Gangster Gats: Colosimo the Vampire or Colosimo the Vampire Hunter?

Near this table the police found an order blank which contained various words and names in pencil. The police believe the paper may contain a clew. A phone number on the paper is 4020 Calumet. This is the number of the National Rubber Products company. There is the name of Samuel Lavine, with an address on Vernon avenue; the words, “So long vampire,” and “Saturday evening.”… the word “buffalo” is also jotted down there, and “So long, Letty.”

Chicago Daily Tribune, “Colosimo Slain; Seek Ex-Wife, Just Returned” (12-MAY-1920

 

On the afternoon of 11-MAY-1920, Giacomo “Big Jim” Colosimo stepped into the vestibule of his restaurant, the famous Colosimo’s Café at 2126 South Wabash Avenue in Chicago, Illinois. Colosimo was the head of a powerful criminal organisation that would soon be known as the Chicago Outfit. Right now, he had taken a telephone call and presumably wanted to return to his new wife. At this moment, a man previously hidden in the cloakroom stepped into the vestibule and fired two shots from a .38-calibre handgun ‒ newspapers, covering all bases in the face of knowing nothing, claimed it was “a revolver, or perhaps an automatic pistol.” The first shot missed, the second entered Colosimo’s big head behind the right ear and went into his brain, killing him. Colosimo never managed to draw his own pearl-handled .38-calibre revolver. The shooter, short, stocky, moon-faced, swarthy, and nattily dressed including a derby hat, disappeared.

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Investigator Weapons: Fending Off Sharks

Eugene F. McDonald, radio manufacturer and commander of the yacht Mizpah, back from a cruise about the Galapagos Islands in the eastern Pacific, greeted friends here with a tale of fighting great schools of sharks with machine guns. “They were so thick that we were afraid they would endanger the yacht. We killed hundreds of them,” McDonald said. McDonald related that his party, which included several scientists, made discoveries of a scientific nature on the islands so startling that they could not be revealed until after further exploration.

The Enquirer & Evening News, “Machine Guns Used to Fight Off Sharks” (14-FEB-1930)

 

Lieutenant Commander Eugene “Gene” McDonald, an officer in the US Naval Reserve Force, was the millionaire owner of the Zenith Radio Company in Chicago, Illinois. On 03-JAN-1930, he embarked on a 5-week cruise of the East Pacific, starting in Miami, Florida, and travelling through the Panama Canal. McDonald was the owner and skipper of the Mizpah, a 56-metre luxury yacht built for then-outrageous $1.3 million using components of a discarded US Navy destroyer. While nominally based on Lake Michigan in the Lincoln Park yacht harbour in Chicago, the vessel was seaworthy and was often stationed in Miami. The Mizpah had a 27-man crew and sported eight fully equipped state rooms with real beds rather than cramped berths.

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Investigator Weapons: The Reverend’s Guns

Although he had two bulletproof vests and two revolvers, the Rev. Martin Green, colored, pastor of a church at 4421 South State street, went to the offices of the Detective magazine yesterday and tried to purchase a Thompson machine gun [sic]. The police were notified and he was arrested. His only explanation was that he wanted to be sure he was able to protect himself and his congregation. Dr. William Hickson of the psychopathic laboratory is to examine the minister.

Chicago Daily Tribune, “Well Heeled Colored Pastor Tries to Buy Machine Gun” (20-AUG-1926)

 

The 36-year-old reverend had come to the right place – “Al” Dunlap, editor of the magazine The Detective at 1029 South Wabash Avenue in Chicago, Illinois, had a thriving side business selling steel-lined Dunrite “bullet-proof” vests (GURPS High-Tech, p. 66; Investigator Weapons 1: The 1920s and 1930s, p. 49) of his own design and make, and Thompson submachine guns in .45 ACP (GURPS High-Tech: Pulp Guns 1, pp. 28-30; Investigator Weapons 1, pp. 87-89). Dunlap distributed no less than 65 of the submachine guns during the 1920s, at least three of which ended up in the hands of gangsters like “Fred Burke” or the Touhy Gang ‒ he was not always as circumspect about his customers as in this instance. John Dillinger’s favourite Model 1921AC submachine gun had originally been supplied by Dunlap to a sheriff’s office before it was stolen by Dillinger.

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Gangster Gats: “Red” Barker’s Ghouls

A band of ghouls seeking to rob the grave of George (“Red”) Barker, slain claimant of the gang power of Al Capone, was driven from Mount Carmel cemetery in a heated gun battle early today.

News Journal, “Gun Battle Is Staged Over Grave of Gangland Leader” (22-JUN-1932)

 

I have previously expressed doubt whether gangsters and Mythos investigations are a good fit. I am still not entirely convinced, but you could probably make it work. Recently I stumbled over an article in the Chicago News Journal, which reported that on 22-JUN-1932, shortly after midnight, four or five “ghouls” had tried to disinter the body of Chicago Outfit member George “Red” Barker in Section 26 of the Mount Carmel cemetery in Hillside, Illinois. Continue reading “Gangster Gats: “Red” Barker’s Ghouls”

Investigator Weapons: Armed at the Opera

Although by now rather old news, I’d like to mention that The Unspeakable Oath #25 contains my article “Armed at the Opera,” in which I examine props and procedures that would be useful for a successful “Night at the Opera” of your modern DELTA GREEN agents. Large parts would also be interesting reading for Armed Investigators of the Mythos in any period. And of course, there are loads of other cool articles by other fine chaps in there. Check it out!

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Investigator Weapons: Charles Reber, Armed Investigator?

In the 1930s, Charles Reber, a US Army veteran of the Spanish-American War and an ex-Major with the Oklahoma National Guard, was a pioneer ballistics and fingerprint expert with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation & Identification, who consulted on numerous cases.

This alone would make him an interesting example for an Investigator of the Mythos. During the hunt for Charles “Pretty Boy” Floyd, he was also painted as a template for an Armed Investigator in newspaper articles like “One-Man Army Rigs Auto for Sudden Battle” in The Fresno Bee (08-JUN-1934):

Though he looks like a staid schoolteacher [!], is quite and unassuming, Reber is as expert with a gun as with his ballistics apparatus … Inside his sedan he has rigged out a rolling arsenal. By reaching up with his left hand he can pull a sawed-off shotgun, loaded with buckshot, from a rack in the car. With his right hand he can claw down a Browning automatic rifle. Reaching forward he can pull a Thompson sub-machine gun from a rack on the dash of the car, where it is flanked by holders containing clips [sic] of ammunition. In the seat with him he can reach a Colt .45 automatic or a long-range German Luger automatic of smaller caliber, but deadly accuracy. On the floor, in a case, he can reach hand grenades, [tear] gas bombs and extra clips [sic] of ammunition ‒ shotgun shells, high power rifle cartridges and pistol ammunition, all carefully arranged to be “handy.” In the back seat, for long range work, he has an old Krag-Jorgensen [sic] army rifle, made famous in the Spanish-American war for its deadliness. Its sights are carefully adjusted, with wind gauge, elevation, and important other arrangements. Continue reading “Investigator Weapons: Charles Reber, Armed Investigator?”

Investigator Weapons: Hudson & Brand

Stygian Fox have recently published Hudson & Brand, an organisation and scenario book for Call of Cthulhu, Seventh Edition. It outlines the case histories of Hudson and Brand, inquiry agents of the Obscure. The book is set in London in the 1880s and offers excellent maps and other support material. I have contributed the contents of Hudson and Brand’s armoury (complete with stats). The 204 pages of the book are ridiculously good-looking and it is a great resource for any Gaslight campaign in London. Check it out!

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Investigator Weapons: The Strange Case of Harold Severy

Everything had gone fine until 1915, [Harold Severy] said, when he noticed that people were sticking their tongues out at him. Severy believed that his persecutors had a ringleader, and that lodges had been organized in various cities to torment him. His enemies, he thought, obtained advance information of his whereabouts and plans, apprising each other by underground communications. He tried to escape them by moving from New York to Baltimore, he said, but they caught up with him. Still trying to escape, Severy fled to Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Chicago … Returning East, he came to Albany, where his tormentors soon caught up with him and began to cluck their tongues at him. Severy decided finally, he said, that the only way to stop the persecution was to shoot with a … gun.

New York Herald Tribune, “Albany Terror of ʻ16 Dies Mad at Matteawan” (22-JUL-1936)

 

On 01-FEB-1916, 25-year-old Harold Severy, dubbed “Jack the Shooter” by the press, was arrested in Schenectady, New York, for the murder of James Irving and the assault of three others. He had shot them on 28-JAN-1916 in Albany, New York, with a .22-calibre Stevens single-shot rifle without stock that had been fitted with a Maxim Model 1912 sound suppressor and a wire assembly to trigger the shot with the gun concealed up his right sleeve and the wire being pulled by a twist of his right hand.

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At the Movies: Sicario

Kate, this isn’t something that I dreamed up myself. I don’t have the authority to hire advisors, or authorize joint agency missions, or fly agents from Air Force bases. Are you understanding me? These decisions are made far from here, by officials elected to office, not appointed to them. So, if your fear is operating out of bounds, I am telling you, you are not. The boundary’s been moved.

‒ FBI Special Agent in Charge Dave Jennings in Sicario (2015)

This is a film review of Denis Villeneuve’s Sicario (2015) with an eye towards using it in Delta Green: The Role-Playing Game.

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