Like the long-memoried Mr. Gustafson, I also
remember a lurid tale from _Time_ and/or _Newsweek_ of the
same vintage, 1967 or 1968, about a young woman in a biker gang
who, pursuant to the rules of the club, having committed some
infraction such as infidelity to the Leader of the Pack, allowed
herself to be nailed through the palms of the hands to a tree
for an hour or so, then went to a hospital in search of treatment
and claimed she'd tripped and fallen on some sharp object. Could
have happened, but sounds UL'ish. Anyone remember this one or
know someone who does? Any later debunkings?
Keen memory, Mr. Tindall. It's from the December 11, 1967, issue of
_Newsweek_. At first glance the story appears voracious, as it actually
mentions names and includes photographs. However, the article suspiciously
lists no specific dates, and I could not find this same story or any
follow-ups to it in any other major publication. And the last line sounds
too much like a typical UL moral warning for me to believe this without
some more evidence at hand. Perhaps someone from Florida could contribute
to the knowledge base here.
_Newsweek_, December 11, 1967.
She Didn't Scream
At first, pretty freckle-faced Christine Deese told doctors at West Palm
Beach's St. Mary's Hospital that she had accidentally pierced her palms
when she tripped and fell on a nail-studded board. But when suspicious
hospital authorities called in the law, the 18-year-old redhead broke down
and told the grisly truth: members of a motorcycle gang called the Outlaws
had nailed her to a tree as punishment for violating a gang rule that
requires a member's "old lady" to hand over all her money to her man.
Christine's crucifixion was ordered, she said, because she withheld $10
from one Norman (Spider) Risinger, 25, of Tampa.
When the story broke, southern Florida exploded with outrage. Police
quickly jailed Risinger and a second Outlaw, Frank E. (Fat Frank) Link, 25,
of Cypress, Calif. And Republican Gov. Claude Kirk ordered a detail of
police to saddle up and set off on a cross-country chase to capture three
other gang members accused of taking part in the "punishment ceremony," as
one of the posse, Sheriff William Heidtman, called it. While Heidtman and
two detectives were tracking the renegade Outlaws first to Chicago, then to
New Albany, Indiana, and ultimately to Detroit, Governor Kirk declared war
on the gang members still in Florida.
Kirk personally led State Hotel and Retaurant Commission officials on an
inspection out the Outlaws' hangout -- Kitty's Saloon, a roadside beer and
wine joint near West Palm Beach that was promptly closed as unfit and
unclean. Arrested on charges of maintaining a house of ill fame and
procuring for prostitution, the weathered blond proprietress, Mrs. Kitty
Randall, 39, scoffed at the charges ("ridiculous") but admitted the Outlaws
regularly drank in her place and slept in the seedy cottages out back. "I
introduced some of the girls to some of the guys," Mrs. Randall said. "But
what they did after that I don't know."
Kitty Randall did know of the crucifixion, however, and said Spider
Risinger told her he had ordered it carried out it a remote wooded area
near Juno Beach 10 miles north of West Palm. Later, the Outlaws told her
how they drove 4-inch-long tenpenny nails through the center of each of
Christine's hands into the limb of a Melaleuca tree against which she stood
on tiptoe. The Outlaws sat in a circle and watched Christine for fifteen
minutes before removing the nails and taking her back to Kitty's Saloon.
During the punishment, Christine "didn't scream," Mrs. Randall said. She
added that the Outlaws had frequently beaten the girl but "never on the
face, always on the body."
When they finally made it to Detroit, Sheriff Heidtman and his men
flushed the three grimy and smelly fugitives out of what Heidtmann called
"the filthiest place you ever saw" -- a crowded flat used by another
motorcycle gang called the Renegades. Governor Kirk himself met Heidtman
at the Palm Beach International airport when the sheriff flew in the three
Outlaws -- Donald (Mangy) Graves Jr., 18, of Detroit; Joe (Super Squirrel)
Sorsby Jr., 19, of Houston, and John (Crazy John) Wables, 24, of Warren,
Mich. Florida police booked them on aggravated-assault charges and jailed
them on $15,000 bail. Before they were led away, Crazy John and Super
Squirrel kissed each other passionately. "This bunch of bums has got the
word they're not welcome in Florida," said Kirk when the roundup was over.
"I hope young thrill-seeking girls who go with them know now they can get
their fingers burned -- or, in this case, their hands nailed."
Actually at that time I was riding with a group of beach buggy people. At first the guys from the buggy group were friends with the bikers. But then stuff started to happen between them and things went bad.
The girl getting nailed to a tree was the last straw. At the time that Gov Kirk and the police were raiding Kittys place a group of the guys from the buggy group went onto her property and the police in hiding allowed them in thinking they were more of the biker gang. The buggy guys backed up to the door of kittys bar and place a hose inside which was attached to their car. The car was rigged up to smoke and quickly kittys bar was smoked out and the bikers, police and Gov Kirk came streaming out of the bar. Ooops!!! The police told those that smoked the bar that any other time they would give them a medal. Just not at that time. This was a big embarrassment to the Governor and this is the rest of the story that was never told.