Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Ghost of Clyde Mudgett

In the mid-1970s Clyde Mudgett who was born in St. Paul, Minnesota was an up and coming boxer who had won the Indiana Golden Glove Championship twice.

Mudgett had talent but he hated training and he lacked the self-discipline to compete at a higher level. He unfortunately also was involved in criminal activity. He was charged with breaking and entering and was sent to the Indiana State Reformatory.

After he was released he returned to boxing in an attempt to turn his life around. He turned pro in 1977 but after this he once more was involved in criminal activity.

In April of 1983 Mudgett who was not very bright cooked up a hair-brained scheme that ended his life.

A Burglary

One Tuesday afternoon the Andersen Meat Company located in a 3-story building near Beech and Forest streets in St. Paul received an anonymous phone call * that informed them that someone had tried to burglarize their business the previous Sunday. They were told that this burglar might still be on the premises. Oddly, they were told they best check their chimney.

Hoping it was just a prank call they called the police just in case. The police discovered a rope dangling on the outside of the company’s chimney. When they tried to remove it they discovered it was attached to something and wouldn’t budge. So the police called the fire department for assistance.

The fireman attached the end of this rope to their engine’s ladder and tried to pull it up but at this point the rope snapped. Several of the men then heard something drop down the chimney.

What dropped was the dead mummified body of Clyde Mudgett. Witnesses stated it was in a “gruesome state.” The authorities determined that Mudgett’s death was caused by “ a burglary gone awry.”

Mudgett’s plan was to lower his 6 foot, 190 pound frame down the narrow chimney using the rope. Once inside the building he probably planned to steal meat and any available cash.

But as mentioned he was not very smart--he underestimated the length of the rope he would need for the 50 foot chinmey by about 20 feet. So he found himself wedged in the narrow space not being able to descend any further and because of the tight space not being able to climb back up.

The blackened walls and smoke inside the chimney was full of toxic fumes, which rendered him unconscious but not before he shredded his hands and shoes in a desperate attempt to escape.

The state Medical Examiner explained afterwards that even though it had just been two days since his death his body was in a mummified state-- as a result of heat and fumes.

Haunted Boxing Gym

This strange story most likely would have been eventually forgotten but in 1991 a retired pipe insulator, Jim Glancey discovered the Andersen Meat building was up for sale.

An avid boxing fan, Glancey had always dreamed of owning a boxing gym. Glancey bought the building and paid $50,000 to have it renovated. He had the second floor turned into an apartment where he could live.

Jim Glancey
After moving in, Glancey began to hear in his upstairs apartment someone punching a bag downstairs--always in the middle of the night. At first, thinking it must be an intruder, Glancey went in search but never found anyone.

As these nightly sounds of someone punching a bag downstairs continued, Glancey became more and more perplexed-- that is until he was told about the building’s deadly history.

Clancey after doing research about Mudgett concluded that this “hard hitting ghost” might be him. He felt that Mudgett was making up for lost time by doing the training he had not done while alive.

Clancey even mentioned that Mudgett’s practice appeared to be paying off because he heard the bag progressively being hit harder. On more than one occasion the bag was hit so hard that the plaster in Clancey’s apartment fell from the ceiling.

Clancey also stated while in his apartment he often felt as if he was being watched and that something or someone often followed him around.

One young student fighter that trained at his gym also encountered Mudgett’s ghost. One day as he trained alone in one of the gym's rooms he felt someone tap him on the shoulder. He approached Clancey frantic to know if he had tapped him. Clancey denied this and afterwards this young man refused to train alone.

In 1996, a columnist and photographer for a local newspaper decided to do a “ghost hunt” at the gym. They placed cameras in various locations. Nothing much happened in the early evening and the reporter who was restless started to punch Mudgett’s favorite bag--he noted this bag was secured to the floor and ceiling.

Later that night they saw this bag swaying back and forth without cause. The reporter was surprised to see that it was no longer attached to the floor.

Afterwards, this columnist “made” light of their ghost hunt at Glancey’s gym in a tongue and cheek piece he wrote.

But months later, the photographer returned to the gym to do work on an unrelated story. He was standing on a table with his equipment when the table legs collapsed beneath him--he fell and got a nasty gash on his leg. It was discovered the screws in the legs of this table had been loosened.

This photographer who still has a scar believes this incident was the ghost’s way of getting even.

In 2002, at the age of 75 Jim Clancey closed down his gym. Today the building houses shops, studios and apartments.

* The anonymous caller obviously knew Mudgett’s plans but since there was no proof--his death was ruled an accident.

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