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Mob Confessions/ Ackerman & the Afterlife

Date Sunday - July 24, 2016
Host George Knapp
Guests Charles BrandtPaul DavidsJohn Allison

In the first half, George Knapp welcomed investigative author and lawyer Charles Brandt. In the course of nearly five years of recorded interviews, mob strongman Frank Sheeran confessed to Brandt that he handled more than 25 hits for the Mob, and was eventually ordered to kill his friend Jimmy Hoffa. Brandt shared an update to his original investigation with more evidence about Sheeran's involvement with Hoffa, new information on other famous murders, and how the Mob does not take "no" for an answer. Brandt described Sheeran’s extensive WWII battle service and how it changed him from a "Huckleberry Finn type" beforehand, but "came out of the war a changed man." His strict Catholic upbringing and the morals instilled in him were suppressed by his war experiences. This made him ripe for recruitment by organized crime when he met mobster Russell Bufalino in the 1950s and the two became friends. Bufalino started Sheeran on small jobs, such as collecting unpaid loans, and slowly eased him into actual murders.

Brandt said that after he got Sheeran out of jail on a medical leave, the two became friends and began a series of interviews in which the former hit man confessed his role as the triggerman in the murder of Hoffa, well as some other famous assassinations, such as the death of crime boss Joey Gallo in 1972. Brandt recalled the account that Sheeran gave him of the murder of Hoffa and how it matched evidence that was later found showing a trail of blood at the house where the alleged hit took place. Brandt also said that Sheeran darkly hinted that he was involved with the assassination of JFK but refused to discuss the exact details. A film directed by Martin Scorcese and starring Robert De Niro and Al Pacino based on Brandt’s research is slated to begin production soon. Related article on the search for Hoffa.

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In the second half, author and producer Paul Davids discussed his new book on the apparent return of pioneering science fiction promoter and journalist Forrest J. Ackerman after his death in 2008. Davids said that his longtime friend Ackerman had told him that “there is no afterlife...it’s like a lightbulb goes out,” but had promised him and others that he would try and communicate with them from beyond the grave if he could. Barely three months after his death, Davids found an anomalous blot of ink on a paper that would change his beliefs about life after death. The words on the page were obliterated in such a precise way and with such similarity to Ackerman's habits and sense of the absurd that Davids began to wonder if it was a sign of his friend making good on his promise.

He enlisted the help of forensic document scientist Dr. John Allison to examine the ink and the way that it was altered to make sure that no one could fake the anomaly. Allsion said that Davids couldn't have done it, because "he didn't know how and I don't know how." Strange paranormal episodes seemed to plague Allison and other scientists who became involved in the study, including an old doll with long-dead batteries that apparently spoke Ackerman's name. With the blessing of Mark Rollings, the present owner of Ackerman's old home, a séance was conducted that amazed everyone present. After experiencing many anomalous occurrences, Davids is convinced that "it's like the continuation of a friendship that didn't end with death."

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Knapp's News 7/24/16

George Knapp shares some recent online items that caught his attention this week, including the newest research in quantum physics, a joint US-Russian moon mission, and the true story behind the Elvis hit, Heartbreak Hotel.

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Bumper music from Sunday July 24, 2016

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