Glancey’s Gym (St. Paul, Minnesota)

From: Fanachan@aol.com
Date: Sun, 6 Feb 2000 18:31:25 EST
Subject: Ghost story…
To: obiwan@ghosts.org

Hello. The story I want to submit is about the boxing gym I belong to. The article I’ll send is from the Pioneer Press newspaper, so you know that I didn’t make this up. There are police reports of the death which occured in the building too. Also, I know the owner of the gym who told the story and he would not make something like this up, especially just so he could get it published in a newspaper. The gym is called Glancey’s Gym and it’s in St. Paul, MN. Anyway, here’s the story. Hope you like it….

Glancey’s Gym is in an old meat plant in St. Paul, which would account for all the little rooms with heavy steel doors and the stout beams that support the punching bags the Mutt likes to snap away at.

Jim Glancey runs the gym and lives upstairs in a suite of rooms directly over Mutt’s favorite target, a double-ended little leather speed bag bungeed to both the ceiling and floor. He’s got nothing against Mutt’s workouts, but Jim was in his bathtub one night, and it annoyed him when the Mutt, who is a ghost, got the bag going good enough to knock plaster off the bathroom ceiling.

Mutt’s a spirited puncher who knows his way around all the big and little bags that hang from the beams like sides of beef. When he gets going at night, Glancey says, it’s not flop-bop-boop, but the bamadee-bamadee-bam of an experienced boxer.

That figures. To appreciate this Mutt business, you have to go back to April 1983, when the two-story brick building that now houses Glancey’s Gym was Anderson Meat Co. in the belly of the East Side on the corner of Beech and Forest. One of the grisliest events ever in St. Paul began, and ended, right in that building.

There came to the meat company an anonymous call about noon on a Tuesday that a burglary had been attempted there the previous Sunday. The caller added that the would-be burglar might still be in the plant. Check the chimney, the caller hinted.

So the police were summoned, and a rope was discovered attached to the top rung of a built-in steel ladder on the outside of the plant’s 60-foot chimney. The rope was taut, and upon further investigation, it was ascertained that the other end was tied to one Clyde Mudgett, 30, who, after three days in the chimney, was profoundly dead.

The news stories were fairly graphic. Clyde’s shortsighted plan, the caller said, was to enter the plant by dropping down the stack and making his way out of the chimney through a small clean-out door at the bottom. The chimney was connected to the plant’s furnace and water heater, and it was estimated that Mudgett ran out of rope about 20 feet from the bottom of the chimney.

When firefighters tried to extract the 6-foot-1-inch, 190-pound Mudgett, the rope he’d tied to himself broke and the body fell to the bottom of the chimney. The clean-out door was far too small for an exit, so firefighters had to chop a hole in the chimney to get Clyde’s body out.

There was speculation he became trapped in the flue and was overcome by fumes. The autopsy later proved Clyde died of asphyxiation, not to mention a fundamental shortage of rope, and records still on file at the morgue say his body, after only three days, displayed signs of mummification. Brrrrr.

Clyde had served 18 months in the Indiana State Reformatory on a burglary conviction, according to the Associated Press stories in 1983. He was well-known to police, and officers throughout the department today still remember Clyde’s gruesome departure. Ironically, owners of the meat plant told police there was nothing in the place to steal.

The story might end there, except for this: Clyde Mudgett was a two-time Indiana Golden Gloves champion in the mid-1970s who later turned pro in Houston, Texas, ending up with a professional record of 30 wins and 22 losses. He’d even fought in Madison Square Garden and on national television.

Clyde fought professionally as a light heavyweight and a heavyweight. He was a friendly, colorful fighter who looked like Burt Reynolds and liked to toast his fans with beer from the ring after a fight. He had a reputation as a talented, personable boxer who’d fight anyone but who hated to train.

Well, Clyde is making up for all that wasted gym time now, says Jim Glancey. Jim’s a retired asbestos worker who’s operated his gym for the last five years. He’d heard about Clyde’s unique burglary attempt, he says, but not before he began hearing the nocturnal work on his punching bags a couple of years ago. Jim named his ghost “Mutt” after the comic strip “Mutt and Jeff.”

The steady tattoo on the bags usually comes at night, after boxers have left the building, says Jim. The plaster came off the bathroom ceiling earlier this year. At least one other person has regularly heard the Mutt, Jim says, but that young boxer is currently out of town.

So, based purely on Jim Glancey’s tales and the history of the building, a ghost vigil team from the Pioneer Press set up shop in the gym one night recently.

This is nothing new for the newspaper. Back in 1969, a trio of newsmen planned to spend the night in a 24-room Summit Avenue mansion that was reputed to be thoroughly haunted by a maid who’d met a violent death there.

But that vigil was abandoned after the two reporters and a photographer gathered up their gear and fell all over eagear and fell all over each other bailing out of the mansion in panic in the middle of the night after they heard strange sounds they

One of those three, retired columnist Bill Farmer, still says there was no power on Earth that could have made him stay in the place any longer.

Just last year, a staff reporter and a photographer spent the night at City Hall, attempting to catch one of the many ghosts that are said to roam those halls. Photographer Bill Alkofer says he definitely felt the presence that night of something other than living flesh and bone.

So it was that Alkofer and I and Kirk Monpas, a University of Minnesota photojournalism student, spent six hours recently in the darkened Glancey’s gym, where large and small punching bags are spread over three of the 10 rooms. We set up camera equipment in the center of this suite. We sat quietly, the only light coming from a red EXIT sign, and waited for Mutt, or Clyde, or whoever it was, to show up for a workout. Jim Glancey says the Mutt usually doesn’t spar past 10:30 or 11 p.m.

By 11:30, nothing had happened or been heard. I even took a couple of pokes at the Mutt’s favorite little double-ended bag, which was stretched tautly between ceiling and floor swivels. I left the room to join my colleagues. When I looked back at the bag, it was swinging in the darkened room.

When I checked, the bottom bungee had been detached. I didn’t do it. Alkofer says he didn’t do it. Kirk Monpas swore he didn’t do it, and Jim Glancey says he didn’t.

The Mutt didn’t say a word.

This article originally appeared in the Pioneer Press on Tuesday, May 14, 1996.

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