The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #40513   Message #580472
Posted By: catspaw49
26-Oct-01 - 01:35 PM
Thread Name: PIRATE JOKES (Needed For Concert)
Subject: RE: PIRATE JOKES (Needed For Concert)
Hey Brett......How about a story of a modern day pirate of sorts? This guy worked the trains and it has all the elements, including a crew and the fact that this guy was hard to get rid of! Plus, part of it's on Halloween!

One of the last and most bizarre executions here in Ohio before they stopped the death penalty (it's on again now) was actually held on Halloween in 1953 at the Ohio Penitentiary in Columbus. Frank Howard had been an employee of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad for almost 25 years. He had started out as flagman on freight trains and eventually worked his way up through the ranks to become the conductor on one of the B&O's most prestigious passenger trains, the Cumberland Valley Limited.

After a few years on that run he had come up with a small gang of porters and baggagemen to aid in his scheme which involved the theft of specific items of value from the rooms and luggage of wealthier passengers. He had this carefully crafted so as not to be blatantly noticeable, ie, they never took entire cases or anything that would lead anyone to believe they had been robbed, but rather had perhaps misplaced or lost a particular item....or left it at home. Being the conductor on the train, Howard would listen to the passengers and generally be able to convince them that a report wasn't needed and on the few occasions it was, the railroad saw no problem. Things were reported missing on trains all the time.

It worked pretty well and wasn't a huge moneymaker, but it effectively doubled the salries of all involved with a few extra bucks for Howard, over and above his share. This became apparent to one of his henchman named Washington who confronted Howard on it. Howard was a man with a hot temper and perhaps Washington was cowed by the rage. In any case, he backed down and came up with a new plan. Washington decided he'd do a little freelancing. This of course blew the whole carefully done scheme of Frank Howard and he walked into the station in Columbus and in full view of a hundred people, shot Washington dead.

Howard claimed that Washington was a thief and escaping which sounded good, but before too long, Howard's other men began to talk and the whole thing was exposed. Howard was arrested, charged, and convicted of first degree murder along with the assorted thefts. He received the death sentence and after all of the appeals had been exhausted, he was scheduled for execution in the electric chair for October 31, 1953.

He was strapped in and shaved, wet-down and hooked up. At the appointed time the switch was pulled and Howard's body became rigid and then trembled violently. After 20 seconds the switch was turned off but Howard was still alive. After a brief conference it was decided to increase the voltage and time. First they checked the equipment which seemed to be functioning. This done, after 45 seconds and smoke coming from his body, Howard was found to still be alive! Once again they upped both voltage and time, but again the result was a living and breathing Frank Howard.

At this point, the priest, the warden, and the doctor decided that the humane thing to do was to give him an injection. The only thing the doctor had was morphine with which they overdosed him and 20 minutes later he was declared legally dead. After removing the body they went through another series of tests on the chair and the wiring and once again found that everything was in working order and should have killed Howard in the first 20 seconds. No one knew why it didn't work, but they surmised the problem was that Frank Howard was simply a bad conductor.