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Contributors Letter from the editorial director Earlier this year, a PhD student caused a minor Internet stir with his Tumblr post about what he called “Weird Twitter.” He described a group of people who post Twitter updates that are experimentally poetic and/or absurdist, sloppily punctuated, use a stream of consciousness style, etc. It’s a subculture that’s largely hidden from most people who use the site to share straightforward personal updates (even funny ones), links, and conversations. Says the student: “Weird Twitter definitely exists, and it is bigger and weirder than I imagined.” The idea of this vast but inaccessibly offbeat sector of social media reminded me of the “deep Web,” a term I learned about in journalism school. The stuff that gets scooped up by search engines is actually just a small fraction of what’s out there online. The parts of the Internet that can’t be caught in Google’s net because they’re private or unlinked or in certain formats or generated by certain scripts outnumber exponentially the sites that can be found with a few quick clicks. Just as Weird Twitter definitely exists, so does Weird Minneapolis, and I’m sure that it’s bigger and weirder than I can imagine. Something that’s been our mission from the start with MPLSzine is to explore that, to find intriguing people and places and subcultures that may not be widely known about. We don’t want to be basic like Google, keeping it at a surface level; we want to dig into the deep Minneapolis, learning more about the past and the underground of our city and the things--like Weird Twitter--that may not be immediately accessible or pleasant to confront. All this is a roundabout way of saying that Mystery, this third issue, is our first direct dive into Weird Minneapolis. There are considerations of the oddities of everyday life here, a visit to a Minneapolis UFO society, an exploration of a fascinating abandoned building, an unsolved mystery from the past, and a look inward at the mysteries of faith. There’s even a mini-tour of what to many Minneapolitans might be the most unknowable place of all: St. Paul. The fact that we’ve titled this issue “Mystery,” though, doesn’t mean we’ll be done exploring and questioning after this. If you’re part of Weird Minneapolis, we want to hear from you. Even if you’re from a Minneapolis that you don’t find weird, but that many people aren’t familiar with, we want to hear from you. Let us know what you’re into--what you’re up to when you’re in the back getting weird with your weird friends. We’ll be looking for strange and interesting places to peer into, and we hope you’ll let us take at least a peek inside. Sincerely, Colleen firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrew Casey is a photographer residing in Minneapolis. He migrates towards shooting stationary objects and street scenes. He has had a long-held passion and appreciation for street art and graffiti, which led to a history of documenting the artwork under the alias Urban Camper. Chris Cloud is a Creative Thinkdoer and the Publication Director of MPLSzine. He is very excited that MPLSzine gets to highlight remarkable creative work from the MPLS community. He hopes you enjoy the fruits of their labor, time, and passion. chriscloud. com Clarissa Hamilton is a graduate from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. She is a designer living and working in Minneapolis and has an obsession with making zines. Visit her website: www.clarissaham.com Brian Matthew Hart is a Minneapolis-based artist. His eyes are always hungry. He hopes yours are, too. Google: brianmatthewhart. Julian Sean Howley is an illustrator and designer who has done work predominantly with surface and apparel design. He earned his BFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 2012. He enjoys ink on his hands, metal music, and making his girl laugh at the degenerate things he draws. julianhowley.com Katie Heaney is a writer in Minneapolis. She works as a contributing editor at BuzzFeed, and her first book, Never Have I Ever, comes out with Grand Central Publishing in 2014. Follow her on Twitter: @KTHeaney. Catherine Jensen is a thinker to the danger of thinking too much. She loves symbolism and is a collector of things: books, poetry, art, music, and, especially, dance moves. After a year spent in China, she searches for a job related to her B.A. in English and history. Read about China and more current activity on her blog: cajensen11.blogspot.com. Paul Merrill, known on Tumblr as Stuff About Minneapolis, is a Minneapolis native, lifelong Twin Cities resident, and amateur local historian. He and his wife have two daughters and live in Robbinsdale. Colleen Powers is from Rockford, Illinois and lives in Northeast Minneapolis. You can usually find her at dance parties, libraries, or rap shows. Blackstreet’s “No Diggity” is her one weakness. Rebecca Schultz is a Chicago-bred senior English major at Macalester College. When she’s not pounding away on her laptop, you can find her in between library stacks, taking a nap. Tweet her: @rebeccaschultz. Thelma Townie troglodyte adrenaline junkie. On all the tallest roofs and deepest shit tunnels. Shit, glitter, rooftops, and tunnels. Kate Worum is a Minneapolis based illustrator and designer. She earned a BFA in Illustration at The Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 2011 and is currently working at Target, City Pages, and freelancing. When she is not occupied by work you can find her relaxing with her Shih Zu herd in Golden Valley. kateworum.com MYSTERY // MPLSzine
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Mystery Issue - December 4, 2012
LLAMAS ON LAKE STREET and other Minneapolis mysteries
UNSOLVED MYSTERIES OF MINNEAPOLIS BARS Why did I drink an entire Wondrous Punch?
THESE AREN’T PHOTOSHOPPED Minnesota’s UFO watchers want to believe.
THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE BUREAU OF MINES Urban explorer “Thelma” uncovers mysteries in an abandoned government center.
DILLINGER The 1930s gangster’s name appears on Girard Avenue.
THE BOYS WHO WENT MISSING A mystery from Minneapolis’ past remains unsolved.
MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR OF ST. PAUL St. Paul’s “Media Mike” shows us glimpses of his city.
MYSTERY AND REVELATION A mysterious encounter with a nun strengthens Catherine Jensen’s faith.
PHOTOS BY ANN LEITEL COVER BY AND BACKGROUND PHOTOS BY BRIAN HART LAYOUT BY CLARISSA HAMILTON
MYSTERY // MPLSzine
LLAMAS ON LAKE STREET AND OTHER MINNEAPOLIS MYSTERIES I am not from Minneapolis. There are qualities about its culture that I’m still trying to understand as an outsider. Here are a few. SENSITIVITY TO URBAN FARM ANIMALS
I once saw a child in a sombrero walking two llamas on the sidewalk in front of the Park and Lake car wash. I was the only person stopped at the red light frantically trying to Instagram it so people would believe me. STRANGERS VOLUNTARILY BEING “MINNESOTA NICE”
This summer, I was 15 minutes late for work and the lot was full, so I parked at a meter near 3rd and 11th. I only had two quarters worth of time. Since the last song on in the car was The Throne’s “Gotta Have It,” my head was mostly preoccupied with looping Jay-Z’s “racks on racks on racks where mah money at?” all morning. At lunch, I was distracted by an office-wide mac ‘n cheese contest. That afternoon, my BFF and I G-chatted back and forth about bacon or panda GIFs or something. Six hours later, I mindlessly strolled through the lot assuming that today was any other day until I didn’t see my car and then remembered that today was not every other day. As I reached for my phone to prepare to call my mom sobbing, telling her that I’ve been towed, my life is over, please send money and cookies, I turned the corner and (cue the Hallelujah chorus) there it was, untouched. What’s even more bizarre though, was that the meter wasn’t flashing red, it was flashing 7:00. I am forever grateful to you, mysterious quarter-donating angel who saved my life—or at least saved me from a 200-dollar ticket and a minor meltdown. THIS “YOU CAN’T BUY ALCOHOL ON SUNDAYS” RULE
Many a barbecue of mine has suffered from this. How long do you have to live here to remember to stock up on Surly the Saturday before?
WHY THE LATE BUS IS THE STRANGEST/LONELIEST PLACE I’VE EVER BEEN
I’m from Chicago, so I’m no stranger to weird public transit happenings. Boombox blasting, brown-bag drinking, blowjob giving—I thought I had experienced it all. But then I started this part-time job lifeguarding at the Y on Hennepin. I worked every Wednesday night closing shift for half a year, and would lock the doors and run to catch one of the last 21s to St. Paul. Eight out of 10 times, I was the only female under the age of 40 getting on alone. Nine out of 10 times, I was the only person sitting within a 15-foot radius of myself (except for the time a chicken-nugget smelling man plopped down in the seat right next to me, when there were at least 28 other seats he could have sat in—but that’s another story entirely). Ten out of 10 times, it wasn’t the crazy person yelling to himself about nothing particularly comprehensible that made me uncomfortable, but it was the fact that there was only one crazy person like that on my entire six-mile bus ride. And there was only one person like me to hide and look out the window trying to ignore them. Is there some sort of secret rule about not taking the bus after 11 p.m.? Hours earlier, I was packed onto the bus like a sardine, not knowing who was touching my what or where that fart was coming from, and retrospectively, I think I almost prefer that. PEOPLE THAT BIKE IN THE WINTER
And then complain every day about how cold and snowy and icy and dangerous it is outside. FAST FOOD COFFEE
There are over 6,700 Dunkin’ Donuts locations in the United States, but not one of those exists in the state of Minnesota. Don’t get me wrong, Dunn Bros’ Iced Cremas have really grown on me—but if you’ve never had a Dunkaccino in your life, have you ever really lived? SCOTT SEEKINS
WHY PEOPLE STILL GO TO CHIPOTLE WHEN TACO TAXI EXISTS
See headline above. 6 MPLSzine // MYSTERY
Is he even a real person? Written by Rebecca Schultz
MYSTERY // MPLSzine
ILLUSTRATION BY KATE WORUM
(1) 331 Club – Why is the jukebox in the women’s bathroom? (2) CC Club – How many people can we squeeze into this circle booth? (3) Clubhouse Jäger– Why does such a cool bar have such a terrible name? (4) Country Bar – How long will my coat smell like fried chicken? (5) Donny Dirk’s Zombie Den – What exactly makes this place a zombie bar? (6) Icehouse – Which Chick Tract will I get when I order this sipping shot? (7) Kitty Cat Club – Is it worth spending four dollars just to post an Instagram of a photo strip from the photo booth? (8) Liquor Lyle’s – Wait, so is it the food happy hour or is it the drink happy hour right now? (9) Palmers – Why is everyone on the patio smoking hand rolled cigarettes? (10) Red Dragon – Why I did I drank an entire Wondrous Punch? (11) Triple Rock – How old is too old to be going to Triple Double? (12) Uptown VFW – How long until my karaoke song comes up? Written by Matthew Jacobs
MYSTERY // MPLSzine
These Aren't Photoshopped One of the reasons I love the paranormal so much is that it requires very high degrees of belief and trust and resilience. There are very few supportable stories and photographs that point to the presence of these things (your UFOs, your Bigfoots, your Nessies); even most of these require the kind of constitution that makes a person look at a photo of a blurry sphere shape in the sky and say, “My God. It’s them.” I’m not a Mulder-level fanatic, but I do okay. I have UFO books. I’m always looking for people who believe in even more than I do, because I think it’s fascinating and weird. So — because of this need, because I needed to give myself something to do, and because the meeting room would be air conditioned and it was 92 degrees outside — I decided to go to a Minnesota MUFON meeting this past Saturday.
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Also: the other thing I love about the paranormal is that, when you look into it, it will always be one hundred thousand times more insane than you could have ever expected. The meeting was, hilariously, held in the community center where I had my high school senior retreat. I paid a $5 fee ($3 for members) to an older woman at the table inside the rented room, and while I waited for her to count my change, I looked around the room. Picture a town hall meeting from Parks & Recreation, and you will know exactly what the crowd (there were over 45 of them!) looked like. You should also, though, add 20 years to everyone’s age. I was definitely the only person there under 30, and very nearly the only person there under 50. That age group, alive during Roswell: those are my people.
MYSTERY // MPLSzine
ILLUSTRATION BY JULIAN HOWLEY
The highlight of the meeting that day was a presentation by a field investigator named Nathan, who was given the floor by the state MUFON director after a bit of housekeeping (“Please remember, when you file UFO reports, to include your address.”). Nathan wore a Britney Spears headset microphone. By way of introduction, he told us he used to work with the crew of Animal Planet’s “Finding Bigfoot,” until philosophical differences (presumably Bigfoot-related ones) split them apart. Now, he said,
difficult. He told us that the entities know who lives in the farm’s surrounding counties, and what kinds of pets they have. He told us that sometimes, the adult entities leave their children behind on the farm, and that Joseph lets them into the house through the cat flap in his kitchen door. Joseph didn’t see this happening (he’d stay upstairs to respect these kids’ privacy), but he DID hear it, via cat flap fluttering.
“Nathan called it a “horse-moose;” it had four long legs, and a body twisted around in a way that made identification difficult.” he was all about MUFON, and the project he was there to talk to us about today. He said, “You won’t leave here the same person you were when you came in.”
Nathan told us that the couple spends most of their time looking for and documenting the entities. He quoted Joseph: “My wife analyzes eleven six-hour VHS tapes a DAY.”
Nathan set up a PowerPoint presentation, the title slide of which depicted an ordinary-looking farm. Nathan told us he’d been working with a couple (whom he dubbed “Joseph and Mary,” for anonymity) on this farm, in an undisclosed location that was definitely not, but probably, in central Minnesota. Joseph and Mary have been seeing entities on their farm for six years, and taking pictures and video of them for four. The equipment costs were running Joseph and Mary out of house and home; we were asked to drop donations in the back. After we saw what we were about to see, how could we not?
Then, finally, we were treated with a picture. Nathan called it a “horse-moose;” it had four long legs, and a body twisted around in a way that made identification difficult. I wrote down, “picture of a cow I think??” because to me it looked like a cow captured at a particularly odd angle. An older guy — skinny, wearing plaid and a trucker hat over his white, slightly mullet-y hair — leaned forward to whisper into the ear of his friend: “Looks like a moose to me.”
First, though, Nathan had suspense to build. He told us that there were some 30-40 entities living on the farm. He told us that they sometimes disguise themselves as clumps of grass, which I imagine makes distinguishing them from normal clumps of grass quite
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The details about the creatures (“entities”) didn’t fit together great. For one, there were at least three different types allegedly roaming the farm, which seems like a lot of weirdness even for a farm in central Minnesota. Nathan described 24-33 inch footprints, but the “horse-moose” appeared to have normal-size hooves. (Like a horse. Or a moose. Or a cow.) They were described as being anywhere from
6-15 feet tall, but they also dressed up as grass sometimes. They ALSO climbed trees with the ease of a tiny squirrel, which was proven to us via the next slide — a picture of a tree. “Do you see the face?” Nathan asked. The room squinted. He zoomed in, and there it was: a blue humanoid face, perched in an upper crotch of the tree. There was no body visible. It basically looked like a blue, CGI face superimposed onto a tree. “It’s not Photoshopped,” said Nathan. “Joseph doesn’t even know what Photoshop is.” This was when the MUFON members around me started to grow mutinous. They asked Nathan to point out features, to address where the legs could be, to show us a picture of the same tree without the face in it, for the time difference between pictures. I was impressed by their skepticism, their attention to detail. They weren’t there to accept a farm full of tree-climbing blue horse monsters on its face. Nathan either didn’t understand or glossed over most of the questions. Things got worse from there — Nathan showed us a slide he said depicted three devil-like entities (with knobs on their heads) hiding in the forest. “These aren’t Photoshopped!!” he said. The heads were circled, and when he zoomed in, they DID kind of look like faces. Faces created, Magic Eye-like, by shadows playing across leaves, but still: devil faces. “The biggest one is the oldest one, obviously,” explained Nathan. Then there were the UFO slides, which at first seemed better in that they showed small objects in the sky and that’s really all I wanted out of my UFO pictures at that point. It didn’t last — the third slide was a video clip, which Nathan said was a UFO flying across the screen. He played it “forward” and the flash was too fast to see; he played it “backward” and two tiny bulbs, in a straight line, floated across the screen from left to right, getting bigger along the way. Kind of like a car’s headlights would do. “Where…did you say the highway was, in relation to the farm?” asked a MUFON member, somewhat sheepishly. Everyone laughed. I turned around to look at the guy who asked it (a tanned, polo-wearing man with glasses, a goatee, and a receding hairline) and smiled. We commiserated in that
moment, our smiles saying “Can you believe this guy?” which is kind of a funny thing to commiserate about, at a Mutual UFO Network meeting. A few people near the front of the room seemed on board, but discontent grew with every row back from the projector. If any of us back there hadn’t completely shut this guy down before, the video of “an entity walking across the farm field holding a mirror and using it to communication with the UFOs” did the job. The clip was intensely blurry — all we could see was a tiny black blob and a tinier white blob moving across the screen. The mirror part was speculation, but Nathan felt good about it, because when he called Joseph to run the idea by him, Joseph said he’d ask the entities (with whom he has a telepathic connection) about. Joseph called back five minutes later. “I think you’re onto something,” he said. The concluding slide told us that Nathan had more pictures and videos, but was withholding them until they could find a sponsor to cover the $100-200K (!) in tech costs the family required for better evidence collection. It also told us that Nathan had a 90-minute video of a “Dimension Portal Opening,” but that was for another presentation. He then started up a clip of an Animal Planet special about the connection between UFOs and Bigfoot. It had been over twoand-a-half hours by then, so I ducked out. People had been streaming out of the room for the past hour, and when I left, about 20 people remained. So was Nathan right? Did I leave there a different person than the one I was when I came in? I did, sort of. I was two-and-a-half hours older, and a corresponding amount wiser. But I also left with the same amount of paranormal belief I had going in: no less, and no more. Sure, Nathan seemed like a crackpot, and possibly a con artist. But almost everyone else in that crowd (the other 40-odd people in that room that day) seemed positively normal — just your average, friendly senior citizens, looking for some free cake and socializing with friends, and possessing the kind of character that makes a person willing to spend a Saturday afternoon in an air-conditioned community center, once a month, just in case something really good shows up. This story originally appeared on KatieHeaney.com Written by Katie Heaney
MYSTERY // MPLSzine
PHOTO BY VICTORIA CARPENTER
The United States Department of the
Bureau of Mines
MYSTERY // MPLSzine
Many people know the the Bureau of Mines. Scrappers knew it, squatters knew it, writers knew it, random townies knew it. I’ve even heard of it referred to as “the Bureau of Minds” mistakenly. People have told me they explored a “mine testing building.” It’s hard to learn the history of a place when you see it as a rundown piece of shit building. To most of them it was just a place to jerk around and not have to worry about what is outside. After a few visits, I was more than intrigued. Being schoolless and largely jobless, I ended up getting as up to my ears in it as I could, and the more I found, the more I was confused and bewildered. A quick Google search gets you only so far, but luckily when the place was closed (due to budget cuts enacted under the Clinton administration), they decided that all the paperwork would be fine rotting in the lunch room ... but I’ll get to that in a minute. 16 MPLSzine // MYSTERY
One summer a friend of mine spilled a story about an abandoned building with working computers, flooded halls, and an angry squatter. Needless to say, I had to see it for myself. We were in the BOM for the first time. Honestly, I was scared shitless of crackheads, thugs, and cops. We walked from room to room with our flashlights, flinching at every sound. It had been raining recently so the whole building was swollen with water weight. Ceilings sagged, water dripped, and everything seemed to be damp. We were amazed to find half of the power in the building working and floppy discs full of data. As we walked through the office section of building 1, I noticed a room placard that seemed different from the rest. When I got closer I realized it had something written on it. I leaned in, shined my light on it, and was flabbergasted...
“DUSTY ROOM #301: THE SWAMP”
Right in front of me were three squad cars, all parked next to each other with their trunks open. About five cops stood in a semicircle talking.
The friend I was exploring with lived in a haggard hippie house referred to as “The Swamp” (I lived in its sister house, “The Bayou”) so it was quite the mind fuck. My friend ripped the plaque off the wall and I threw it in my backpack. (THIS IS NOT ADVISABLE BEHAVIOR.) After we had seen our fill of decay, we left the building and started on our way to the next abandoned building.
I signaled to my friend and we started walking back towards the road. At this point, we figured we were not in a building and if we walked with confidence no one would fuck with us (a strategy that has proved useful more than once since then). Suddenly, we saw another cop come round the bend and start driving directly towards us. As he drove by, he smiled and waved as if he was mocking us but then drove straight past.
As we came around the back of it, I started to hear noises and was instantly on alert. I snuck to the corner and peeked around it.
On the rest of the walk to our car we saw at least four more squad cars join the others and get out to chat.
MYSTERY // MPLSzine
To this day I can only guess what business that many cops had around the back of an abandoned building in the middle of the day in the middle of nowhere … stranger things have happened, I guess. After finishing our burgers at Burger King (which would become a post-exploring tradition), we went back to The Swamp to tell our tale of abandoned warehouses and encounters with cops. I looked at the plaque closer and realized that the written part was on a piece of paper that I could just slide out. As soon as I got it out, a Polaroid tumbled onto my lap. Astonished, I flipped it over to see what it was. Perfect. It was someone dressed up in a HAZMAT suit sporting a double thumbs up. Scrawled on the bottom in fat Sharpie was the name Dusty. It matched the name on the plaque. I was astonished. It had to have been in there for AT LEAST 13 years, waiting for the odd explorer or smack addict to find it. I am glad it turned out to be me. About a week after this happened, I was scouting a nearby abandoned hospital when something almost stranger happened. I was walking around the perimeter and there was a piece of paper stuck to one of the doors so I walked up and grabbed it. All that the paper said was, “The United States Department of the Interior Bureau of Mines.” At this point I knew very little of exploring and was completely floored by the paper. Was it someone trying to lead curious folks from one place to another? Was it a complete coincidence? Who would have done this and why? In the few months after these instances, I spent many nights convincing friends to come with me to “BOM.” Every time we went, I was more and more curious about the people that had worked there and what had caused the place to be left behind. This is where the documents come in. First I found a blank VHS tape and discovered that it is of a remote control camera looking through a collapsed storm drain in the NIKE missile site in Farmington. I had heard of people trying to explore the abandoned missile base and being chased out by crazy farmers with shotguns. Next time I went 18 MPLSzine // MYSTERY
back to the documents, I found entire in-depth blueprints for the missile site and info about the partnership the two places had.
he was skating or something and he was like ‘no’ ... Asked what he was up to and he didn’t answer, just went on sweeping. Weird.”
The NIKE missile bases were built in the Cold War era when someone realized that the Twin Cities were smack dab in the middle of a Soviet missile path. In the true spirit of the times, we freaked the fuck out and made four missile storage areas around the cities in a box shape. The BOM did soil tests for the site and made frequent repairs to storm drains on the property (which they bought in 1969). At this point I was balls deep in research and eventually learned that the BOM had a moon mining program, had hosted the Olympic torch relay (?!), created the first autonomous remote-controlled mining robot, and had pushed mining technology farther, faster than any other research center.
For some time, the future of the site was in limbo. There was a formal plan to make the place into a boarding school but that was quickly scrapped and the place sat there for years gathering stories and attracting curious local kids into its dark halls.
Furthermore, I have since mentioned the place to other explorers and heard stories like “[Do you] know the mystery janitor kid? We walked into the big warehouse area and there was this spaced-out younger guy sweeping up broken glass. I asked if
Eventually the park had had enough and where the front gates and the building once were is now a small pile of bricks. To all the people that have even been in this building in any state--active or otherwise--the place was strange. It became a local proving ground for taggers, explorers and photographers, but very few of them ever got to know the place past a quick thrill or a spot to get up. For the ones that cared and for the people that dug through the files to answer questions, the Bureau of Mines was pure gold. Written by Thelma
MYSTERY // MPLSzine
PHOTO BY VICTORIA CARPENTER
SLEPT HERE? 3300 Girard Avenue South. It looks like any other apartment building in this part of Uptown, except for two words etched near the bottom of the front door: "J. Dillinger." When I spotted it, walking to a party, I was captivated: It was a clue, a piece of history I'd never heard anyone talk about. Later, I read online that the 1930s bank robber, the FBI's first-ever Public Enemy Number One, really did stay in an apartment on Girard in March of 1934. I'm no Dillinger fangirl, but the idea that he holed up with his girl and his guns just blocks away from where my friends now live and from where I eat and drink and shop was still thrilling.
PHOTO BY BRIAN HART
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According to Paul Maccabee’s John Dillinger Slept Here, Dillinger and Evelyn “Billie” Frechette moved into the Minneapolis apartment under the sure-to-be-common-in-Minnesota name “the Olsons.” A janitor reported that they wired the window shades closed and paid the deposit for the apartment in dollar bills. Dillinger had spent the last several months robbing banks, with a running death toll of 12; he bluffed his way out of jail in Indiana that March with a fake gun. He fled to Minneapolis because the Twin Cities were a relatively safe haven for criminals: According to Maccabee, the St. Paul police chief offered protection to gangsters in exchange for a bribe and a promise not to commit any crimes within the city. The fact that he’d used a stolen car to cross state lines allowed the FBI to launch an official manhunt for Dillinger and his crew. When they vacated the apartment on Girard, though, it wasn’t just because the cops were closing in: One of the men accidentally dropped his gun, it went off, and the gang had to gather their gear and hightail it to St. Paul.
PHOTO BY BRIAN HART
3252 Girard Avenue South. When MPLSzine’s Brian Hart visited this stretch of Girard to take photos, he realized that the building with “J. Dillinger” on the door and the one recorded historically as the bank robber’s hideout were not the same place. Dillinger really did stay at 3252, but 3300 has since claimed his name. A resident Brian talked to said that a landlord installed the “John Dillinger” door as a way to spark interest in the building and attract renters, even though he never lived there.
tor groups Occupy and Anonymous remain determinedly free of identification with any single leader, and street artist/social commentator Banksy has so far kept his given name under wraps. Dillinger was something of a folk hero in his time--a 2009 Star Tribune piece about the movie Public Enemies says Depression-era news readers liked the idea of an outlaw stealing from the rich, even if he wasn’t giving to the poor--but that kind of romantic rebellion isn’t so common now.
So, a dent in the story. The enchantment of an infamous name appearing close to home becomes a real encounter with history--but it’s also a lie, or at least a distortion, told to attract business (boring!). The name on the door offered the excitement of discovering something new, but sometimes the more you know, the harsher your disillusionment.
And we’d be wrong to mourn it--not just because John Dillinger was a criminal who killed people, but also because even if new information deflates us at first, it can lead to greater understanding and agency. Or if nothing else, a better story: a tale of two buildings instead of one; an imposter; a sign that sort of leads to nowhere but sort of just points down the street. John Dillinger really did live on Girard, just blocks away from what’s now Cafeteria or Cheapo or the parking lot that used to be Cowboy Slim’s. Unsolvable mysteries are deliciously chilling, but when the answer is within reach, it’s always better to look and to learn.
Maybe greater knowledge is the reason why there doesn’t seem to be a 2012 John Dillinger. The glut of accessible information quickly exposes today’s men of mystery as, at best, horrifyingly dorky on the dance floor (Google "Julian Assange dancing") and at worst, sex offenders (Google "Julian Assange rape"). Personality has become a liability: Agita-
Written By Colleen Powers MYSTERY // MPLSzine
PHOTO BY VICTORIA CARPENTER
PHOTO BY BRIAN HART
Who Went Missing
Minneapolis, Nov. 13 (AP) - A frantic hunt for three small boys, missing since Saturday, today overshadowed the workday pursuits of the more than half a million Minneapolis residents. Kenneth Klein Jr., 8, and his two brothers, David, 6, and Daniel 4, simply dropped from sight, leaving only wraithlike traces. Saturday November 10, 1951, was a mild November day in Minneapolis. It was nice enough that at 1:30 p.m., three of the Klein brothers (Kenneth, David, and Daniel) walked out of their north Minneapolis home located at 2931 Colfax Avenue N, to play at nearby Fairview Park. They were never seen again. What happened that day still remains a mystery: The only thing we know for sure is that the boys never came home. Very few clues and varied eyewitness accounts led the Minneapolis Police Department to guess what happened to the boys, but their parents feared something much darker had happened. 26 MPLSzine // MYSTERY
Newspaper reports say the Klein family lived in a modest home in north Minneapolis only a few blocks from Fairview Park. The Kleins had four children at the time, oldest brother Gordon, age 9, and Kenneth Jr., age 8, followed by the two youngest sons, David, age 6, and Daniel, age 4. Their father, Kenneth Klein, Sr., worked for Northland Milk Company, and mother Betty took care of the family and was expecting their fifth child soon. In 1951 the United States was going through a post-war "baby boom,â€? Catcher In The Rye by J. D. Salinger was published, I Love Lucy made its television debut, and America was transfixed by the espionage trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Kids ran home to watch Howdy Doody, their Republican parents said "I Like Ike," and Perry Como, Tony Bennet and Nat King Cole ruled the radio airwaves. But lost among all this well known history is that on Saturday November 10, 1951, three little boys in Minneapolis went to play at a park and vanished.
knowing? But the riverfront then, much like now, was a popular place for kids to play. Whether the game was throwing rocks in the water or playing cops and robbers, the mighty Mississippi can get the imagination of young boys going pretty quick. Minneapolis, Nov. 12 (AP) - Firemen, their black raincoats dripping, bleakly began probing with pike poles through pieces of driftwood and debris along the river's edge.
Minneapolis, Nov. 12 (AP) - Police cars carrying loud speakers patrolled the fringes of swampland to blare out the boys names. No answer. Squads plodded through warehouses of the river industrial district. Hollow echos answered their shouts. Oily machinery instead of little boys' eyes reflected the flashlight beams.
During the search, water level of nearby dams were lowered, and Edina Civil Air Defense pilots were called out to fly over the river to search for the boys. On November 13, plaid stocking caps positively identified as belonging to two of the boys were found 150 feet upstream from the St. Anthony Falls spillway. Local media attention was obviously high during the search for the boys, and newspapers from all over the country ran updates on the search for the Klein brothers. A wide assortment of tips came in to the police... - Nicollet Island resident TC Whipps of 163 E Island Avenue told police he saw three small boys playing in the mud near his home on Sunday. The boys' father Kenneth Sr., then spent the day searching caves on the island.
Fairview Park was not a strange place to the Klein boys. In fact, since it was only blocks from their home, they played there often. Older brother Gordon didn't leave the house with his brothers right away that day--he had to fix a broken shoelace first. When he finally reached the park, his brothers were nowhere to be found. He ran home and told his parents, the Minneapolis Police were called, and a basic report was taken. At this point everyone probably assumed the three little boys were just caught up in playing and lost track of time. But by late evening the boys had not returned, and the first searches started.
- A man in St. Paul thought he saw the boys Saturday at 7 p.m. on Wheelock Parkway.
The neighborhood around the boys' home and Fairview Park were searched high and low for Kenneth, David, and Daniel, but nothing was found. Then the attention of the search was focused on the Industrial area near and on the Mississippi River. Speculation was that the Gedney Food Products warehouse down by the river had trucks coming and going all the time--could the boys have fallen asleep in the back of a truck and been carried away without the driver
- A woman reported three young boys hitchhiking on Hwy 65 in northeast Minneapolis late Saturday.
- Gregory Jahner, a Twin City Line bus driver from South St. Paul, said he saw three youngsters Saturday outside the municipal auditorium in downtown Minneapolis between 4 and 5 p.m. Two of them were scribbling the names “Kenneth” and “David” on the pavement in chalk, then they asked for a ride. Jahner’s description of the clothes of the boys he saw did not match what the Klein boys were wearing that day. - Mrs. R.W. Johnson of 1432 Johnson Street NE said she saw three youngsters throwing clothing into the Mississippi River at 4 p.m. on Saturday.
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Two of the tips were rather interesting. On Sunday the 11th, area hunters told police they saw three boys matching the Klein brothers description get into a stalled truck on Highway 65, five miles south of Cambridge. A sign reading "Coon Lake Sportsman's Club” was attached to the rear license plate. Anoka deputies said they questioned members of the club, who reported they had seen a truck answering the description in north Minneapolis; none, however, saw it near Cambridge. Then, Margaret Goodwill of 239 18th Avenue N said she saw three boys sitting on a curb Sunday afternoon near Third Street and 18th Avenue N, and said they appeared nervous and upset and the smallest one kept calling "Mommy, Mommy!" A police dog was brought in to the area and given a pair of one of the boys’ underwear to sniff and pick up a scent. He led police down Lyndale, then to Olson Boulevard near the loop, and stopped at the river. "It just doesn't seem reasonable those youngsters could disappear in the midst of thousands of people,” said Minneapolis Police Chief Tom Jones. "It isn't in the books either, that all three of them would tumble into the river together. But that's what it looks like now.” Here was the headline of the Minneapolis Morning Tribune, on Thursday, November 15, 1951... Police Give Up Search For Missing Boys Captain Kenneth More of North Side police said he "very reluctantly called off the search." He said, "We have done everything we can do without further information". That's it. Kenneth Jr. age 8, David age 6, and Daniel age 4 couldn't be found, probably fell into the river. Case closed. On November 14, 1989, Doug Grow of the Minneapolis Star Tribune interviewed Kenneth and Betty at their home in Monticello. They moved there not long after the boys went missing: The memories at the old house on Colfax were too much to handle. Over the years they never gave up hope the boys were still alive. They put out ads in local papers with their phone numbers and pictures of Kenneth Jr., Daniel, and David, with pleas for them to call home. Kenneth Sr. tried to visit every school within 500 miles of Minneapolis, just in case he could see the face of one
of his sons in the crowd. When the boys' caps were found in the river, he said "I think somebody threw those caps in the water just to get the police off the trail.” Also, he said the police dog lost the scent of the boys on Colfax Avenue, not down by the river. The pilots who searched for the Klein brothers were perplexed, because the boys were wearing red jackets when they left home. They would have been easy to spot through the bare trees and white snow. Kenneth and Betty believe the boys were kidnapped, are alive and being raised by someone, somewhere, and know nothing of their pasts. Personally, I think that if the boys did fall into the river and drown, at some point, a body would have to surface. I know, I know, I read that the currents were strong that year, and police said that bodies going into the Mississippi don't always come back up. But, you're telling me that if all three little boys fall into the Mississippi River, not a single body surfaces? I'm just not sure. While researching this heartbreaking story, I hold on a bit to the words of the boys' mother, Betty Klein... "I just know they will come back." Written by Paul Merrill
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PHOTO BY VICTORIA CARPENTER
PHOTO BY BRIAN HART
It is a mystery why Minneapolis looks down on Saint Paul. After living in the lesser twin for 40 years, I believe the saintly city is a biomagnetic center of the universe. Of course, I have come to believe that a mystery of life is that the center of the universe is wherever you are. Come with me on a little magical mystery tour of Saint Paul. Words and Photos by Mike Hazard
THE HAPPIEST HUMAN BEING “I think he’s the happiest human being I have ever seen,” says the writer and my doctor Tim Rumsey. We celebrated Carl Bentson’s 50th birthday on October 27, 2012 with an exhibit of his drawings at the Saint Paul Gallery. It was one happy party. I made a movie about Carl and his magical bicycle called MR. POSITIVE. Watch the film. http://www.cultureunplugged. com/play/8894/Mr--Positive
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GIVING THANKS When we are in love, we see hearts everywhere. For a sweet feast, and for my sweetheart Tressa, I give thanks. As the late poet of the heartland Bill Holm wrote, “The heart can be filled anywhere on earth.”
MISSIBISHU Strange creatures, found nowhere else on earth, live in Saint Paul.
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MIDNIGHT MASS Her finger was following the words of a song, exactly as Mom was guiding her little sister’s finger. But her songbook on the pew was not the actual program for the midnight mass at the Church of Saint Louis. This was one of those photographic moments I could not resist, even risking a mother’s wrath that might have met my camera’s lust for life. Amen.
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A LEPRECHAUN In a trance at the entrance to Como Conservatory, a leprechaun entranced the Green Man in yours truly.
KWV/BROTHER Wang Ger, also called Joe, has been trying to teach me to speak more words of Hmong. â€œI have learned English; you can learn more Hmong.â€? I am not a good student, but he does not give up. Patriarch of an illustrious family, he called me brother, kwv, one Sunday. Kwv is what an older brother calls a younger brother. As Joe is older than I, I answer, tij laug. Touched, I teared up. Ua tsaug/thank you.
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HISTORY When I mull history in Saint Paul, it is hard to get the historian Bruce White out of my head. He is history. His new book, a historic history called Mni Sota Makoce: The Land of the Dakota, is out. Walking past the Union Depot, Bruce wondered if I knew that this was the site of Little Crowâ€™s village. No, I did not. Seeing what is not there is a mysterious power.
PIGLETS My Mom used to call me a piglet once upon a time. These piglets are in the Miracle of Birth barn at the Minnesota State Fair.
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MANGY MENAGERIE Skunk, fawn, albino squirrels, armadillo, gator head, porcupine, Merganser ducks, beehive, penguin…and a baby doll: This mangy menagerie of a Nativity pleases and teases the eye of this lost lamb. The more I look, the more I see. This calls to mind the parson and naturalist, Gilbert White, who wrote, “It is in zoology as it is in botany: all Nature is so full that that district produces the greatest variety which is the most examined.” “See Rosie’s Christmas Window” reads a sign at the scene. Rosie Wescott has been dressing the window of her antique shop on Fort Road for about 15 years. It evolves every year with gifts of new taxidermied creatures which people gift her for the display.
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SNAKE CHARMER Sister Jane McDonald's Irish eyes were smiling at the sign carried by her brother's daughter, Mary, in the St. Paddy's Day parade as it snaked its way through Lowertown. St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland, some say, and believe that good. Others, like Jane, know snakes have a right to life in the garden. Hear this charmer speak in my video, FOUR SISTERS FOR PEACE. http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=2Z7GVWeLRQ4
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SUN DANCE As it sets, the sun dances. Chris Beckstrom: “I think it should be called The Great Wall of Voodoo.” Vibvas Yaaj: “Ah, the mysterious script of the Sun, caught only by Media Mike! I love this pic! Languages, every where!”
THE HERB MAN The Herb Man's lust for life is large as a jumbo pink banana squash. Also known as Jeff Adelmann, he speaks in quotes at his stall in the Saint Paul Farmers Market. “I’ve known these Brussels sprouts since they were seeds.” “God made the garden, I just make more of it. Paradise was a garden, you know!”
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PLAYING WITH FIRE General Flameous, keeper of the flame for the Saint Paul Winter Carnival, was playing with fire at the legendary Black Dog CafĂŠ. Legend says that if the flame goes out, the Fire King dies and it will be winter forever.
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BATTLE Eko and James were dancing in the street. “I’ve been dancing since I was six years old, doing Michael Jackson,” said James (on the right). “Then I moved into my own moves.” The two dancers took turns making moves. At the end of each song--“all style, B Boy and hip-hop”--they fist bumped and hugged.
MEDIA MIKE A filmmaker, photographer and poet, Media Mike Hazard is working on a new collection of picture stories called LOCAL COLOR. All the photographs are clicked within walking distance of home. The work is supported by an Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. For more about Media Mike: http://www.communityreporter.org/ArtistProfiles#mikehazard To watch Media Mike photograph: http://youtu.be/ YWJebMAVSeE
RAINBOW BRIDGE The Robert Street bridge is nicknamed the Rainbow Bridge. Stories abound. One I’ve heard involves one Red Colthard. Red was a big fat guy, a red head, a Green Beret, a towboat operator. Once upon a time big Red drove a big fat Harley motorcycle over the big fat concrete arch of the rainbow bridge, right into history. The afterlife of stories is a mystery.
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Mystery 1a: a religious truth that one can know only by revelation and cannot fully understand 2a: something not understood or beyond understanding The definition of mystery is, basically, a mystery. It is unexplained in its explanation, yet it is known--a living contradiction. It was my sophomore year at my Catholic college and, this Sunday, I went to church alone. Usually, I went with my roommate--she attended religiously (pun intended). Her devotion was my reason to let go of the articles by Margaret Sanger and the literature of Nabokov and attend. This time though, I was alone and I cannot remember why.
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You see, I was confirmed Catholic but I never fully understood what I signed up for--I still have questions. Traditions and a “this is what is normal” mentality held me to the Catholic church--by threads. The strongest thread being a single memory of when I was 13 and attended my cousin’s funeral. While the priest spoke, a single butterfly landed upon the flowers atop Luke’s casket. It sat the whole time and never moved a millimeter. As the priest spoke his final words, that butterfly fluttered away. From that colorful insect I knew it was all true. Something greater, a spirit, something we only fully understand through death, exists. I felt it: the mystery. Now, the year before sophomore year, I regressed. I was diagnosed with a learning disability--everything I knew to be true was not. I questioned everything. I was lost. I sat in a comfortable church alone-except for the other 200 souls in attendance. I went with the flow. It was unusual that I was alone. As the priest prompted us to join hands, I knew what was coming. The “Our Father,” a soon to be favorite prayer. “Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name . . .” the prayer began. My right hand was raised, an empty void, in want of an interlocking other half. My left was joined with a nun’s. “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” It grew. This thread between the nun’s hand and mine. A buzzing, vibrations and warmth. They grew. “Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. . . .” An energy manifested. “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” A belief strengthened. A revelation: From that moment forward, I would continue to question the ideology but I would remember the energy shared between me and the nun--whose name I never asked and who I never saw again. Slowly, I figure out what knowledge lies in religion. I slowly figure out the words. Religion or the thought of “something more” remains intangible, something beyond understanding. It must be felt first. Like a single thread, we may be insignificant but joined together in a cloth we are more. We are linked. We are part of the mystery. It is known, it is there but, sometimes, we find ourselves lost and we forget. Written by Catherine Jensen
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Be part of MPLSzine! We’re looking for interviews, reviews, reported articles, essays, humor pieces, lists, infographics, comics, photos, and illustrations related to Minneapolis. (That relation can be loose--if the only connection is that you live here, that’s cool with us.) For now, we are not accepting fiction or poetry submissions--we know we can’t compete with the awesome literary magazines this town already has. We want to explore overlooked places and subcultures; make new connections and observations; share your heartbreaking, guffaw-worthy, and inspirational personal stories; and champion the people who make Minneapolis what it is. But we can’t do that without creative types sending us their stuff. email@example.com To get you started, our themes for the next two issues are FAMILY publishes December 18 submissions due December 9 RESOLUTIONS publishes January 1 submissions due December 14 If you can’t contribute right away but want to learn more, email us anyway. We’d love to have you join us.
Published on Nov 29, 2012
MPLSzine, a submissions-based collaborative digital publication, is the latest project powered by the forces of MPLS Collective, a cornersto...