Customer Reviews: Muldoon, a True Chicago Ghost Story: Tales of a Forgotten Rectory
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on November 19, 2003
I loved the book!! Not only does it delve into the history of Chicago and why the city is what it is today, but it also includes a TRUE, chilling ghost story. I enjoyed learning about Chicago's past.....the politics, cultures, scandals and religious influences. And I enjoyed the intertwining ghost stories.....many a night I heard strange noises in my own house after reading the book earlier that night. Coincidence?
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on December 18, 2003
This is one of those books that doesn't come along very often. I could not put this book down once I started reading. Mr. Facchini is a rare kind of storyteller. Apart from the ghost which is the centerpiece of this book, I got the distinct impression that there are some invisible hands at work in this mans life. Muldoon is packed full of information of the forming of one of Americas largest cities, and the role of the Catholic church in the building of America. It was a great book cover to cover and I would recommend it to anyone who reads.
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on February 4, 2007
This book is a compelling look at the intersection of the everyday and the supernatural, the temporal and the eternal, and the secular and the spiritual. It is also a look at the rivalry between the immigrant and the native-born, a fierce dispute that rocked the Irish-dominated Catholic Church in Chicago at the end of the 19th century. It is a story that almost wasn't written, and, as becomes apparent from the bizarre epilogue written by the author's editor, almost wasn't published either. As other reviewers have remarked, this is an eminently readable glimpse into one of the strangest stories I've (never) read. Even (perhaps especially) lifelong Chicagoans will be surprised to read about a forgotten man, Peter J. Muldoon, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago; his beloved church, St. Charles Borromeo, at Roosevelt Rd. and Hoyne Ave.; and his restless ghost that, after Muldoon's death in 1927, protested the parish's neglect and decline and, finally, its obliteration. The author, a former priest who served as an assistant at St. Charles in the late 1950s, has obviously mulled over these events for many years. With the help of family members and friends, he has written a wonderful book and saved from oblivion a story full of meaning and power. It is a story about the Catholic mission in the world, about fidelity to that mission, and the consequences of losing sight of it. It is a terrific book, clearly written and organized, and full of the author's very engaging personality. I enjoyed every page, even the appendices.
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on December 10, 2003
Rocco Facchini's MULDOON gives an interesting and concise history of the Catholic Church in Chicago, while accounting his eerie experiences with the ghost of Muldoon. It is an exciting tale that never failed to keep my attention. A must-read for lovers of ghost stories and local history.
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on November 18, 2003
Comprehensive research and facts made the book that much more chilling and exciting. Book is written in such a way that you have to finish it in one or two can't put it down once you start. This book made a great halloween read! Also had some good behind the scenes insight into the politics of the catholic church in Chicago. Every Chicagoan and Rogers Park-an should read this book!
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on June 30, 2006
This reviewer learned about "Muldoon" by virtual accident when M was favorably commented on by "Tundra Vision", an "amazon friend". Armed with a Xmas gift certificate from my wife, I bought a bunch of books including M. A wise choice! A Chicago tale, M is set in the West Side parish of Saint Charles Borromeo. The story is written in the first person by Father Rocco Facchini. Ordained in 1956, the good padre quickly has problems with his first pastor Monsignor Kane-an unpleasant, domineering, undynamic, uninspiring man of the Roman collar. Any former altar boy has had at least one Msgr. Kane in his life. "Muldoon" is the former pastor of Saint Charles but the polar opposite of Kane. Here is a dynamic and vigorous good guy. The Church recognizes his talents and promotes him to Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago and ultimately to founding Bishop of Rockford, IL. On his death in 1927, the good Bishop is buried in Rockford and not (!) as he has hoped, back at Saint Charles-where his own crypt awaited him! The poor friendly ghost had no home, floating between the two cities. The story is an interesting blend of Muldoon, his ghost, the unctuous Msgr. Kane, Catholic Church politics/infighting, and Facchini's life as a priest all set against the backdrop of a teeming city. It's funny or funny/sad but never boring. The reader should only feel gloomy if (s)he chooses to dwell on the dark side of the Catholic Church and the hurt effected by men like Kane. M is highly recommended to natives of Chicagoland especially those of a "certain age", anyone curious about the behind the scenes Catholic Church and fans of spirits and ghosts. Four appendices are a nice topping. M is good, fast light reading. Amazoners with a sense of humor-or one of adventure- should enjoy. A closing thought: Those without an Amazon friend should choose one or two. And then click on their reviews every so often. A pleasant surprise may await. Thanks, Tundra!
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on June 21, 2016
I saw mention of this book about 'haunting' when searching for my grammar school parish, St. Charles Borromeo of Chicago Illinois but hesitated until now. As I clicked on BUY, I really was looking for the "filler" that another reviewer actually complained about ...

I give this book by Fr. Facchini the HIGHEST RATING possible for several reasons:

a) Fr. Facchini's years at St. Charles overlapped my time there, I was 12 in 1960, and an altarboy of several years. I attended St. Charles from kindergarten thru 8th grade and graduated in 1962. I remember Schumacher, Facchini, Geodert, "Kane" and "Irma". Yes, I think I even knew of "Curba" (of course, with a different last name). Probably to prevent lawsuits, Fr. Facchini has changed some of the names in the book. I'll give you some hints from my secret decoder ring: Kane = Coggins, Irma = Edna, Duke = Mr. Boots. I remember poking thru the rubble after the bulldozers did their work. Some people were seen trying to take out the stained glass windows. They didn't save most of the marble nor some of the statues. I looked online to see if I could find where St. Charles' church remains went, but it seems like very little was salvaged.

b) It fills in a lot of background that a 5 to 14 year old boy only dimly remembers. And it covers the rather rapid downhill slide of a great church that was closed ~1968 and torn down ~1971. Torn down! Almost unheard-of at that time. Yes, the land is part of a parking lot now. I had been wondering for a long time, just what the hell happened to change from a glorious year in 1960 to absolute closure just 8 years later, and total descruction in 11 years. I, of course, was busy with my own life including puberty, so I didn't pay much attention. I did notice many acquaintances suddenly disappear forever, due to eminent domain taking over the Medical Center, and forcing many, many long time parishioners to move. My family didn't move since the eminent domain line ended 1 block away from our house in Tri-Taylor.

c) It corroborates what documentation I already have: the St. Charles Borromeo 75th Diamond Jubilee book, complete with pictures and the real names. I think I also figured out "Fr. Len", "Fr. Leo" and "Fr. Gaughn". Since they were assistants for a very brief time, I don't remember them. I think "Gaughn" is pronounced "gone" for an inside joke. Except for Fr. Goedert, all the priests mentioned are now deceased.

b) Lastly, it stands up for Fr. Muldoon, who apparently was fraudulently accused of doing bad things in his time, by disgruntled malconents, led by a priest, of all things. Online you will find many books about Muldoon and a mention of Muldoon allegedly having wives and other falsehoods, while a priest. False. One Muldoon mention is in one of the Iroquis Fire articles. Part of the 'filler' of Facchini's book is the deep background of Muldoon, whom I had never heard of. He apparently paid for some of the original St. Charles stained glass windows himself. He is now vindicated.

I'm sorry I waited so long to find and read this book; it only took 4 sessions.
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on September 16, 2015
What a great story. Well written and the history of the church, the city and the area really makes
it good reading. What is interesting is I was doing some Internet research on the 'ghost'
(Bishop Muldoon) and it is so eerie to be able to read of some of his life and that this was
as real person.
Also I raised Catholic and I found out more on how the Church views happenings like this. An absolute
must for one's true ghost story collection.
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on July 24, 2008
In 1956, my family moved me to Chicago's Southwest Side and enrolled me in St. Mary's High School at Damen and Grenshaw. Walking from the Western Avenue bus to the school each morning, I quickened my pace, as I passed a spooky-looking church I knew as St. Charles-Something-or-Other. Imagine my surprise upon finding, over fifty years later, a ghost story centering around none other than St. Charles Borromeo Church. I regret that it fell prey, like so many buildings of beauty and historical relevance, to the dreaded wrecking ball. As for the book, I am reading it now and enjoying its great history lessons. Rocco is a brilliant writer.
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on November 18, 2003
Strangely, when I began to wrtie this review, there was some heavy footsteps upstairs, and sounds of some doors opening and closing, although I know no one else was home. Also, my computer was ice cold, until I turned it on...if you read this book you'll know what I'm talking about. The best thing about reading this book was that it reminded me of some "unexplained occurances" in my own life. I'm sure it will as well for you. "Muldoon" is well written, and includes some very intereting Chicago history, as well as some behind the scences politics within the Chicago Catholic Church.
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