Spokane’s Gypsy Curse
I was telling friends yesterday about the small but intensely concentrated pockets of creativity that exist in Spokane, the city where I grew up, and I found it hard to describe the kind of unselfconscious weirdness that you find in Spokane. There are just some very unusual people there, that’s all.
Marks put a gypsy curse on the city of Spokane after his home was searched by Spokane police (about whom the less said the better) in 1986 – a search that was conducted without a warrant and included family members not suspected of any crime. They found more than a million dollars on the premises. Marks sued for unlawful search and seizure, and the city settled out of court. Marks put a curse on the city in retaliation, and frequently visited city council meetings to remind them that the curse was still in effect.
At the funeral of his father, gypsy leader Grover Marks, in 1997, Jimmy Marks halted the funeral procession in front of city hall, opened the door of the hearse, and invited his father’s ghost to haunt the building for all eternity.
According to the Spokesman-Review, at Jimmy Marks’ own funeral in June of last year:
City Councilwoman Nancy McLaughlin … said she wanted to apologize for events that happened two decades ago.
“The apology is accepted,” said Michael “Duke” Marks, of Wichita, Kan., who less than an hour earlier had delivered Jimmy’s eulogy at the Glad Tidings Assembly of God Church. “The curse, I think, is off Spokane. We appreciated everything that has been done, all of the cards and sympathy.”
But after family members scrambled back into their waiting vehicles and the hearse and the limo drove down Spokane Falls Boulevard en route to the cemetery, another relative rolled down a window of a black Mercedes and issued a warning:
“Beware, City Hall.”
It’s easy to imagine that Spokane is a cursed city. The economy has been depressed for years, the city government has been plagued by infighting and scandal, the inhabitants have a fearful, haunted quality. But it seems like Spokane was always like that.
Images from the Spokesman-Review.