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Press release from The History Center:

History Center unveils unusual artifact for first-time viewing at Fright Night

The History Center will be one of the organizations participating in this year’s Downtown Fright Night on October 23 from 5 to 9 p.m.

Experience the Old City Jail in the basement of the History Center, just as generations of inmates did until 1971. Get goose bumps in the iron cells that witnessed several deaths and untold horrors. Also, see the noose, bandages, and other creepy artifacts from the 1883 execution of Sam McDonald (including his murder weapon) on display in the museum’s underground level.

New for Fright Night 2010, on display for the first time, will be the “lucky cigar” smoked by the executioner during the last public execution in Fort Wayne.

“Items associated with public executions were once considered ‘lucky’,” said Todd Maxell Pelfrey, History Center executive director.

“This particular cigar is thought to have been snatched up off the ground when the executioner discarded it following his services and kept as a good luck memento.”

The former city jail will be open during Fright Night for only $2 during the evening’s festivities.

For more information, contact the History Center at (260) 426-2882 or


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