mercy from the spirit on more then one occasion, even entering the room believing Capone’s life to be in peril only to hear about the ghost of James Clark.

The Lexington Hotel

The Lexington Hotel

Another of the storys about the ghost that Haunted Capone started when one of Capone’s men entered his apartment to see a tall figure standing by a window. The guard yelled at the figure to identify itself but it seemed to step behind the curtain of the window and disappear.

Capone would later insist that this figure was the ghost that haunted him for years.

However, despite the almost classic revenge from beyond the grave ghost story, there are some reasons to think the explanation for Capone’s visions might be something less then paranormal in origin.

In 1931 Capone was sentenced to elven years in prison, where he spent time at the infamous Alcatraz, among other places.

Sidewalks+capone+

However, in his last year of that sentence was spent in a prison hospital as Capone suffered from Syphilis, which was getting worse. He was reported to be in a daze during this time, incoherent and irrational.

Later, Capone was diagnosed with Neurosyphilis, which one can show signs ten or so years after initial infection. Neurosyphilis can cause dementia, psychosis, irritability and depression.

Considering the fact that Capone contracted Syphilis as a child and the above symptoms of a disease he was later professionally diagnosed with sound like a brutal cocktail capable of producing hallucinations, is it possible the ghost of James Clark was all in Capone’s head?

There are a couple other little side notes to touch on here…

People passing the site of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, which today is an empty yard owned by a nursing home with a few sparese trees, claim the can sometimes hear phantom strains of screaming and machine gun fire.

Cell in Alcatraz

Cell in Alcatraz

Earlier on, the bricks from the back wall of the original building on the site had been salvaged to be part of a men’s room in Chicago club. Later, these four hundred of so bricks would be sold, only to have some returned as people were claiming the the bricks brought bad luck or were haunted themselves.

While being imprisoned in Alcatraz, Al Capone had learned to play the banjo. To this day people visiting the abandoned structure have heard strains of banjo music from the area of the prison showers near Capone’s cell.

No matter the cause or explanation of these tall tales and urban legends surrounding one of the most famous criminals in history, it does make for an interesting story for a chilly Fall evening.

- Thomas Spychalski

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8 responses

  1. Interesting stuff. I used to be fascinated and creeped out by Capone growing up.

    October 5, 2013 at 11:00 PM

    • Cheers Patrick!

      October 8, 2013 at 11:37 PM

      • Just included this as a related article, in case you didn’t hear through the wordpress grapevine. :-)

        October 8, 2013 at 11:44 PM

    • Oh I LOVED learning about Al Capone growing up. I’m totally fascinated by him. How a man can arrange the deaths of a ‘business’ rival and then donate turkey meals to the homeless shelters of New York. If any innocent got killed by accident during one of his ‘lessons’ like that kid that got blown up in the attack on the Barber Shop, he paid for the funeral and gave the parents thousands in damages. He put kids through college and sent flowers to the men he got whacked. He was his own oxi-moron. He totally intrigued me. And after all the government tried to bring him down it was unprotected sex that got him lol

      October 9, 2013 at 4:58 AM

      • Wow. I didn’t know most of that!

        October 9, 2013 at 6:26 AM

      • lol I read many books about him as a kid and always wanted to go see the house of his in Florida, the pink house that Madonna once owned. He died there and apparently he can still be seen sitting on his deck chair looking at the water. There is also that Lodge up Nevada I think it is, where the gangsters went to party. People like Marilyn and Sinatra went there. Secret tunnels and the haunted boat house. Bodies buried and I think some of the Donner party were found just on the outskirts of the property. It’s on a lake and the house is Half on ground where it is illegal to gamble and half where it isn’t, Do you know which one I’m talking about? I think they went there in the early early Ghost Hunter years and it was compelling stuff. It was mind blowing the stuff they caught. One of their best investigations I think. I just love the Gangster stuff and Alfonso Capone was my most intriguing to read about. Your like me, you love reading, get some books out, honestly, he was a fascinating man, not at all the villain he was deemed to be. Really quite a complex character with very low self esteem.

        October 9, 2013 at 7:56 AM

      • I’m totally going to check it out over my fall break. Thanks for the homework!

        October 9, 2013 at 12:32 PM

      • Lol oh please discuss once done :)

        October 9, 2013 at 12:38 PM

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