Thursday, May 11, 2017

May 11, 1894 -- Fort Sheridan "Ghost" Exposed

May 11, 1894 – The Chicago Daily Tribune reports on a mystery solved at Fort Sheridan.  The tale begins with “uncanny noises” being heard at “unearthly hours” in the big drill hall just southwest of the fort’s tower.  The noise was compounded by the sound of “a body falling heavily on the floor,” followed by “the crash of steel and strange cries from an excited voice.”  Some believed that a ghost had haunted the drill hall … such stories had been prevalent since the end of 1893 when three separate sentries saw the ghost of a murdered officer, one the sentries even swearing that the ghost had knocked his hat off his head.  So it is that the officer of the guard organizes a raiding party and with “fixed bayonets and forty round of ammunition to each man the guard moved on the big room prepared for ghosts or anything else above or under ground.”  Entering the huge hall, the men find their commandant, Colonel R. E. A. Crofton, pictured above, lying on the floor, tangled up in a bicycle.  For the time being, the mystery is solved.  

May 11, 1925 – Ten thousand people jam Michigan Avenue as Ray Schalk, catcher for the Chicago White Sox, shows the crowd how to catch a ball thrown from the 560-foot top of Tribune Tower. Traffic is blocked on the Magnificent Mile for 20 minutes as Schalk makes three attempts to catch the ball. The first ball bounces off scaffolding and never makes it to the catcher’s glove. The second bounces off his glove, but he can’t make the grab. Using both hands on the third attempt, Schalk makes the catch. With the ball successfully in hand “ . . . the coppers on horseback were needed to get Ray back out of the throng so he could get to the ball park for the afternoon game.” [Chicago Tribune, May 12, 1925] The police could have taken it easy. Although their catcher caught the ball thrown from Tribune Tower, the Sox dropped the game to the Washington Senators, 9-0. Ray Schalk did not play.

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