030 Laurel

Monday, November 30th, 2009

In late November of 1941, Myrna Mitchell finished feeding her 8 month old son, Laurel, breakfast. She left him in his high chair with an arrowroot teething biscuit and a spoon “to keep him occupied” while she went into the kitchen to wash up from breakfast. Halfway through her last load, she heard a small sound. She turned the water off, and heard Larry laughing and jabbering to himself. She went back to her dish washing, wiped down the counters, and swept the floor.

When she returned to the dining room, she found a gnawed-on, still damp teething biscuit on the floor next to the high chair. His bib had been removed and placed on the seat of the high chair. The child was gone.

Myrna called the police, who found all the windows closed and the front and back doors both locked. No one in the neighborhood had seen any strangers in the area at the time of the abduction. No ransom note was forthcoming.

One sensationalist newspaper reported that a strange foot print was found beneath one of the dining room windows, and that it was shaped like a goat hoof. It’s true that a foot print was found, and casts were made of it. The police report denotes it as a shoe print, although the cast has been lost.

In December of 1941, one month after Larry’s disappearance, Myrna thought she heard a child’s voice over the speaking tube leading up from the lobby of the two flat she and her husband lived in. She ran downstairs, finding no child. The spoon Larry had been playing with was neatly laid on the bottom step, however; shining gently. Snow had fallen a few hours previously and not yet been cleared away. There were no foot prints.

In January of 1942, again on the anniversary of the child’s disappearance, Myrna discovered the shoes and romper he had been wearing stuffed into the mailbox.

In February, on that fateful date, Myrna discovered a small white envelope slipped in the morning newspaper. It contained a lock of Larry’s hair.

In March, near what would have been his first birthday, Myrna received a package in the mail; it was wrapped in brown paper and tied with string, and had no return address. Herbert Mitchell, her husband, reports that she went very pale upon receiving it and rushed out of the house. She was later found dead in an alley. The package was never recovered; neither was Larry’s body.

029 Father

Sunday, November 29th, 2009

One of the most well known ghosts in Chicago, or the world, the apparition known as “Resurrection Mary” has frequently been seen in dance halls and along road sides. People, primarily men, have reported dancing with her, speaking with her, and giving her a lift “home,” although she invariably vanishes from the car before any destination has been reached. “Mary,” who most likely died, young, in a car crash, seems desperate to reach “home,” which more and more seems to be the cometary she is buried in.

Less well known is an apparition that seems to be an adult male. Descriptions of him and “Mary” share common features: hair color, nose shape, a curl to the lip. He is seen on nights when “Mary” is active, pacing along the iron fence of Resurrection Cemetery on Archer Avenue, or standing near the main gates. He acts much like a father, waiting up for his child who has missed curfew; or a pimp waiting for one of his prodigal hookers to return with his money.

028 Intaglio

Saturday, November 28th, 2009

There is a ring that floats from thrift store to resale shop to antique store, made of iron, with an amethyst intaglio about the size of a quarter. The intaglio, or cameo, is not a crisp carving. The edges are soft, blurred. However, it seems to depict a woman from the bust up. She has a complicated hair style and her hand, visible near her chest, holds a bundle of something… reeds, perhaps, or arrows.

One who obtains this ring, by purchase, trade, or theft, may wash it in a mixture of almond oil and rose water on the 1st or the 8th of the month. Applying this mixture of almond oil and rose water to the eyes will result in prophetic dreams.

The ring will soon slip away from its owner, to find someone else.

It is rumored that should the intaglio be removed from the iron setting, it will become much stronger, and possible to take permanent possession of it.

027 Tarts

Friday, November 27th, 2009

There is a bakery in Albany Park, nestled between a linen store and a children’s clothing store. It has a closed sign hanging in the door, but the lights are on. If you try the door, you’ll find it unlocked and will be able to enter.

The baked goods are reason enough to visit this particular bakery: the eclairs and cream puffs are excellent, as are the red bean buns and slices of tres leches cake. The real draw, however, is “the special.” It is not advertised in any way, and you must wait at the counter for someone to come out from the back room. After asking for it, they will retreat to the back and stay there for five or ten minutes. When they come out again, they will hand you a small white box tied with string and name a price. Do not open the box in the bakery.

The box contains a tart, slightly smaller than the palm of your hand. The crust is buttery and contains ground nuts. The filling seems to be chopped red seeded grapes in a thick, overly sweet sauce. Eat the entire tart. You may need a glass of water to rinse the sweetness out of your mouth.

After eating the tart, any chronic illness will be alleviated or healed. However, once the tart has been eaten, you will find yourself filled with the longing for a child. You will find that you have been rendered entirely sterile, however, and unable to conceive or cause conception.

026 Son Of God

Friday, November 27th, 2009

There is a man with shoulder-length tangled hair who dresses in a white robe and a red sash, bearing a large wooden cross over his shoulder, who rides the CTA. He is most active during the morning commute, transferring at various stations down town, being visible. Most people ignore him, or surreptitiously take photographs to post online.

He believes he is Jesus, and preaches compassion and mercy.

Coincidentally, he is a direct descendant of Jesus’ youngest son, born to Jesus and his wife.

He does not know this.

It does not make him any less insane.

It does not make his message any less vital.

025 TV Lives

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

In 1996, four students at Chicago University who were working together on a paper for a European History class, discovered that they had all been having the same recurring dream since childhood.

In the dream, they all have various jobs (cook, stable boy, ale wench) at a Medieval-feeling inn. Each disclosed details the others remembered, vivid details about people and clothing and smells. In the dream, they relive the same day over and over again. In the dream, an otherwise ordinary night is marred by the murder of everyone at the Inn.

They decided they had all seen the same television show or movie, as children, and details had lodged in their brains. They could not, however, determine what that television show was.

Each student died of violence before the age of 35.

024 Headstone

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

There is a vacant lot in Jefferson Park within easy walking distance of the train station. The area around it is entirely built up, but the lot is empty save for a large boulder near the middle.

Efforts, of course, were made to clear the lot and build there. When workers returned to the job site the morning after moving the boulder, however, they found it in its original position. Figuring at first that local youths were playing pranks, the boulder was removed from the work site entirely. As it had in the past, however, the boulder found its way home.

It is common knowledge among children in the area that the boulder marks the grave of an Indian Warrior. His ghost is disturbed when the boulder is moved, and he brings it back each night.

Of course, Aboriginal Peoples in the area did not bury their dead and mark the graves with boulders as headstones, leading to the question of what, exactly, the boulder marks.

023 Fish And Colds

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Congestion of the head and chest is a common complaint in the Mid West, in the winter. There is a little known but very effective, if slightly difficult, cure.

One must catch a fish from the River and bring it, still alive, to the afflicted person. At this point, the afflicted person must exhale three times into the fish’s open mouth.

The fish, still living, must then be cast back into the River it was caught in.

Purchasing a fish, as from a pet store, will not affect a cure.

There was once a small frog native to the area that, when held in the mouth for half a minute, would affect a more complete cure. However, that species is now extinct.

022 Vermin

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

Chicago is a city of large, old buildings. Large, old buildings attract various vermin.

To rid your pantry of cockroaches, the following are effective:
1) lay a fine, powdery coating of boric acid along cracks, corners, and crevices
2) crumble several dried bay leaves in a bit of nylon to create a sachet, and leave them scattered in cabinets and drawers
3) wash your counters and floor down with a mixture of hot water, dish soap, and bleach

To keep moths at bay, mothballs do work well.

To rid your home of the scent of mothballs, lay out wide, shallow dishes of coffee grounds to absorb the odor.

To evict a ghost from a room, remove all furniture from the room and wash every bit of the room with hot, soapy water– including the ceiling, walls, windows, and closet. Paint the entire room white, and open wide all windows to let in fresh air and light. Then bring in lamps and light the room entirely, so that no shadows persist in any corner. Close the door, and leave the lights on for three days with the window still open.

At the end of this time, the ghost should be gone from the room.

021 Footprint

Saturday, November 21st, 2009

At the same time the White City glittered and glimmered along the Lakefront, promising a bright future of electric lights, clean water, and a police force that prevented crime instead of chasing it after the fact, the man known as H H Holmes was firmly ensconced in his “castle,” murdering women with whom he’d had sexual affairs. Every light has a source of darkness, after all.

After his capture and arrest, investigators found a single, perfect footprint etched in the enamel of his incinerator door. They surmised that he had coated the floor with acid, and one victim had gotten that acid on her feet, burning her footprint into the door as she tried futilely to kick her way free. The City tore down the building in 1938, and erected a large post office on the site. As with most government buildings of the era, it has a bomb shelter in the basement.

The door to the bomb shelter is marked with a clear, perfect, dainty footprint.

The door has been replaced twice.

The footprint reappears.