Strange Times 87: "You'll Never Get Me Alive!"

Because last week’s premium-only story was one I’d like shared as widely as possible, I’ve decided to extend the 50% off special for another week. Get a year’s subscription for $20 and read all about the horror at Yellow River.

Today brings the dread sign of revenge and the dread specter of a radioactive god. Pull out your lead rosary for…

March 28, 1921

  • Hungary bans the fox-trot, the one-step, and all jazz dances from its dance calls, calling instead for a return to “the old Magyar dances, which had fallen into disuse.”

  • After rejecting several suitors, 16-year-old Dorothy Miller was overjoyed to receive a telegram from an anonymous benefactor offering a $1,000 certified check without asking marriage in return.

  • More details have emerged in the gruesome peonage murders along the Alcovy River, with plantation owner John Williams now suspected of ordering the murder of as many as 40 black farmhands.

  • The Weather: Rain and colder today; cloudy and colder tomorrow; fresh shifting winds.

Just a good old-fashioned, over-the-top, kinda racist mafia story.

The dread sign of revenge that so many Italians know and fear was made by Michael Bartine two years ago when Daniel Bilusco, a grocer at 304 East 108th Street, appeared as complaining witness at Bartine’s trial for a hold-up.

Bartine served his two years in Sing Sing for the job and came out a few days ago. He procrastinated only long enough to arm himself and last night he made his way back to Harlem’s Little Italy, still gay and populous with the waning Easter celebration.

Fortunately for Bilusco, Bartine was drunk. He stepped into the murky little shop where the grocer was serving belated customers, unaware that his sworn enemy was at liberty. At least Bilusco had made no effort to protect himself. Pausing while lifting a can from a shelf to survey, as he supposed, a new patron, Bilusco gazed straight into a swarthy face distorted with hate. His gaze shifted a bit and the wobbling muzzle of a long, blue-barreled pistol met his sight.

If Bartine said anything, Bilusco was too frightened to remember it. All he knew was that the ugly-looking weapon spoke four times and that the bullets spattered so closely about him he thought his calls upon his patron saint must be in vain.

Bartine Eludes Pursuers

After the fourth shot the trigger clicked, the pistol jammed, and Bartine, perhaps in his dazed condition believing he had emptied his weapon, fled from the shop. The grocer, who had dropped to his knees behind the counter, picked himself up, the few customers huddled against the walls jabbered excitedly, and then pell mell into the street went all of them, yelling for the police.

There was no sign of Bartine, but soon Detectives Caputo and Dougherty came from the East 104th Street Station, they heard what had occurred, got a good description of Bartine, and started on a search of Italian haunts throughout Harlem. Their quest took them far in vain, but two hours later, at midnight, they came back near the grocery store, having decided to search the “murder stable” at 108th Street and First Avenue, which became famous in criminal annals during the Baff case.

The two men, expecting no particular trouble, walked into the stable—and almost bumped into Bartine, crouched over the crank of an automobile he was starting.

Bartine, recognizing that the visitors were policemen, cried: “You’ll never get me alive,” set his engine whirling and tried to get into the car.

Neighborhood Joins Fight

Caputo grabbed him and in an instant the two men realized they had a real fight on their hands. Bartine bit and fought and kicked and scratched. They dragged him into the open, and immediately a gang of roughs came crowding from all over the neighborhood. Before the detectives could sound their whistles men had appeared as if by magic on rooftops and in windows. Some opened fire, others hurled stones and brickbats and milk bottles.

Caputo, one hand torn and bleeding from the effects of Bartine’s teeth, clung to his captive with the other, while Dougherty, too hard pressed on all sides to draw his pistol, fanned about with his blackjack, time and again beating off the would-be rescuers just before they had torn the prisoner loose.

Four uniformed men, hearing the shouts and screams of the fracas, shrilled through now and then with the long-drawn notes of police whistles, came running to the aid of the detectives. They got there just in time to club back a crowd that was growing rapidly to the size of a mob and that was becoming so frenzied by its own rage and daring it soon would have been uncontrollable.

Dougherty’s face was scratched and bleeding and his clothes were ripped and torn, and both men bore the marks of some of the better directed missiles, but neither was hurt seriously. Bartine was damaged a bit in the fray, but did not need the services of a physician.

He was locked up in the East 104th Street station on a charge of assault.

I’ve read this three times now and still don’t fully understand it, but I still can’t get over the magnificence of an X-Ray Scientist named Dr. Leray.

PARIS, March 27 (Associated Press).—“The hidden god who does not wish to give up his secrets strikes down men who seek to take them,” said Dr. Adolphe Leray, chief of the X-Ray laboratory in the St. Antoine Hospital, shortly before he died yesterday at Enghien, near Paris.

Dr. Leray was a victim of what he believed to have been a successful effort to find protection from the X-rays, which have caused the slow death of many scientists.

Research in an effort to afford protection to others was begun by Dr. Leray after his hands had become affected through the making of 35,000 radiographs in war work. For this work he was decorated by the French Government with the Legion of Honor. Several of his fingers were amputated during his research work, but he still persisted in it and told those who begged him to desist that it was the hidden god who desired to retain his secrets who struck down those who sought to unravel them.