Scary Pols Haunt Chicago

A guided tour of corruption

By Steve Rhodes
|  Wednesday, Oct 21, 2009  |  Updated 12:52 PM CDT
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Chicago Style Twins

What's scarier than Illinois politics?

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Chicago politics needs no Halloween embellishment to scare the bejeezus out of you. Dead voters going to the polls is the first clue that perhaps we live in a real-life version of Sunnydale, the fictional ghoul-filled home of Buffy the Vampire. If only Buffy were here to save us from our own living political horrors.

Nonetheless, we thought we'd take you on a tour of haunted political Chicago. Come along with us, won't you?

Any tour of haunted Chicago has to start these days with a stop at the now world-famous Roland Burris mausoleum. We suspect Roland built this on top of some very angry dead people because ever since it was erected, he's done nothing but lose elections and find himself in hot water. Didn't you ever see Poltergeist, Roland?

Traveling north to Bridgeport, we visit the 11th Ward, where the streets are literally filled with walking ghost payrollers. Ack! They appear human here at home, yet invisible at work in their government jobs.

In the nearby 13th Ward, the demonic Michael Madigan rules the roost. He is sometimes seen, rarely heard, and suspected of being a body snatcher. For example, Madigan appears to have inhabited the corporeal being of spokesman Steve Brown, through whom he talks to the media. He also seems to have the power to make dissenting legislators disappear.

The most scary figure of all, though, lives on the fifth floor of City Hall. He likes to strike at midnight, when he once made an entire airport disappear. Legend has it the M. in Richard M. Daley stands for Mephistopheles. If you look closely, you'll see that he literally has an iron fist. His security apparatus stands perched atop the Harold Washington Library, ready to swoop in and haul your children away if you disobey.

Many of his minions work beneath the city, trawling the sewers and flirting with the underworld.

Among his soldiers is a real live zombie who goes by the ice cold name of Berny Stone. Stone also serves as court jester since Burt Natarus outlived his usefulness and was turned into a knickknack.

Our tour stops on the Northwest Side where you can visit one of the city's most haunted men, Dick Mell. Mell's dreams were dashed not by a devil but by a dunce. His only hope for salvation lies in crossing from Evil to Good, confessing his sins - and the sins of those around him - to the Fitzy the Vampire Slayer and rescuing his soul. He's not there yet, but we can hope.

Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.

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