The Resurrection of Nicholas Viana

Il Diavolo The guards at the old prison on Dearborn and Illinois weren’t afraid of much, but one prisoner really freaked them out: Sam “Il Diavolo” Cardinella, the head of a high insular, secretive gang that operated out of his pool room on 22nd Place. Their whole story was in a previous post: The Strange Read More…

Hangman’s Death Certificates

My, the things one finds on genealogy sites! More and more records come online all the time. Death certificates have never been THAT hard to get, but you normally have to pay to get them from the state archives, and I’m pretty cheap. In cases of hangings, I already know the cause of death, after Read More…

Death Penalty Banned in Illinois

FATAL DROP: TRUE TALES OF THE CHICAGO GALLOWSUntold stories of hangings in Chicago from 1840 – 1927$2.99 on kindle Don’t have a kindle? Use the FREE Kindle app for PC, mac, iphone, ipad, android, blackberry, etc! Gov. Quinn is expected to sign a bill that will abolish the death penalty in Illinois last week. Let’s Read More…

Hanging Disasters

Not all of the hangings in Chicago went smoothly – in fact, there were quite a few really botched jobs. There were a few occasions in the mid 1880s, in particular, when the sheriff did a crumby job of keeping the affair private, as required by law, and the hanging ended up being witness by Read More…