Episode 27: Detroit’s Purple Gang and the Northern Lights

Episode 27: Detroit’s Purple Gang and the Northern Lights

Detroit, 1920’s, prohibition is in full swing and a juvenile street gang is started up by the Burnstein brothers. Abe, Joe, Raymond and Izzy call it ‘the Purple Gang.’ Justin details the purple gangs involvement in several turf wars, bootlegging and the laundry industry union. They controlled all of Detroit’s vices and they were number one until the Collingwood Manor Massacre, then, things changed for the Burnsteins. 

North of Detroit, Clarke delves into Aurora or the Northern Lights. The colourful dancing lights in the sky that have led to legends, stories and myths that have lasted centuries. Some say it’s a gateway to heaven others say it’s spirits playing football with a Walrus’s head. But actually, it’s solar particles crashing into the atoms in our atmosphere. Find out how you can run your telegraph system with auroral current instead of batteries in episode 27: Detroit’s Purple Gang and the Northern Lights. 

The Purple Gang, rotten, purple like the colour of bad meat.
The apartment where the Collingwood Manor Massacre occurred.
The Purple Gang at the trial where they were accused and convicted of first-degree murder.

An 1865 painting by Frederic Edwin Church, possibly inspired by the Great Auroral Exhibition
A diagram of how Aurora is formed from solar particles and our atoms crashing together
Steve, an atmospheric phenomenon
Green Aurora caused by oxygen, Estonia 2015
Purple Aurora caused by Nitrogen in Duluth, Minnesota
Rare red Aurora in Yellowknife, Canada
Image credit: Chul Kwon