Buried In The Desert: Fact Or Fiction
The site where Al Bramlets body was discovered
Legend has it that mobsters buried their victims in the desert. The phrase 86d is said to refer to dumping a body 8 miles out of town and 6 feet under. But how often did it really happen?
Geoff Schumacher, the Mob Museums vice president of exhibits and programs, says the practice occurs more often in movies than it actually did throughout history. When you look at actual cases of mob murders or missing persons related to the mob, you dont find that many bodies buried out in the desert, Schumacher says. While there were certainly instances of desert burials, Schumacher says the mob purposefully avoided doing its dirty work in and around Las Vegas.
They didnt want to hurt the golden goose, Schumacher says. If there were the kind of mob murders that you would see in New York or Chicago going on in Las Vegas, it might scare away.
Thats why famous Vegas mobsters were murdered elsewhere. Tony The Ant Spilotro and his brother were killed in Illinois. Riviera casino manager Gus Greenbaum and his associate Willie Bioff were assassinated, on separate occasions, in Arizona. And Bugsy Siegel was shot in Beverly Hills. The list also likely includes anonymous mob underlings who simply disappeared.
On the other hand, the desert is a pretty convenient place to throw someone, says author John L. Smith. That was always a good threat, an ominous threat: Im gonna throw you down a mine shaft.
Unsolved: Gus Greenbaum 1893
Did the casino executive, who was found murdered with his wife in Phoenix, skim from the skimmers?
The December 4, 1958, Arizona Republic front-page headline reads, Phoenix Couple Murdered: Greenbaums Gang Victims?
A photo shows Bess Greenbaums body, facedown on the couch with her hands tied behind her back. Though its black and white, the image is disturbing. Viewers can see the bottoms of her dress shoes and just make out the butcher knife that cut her and her husband Gus throats. A plastic bag, likely used by the killer, is left at her feet.
The newspaper describes how housekeeper Pearl Ray found Bess body when arriving for work in the morning. Ray told the Republic she ran to the neighbors upon discovering the scene. The quick departure spared her from the sight of Gus corpse in the bedroom, clad in beige silk pajamas and almost decapitated, according to the article. Ray was briefly hospitalized due to shock.
From the first reports, the double homicide was controversial. Was it mob-related? In that first article, Arizona Republic journalist Gene McLain wrote, Despite the unwillingness of Phoenix police immediately to blame gangland vengeance, and Las Vegas officers disclaimer of it, there were these trademarks: There was no break-in, the killers apparently having the site and time well-planned.
It would make sense that the mob would want to discourage that, Green says. Its OK to skim for the mob. Its not OK to skim from the mob.
Is Bodies The Exhibition Suitable For All Ages
Bodies the Exhibition is like part anatomy lab, part artifact exhibition, and part journey through the different stages of life. This exhibition is beautifully displayed, giving visitors of all ages the chance to learn fascinating facts and view meticulously dissected specimens of the human body.
It is suitable for all ages, but you know yourself and your family better than anyone. If someone in your group is a little squeamish, its not a bad idea to look online at some detailed images to make sure nothing seems too scary or unpleasant, especially for really young children.
Its really important here to drive home the point that each of the 13 whole-body specimens and hundreds of organs on display has undergone an innovative process of polymer preservation. The result is truly artistic and very respectful to the real bodies on display.
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What Attractions Are Near Real Bodies By Bally’s
REAL BODIES at Ballys offers easy access to other attractions, casinos, shows, restaurants, the monorail, parking, and more. Its located across the street from Bellagio and is easily accessible from Flamingo and the Strip. The attractions that are closest to REAL BODIES at Ballys are:
- High Roller Observation Wheel at the LINQ Take a ride on the High Roller. It’s the worlds tallest observation wheel for 30-minutes of stunning, Las Vegas Strip views.
- Rockstar Pool Party Tour Party like a rockstar and go pool hopping to popular poolside spots along the Strip on an organized trip. The best part? You dont have to plan and coordinate transportation.
- Vegas Rockstar Club Tour – Go on a tour of Las Vegas nightlife with this fully organized club hop to Vegas hottest spots. Includes open bar on the transportation bus!
- Eiffel Tower Experience at Paris Las Vegas Experience Paris, or at least a recreation of its highlights, and get a view of the Strip from 46 stories above ground from the iconic Eiffel Tower.
A show at the V-Theater:
- – Watch Marc Savard, the number one hypnosis show in Las Vegas, manipulate the free will of random audience members. You wont believe what he can get people to do!
- V The Ultimate Variety Show – Consistently voted the best variety show on the Strip, youll get to experience some Vegas-style fun geared towards all ages.
The Mob Museum A Vital Resource
The Mob Museum
As cities go, Las Vegas keeps more secrets than mostfrom simple what happens here, stays here infidelities to unsolved murders. But we also have a not-so-secret weapon in the search for truth: the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, aka Downtowns Mob Museum.
Really, in the entire United States, theres really only one place that is a repository for the entire nations history of organized crime and law enforcement, says Geoff Schumacher, the Mob Museums vice president of exhibits and programs.
The museum opened in 2012, so its relatively new as institutions go, but it arrived preloaded with some mob history of its own: The building hosted the 1950-51 Kefauver Hearings on organized crime.
Schumacher says the museum is still growing and actively seeking artifacts of both Old Vegas and the mob, so if you have something in your attic, reach out. We want this material to help tell these stories at the Mob Museum, where 400,000 people a year from all walks of life can see it, Schumacher says.
300 Stewart Ave., 702-229-2734, themobmuseum.org. Daily 10 a.m.-8 p.m., $17+.
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What To Expect From Real Bodies At Bally’s
REAL BODIES at Ballys showcases the inner workings of the human body, system by system, and how everything is connected. Youll get to explore various stages of life from the very beginning to the end, and everything in between. This powerfully compelling exhibition explores the literal meaning of life reaching audiences on a deeper level through 11 immersive galleries. Youll explore how body functions have deep cultural and emotional significance that reach as far back as the dawn of humanity. Check out our helpful guide for visiting REAL BODIES at Ballys for information about ways to save on admission, tips for visiting, nearby attractions, and more.
Unsolved: Bugsy Siegel 1906
Who ordered the hit on Las Vegas most famous mobster?
Benjamin Bugsy SiegelProhibition-era bootlegger-turned-co-founder of Murder Inc.-turned-casino managerbenefits from the most gruesome sort of fame: The handsome man was violently murdered at a young age .
Hes buried at the Hollywood Forever cemetery, hes been the subject of books and movies, and hes still getting attention. Siegels hooded eyes stare out from the letter E in the Arts Districts Greetings From Las Vegas postcard mural, painted only last December.
Whod want to shoot the gangster in the head while he sat in the Beverly Hills home of his girlfriend Virginia Hill? Thats the $24,000 question, says University of Missouri history professor Larry D. Gragg, author of the 2015 book Benjamin Bugsy Siegel: The Gangster, the Flamingo and the Making of Modern Las Vegas. There are so many possible explanations. Its like watching a complex murder mystery where the author identifies a dozen possible culprits.
Possible reasons for his hit: conflict over the race wire, a pre-internet method of facilitating sports betting LA-based mafia don Jack Dragna might have wanted him dead Las Vegas mob/casino boss Moe Dalitz could have ordered the hit because Siegel was abusing his ex-girlfriend Hill the list goes on. Gragg says that the most likely explanation is that organized crime wanted to eliminate Siegel because it was believed he was mismanaging or skimming money from the Flamingo.
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Unsolved: Sonny Liston 1932
Was the boxing great actually killed by the mob?
According to the Clark County Coroners Office, former heavyweight boxing champion Sonny Liston died of natural causes. Did the strapping athletewho was past his prime but still a world-ranked boxersimply drop dead due to lung congestion and heart failure? Or was it something more sinister?
Some say the man who famously feared needles died of a heroin overdose. Others say that he was murdered by way of purposeful overdose. The Paradise Palms home where he was found days dead and decomposing by his wife, Geraldine, offered conflicting clues.
Liston rose from an impoverished upbringing to become a boxing champion, but he never quite escaped his past. The mob managed Listons boxing career. And as that wound down, he lived a life of danger: dealing and using drugs, womanizing, collecting for loan sharks. He was a hoodlum, says author John L. Smith.
Did the underworld finally come for him? The world might never know, but everybody has a theory. In 2019, the BBC even called Listons cause of death one of sports most enduring mysteries.
Because his death was never ruled a homicide, leads surfaced that havent been followed, suspects died with their secrets and stories havent been told, Shaun Assael wrote in his 2016 book, The Murder of Sonny Liston: Las Vegas, Heroin, and Heavyweights.
Preservation Of The Bodies And Organs
The bodies are prevented from decay by means of plastination, a rubberization process patented in the 1970s by anatomist Gunther von Hagens. The essence of the process is the replacement of water and fatty material in the cells of the body first by acetone and then by plastics, such as silicone rubber, polyester or epoxy resin.
Concerns have been raised about the provenance of the bodies and the ethics of viewing human remains , for children. In an editorial, Lutheran Reverend Christoph Reiners questioned the effect on the values of children. Prior to the 2005 U.S. premiere, the Florida Attorney General expressed the opinion that the State Anatomical Board’s approval should be required. The Board fought the Tampa exhibit, with its director expressing the opinion that the exhibit should be shut down. Premier Exhibitions officials disagreed, claiming that the Board had jurisdiction only over medical schools and not museums the exhibit opened two days ahead of schedule at the Tampa Museum of Science and Industry.
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Tips For Visiting The Real Bodies At Ballys
- Consider whether or not you want to visit the section with embryos. It can be an emotional experience for some.
- Plan to spend at least 45-minutes to an hour exploring the exhibits.
- Get a Go Las Vegas Card Explorer Pass or Build Your Own Pass and save up to 55% off combined admission to REAL BODIES at Ballys and other attractions.
- The closest stop along the monorail is Ballys & Paris.
- REAL BODIES at Bally’s is open to all ages, but parents may want to consider how their children may experience the exhibitions.
- REAL BODIES at Bally’s is fully wheelchair accessible.
- Take your camera, but be aware that professional camera equipment is not permitted.
- Food and drinks are not permitted in the exhibition.
Ticket Prices & Admission
General admission for Bodies the Exhibition is $32 for adults, although prices for exhibition tickets are subject to change at any time. Tickets for children, seniors, and locals with a valid ID are offered at a discounted rate.
Theres also a combo ticket option at the box office for visitors who want to see Bodies the Exhibition and Titanic: The Artifact Exhibit. Both exhibits are located at the Luxor Hotel, which is a part of MGM Resorts. Combo tickets are a great deal if youre interested in attending both experiences.
Bodies the Exhibit is also open to schools and other groups. You can contact the exhibit directly for more information about school reservations and teacher materials to accompany your visit.
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Experience Real Human Bodies
Experience real human bodies presented in dramatic and compelling environments at REAL BODIES at Ballys. An authentic, original bodies exhibition on human anatomy. Now enhanced with the latest information on COVID-19.
REAL BODIES at Bally’s allows you to get a closer look at what’s inside of you. This is an exploration of not just anatomy but of humanity. The importance of the air we breathe. The importance of love. From going back in time to an anatomist’s study and learning about the ancient Egyptians, and ancient Greeks and people like Leonardo da Vinci, and Vesalius who went against the norm and dissected these specimens of human bodies to understand more about it, to modern-day technology. It’s a chance for you to come and see what’s inside your body but also how other people perceive what’s inside their bodies. You’ll be able to look inside, understand the physiology, the anatomy, and also how other cultures deal with life and deal with death. You’ll have the opportunity to see these amazing preserved specimens but also look at historical, emotional, and cultural aspects behind who we are as human beings. It’s a beautiful exploration of the human body.
About REAL BODIES at Ballys
Bally’s Las Vegas
Solved: Al Bramlet 1917
Head of the Culinary Union found buried in the desert
A flamboyant dresser and bon vivant, Elmer Al Bramlet was the old Vegas kind of labor leader. When a restaurant refused to unionize, legend has it, the Culinary Union secretary-treasurer simply had them bombed.
It was pretty well known that Bramlet took the curves on the accelerator instead of the brake, says UNLV history professor Michael Green.
The story goes, Bramlet hired union organizer and muscle Tom Hanley to hit a string of non-union Las Vegas spotsAlpine Village Restaurant, Davids Place, the Village Pub and Starboard Tackand when bombs didnt go off at the latter two locations, Bramlet refused to pay the Hanleys $10,000.
Bramlet may have suffered from something that frankly a lot of mobsters suffer from, that a lot of politicians suffer from theyre convinced of their invulnerability, Green says. I think Bramlet trusted to stick with him. They picked him up at the airport, and I dont know that he went unwillingly.
As they were driving out of McCarran on February 24, 1977, the elder Hanley proposed that they go for a ride. I dont think it was hard for Al to figure out they were not there to hang out and look at the scenery, Green says.
The controversial labor leader was missing for three weeks before a pair of hikers stumbled upon his corpse buried under some rocks near Mount Potosi, about 30 miles southwest of Las Vegas. It was a striking, high-profile death.
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