The Stars Are Right: The Irish Rose: White Slavery in the Motor City!

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Front page of the Detroit Evening Times, August 16, 1932

White Slavery in the Motor City![edit]

Notorious Jewish Bootleggers Kidnaped Children from Canada

At least 3 children abducted

Vigilante Raid Leaves 7 Dead

Police vow investigation

Frank Lovejoy, Staff Writer

A vigilante raid on an isolated farmhouse in Macomb County has left seven Purple Gang members dead and uncovered a possible white slavery ring run by the notorious rumrunners. This reporter was allowed to accompany the rescuers on the understanding that their identities would not be revealed, but he can personally vouch for the righteousness of their act, and sympathizes with their belief that the Detroit Police were unequipped to deal with a crime of this complexity and magnitude.

It was a quiet, torrid August evening when we began the long drive through the Michigan countryside toward the planned orgy of violence. Our guide for this malefic tour was Dr. Gregory Parkhurst, a relative of the abducted children, and the mastermind of this proposed rescue. With the good doctor were eleven other stout Christians, armed appropriate to the occasion with an assortment of pistols and shotguns, plus an unnamed medico to see to the needs of the rescued children and any injuries that might arise, spread across two hard-used but sturdy trucks from the pre-war era. Dr. Parkhurst first contacted The Times in connection with its ongoing investigation into the murder of Daniel Macklin, late proprietor of the Irish Rose speakeasy. Macklin’s “widow,” long-suffering Katie Flynn, was receiving treatment for a rare blood condition from the Parkhurst Institute of Buffalo, NY prior to arriving in Detroit, and there met and befriended the good doctor. Our conversation with Dr. Parkhurst, excerpts of which will appear in tomorrow’s edition, also involved certain denizens of the demimonde who were close friends of Mr. Macklin. It was these who first discovered the Purple Gang’s decision to dabble in kidnaping and child slavery; as they were unwillingly implicated in the crime, their names have been withheld to protect them from possible retaliation, either from an outraged underworld or an abashed police department.

As Times sources have revealed—and as we have confirmed, at least in part—rumrunners for the Purple Gang brought three children, all between the ages of 9 and 12, into the United States early last week. The children were drugged with some unknown substance and packed in casks for ease of transport before being delivered to the supposedly abandoned farmhouse where they appear to have been subjected to darkly inscrutable medical experiments. What purpose the Purple Gang had in experimenting on these children—and whether they were acting independently or on behalf of some unknown foreign power—remains unknown.

We doused our lights and rolled to silent stop in front of the farmhouse. Only a few lights still burned within the ramshackle building, a holdover from the previous century: one in the front room, and another, more dimly, flickering wanly from the second story. Dr. Parkhurst divided his squad into two groups, himself and the larger group to lay siege to the front door, hopefully drawing any attention away from our second group as we made a stealthier entrance through the rear of the house in search of the abducted children. The plan worked, at least at first, as we entered without opposition and searched the first floor without finding any sign of the children.

Parkhurst and his men were struggling valiantly with the craven Purple Gang when we reached the front room, though the notorious gangsters were returning fire through the broken windows in an attempt to hold off their deserved retribution. Our party made short work of the unsuspecting criminals before proceeding to the upper floor. A scream met us as topped the staircase. In one of the bedrooms, two gangsters were attempting to wrap a weakly struggling boy in a blanket before escaping through the window. One was quickly cut down in a blaze of fire, torn almost in half by the righteous fury of the rescuers. The other, coward to the end, threw his burden at us and attempted to wrest the scattergun from the grasp of his executioner. While this struggle went on, your reporter carried the child to safety, leaving him in the brusquely tender care of the field medic.

The fighting was still raging when I made my way back inside the charnel house. Three rescuers were struggling with a particularly bestial member of the Purple Gang while a young girl, no more than 12, wept helplessly in a corner. I bore her back down and away from the fighting, and not since the muddy trenches of France has this reporter been so moved by courage in the face of horror. She wept, her delicate, beautiful face buried in my collar, but her first thought was for her companions in terror—“Jason,” she pleaded, a name that proved to belong to the angelic little boy rescued earlier, for she fell on his insensate body with a glad cry before being swept away by a merciful unconsciousness herself.

Unfortunately, no sign was found of the remaining captive. Whether he was absconded with during the melee or perhaps had been moved prior to our assault was unclear; a careful search among the bodies and the blood failed to discover any hint of his whereabouts. The barn, however, contained a room of horrors—surgical equipment and leather restraints sized for children and still wet with blood. The two rescued children bore no marks, nor did any of the fallen gangsters; what carnival of cruelty was held here, and upon what tiny, helpless frame?

Unfortunately, the heroes of the hour were unwilling to linger to be greeted with the rude hospitality the Detroit Police Department has become known for. They decamped, bearing their still unconscious charges with them, to rest and recover from their nightmare ordeal, leaving the Times behind to serve as oracle for the city’s tardy finest. The police, faced with undeniable proof of this latest perfidy from the Purple Gang, have vowed to leave no gonnif unturned in rooting out this vileness flowering in our city’s fair heart. Only time will tell whether their efforts will prove more effective than previous attempts.

Published August 16, 1932