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Exaggerated, unsupported, contradicted and blatantly false stories of the American Mob

Many of the popular stories of organized crime history are wholly or partly untrue. Underworld legends with accuracy problems are collected in this "Horsefeathers" section. The legends are graded with one to four feathers, according to the following scale: One feather (∫)- The legend is supported to an extent by official and/or reliable sources, but it has been exaggerated beyond what evidence supports. Two feathers (∫∫) - Sources do not universally support the legend, and there are serious evidence-based or logic-based concerns about its accuracy. Three feathers (∫∫∫) - More official and/or reliable sources contradict the legend than support it, and there is a strong suggestion that it is unaccurate. Four feathers (∫∫∫∫) - The legend is provably false. It is refuted by official and/or reliable sources, and no reliable evidence supports it.


Post-Maranzano purge: repetition is not proof

By Thomas Hunt, 2023

While some efforts clearly were made following the assassination of boss of bosses Salvatore Maranzano to eliminate some Maranzano followers in key Mafia positions, there is no evidence of a vast, coordinated conspiracy to do so. In addition, there is strong suggestion that the death tolls of 1931's so-called "Sicilian Vespers" purge - even those offered by authoritative sources - have been grossly inflated.


The Black Hand lie that won't die: New Orleans in 1855

By Thomas Hunt, 2023

A number of crime history writers have asserted that the Sicilian Mafia - or Sicilian Black Hand Society - was actively engaged in extortion and murder in the city of New Orleans as early as 1855. They cite the supposed Black Hand murder of Francisco Domingo in that year as evidence. While Mafia activity in that time and place is a possibility, the killing of Domingo is in no way evidence of it.


Lupo likely had nothing to do with the Consiglio killing

By Thomas Hunt, 2022

The October 1930 murder of Ruggiero Consiglio in Brooklyn was the only noteworthy incident during the Castellammarese War period to which former Mafia boss Ignazio Lupo was linked. And some insist that it is proof that Lupo remained a significant underworld figure. However, it is not entirely certain that Consiglio's murder was related to the Castellammarese conflict. It is even less certain that Lupo played any part in the killing.


December 1946 Mafia convention in Havana? Probably not

By Thomas Hunt, 2021

Underworld legend says Salvatore "Lucky Luciano" Lucania reached Havana, Cuba, late in 1946 and summoned U.S. crime bosses to a convention where he was proclaimed Mafia boss of bosses. But that meeting probably did not happen. And there is no reason to believe Lucania was ever named boss of bosses. Evidence suggests that during Lucky's Cuba stay he was visited occasionally by very small groups of friends and associates.