Friday, August 19, 2005


We're much too young (and our figure far too girlish) to remember Joseph Force Crater, a New York judge who vanished, sans trace, in 1930. But sometime in the 1960s we read a short story that included Crater's name and a skinny on his vanishing. We've been hooked ever since.

On Aug. 6, 1930, Crater climbed into a cab in New York City and slipped off the face of the planet.

Who got the judge? Mobsters? Aliens? Girlfriend? An alien girlfriend who worked for the mob? The judge had been known as "Good Time Joe," and he vanished with more than $20,000 in his pockets, so anything was possible.

The truth may be close, according to The New York Post. And a woman named Stella may have solved the puzzle from the grave.

Stella Ferrucci-Good died last April in Queens. Her granddaughter was going through Ferrucci-Good's stuff and came across an envelope marked "Do Not Open Until My Death."

Grandma being dead and all, the granddaughter opened the envelope and read the letter.

Ferrucci-Good wrote that her late husband, Robert Good, helped whack the judge. She also named two others: ex-NYPD cop Charles Burns and his brother, cabbie Frank Burns.

Ferrucci-Good claimed the judge was buried in Coney Island, under the boardwalk, where the New York Aquarium now sits.

During construction of the aquarium, workers found five bodies (it is New York). DNA tests are now being conducted to see if one of those skeletons belongs to Crater.

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