Estimated reading time — 6 minutes
First off -before we get too deep into this I’m telling you trolls and ‘yeah rights’ out there to sit down and behave yourselves. This story is true, and one any of you naysayer’s could uncover yourself given enough actual footwork and patience. Second, if whoevers reading this gets their chills from blood and guts then, as this is from real history, you’re out of luck.
But if you’re afraid of the unknown and unforeseeable then settle in. Cause it’s time to tell you about the ghosts left behind in the past, and of a specter by the name of ‘Mugsy Grey‘.
Our story begins, or maybe more accurately ends, back in the early 1930’s in the outskirts of Chicago on September the twenty ninth. Mugsy Grey, who’s real name was actually Arthur Carrie, was a two bit hood in the criminal underworld that wanted the finer things in life, but didn’t like crawling around in the muck to get it. If he had maybe his life wouldn’t have ended on a bitter note.
Although no two accounts can agree on what exactly made him do it, on September 29th Carrie took the biggest gamble of his life by “borrowing” (that means stealing), roughly fifty thousand dollars from his unsuspecting boss before running hell for leather. No doubt imagining what his employer would do to him if he ever found him again, Carrie ducked and weaved through various dives and bars, leaving a trail of misinformation and false destinations before finally running out of town with his ill gotten gains. As it turns out he wasn’t the only one running out, which is why is car crapped out along a stretch of lonely highway. After pushing the car into a decent hiding spot, Carrie began his long trek with cash in hand in the hopes of finding someway out of his predicament.
Tramping through the small hours of the night into the early hours of morning you have to wonder what was going through his mind. After all his brilliant plan didn’t so much as hit a bump but smacked right into a brick wall. His head start had dried up hours ago, he was tired and hungry, men were out looking for him (and likely to hang various bits of him from a nearby tree), the money needed hiding, and the word along the grapevine was certainly covering more ground then he was right now. To know if he ever did reach civilization he wouldn’t be able to cool his heels for long probably didn’t perform any small miracles for his temper. I could honestly say what he really needed now was a break from Lady Luck herself.
And just over the next horizon was a gas station at last. Better yet as he get closer, a car further down the road pulled in to fill up, a perfect replacement car no one would recognize him in.
Moving speedily closer he no doubt watched the not so lucky man hungrily with pocket knife in hand. All he needed was the keys, he must’ve been thinking, and he’d be safe at last and in the clear, with fifty thousand big ones paving the road to happiness. He crept closer.
The unsuspecting motorist must have finished filling up by then and was about to pay when Arthur sprang forward and grabbed the man from behind- pressing his knife to the man’s throat. What happened next should be obvious. Especially since with an irony only life can shell out the motorist turned out to be one of the very thugs looking for him.
This particular goon, having lack of direction that could rival some of the shoddiest GPSs of today, had gotten lost following one of Arthur‘s fake leads, and had spent the better part of his night taking back roads and dead ends to make a giant dog leg back to Chicago, and was probably in a really bad mood when some stupid yahoo jumped him from behind. The humor of the situation was clearly never seen by Carrie later on (however brief it was), since shortly afterwards reports began cropping up of people in that area getting attacked by a ‘grey faced mobster’. Since no one knew who he was he was finally just nicknamed, ‘Mugsy Grey‘. As to how he ‘attacked’ them, it went something like this…
Imagine you’re low on gas or something. Whatever it is you decide to pull off to conveniently nearby gas station, fill up the tank, grab a snack or decide to stretch your legs. Suddenly you’re grabbed from behind, and something long and sharp is pressed against your throat. Quietly someone says in your ear, “Gimme your keys.”
Congrats. You’ve just been mugged by a dead man called Mugsy Grey, and now have only two options. Either do what he says, or, try to get away. And you better choose fast because Mugsy doesn’t like to be kept waiting.
There are a lot of stories willing to tell you -in great detail- what happens if you pick the wrong one. How you’ll be found dead in your car with your throat cut and the initials MG written in blood on the driver’s rear view mirror. That he’ll take you with him and you’ll never be seen again. Or how he’ll follow you home and kill you in your sleep that very night. And finally, if you don’t decide fast enough he’ll kill you right where you’re standing and disappear laughing manically.
To fend him off varies on the person telling it, ranging from simply pleading for your life to being the right gender and even all the way to re-enacting the event as the thug. Generally though you’re supposed to give him the car keys since (it’s said), that’s what the thug did just before he killed Mugsy, and by doing so makes him relive his own death and vanish. But these are all just stories.
Out of all the reported sightings, a total of one hundred and forty nine in all, no one has ever died by “choosing the wrong one.” In most cases the victim dropped the keys and waited in terrified silence for their attacker to leave or just kill them, standing still for some time but none the worse for wear. The same almost goes for those who try to run, based on an actual account from a woman named Patrice Grace, who died in 1992. Luckily she had passed the story on to her grand children, one of which was kind enough to tell me.
Grace had just finished washing up it the restroom when she felt a cold breeze wash over her and then was suddenly grabbed from behind. Knife pressed against her throat her unseen mugger (Mugsy), demanded that she give him her keys. Though she said she never saw what he looked like she did say that she almost keeled over at the smell of his stale tobacco breath. Thinking quickly she told him that she left the keys in her car and needed to go back and get them. The mugger, who sounded “far away“ to her, didn’t have a problem with this but warned her not to try any funny business. Together they went outside with him holding her at knife point and halfway to the car Grace took her chances to break free. She said afterwards that she felt only a little more pressure on her throat before it vanished completely as she ran away screaming for help. When she was being comforted by the station’s staff someone noticed that across her throat was a thin red line, exactly where she swore the knife had touched her.
Accounts from those who also fought back are pretty similar to Grace’s experience, all of whom save and sound. Those who got a good look at him describe him as a thin, ‘white or grey faced’ man, with bad breath and a far away expression -some adding that he wore old looking clothes. All given the same parting gift of irritated skin along the throat where they say the knife was pressed, but would fade away in a few days time.
Mugsy Grey’s reign of terror lasted for a handful of decades before finally petering out in 1974, probably due to road changes along the highways and newly added interstates. I tried finding the gas station myself three years ago but ended up without anything to show for it. Meaning the gas station itself may have been abandoned or even torn down over the last few years. But I shouldn’t get comfortable if I was you.
In 2011, reports along Wisconsin, Illinois and -for some reason- down in Florida, describe a phantom mugger whose MO is eerily similar to an old friend. Even after some digging I’m not sure if any of them are fakes or that it may be the work of a new ghost. However. In one of the articles taken from a small Peru Illinois newspaper, it mentions that the lucky survivor escaped with only, “a visible bruise across the throat.”
Credit To – Collaborater1241