The ghost of Dillinger’s dog
By Patricia Baer
It is rumored that back in the day, gangster John Dillinger often passed through Marshfield on his way to destinations further north. When he did he liked to stay at a certain downtown hotel in the same third floor suite where he could have a clear view of the road from the south and could be alerted to any law enforcement entering town.
The hotel has since been converted into apartments. I lived in the building for four years before the Dillinger suite became available. It was occupied for some thirty years by a spunky, elderly woman who eventually left because of declining health and her family not wanting their 90-something relative to live alone any more. She moved to Arizona, and I moved down the hall.
The unit was spacious, and sunlight flooded through those alleged lookout windows. It had the perfect view for parades and fireworks from the living room. Overall, it was a cheery place.
I do not recall exactly when I noticed the two-foot shadow in the bedroom, but it was one night shortly after I moved into the apartment. I had never felt there was anything eerie about the building, other than the occasional phantom door opening of the elevator, but there was definitely something noticeable in that spot.
Logically, I know it was just a dark patch in the multicolored carpeting combined with the lack of exposure to incidental light leaking in from the edges of the curtains. However, that did not stop my too-creative-for-its-own-good brain from deciding it was a dog.
Maybe a gun moll in the famous gangster’s crew had adopted the loveable mutt, named him Charlie after her favorite comedian, and he befell an unfortunate fate during the gang’s stay. Now he was staring at the bed in confusion, watching me, wondering what had happened to his companion of three decades.
I had been assured no one, not even of the canine persuasion, had died in the apartment, and the previous tenant never hinted at anything supernatural occurring in her dwelling. However, if I were in my 90s and wanting to live independently, I probably would avoid sharing that I was seeing things I could not explain, too.
Eventually, I acquired a futon for the spare bedroom. This was around the time I stopped “sensing” my ghostly Fido. I joked that he had adopted the futon as his bed. Maybe he had been waiting for me to invite him to jump up on the covers during those previous months, or maybe I had just gotten accustomed to the shadows of my new home and no longer noticed the dead spot in the room.
When I moved to my house, I brought the futon with me. I half-seriously wondered if Fido would come along with it, attached to the now haunted object like in horror stories. I have not caught a glimpse of him yet. Maybe he, too, was freaked out by that thumping sound coming from the basement and will join me this summer when it disappears.