Join the Unexplained Mysteries community today! It's free and setting up an account only takes a moment.
- Sign In or Create Account -
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 1
Still Waters

1928 gallows discovered in an old barn

18 posts in this topic

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

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow. To smile in the face of certain death.

That's either extreme courage or total insanity.

4 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow. To smile in the face of certain death.

That's either extreme courage or total insanity.

Actually according to the article:

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.... :)

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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....?)

:-)

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

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
1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

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
2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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:

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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"

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i'm not sure about public executions, but I reckon the stocks would make a good deterrent, nobody likes public humiliation after all.....

;-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i'm not sure about public executions, but I reckon the stocks would make a good deterrent, nobody likes public humiliation after all.....

;-)

Very true, that WAS a deterrent, to it's extent.

Who would like being in stocks, then hit in the face both with sticks and fruit, peed-on and so forth.

Problem is, it never really deterred the "criminal" mentality. Just made the criminal mentality more "secret"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Found the Mencken story: it starts at the last paragraph on the page, beginning "There was, however one exception...." I should warn people that Mencken's prose, being representative of his time, is not for the racially sensitive.

http://books.google....orphine&f=false

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 1

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.