Thursday, October 29, 2009
Halloween Countdown 2009: Monster #20
[Illustration based on urban legend.]
The city of Chicago has a colorful history; of which speakeasies, bootlegging and mobsters were dominant components in the early 1900s.
Citified rum-runners often feared not only the authorities, but a poisonous and malicious hanger-on they referred to as the Beerfly.
The Beerfly was rumored to live in the oak wood which barrels of hooch were often constructed. It would normally stay dormant in the wood if the barrels were treated as intended: as mere storage vessels for any number of alcoholic beverages. But bouncing wildly in the trunks of souped up Fords and Chevrolets combined with the fumes of gasoline, oil, rubber and asphalt that accompanied the harried journeys was rumored to cause the Beerfly undue stresses which it would seek to alleviate by swarming upon the occupants of the vehicles in question, flying into their ears, noses and mouths, all the while stinging them wildly with their scorpion-like tails.
Many mob drivers who did not die from the attacks blamed their wrecks and/or captures on the Beerfly. Although most Mob bosses assumed these were mere excuses for poor driving, or delusions from a gullet-full of bad alcohol, it is said that Al Capone himself not only believed in the Beerfly, but kept one pickled in formaldehyde in a mayonnaise jar by the side of his bed.