One of my favorite Chicago ghost stories, although one that is not active today, has to be the story of the phantom handprint that appeared at the old fire station for Engine Company 107. On April 18, 1924, a firefighter named Frank Leavy was washing a window at the fire station. For some reason, he paused in his work, his hand resting against the pane of glass, and he told a friend who was standing nearby that he had the strangest feeling he was going to die that day. Just then, the station received an alarm call and the fire fighters was sent to a fire that had broken out at Curran Hall, an office building in Chicago. While fighting the fire, a wall collapsed and killed eight of the firemen..... Frank Leavy was one of those killed.
- HAUNTED CHICAGO -
FIRE ENGINE COMPANY 107
THE LINGERING SPIRIT OF FRANK LEAVY
The next day, one of the firemen noticed something strange about the window that Frank had been washing the day before. There seemed to be an unusual stain on the glass.... and it appeared to be the imprint of Frank's hand at the same spot where he had been leaning the day before.
They tried everything that they could, but they could find no way to erase the strange handprint. It seemed to be etched into the glass!
An expert from the Pittsburgh Plate Glass company brought a special solution to the fire house, guaranteeing that it would remove the print, but it didn't work. Over the years, there were suggestions that the pane of glass be removed, but many of the firemen argued, saying that it was not right to fool with the unknown. Besides that, it was a reminder, albeit a grim one, of their dead friend. And there was no doubt that the handprint belonged to Frank Leavy! An official from the city had come down with a fingerprint comparison and the prints matched those of Frank's. For the next twenty years, the handprint defied all explanation and was a common attraction to visitors and other firemen from around the city.
Finally, on the morning of April 18, 1944 a careless paper boy tossed the morning edition at the fire house and shattered the window where Frank's handprint had been.
It happened exactly twenty years to the date of when Frank Leavy died!
The fire station is still located at 13th and Oakley Streets in Chicago,
Illinois. For more information, contact the Chicago Firefighters Assoc., 1800 South
Halsted in Chicago.
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