“Chicago is, and always has been, a grim, violent city, a tough city of many tongues and curiously Chicago is proud of this description.”
This was the blurb on my guidebook to Chicago Crime.
I was on holiday, revisiting my hometown of Chicago. I was passing Holy Name Cathedral, which was on my list of crime sights. I walked up to the cornerstone of the church and touched the bullet hole from the North side gangster’s assassination in 1926. Hymie Weiss to be specific.
Before I walked away, another fella followed me and touched the bullet hole and smiled wickedly. He was a heavy-set chap with a round face, heavy eyebrows, dark eyes and thick lips. There was a slight mark on his left cheek. He was wearing a black suit with white tie and two-toned shoes.
When he was finished stroking the bullet hole he approached me and said:
“That’s where O’Banion’s old flower shop was, right across the street,” he pointed his chubby finger.
I backed away from him, wondering why this stranger was talking to me.
“Weiss and his side kick drove to his office above the flower shop. They parked the car and walked past the church. Then Tommy gun fire came from the third floor window of that nearby building. The spray of bullets tore away portions of the church’s cornerstone. As you can see the hole remains today.”
He walked back and touched the bullet hole again and said:
“Pedestrians scattered screaming as the shots broke the silence. Weiss took ten bullets and died at a nearby hospital. His side kick died instantly.”
The stranger then walked away laughing, and seemed to disappear into the distance.
I stood frozen to the spot for a minute. I wondered was this Edward G. Robinson look-a-like really the ghost of the leader of the “Chicago Outfit”, Al Capone?
Did I have a hallucination because of all the crime stories in my head?
My guidebook stated that the police chief announced after the Weiss shooting:
“If people have to be killed, it’s good that the gangsters are killing themselves. It saves trouble for the police!”
I walked away wondering:
DO DEAD MEN TELL STORIES?