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Mt Carmel Update: Al Capone-The Italian Bride



Mount Carmel Update: Al Capone-The Italian Bride




Mt. Carmel’s primary point of interest has generally been the grave of Chicago’s seminal Mobster: Al Capone, but that is just a 3rd of a triumvirate of accompanying legends... a distinction shared by “The Italian Bride” and “The Revolving Tombstone” aside from an assortment of other less notable esoteric oddities and various reports that have surfaced over the years of discarnate entities rumored to linger within the denizens of Queen Of Heaven’s venerable neighbor to the north...

Historically there are notable figures ranging from members of The (da) Bears, The Blackhawks and The White Sox...War heroes, gangsters, politicians are all here as well (is “politician and “gangster” redundant? )There is even a famous, turn of the century Japanese acrobat that was a star attraction of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus when he was contracted to perform under the Big Top ...a stark reminder that regardless of your station in life, inevitably we will all return to our “roots” (not to come across as overtly existential, but I cannot resist an opening for the inclusion of a bad pun )...

The most perplexing of the three (in my opinion) would be the grave of Julia Buccola-Petta or “The Italian Bride” that is situated facing the northen most fence of the property and is briefly visible from the street by passing motorists before the view is obscured by an office building next to the entrance ...her marker includes a life sized statue of the 29 year old that died giving birth in 1921 donning her wedding gown and solemnly holding a bouquet...the base of the monument has a photo affixed to the front that depicts one of the strangest cases of documented, inexplicable phenomena I have studied to date in all of my excursions to famous locations at home, nationally or even abroad....

Following Julia’s untimely death as a complication of delivering a stillborn, Julia’s mother: Philomena Buccola was understandably fraught with anguish upon losing both her daughter and granddaughter so suddenly ...as she struggled with the ensuing stages of grief she began having recurring dreams and visions of Julia beckoning her from the grave, almost insisting that she was still alive and pleading with her mother to have her exhumed and released ...Philomena petitioned local authorities and finally after permission was granted by a local priest the governmental body of the day that presided over these matters conceded, Julia’s coffin was disinterred six years later in 1927 ( apparently the requirement for a mandatary judicial order was not enacted until 1978 ) ....

When the wooden coffin was unearthed, it was rotted and sodden from the 6 long years it was in the ground ...but when the lid of the coffin was carefully removed the witnesses were astonished to discover that Julia’s body bore no sign of decomposition, her skin retained it’s color and not the pallor of death...she basically looked exactly like she did the day she was laid to rest aside from the decay that had partially disintegrated the coffin... embalming was not practiced in the 20's..

Some refer to her unchanged state as “uncorrupted” ...a post mortem condition that the tenants of Catholicism attribute to the candidacy of saintly canonization...of course selfless acts of martyrdom in life are the biggest prerequisite for sainthood consideration, but I personally would deem any woman that dies attempting to deliver life an ultimate act of sacrifice ...Julia’s mother; Philomena suffered the ultimate sacrifice as well and perhaps Julia’s uncorrupted condition was (and still is) a sign from a higher power intended to grant solace to Philomena and martyrdom to Julia..there has been an explanation proffered by (objective) skeptics citing certain soil compositions that has been proven to impede the decomposition process known as “adipocere” or “grave wax” but most agree that this explanation is incongruent with the state of deterioration of the coffin and the unblemished condition of her body...several onlookers described her appearance as pristine and some even touched her face lamenting that: “it was still soft, and her cheeks were still rosy red.” ...there were allegedly visible signs of interior coffin liner decay and dry rot of her dress...

It is unclear if the infant child was buried with her as was the tradition back then, but no evidence of the child was revealed...it is unclear if the child is buried nearby, if it was cremated or if the child survived but was reported stillborn as an effort to sever all ties with the father that was estranged from his in-laws ...there was said to be animosity between Philomena and her Son In Law and it was later confided that mention of him on the tombstone was intentionally omitted ...

There are conflicting reports as to how many were present at the exhumation, and it is unclear how many were on hand to witness the removal of the coffin lid, but the photo of Julia taken by her Mother in her uncorrupted state after almost 7 years in the ground is still attached to the front of the monument today after it was added to her memorial along with the stoic, “bride in waiting” statue...

Reports of a spectral woman in a white dress is a recurring theme in ghost stories, and not unlike Resurrection Mary; there are incidents of the local police department officers catching glimpses of her...at Mt Carmel the police have admitted personal sightings either passing by on Harrison Avenue or when patrolling the cemetery ...

Reports of Julia sightings seemed to have spiked in the mid 70's when students of the Proviso East High school across the street emptied a school dance close to Halloween after a car load of dance attendees claimed to have witnessed a woman in flowing white gown slinking between the stone markers near Julia’s tomb ... thinking this was a seasonally inspired prank they turned around and approached the fence for a closer look where they where stunned by the discovery that the woman who seemed to not notice them, appeared to be completely dry in the downpour rain...

One reported incident involved a family accidentally leaving a small boy at the cemetery in the vicinity of Julia’s grave and when they returned they spotted the child from a distance, emerging from a cluster of tombstones holding the hand of a woman in a white gown...as they drew closer the woman released the hand of the child and receded back among the monuments leaving the boy to the embrace of his relieved parents that found no trace of the white clad woman that was visible a moment prior to their arrival... Other reports made by patrolling police officers and passing motorists describe luminous, amorphous shapes and phantasmic floating forms near her grave ...one woman of impeccable credulity in the community swore that she witnessed her statue glowing in the early twilight hours of a mid 80's summer evening ...

Last summer I was able to locate the graves of Big Al’s north Side Nemesis: Dion O'Banion and a few of his confidantes and lieutenants such as Hymie Weiss, Vincent Schemer” Drucci ( who serve under both O’Banion and his successor Bugs Moran) and the final resting places of a few less known underlings, henchmen and subordinates...ironically these North Side Gang members are all interred on the north side of The Bishop’s Tomb that is a centralized line of demarcation between north and south of the grounds, while Big Al and his loyal second in command of the south side’s The Chicago Outfit and eventual successor: Frank Nitti rest on the southern most section of the cemetery ...

Al Capone often complained of being “haunted” by past adversaries that met their demise by his hand or directive ...he claimed to see a spectral embodiment of a the brother-in-law of Bugs Moran: James Clark... a victim of the infamous St. Valentine's Day Massacre orchestrated by Capone that left seven dead in a conflagration of Tommy Gunfire ...this apparition was repeatedly reported by
Big Al as he languished along side of the man made lake at his lavish Miami estate and semi retirement headquarters to the Chicago mob outfit that he only lead symbolically at the latter stage of
his life that the debilitating, advanced degenerative stages of syphilis had by then dominated...this was said to be the basis for these hallucinations as premature senility would often be the result of syphilis complications ...other rumors of Al’s ghost haunting Alcatraz and the sounds of phantom banjo music emanating from his privileged size cell continue to make the rounds in the contemporary Ghost Hunter pop culture community where locations like this and Waverley Hills are pay-to-investigate style tourist destination for aspiring ghost busting “teams” modeled after the para-TV fad of 2006 through 201X thus lessening the credence of this allegation because of media sensationalism....

Many mafia, gangsters or members of organized crime remained devout Christians thinking generous offering plate contributions would offset the murderous misdeeds that their chosen livelihoods entailed , leaving their conscious unfettered by the guilt of the preceding week’s sins...
the spiritual presence at Mt Carmel is not really in question to me, yet I find myself at a philosophical quandary as to what confines or binds many of those that dwell there ...some may simply remain bound to the consecrated ground where their earthly bodies have been commended pending the prophetic biblical protocols outlined in Revelations coming to fruition and in adherence to their religious convictions, some may remain in a state of spiritual status or hyper dimensional hibernation in acquiescence to “the rapture” ....or perhaps in accordance with the tenants of Christianity that requires one to “rest” until “both the quick and the dead” may be judged, they dwell in a perpetual dream state ...although there seems to be more than a little “sleepwalking” going on if this is the case ...I also have also conjectured that we may discard the negative, worldly aspects of our “selves” upon death to dissipate or descend, while our higher harmonic, vibrational essence achieves ascension...perhaps we have antimatter versions of selves like Mr Spock with a goatee...ironically Kirk’s antimatter alter ego seemed more like William Shatner than the good Kirk from our universe ...

Perhaps some are inured to the restriction of cemetery property by a sort of self imposed proverbial purgatory, hoping that by serving a pious penance surrounded the dead their sentence will be commuted and absolution achieved by way of post life contrition...many embrace religion in their
the autumnal years hoping that the vicissitudes of life’s transgressions may be mollified by simple repentance or resignation ...perhaps it IS that easy? ...I would be arrogant in scoffing such a notion as no ideology is more prudent than the other until one offers a quantifiable explanation as to precisely what occurred in the instant before “The Big Bang”...until then only a fool is sure about anything as an absolute (imho) ....

Temperatures peaked in the low 80's for this mid April 2010 return to Mt Carmel...
this was the first time I have entered through the Harrison Avenue gate and made a concerted effort to remember a snapshot of the fence from the road this time...arrival from the south gate is usually tempered by the gargantuan death shrine that is the Queen Of Heaven Mausoleum to the left and no
amount of visual aversion or spiritual shielding will dissipate that contamination ...

A single file procession of preschoolers on the sidewalk opposite the cemetery smiled and seemed to be enjoying the warmth of the pre summer sun that left their morning jackets hooked at the
back of a stuffy classroom...the inspiration for the cherubic imagery that is so recurrent in Mt Carmel’s artistry becomes obvious when the effervescence, innocence and trusting faces of these little ones came into focus lead by a protective looking teacher/surrogate mother and followed by an aid, assistant or some other designation that comprised the matriarchal monarchy charged with the daytime care these children ...the obvious and symbolic “cycle of life” contrast between the preschoolers on the right and the cemetery on the left was quickly replaced by the recollection of the volume of children interred beyond the fence and the sprawling expanse of marble and granite monuments within, and with it the realization that there are probably countless stories of sorrow that each and every one of those tiny tombstones promulgate...my thoughts reverted to previous visits and I again found myself distraught over the ordinate seeming amount of child graves from the early 1900's that research has revealed is attributed to the introduction of toxins and carcinogens as a result of the industrial age in Chicago...one portion of the cemetery dedicated exclusively to children is indelibly stained by sadness and it is quite targetable even to the less adept ...

The monolithic granite statues that serve as silent sentinels at the immediate right of the north gates are daunting by their sheer enormity and superhuman size alone ...one wonders if the Arch Angels or fallen angles of Enochian texts were really Giants of extra terrestrial origin that bread a race spawned by the intermingling of Angles and humans
and if descendants of this hybridization walk among us today shrouded by ethnic diversity or if they have long since fallen extinct?..

The single story admin building to the immediate left has yet to show any indication of activity aside from the accessible and relatively clean restrooms at the far end that faces the grave of Julia Buccola-Petta a.k.a.“The Italian Bride” ...the mood at her monument seemed sedate until
the view of the exhumation photo prominently affixed to the front of the base came into focus ...there is a timeless beauty about Julia that may be described as “buxom” or perhaps “voluptuous” and by today’s standards may be labeled as “full figured”, but it is the humble demure that is exuded from her expression captured in the wedding photo also lacquered onto the upper tier of the base that is most enamoring...the photo which

served as the model for the statue her mother selected to exalt the adulation she had for the departed daughter she loved so dearly ...

The decision to cover the entire site in one fell swoop this time around struck me as even more of a daunting task once the sheer enormity of the property was again realized ...previous visits here were abbreviated, bifurcated or subdivided depending on my objectives or focal points of study at the time, but this was the first time I have attempted to adequately represent this location photographically in one aggregate session without hastening or overlooking some of the aesthetic highlights offered in each section...

The trek south was a zigzag through the area north of the bishops tomb and preoccupied with photographic optimization and conceptualization ... that is until I reached the crypt of Earl “Hymie” Weiss and was informed that “compared him, I was a choir boy”...I nonchalantly reminded him that it was this sort of incorrigible attitude that landed him where he is at age 30 ( after I curtly inform him that: deprived of his Tommy Gun he would not have lasted long in my arena) ...sadly the ineluctable
belligerence he displayed is what restricts him as the etheric echo of the past he represents...

In retrospection; I feel that there is a little Hymie Weiss in all of us...while most of us a capable of sublimating that part of ourselves while others demonstrably seem to lack such composure at times ... I dismissed Mr Weiss as he comported himself as being less than receptive to spiritual
intervention or even the incorporation of an arbitrator from different astral address than ours that were overlapping at that particular temporal pinpoint...

Deanie Obanion’s tall obelisk seems to be almost in defiance as opposed to being in deference of The Bishops Tomb that is majestically perched on a hill across the narrow road that separates the sections (and probably the riff-raff) where the North Side Boss’ marker is placed at the closest border to the adjacent small hill topped by an ornate mausoleum that serves as the final resting place of Cardinal Joseph Bernardin...the view of Obanion’s grave from the hilltop always makes me think of Dean giving them “the finger” when I see it...

The Rotating Tombstone was imported from Italy and the figures depicted in the statuettes atop the monument represent the members of the family interred below in memoriam and this upper portion is pinion mounted atop a flat base ...having never attempted to move the famous marker myself and the added temptation fueled by the unusual absence of other (live) visitors in the immediate vicinity, I set the camera down and gripped the ladies on the outside of the group pose by the hips and really had to exert a
significant effort get it budge ...it moaned in protestation as I swung it clockwise about a quart of a turn when much to my dismay an officious looking gentleman drove by in an Impala that appeared to be wearing a uniform of some sort ...he slowed down to extend the glare and exaggerate a glower of disapprove and I responded by picking up my camera and snapping a photo of my handiwork (below) but he had already passed beyond view when I moved the top of the monument back into place ...

There have been stories of lone visitors walking past this grave marker and it’s upper and lower segments being in perfect alignment one minute and then being flabbergasted to find it rotated 45 degrees after averting
their attention from it only for an instant with no sign of anyone in the immediate vicinity before or after...more recently an inside (culpable) source intimated to me (another Halfhand Exclusive) that a certain member of the grounds crew was extremely frightened by the fact that the monument was turned to a different angle every time he made a pass with
the lawn mowing apparatus he was riding and pleaded be reassigned to a work detail that excluded approximation to The Revolving Tombstone ...my source does not question the credibility of this employee, but he does in fact suspect other employees of perpetrating what they thought would be an innocuous prank but vowed silence and feigned innocence after their coworker reacted so extremely fearing harsh reprimand ...plus the employee that reported the incidents was considered a “pasar la brocha” and not held in the highest esteem by his fellow Groundskeepers....

Al Capone’s grave is almost incognito in it’s modesty especially when the baroque extravagance of other memorials nearby offer such comparison...perhaps the most enigmatic icons of organized crime, Big Al’s name is almost synonymous with the mobster, gangster, mafia or syndicate image that many not indigenous to the area still associate with Chicago even today ...the current tumult of political corruption at all levels here does little to help exonerate this misconception and seems to imply a cycle of recidivism that only serves to reinforce this misnomer...

Nestled between the other ground flush stones of his father; Gabriel Capone, his sister; Mafalda and his mother; Teresina (December 28, 1867 – November 29, 1952) here lies the grave of Alphonse Capone...
this was another unusual occasion where there were no other visitors to this famous site ...the Queen Of Heaven Mausoleum across the street features a 3 story Madonna effigy on the it’s west wall that almost seems to be looking down in disdain from it’s lofty vantage and insinuated righteous, aristocracy protected within...Big Al doesn’t care though because “they don’t allow cigars in that joint anyway” ....


Here are the unedited (compressed) photos from my mid April 2010 visit to Mount Carmel....b
http://s843.photobucket.com/albums/zz355/BestOnEarth/Mount%20Carmel...

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