Freaky Flint History with Joe Schipani : Fighting over a Girl May 6th, 1923


Flint is well known for its modern violent crimes but Flint's history is filled with little known stories that read stranger than fiction. Gruesome murders, weird accidents, and violent deaths. Join us every Thursday as Joe Schipani details some of the odd but true deaths he found in Flint's archives.

Fighting over a Girl May 6th, 1923

In 1923 Bessie Herman had moved to Flint from the south. Unfortunately, an African American, it was hard to secure a place to stay because most motels and apartments were for whites only.

Her family secured her a room with a friend of a friend on Durant Street. As soon as Bessie found a job, she moved into her own place. Two brothers, who were friends of the family, were very protective of their family friend.

On that May evening Earl and Cornelius Howard had Bessie and their good friend Eevee Butler and his wife over for dinner.  Eevee proceeded to make passes at Bessie all evening. He even offered to let her stay with them and sleep in the bed with him and his wife. This was making Bessie really uncomfortable so she left early.

Shortly after she left the Howard’s, Earl and Eevee got into a heated argument. Cornelius joined the fight and Eevee panicked. He pulled out a pistol he had in the back of his trousers and started to shoot.

Earl was hit with the first bullet. It entered his head, killing him instantly.

Cornelius turned to leave the room and was shot in the back. The bullet went right through him and into Eevee’s wife.

Both Cornelius and Mrs. Butler survived.


Eevee Butler was convicted of murder and sentenced to fifty years. His wife filed for divorce during his trial.

~ Joe Schipani is the Executive Director of the Flint Public Art Project and the FFAR Project Assistant at the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.  Find him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/HauntedFlint/ 

Freaky Flint History with Joe Schipani - Deadly Affair May 23rd, 1923


Flint is well known for its modern violent crimes but Flint's history is filled with little known stories that read stranger than fiction. Gruesome murders, weird accidents, and violent deaths. Join us every Thursday as Joe Schipani details some of the odd but true deaths he found in Flint's archives.



Deadly Affair May 23rd, 1923


Shortly after Midnight Mr. Pascell came home from work to find his wife Myrtle bleeding to death in their back yard on Michigan Avenue. The police entered the scene a few minutes after Mr. Pascell and found that Myrtle was killed in her bedroom and dragged to the back yard. Myrtle’s jugular vein was completely severed with a knife. 

After interviewing a neighbor and close friend of Myrtle, the police found out that she was having an affair with David Brown. The neighbor claimed she heard yelling and that Brown wanted her to take her one year old child and run away with him. 

Myrtle, still in love with her husband and wanting to do the right thing, decided it was time to end the relationship. The neighbor claimed the yelling lasted for almost an hour. Several times she thought about calling the police, but didn’t. She claimed Mr. Brown, who also went under the name of Smith, left about ten minutes before Mr. Pascell came home. 

The neighbor saw Mr. Brown dragging Myrtle out of the house and finally called the police. 

The search for David Brown went on for days. They followed rumors that he was in Detroit and Pontiac but nothing ever came of them. 

Mr. Brown was never seen again.  

~ Joe Schipani is the Executive Director of the Flint Public Art Project and the FFAR Project Assistant at the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.  Find him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/HauntedFlint/ 

Why You Should Choose a Party Theme #Halloween #HalloweenPartyThemes




It's never too early to start thinking about Halloween.

If you are considering planning a party this year one of the first things you should do is pick a theme.

Every time I start planning an event, whether it is a birthday party, wedding, or Halloween party, the first thing I do is pick a theme.

Choosing a theme for your party creates a focus, a central idea that makes the rest of your planning come together easily.

Everything will revolve around the theme so you know exactly what you are looking for, makes it easier to zero in and plan efficiently, and you get to flex your creative skills in showcasing the theme.

A theme will bring together all the elements- decorating, invitations, food, games, entertainment, costumes, cocktails…

Once you choose a theme you’ll be surprised at how streamlined the planning process becomes and how things have tendency to fall into place.

Need another reason to pick a theme? It’s fun! Pick something you love that will resonate with your guests and get creative. Your friends will ooh and aah over your clever d├ęcor and costume while you’ll be amazed at what you created.

My wedding had a minimal fairytale theme. We had a castle cake topper, invitation, and small pewter castle favors. It added a special touch without going overboard.



Some of the themes for my kids’ birthday parties over the years include: Minecraft, Shadowhunters, Harry Potter, and NightmareBefore Christmas.



A couple of our May cookout party themes have been We Love the 80s and a Tiki Party.
The Witches Ball I attend every year always has a theme to help guests brainstorm costumes.

My favorite was Steampunk. The costumes were incredible. I also enjoyed Gothic Sweetest Day (2018), Into the Woods, and Magic and Mayhem.

So pick a theme for your party first and then start working on all the other aspects.

Freaky Flint History with Joe Schipani - Love Spurned August 16th, 1922


Flint is well known for its modern violent crimes but Flint's history is filled with little known stories that read stranger than fiction. Gruesome murders, weird accidents, and violent deaths. Join us every Thursday as Joe Schipani details some of the odd but true deaths he found in Flint's archives.

Love Spurned August 16th, 1922

Koznier Delkowski emigrated from Russia to Chicago and then moved to Grand Rapids two years before moving to Flint.

Shortly after moving to Flint, he met Josephine and it wasn’t long before they were married. Friends of the couple claimed that the marriage would never last. Josephine was not over her ex and this caused numerous fights between her and Koznier.

Because of this Koznier didn’t trust in his new bride. He and spent a lot of time following her when she thought he was working.

One day Koznier caught his new bride spending time at the home of her ex-boyfriend. Josephine was unaware of her husband’s knowledge of the affair until the next morning when a strange man delivered a note saying she must die for her sins.

Josephine reported the threat to the police, but she had no evidence that the note came from her husband, so there was nothing that they could do. She was afraid of being alone with Koznier so she decided to invite some friends over for dinner. When her husband arrived home from work she discretely patted him down checking for weapons. She found none.

Everything seemed to be going well so Josephine started thinking perhaps her husband didn’t send the note. Before the guests arrived she even mentioned the note to Koznier. He played it off like he knew nothing about it.

Soon after the couple’s guests arrived dinner was served. Over dinner one of the friends noted it was the happiest she had ever seen the couple. But it didn’t last. Soon the couple started arguing about the note. Koznier finally admitted to writing it before pulling out a pistol and shooting Josephine then turning the gun to his own head and firing two more shots.

The bullet that hit Josephine grazed her left arm and she was treated and released from Hurley hospital a couple hours later.

Koznier died instantly.

~ Joe Schipani is the Executive Director of the Flint Public Art Project and the FFAR Project Assistant at the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.  Find him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/HauntedFlint/ 


Harry Potter Theme Party


I mentioned my son's Harry Potter Birthday Party before, but I finally found my folder of all my inspiration and items I used for the event.

We had the party in 2017 - before they had Harry Potter Party items at the stores. Over this past Christmas season I found Harry Potter themed party merchandise at Wal-Mart (cups, plates, favors, hats, a strand of lights, a metal pencil box). Almost 2 years too late for our party. But I bought some anyway...because Harry Potter.


For my son's party we had to go full on DIY. My son already had a broom, sorting hat and wand. We used those for decoration and party props.

Pinterest was my best friend. I can't believe I didn't make a Harry Potter board. I thought I did, but it's no where to be found. I started a new one, but trying to find all my sources is time consuming. 

I know all the graphics and printables I found were on Pinterest. I do not own the rights to any of the graphics below.

These are some of the graphics I printed and put on gifts, gift bags, and I used the Nimbus 2000 one to add to his broom.








I purchased stickers, pencil wands and the design for a have you seen this wizard poster on Etsy. The wands were a huge hit. Etsy has a huge selection of hand made HP party stuff. If you don't have time to go DIY but you want the DIY touch, search Etsy.

We took the digital file of the wizard poster and took it to a local printer to have it printed on a large heavy duty posterboard.


I purchase banners on eBay. His house is Ravenclaw so I bought him that and a Hogwarts banner. Those were used to decorate for the party- they now hang in his bedroom. He also received a Marauder's Map that was used for decor.



I made more stickers for party favors, printed out Harry Potter word searches, crossword puzzles, and other fun things to put on the tables to keep people busy.






I printed invitations from an online template I found. There are so many free printables out there you can really go wild. I found printables for House Ties, HP glasses, train tickets, wand permits, Hogwarts student IDs, sorting hat games...








And of course, my cake queen Ilona, made the sorting hat cake.


At the party my son received a complete set of the books- which he read over the summer- all of them (his birthday is May 21). He also received an illustrated copy of the first book and a bunch of Harry Potter themed items like keychains, necklaces, and a house pin set. 

I think this was one of the most fun themes I've done, probably because our entire family loves Harry Potter.

Last year we went to a Hogwart's Homecoming event and dinner. We each had a house scarf and gloves. It was a great time. 






Freaky Flint History with Joe Schipani - Fatal Party March 13th, 1922


Flint is well known for its modern violent crimes but Flint's history is filled with little known stories that read stranger than fiction. Gruesome murders, weird accidents, and violent deaths. Join us every Thursday as Joe Schipani details some of the odd but true deaths he found in Flint's archives.


 Fatal Party March 13th, 1922

The party by “Kid” Byrd on Michigan Avenue was a regular event for the African American community in Flint. On the night of March 13th, 1922 everything was going well.

Then Kid’s friend and neighbor, John Perkin, dropped in. He was trying to get over his crazy ex-girlfriend. 

At first it seemed the stars had aligned when John met Julia Thornton that night. The two of them hit it off right away. The new lovebirds were inseparable during the party. Kid thought his friend John had finally found happiness.

Shortly after midnight, John’s crazy ex showed up at the party.

Some of the guests tried to convince her to leave and almost succeeded until Blanche Washington saw John and Julia talking. This sent her into a rage. She stormed over to the couple and started screaming at them.

According to the police report, witnesses claimed Blanche kept pushing and screaming at John until he lost his temper. John then pulled out his pocket knife, pushed Blanche against the wall and cut the back of her neck.

In retaliation Blanche reached into her bosom and pulled out a pen knife and stabbed John right in the jugular vein. John grabbed his neck and stumbled into the street where he collapsed.

Blanche ran to her friend’s house on Vermont Avenue. A doctor was called to come to dress Blanche’s wound. 

John was lying next to the street when the police came. They immediately called an ambulance. John was taken to Hurley Hospital where he died an hour later from excessive loss of blood.

The police tracked Blanche down at her friend’s house by following the trail of blood she left behind. When they arrived, the doctor was just finishing dressing her wound and told the police that he felt that it was not safe for her to go down to the station. The police rejected the doctor’s orders and took Blanche to the city jail.

Blanche survived her transportation, although she was very weak and had little memory of the incident. After she spent a week recovering, the doctor felt she was able to stand trial. The trial was quick, only lasting a few hours. People who attended the party testified in court.


After a quick deliberation, the judge found that she acted in self-defense and there was no need for charges.  

~ Joe Schipani is the Executive Director of the Flint Public Art Project and the FFAR Project Assistant at the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.  Find him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/HauntedFlint/ 

Scooby-Doo Halloween Theme Party


At first glance a Scooby Doo theme would seem to fit a children’s audience better than adult…but for the generations who grew up watching Scooby Doo on Saturday mornings and after school, this theme combines nostalgia and creativity for a party that can be filled with groovy fun and since it’s Halloween you can take all the scariest villains from Scooby-Doo and use them to decorate the party or turn them into creepy costume ideas.


Scooby-Doo is my all-time favorite cartoon. I can remember rushing home after school to watch it and being mad when it wasn’t on Saturday mornings anymore. Later they came out with A Pup Named Scooby-Doo for Saturday mornings. I didn’t like that as much, but I still watched it. 

I am also a huge Buffy fan so when they nicknamed their group the Scooby Gang I was thrilled, then when Buffy herself (Sarah Michelle Geller) became Daphne in the live action movies, total fandom mash up of love! The latest incarnation of a fandom mash up was when Supernatural did the "ScoobyNatural" episode. Sam and Dean meet the Scooby Gang? Yes! I LOVED it.


How ‘Supernatural’s’ ‘Scooby-Doo’ Crossover Came To Be

Scooby has been around for decades. In 1969 Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! started airing on Saturday mornings on CBS and lasted two seasons and 25 episodes.
 In 1972, the show returned as The New Scooby-Doo Movies. Over the years it has been reincarnated into over 12 different series, including Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-DooA Pup Named Scooby-DooThe 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo,  Scooby-Doo! Mystery IncorporatedBe Cool, Scooby-Doo! In addition to the TV shows, there were made-for-TV movies and specials, five live-action movies (only the first 2 big budget ones are worth watching in my opinion), direct-to-DVD movies and video games. You can also find Scooby-Doo books and merchandise. Currently the Scooby Gang appears in Scooby Apocalypse, a DC Graphic Novel Series. In 2018 Daphne & Velma was released, billed as a prequel showcasing the duo before they joined the Scooby Gang. I tried watching it. I didn't finish it. 


You can also find Scooby online - an interactive website and app are available for kids (of all ages). The site is full of fun downloads and activities that may be useful for a Scooby-Doo party like pumpkin carving stencilsluminaries, and glow stick jars. The family night fun pack has recipes and activities that can easily be incorporated into a party- like monster burgers, mummy dogs, cake pops, and cupcakes.

Party Ideas

Funky color scheme: Blue, light teal, lime green, orange, purple (The Mystery Machine and Scooby gang’s clothing colors)


Decorations: Scooby Character Pumpkins, Luminaries, Glow Stick Jars, Scooby Villains, The Mystery Machine, The Scooby Haunted Mansion (the big house in the cartoon intro). If you need printables, Etsy has tons.


Food: Obviously you need Scooby Snacks in some way shape or form. You can use Scooby Snack graham crackers and fruit snacks to create fun desserts, or make your own Scooby Snack cookies with a custom cookie cutter

Games/Entertainment: Classic Scooby-Doo episodes and movies playing on a big screen, Scavenger Hunt, Mystery Game, Name the Scooby Villain Game, Guess the Episode Game, Photo Booth with Scooby Themed Props, What Would You Do for a Scooby Snack Game

If you like board games there are several Scooby Doo board games that have been made including the 1970s "The Scooby Doo Where Are You board game" which is vintage and hard to find. There are also Scooby versions of Clue and Monopoly as well as a Scooby Chess set and Scooby Trivia.


This photo prop from Miss Priss is awesome
You can get these on Etsy at LetsGetDecorative

Costumes: Scooby, Shaggy, Daphne, Velma, Fred, Scooby show guests (Don Knotts, Sunny and Cher, The Harlem Globetrotters, Dick Van Dyke, Josie and the Pussycats) Scooby relatives (Scrappy-Doo, Scooby-Dee, Dixie-Doo, Scooby-Dum, Dada-Doo, Momsy-Doo, Dooby-Doo, Grandpa Scooby, etc.), Hex Girls, and if you are a Supernatural fan you could go as Sam, Dean, or Castiel from the ScoobyNatural episode.

EW article ScoobyNatural to Premiere at Paleyfest




Check out ItsAFabulousLife.com for a great look at DIY Scooby costumes.

Get into the Scooby spirit by taking this Buzzfeed quiz to find out which Scooby Villain you are.


Check out my Scooby Doo Pinterest Board for tons of fun Scooby Party Ideas