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"Uncovering the Ghostly Legacy of Al Capone: Hauntings from the Mob"

Alphonse Gabriel Capone, better known as Al Capone, was arguably the most famous gangster in history. He left a trail of death and destruction in his wake as he ruthlessly ruled Chicago's southside by using fear as his method of rule. Capone's wicked ways led to the deaths of many who crossed him along the way. For years, locations across the United States attached to Capone's legacy have been the source of claims of ghostly activity. Here are a few of my favorite ghost stories surrounding Scarface himself.

St. Valentine's Day Massacre

The St. Valentine's Day Massacre occurred on February 14, 1929, in the city of Chicago, Illinois. Some of Al Capone’s men made a plan to have four hit men dress as police officers and catch Bugs Moran’s gang, a northside rival gang of Capone's, off guard. Moran's men were in an old garage when the hit took place. Seven men were killed; two of whom were not members of Moran’s gang. To this day, the bullet holes are still in clear view almost 100 years after the gruesome murders took place.

The wall itself has had a tedious history since that fateful Valentine's Day in 1929. Some claim it is haunted, as weird anomalies such as screams, and gunfire have been heard within its vicinity. Others say it is not necessarily haunted but rather cursed.

You can find the infamous wall at Las Vegas' Mob Museum on display now.

Bachelor's Grove

Bachelor's Grove Cemetery, located in Midlothian, Illinois, dates back to the mid 1830's. It's one of those cemeteries that you can instantly tell has been touched by time. A lot of the headstones are weathered; some are broken or toppled over. Neglect and outright desecration occurred for years, if not decades, at Bachelor's Grove.

No one has been buried at the old cemetery in over a quarter century, but there has been no shortage of visitors in the years since. The reason for this is simple, Bachelor's Grove is one of the most famous cemeteries in the United States for paranormal activity. There's a lot of activity here. As a previous body dumping spot for Al Capone's mob, there is a lot of unfinished business going on in addition to the other souls buried within the cemetery grounds.

Orbs show up in a large portion of the photos taken at Bachelor's Grove. Phantom cars can be heard, and sometimes even seen circling the fence. The general consensus on the cars is that they are ghostly impressions from the mob. Residual hauntings. I've been told there's been a few sightings of a ghost horse and farmer who drowned more than a century ago. A ghostly apparition in all white glides through the cemetery on clear nights, while a two headed apparition has been seen on several occasions just outside of the fence. Several other apparitions have been seen throughout the cemetery over the past 50 years as well.

In addition to the apparitions of beings, there's also a phantom farm house that appears and disappears to some visitor's. EVP's (electronic voice phenomena) have been recorded by many paranormal investigator's. Mob voices, an angry lady, an inquisitive ghost and more have all been recorded (pretty clearly) on voice recorders communicating with investigators.

A friend of mine investigates here quite often and says this is one of her favorite spots for paranormal activity. I've only been during the day, so I haven't gotten anything more than a few spikes on the EMF reader, but maybe I will be heading back at night sometime in the near future to do a real investigation.

Widow McCleary's: Illinois

In Thorton, Illinois, which is not far outside of the city of Chicago and just over the Indiana border, sits a building once known as Widow McCleary’s. The building was originally built in 1857 as a brewery. As the years went by, business grew as did the distillery. By the 1910’s legend states that a man with the last name of McCleary and his wife were running the place. In the early 1920s, the alcohol business was nonexistent (legally anyway) because this was the time of prohibition in the United States. According to legend, around 1922, Mr. McCleary was approached by a man offering to partner with him in a bootlegging business. Mr. McCleary wanted nothing to do with the illegal business and said as much. He turned the offer and the man away not realizing the colossal mistake he had just made. You see, the bootleg “business” man was none other than Alphonse Gabriel Capone. Refusing business with Al Capone was not an option, not a safe one anyway. Shortly after the meeting with Capone, Mr. McCleary disappeared forever. Possibly due to a fire at the location. The next owner was quick to join forces with Capone and from there the pub flourished. While the pub was a fun scene upstairs, down in the basement, it is said that rival gang members were interrogated and disposed of. There is no official record of Al Capone running the place, but the consensus around town is that he did. Over the years the owners changed, as did the name, but the history and the spirits of some of the dead still remained.

     I visited this location about 15 years ago when it was called Widow McCleary’s. Interesting name, no? I was on a ghost tour with some friends and it was our turn to go down in the basement. Let me tell you, this place seems like a terrible place to die. It is dark, creepy, and cramped. There was a group of four of us, all 17 or 18, so young and nervous. The man in

charge of the ghost hunt EVP handed us a recorder, and a flashlight, and then closed the door behind us as we went inside. So here we were, 4 teenage girls about to talk to some spirits in the dark, cramped mobster basement. It was immediately clear that we all felt like something was there with us, but it didn’t seem angry or mean, just simply there. I was holding the flashlight while my friend held the EVP and did the talking. This was my first ghost tour and so I had no idea what I was doing, my friend on the other hand seemed like she could star in her own reality ghost investigation show. She asked all of the right questions and waited the appropriate amount of time before continuing. We took a few pictures and then gave way to the next group.

     Later that day, we listened to the evp and didn’t hear anything after the first few questions. We were disgruntled but kept listening. We were all absolutely shocked when on the recording you can hear my friend ask, “Were you a part of the mob?” “Yes.” Then it was like nothing else was there. The tape, because that was how voice recorders were back in the old days, just went blank. We knew there were more questions, but nothing was picked up. We played the yes over and over again, it was right there clear as day. Besides the EVP, we picked up a few orbs and nothing else, but in all, it was absolutely worth it.

     One theory about the hauntings in the location is that they are magnified by the limestone rock quarry that sits next to the property. Limestone has long been suspected as somehow channeling paranormal activity or replaying residuals of times gone past.

     A few years after we visited on the ghost tour, Widow McCleary’s shut her doors. It sat for many years before new owners came in and redid the whole place. It looks amazing now. It is definitely a place to visit if you are into distilleries and pubs. I’m not sure if the new owners embrace the whole paranormal aspect of the property, so I won’t say its name just in case they do not.

Eastern State Penitentiary: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

First, a little background on the prison. It opened in 1829 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as a state-of-the-art penitentiary drawing attention from countries all over the world for its revolutionary design. Unfortunately, prisons aren't great places to begin with, so it didn't matter how revolutionary they made the end of the day, it was still a prison.

Over the 142 years it was in operation, Eastern State saw thousands upon thousands of inmates ranging from petty crimes to murder. It also housed some very notable inmates including Al Capone whose cell is still preserved just as he left it in 1930 as you can see in the picture to the left.

By the time the prison closed in 1971, it had seen death row inmates (though they were executed elsewhere), prison riots, murders, deadly illnesses, and more creating a negative energy that never really left.

My Visit

I visited Eastern State on a Saturday in late October, a perfect time to check out haunted places. I actually did not investigate the old prison, but I did do the self-guided tour where I found myself wandering the penitentiary alone for several hours which was perfect for me. I was able to check out some of the most haunted locations in the prison and even do some evp sessions without disturbing anyone or being disturbed in return. What I found was that the investigators who have been to Eastern State before me were not exaggerating, it is a very haunted old prison.

One of the most active locations, at least for me, was the cell pictured to the right. I spent quite some time here doing an evp and k2 session. The k2 was especially active during my time in this cell with it continuously lighting up in response to my questions. It never once lit up while I was talking, just in response to anything I said that I found interesting. I'm not sure who the spirit was in this particular cell, but whoever they were, they were chatting and did not come across as negative.

The photo to my left shows another location where I feel there was a lot of activity. This particular cellblock was closed off due to, as you can see, a lot of debris, but I was able to hang out for a bit at the spot where I took this picture. No one was over this way because it was kind of a waste of time for many, so the area was secluded. What I noticed in the area was what appeared to be a shadow person ducking in and out of the cell to the left about halfway down the cell block. I tried recording it but have yet to go through all of my footage to see if it appears. Fingers crossed it did!

 Though I didn't spend a lot of time here, I did pick up on some paranormal activity and would highly recommend checking it out for yourself if you are ever in Philadelphia. Even if you don't want to pay the cost of a private investigation, just doing the self-guided tour for less than $20 can still bring you up close and personal with the spirits of Eastern State.

Alcatraz: San Fransico, California

Alcatraz Penitentiary is probably the most famous prison in United States history. It was built in the 1930's on an island in the San Francisco Bay. It was built with the intention to house the worst of the worst in a virtually inescapable place. Some of its infamous prisoners included Al Capone and Machine Gun Kelly. During its time as a prison, Alcatraz was known for its less-than-accommodating conditions.

Alcatraz was only open for 29 years, but it was a violent 29 years. One of the most violent of

those instances, The Battle of Alcatraz, occurred when inmates attempted to escape resulting in the deaths of prison guards and inmates alike.

Today, Alcatraz Penitentiary is a tourist destination for many who visit San Francisco each year. It is a popular place for ghost hunters as well. Much of the prison is said to be haunted by the ghosts of the inmates who perished within its walls. Banjo music is said to be heard in the showers; while up on the cell block, an angry ghost of a murderer still lurks looking for his next victim. One of the scariest spots in the prison is cell 14D. It is said that in the 1940's an inmate who was housed in 14D kept screaming that a creature was trying to kill him. The next morning, he was found dead on the floor, murdered. Visitors today claim that the spirit of the man is still in there, waiting for help. Cold spots and feelings of being touched are common in cell 14D. Disembodied voices, apparitions, orbs, and more have all been witnessed at Alcatraz as well.

Ghost tours are offered during the spring and summer months for those brave enough to give it a try. So, if you are ever in San Francisco and up for a little ghostly fun, check it out!

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