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1928 gallows discovered in an old barn

charlie birger gallows bootlegger benton

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#1    Still Waters

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 03:51 PM

The gallows used to hang an infamous prohibition-era gangster in one of America's last public executions have been discovered in a dusty old barn.

Bootlegger Charlie Birger was hanged in the town of Benton on April 19, 1928. He famously went to his death with a grin telling the crowd who had gathered to watch: 'It's a beautiful world.'

He had been sentenced to death for ordering the murder of an Illinois town's mayor and was one of the last people to be publicly hanged in the state of Illinois.

http://www.dailymail...d-old-barn.html

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#2    pallidin

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 04:00 PM

Wow. To smile in the face of certain death.

That's either extreme courage or total insanity.


#3    Kowalski

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 04:13 PM

View Postpallidin, on 16 May 2013 - 04:00 PM, said:

Wow. To smile in the face of certain death.

That's either extreme courage or total insanity.

Actually according to the article:

Quote

Some say Birger's smile on the day of his hanging could have been a result of the dosage of morphine he was provided just before he walked to the gallows.

Yeah, I'd smile too.... :)


#4    pallidin

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 04:25 PM

Huh. I didn't know they gave morphine prior to execution back then. Thanks for mentioning it.

I know of at least one fairly recent(last 5 years or more) execution somewhere in the M.E. whereas the condemmed prior to a "sanctioned" sword  beheading was given copious amounts of injected opium.


#5    shrooma

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 04:33 PM

after a morphine jab, i'm suprised he wasn't singing 'always look on the bright side of life'
(or is that a song just for crucifictions....?)
:-)

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#6    Lilly

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 04:36 PM

My Dad was born in Kansas in 1922 (soon after his family moved to Texas). He told me one of his first childhood memories was that of his Mother putting her hand over his eyes because they were driving past a public hanging. I guess public hangings were common in the mid-west in the 1920s.

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#7    pallidin

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 04:40 PM

View PostLilly, on 16 May 2013 - 04:36 PM, said:

My Dad was born in Kansas in 1922 (soon after his family moved to Texas). He told me one of his first childhood memories was that of his Mother putting her hand over his eyes because they were driving past a public hanging. I guess public hangings were common in the mid-west in the 1920s.

And to add to that, I could be WAY off base here, but I think that "public" executions, at least in Europe, was not considered a "spectacle" as such, rather more so in an effort to deter crime. Obviously didn't work.

Edited by pallidin, 16 May 2013 - 04:41 PM.


#8    PersonFromPorlock

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 05:04 PM

View Postpallidin, on 16 May 2013 - 04:25 PM, said:

Huh. I didn't know they gave morphine prior to execution back then. Thanks for mentioning it.

I know of at least one fairly recent(last 5 years or more) execution somewhere in the M.E. whereas the condemmed prior to a "sanctioned" sword  beheading was given copious amounts of injected opium.

H. L. Mencken wrote about a hanging in Baltimore in the 1900s where the condemned man was given so much morphine that the authorities were in a rush to hang him before he died on them.


#9    wolfknight

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 05:16 PM

View Postpallidin, on 16 May 2013 - 04:40 PM, said:

And to add to that, I could be WAY off base here, but I think that "public" executions, at least in Europe, was not considered a "spectacle" as such, rather more so in an effort to deter crime. Obviously didn't work.
Ashame public executions still aren't being used. It might make some of these thugs think about what can happen when you do a crime


#10    Kowalski

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 05:23 PM

View PostPersonFromPorlock, on 16 May 2013 - 05:04 PM, said:

H. L. Mencken wrote about a hanging in Baltimore in the 1900s where the condemned man was given so much morphine that the authorities were in a rush to hang him before he died on them.

Really? So was it common back then to do that? I've never heard of it before actually...


#11    Ashotep

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 05:34 PM

Never knew about the morphine.  No wonder he was smiling in the face of death.

Maybe they should bring back public executions.  Might make you think before you decide to kill a bunch of people.


#12    pallidin

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 06:14 PM

View PostHilander, on 16 May 2013 - 05:34 PM, said:

Never knew about the morphine.  No wonder he was smiling in the face of death.

Maybe they should bring back public executions.  Might make you think before you decide to kill a bunch of people.

My detesting state executions aside, I wonder if  a "smiling" condemmed person has much effect on deterrence.

Also, hard to say if morphine would do that jovial moment anyway. It's a potent painkiller, not "laughing gas", which didn't make me laugh either.

I've had morphine and Nitrous Oxide, for medical reasons, and never laughed.

Perhaps a mixture with "shrooms" could be used. Then one might laugh, for sure! :passifier:

Edited by pallidin, 16 May 2013 - 06:27 PM.


#13    BiffSplitkins

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 06:21 PM

Quote

An estimated 20,000 people turn out to witness the execution of of 22-year old Rainey Bethea in America's last ever public hanging on August 14, 1936 in Owensboro, Kentucky

That's quite a turnout. If Gov. Cuomo knew about that, I'm sure he'd bring back capitol punishment in NY and sell tickets.  :whistle:

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#14    Child of Bast

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 06:30 PM

So how do they know that those exact boards were used as part of the gallows where this dude was hanged? Were they labeled "These here boards were used in the hangin' of Bootlegger Charlie Birger"

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#15    FLOMBIE

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 06:41 PM

View Postwolfknight, on 16 May 2013 - 05:16 PM, said:

Ashame public executions still aren't being used. It might make some of these thugs think about what can happen when you do a crime
No, it wouldn't. It didn't do it back in the day, and it wouldn't do it now.





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