February 11, 2016
Al Capone and The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre Hauntings
By: Rebecca Genesis
St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, this particular day in Chicago, Illinois would be remembered as one of the bloodiest days in mob history.When it comes to Valentine’s Day, most people think of sending messages of love and gifts of chocolate and flowers to the one they adore. However, this was not the case for the notorious gangster, Alphonse “Scarface” Capone. On Valentine’s Day of 1929, Capone sent a message of death and destruction to the man he hated most of all, his main rival, George “Bugs” Moran. Dubbed the
seven men involved with the rival gang ran by Moran were ambushed in a warehouse as they were waiting for a supposed shipment of booze to arrive. Instead of a truck full of bootlegged liquor, a Cadillac which bore a resemblance to a police detective’s squad car pulled up full of men. Some were dressed as cops and the others wore plain clothes. The attackers lined Moran’s men up with their hands against a wall inside the warehouse and sprayed them with a storm of bullets from behind.On this deadly Valentine’s Day morning,
All seven of the men were killed in the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. Capone’s main target, however, would not be amongst the victims of that day. In what turned out to be a very fortuitous situation for Moran, he was running late and narrowly missed what would’ve been certain death. The unlucky souls who were taken out in a hail of bullets that day were: Albert Weinshank, Adam Heyer, John May, Reinhardt Schwimmer, James Clark, Peter Gusenberg, and his brother Frank Gusenberg who survived just a few hours before dying at the hospital.
Capone himself was miles away from Chicago in his mansion in sunny Miami Beach, Florida. This provided a perfect alibi even though it was well known that Capone would’ve had more than enough reason to put a hit out on his main rival along with his some of his henchmen. Although Moran himself wasn’t killed in the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, Capone’s competition was pretty much wiped out, and he easily became the most powerful and feared gangster during the prohibition-era.
intentionally picked up some concealed weapons charges so he could serve some time. He soon ended up in the Eastern State Penitentiary. This strategy allowed him to stay out of the public eye as everything blew over, or at least that’s what he’d hoped. But, really, it was the beginning of the end of Capone’s huge illegal empire.After laying low in Florida for a few months, Capone returned to Chicago in May of 1929 for the first time after the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. Starting to feel the heat, he skipped town to Philadelphia where it’s said Capone
Al Capone was never to be indicted or convicted for the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, or anyone else for that matter. But, this also didn’t mean that he was never to pay for his alleged involvement in the crime. In fact, it’s said the ghost of one of the victims and brother-in-law to Moran, James Clark, would have his own kind of retribution, tormenting Capone until the day he died.
Capone’s prison cell in Eastern State Penitentiary was much more comfortable than the others. The prison warden allowed him to have furnishings like a desk, armchair, radio and many other amenities. He was also granted the privileges of eating private meals and being able to conduct business during his incarceration. But, the ghost of James Clark wasn’t going to let Capone have it that easy.
During his nine-month stint in Eastern State Penitentiary, other inmates reported hearing Capone in his cell at night screaming at someone named “Jimmy” begging him to “go away!” and “leave me alone!” During the daytime hours, Capone wouldn’t speak to anyone in the prison about the ghostly visitor, but he later claimed this was when and where the haunting first began to occur.
Although he had once been adored by the public prior to the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, Capone found that upon his release from prison and return to Chicago, he had been branded by the newspapers, “Public Enemy Number One.” Capone would spend most of his nights at the Lexington Hotel where he would also report the most encounters with the ghostly figure of James Clark.
On certain occasions, his bodyguards heard Capone in distress while he was supposed to be alone in his room. Afraid someone had broken in, they would bust through the door, only to find Capone by himself and claiming to have seen the ghost of James Clark. A psychic, Alice Britt was even hired to perform a séance in the hopes to finally rid Capone of the angry spirit that was haunting him from beyond the grave.
Apparently, the psychic was not successful at driving away the relentless entity. Not long after the séance, Capone’s valet, Hymie Cornish, claimed to have seen a tall man in the lounge of his employer’s apartment. As the figure slipped behind a curtain, Cornish demanded to know who he was. However, an immediate search of the area showed there was no one there. Once again, Capone insisted it was the spirit of James Clark.
mental health was beginning to deteriorate and some even said it was the ghost of James Clark who was driving him mad. That very same year, Capone would also sell the home he had built in St. Petersburg, Florida.In 1931, Capone would be indicted on multiple counts of tax evasion and sentenced to 11 years of hard time. Although he started out in a prison in Atlanta, he would soon be transferred to the prison of all prisons, Alcatraz. His
Derby Lane. This location would’ve provided a perfect spot for transporting goods and bootlegged liquors across Tampa Bay. The dog track would’ve also given Capone a perfect nearby gambling and money laundering outlet, as well.Built in 1926, it is rumored that the house was used for either a home for Capone’s elderly mother or a brothel. Or, perhaps even for both reasons at different times. Located in Shore Acres, the house was originally right on the water, and had a road leading directly to the Kennel Club, a dog racing circuit also in St. Pete now known as
The house would exchange ownership multiple times since Capone owned it. He lived out his final days in Miami, Florida until death came for him on January 25, 1947 when he suffered a cardiac arrest. The home in St. Petersburg is rumored to have its own ghostly figure dressed in a period black suit from the 1920’s which appears in the windows or doorways sometimes.
Perhaps Capone’s spirit likes the house so much that he still decides to pay it a visit from time to time…
So, what about the warehouse where the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre took place? Located at 2212 North Clark Street in Chicago, Illinois, the bullet-riddled brick wall inside the warehouse was a makeshift memorial and tourist attraction for many years. 20 years after the brutal killings, an out-of-town couple renovated the front half of the warehouse and converted it into an antique shop. It is said that they were visited by more curiosity-seekers and tourists than customers and eventually closed the place down.
The building was torn down in 1967 but the bricks from the infamous brick wall were purchased and saved by a Canadian businessman who later sold them for $1,000 a piece. However, it wasn’t long before he was getting the bricks returned to him. The people who had purchased the gangland relics were claiming they were cursed and creating bad luck. Instances of divorce, disease, financial ruin, and even death were attributed to the bricks. Could it be they were infused with extremely powerful negative energy stemming from the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre?
claims of hauntings in the area. Light anomalies and mists are said to manifest, and unusual feelings of fear are experienced by sensitive humans as well as animals. Disembodied male voices, screams, and the sounds of machine guns are also reported, making this a prime location of interest for paranormal investigators in the Chicago area. With such an interesting and dark history, it’s definitely on my own ghost hunting to-do list…Although there is no longer a building standing where the mass killing took place, there are still
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