newyorksubalien has evolved. New city, new life, new blog

newyorksubalien has evolved. New city, new life, new blog.

Yes, I’m still socially-insecure and still deemed too primitive a life form for a bank account. I still can’t say ‘water’ correctly and voice-recognition software still doesn’t understand my number 8.

Meanwhile Superalien is still as super (at least in my eyes), Male Mini-Me is taller than all of us and Mini-Mum has returned to the home of the Mini, only popping back from London to sleep, be fed and help balance out testosterone levels.

But in my new home of Chicago, I can at least lay claim to my own subgroup. I’m now Chi-rish as in Chicago Irish. Apparently the hyphen is important so as not to be confused with Chinese Irish or the town in Armenia. But I’m trusting my readers not to be churlish and to forgive these, my (hyphen-less) Chirish chatters…..

Friday, October 24, 2014

"Bone-ing" up on the local underground history

We’re surrounded by bones, half-empty graveyards and ghosts. And not just in our neighbours’ Hallowe’en-bedecked gardens.

It all started on a dark, windy night. Well, actually, it was a sunny, cloudless day when, walking in Lincoln Park, I noticed an innocuous sign marked “Hidden Truths”. “Hidden Bodies” would have been more appropriate as it explained Lincoln Park used to be a city cemetery and the final resting place for an estimated 35,000 souls. That was until the city decided at the end of the 19th Century it needed the land and that those resting places weren't so final.

But with only 10 men reportedly given just over a month to complete the task, not all of the bodies managed to make it to new graves. Some researchers estimate over 10,000 people could still be buried there to this day. That’s a ballpark figure. To include the ball park, the Lincoln Park Farm Zoo and the Chicago History Museum. A museum which, by the way, literally proved to be history in the making after builders constructing its underground car park in 1998 discovered the remains of 81 early Chicagoans and an iron coffin. As the bones were over 100 hundred years old, they at least did manage to find a final resting place - the Illinois State Museum.

Our underground Lincoln Park neighbours aren't the only local ghosts we have to watch out for next week. Just down the road from us at 2122 North Clark Street is the site of the 1929 Valentine’s Day Massacre where arch gangster Al Capone had seven men gunned down in a garage. Six of the men worked for Capone’s rival Bugs Moran, the seventh was an unlucky car mechanic. The garage has since been torn down and now is the garden of a retirement home. No irony there. 

Apparently some of the senior residents have reported seeing gangster ghosts and hearing screams and automatic gunfire. Others claim that dogs walking past the site become very agitated. This, the paranormal experts say, could be due to a "psychic imprint" left by Highball, the unlucky mechanic’s dog, who witnessed the murders and was apparently permanently traumatized by the event.

I decided to test this one out by walking the Irish Wheaten Terror past the spot the other day and for once he was as good as gold. For some reason, all he wanted to do was go and dig holes in Lincoln Park….