Gallus Mag

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Gallus Mag (real name unknown) was a 6-foot-tall female bouncer at a New York City Water St. bar called The Hole in the Wall in the early 19th century, who figures prominently in New York City folklore. Herbert Asbury's book The Gangs of New York thus describes her:

"It was her custom, after she’d felled an obstreperous customer with her club, to clutch his ear between her teeth and so drag him to the door, amid the frenzied cheers of the onlookers. If her victim protested she bit his ear off, and having cast the fellow into the street she carefully deposited the detached member in a jar of alcohol behind the bar…. She was one of the most feared denizens on the waterfront and the police of the period shudderingly described her as the most savage female they’d ever encountered." [1]

A composite female street gangster character of "Hell-Cat Maggie" in the Martin Scorsese film Gangs of New York, played by Cara Seymour, is based on Mag, Sadie the Goat, and the real-life Hellcat Maggie.

The historical Hellcat Maggie used to file her teeth down to sharp points and wear brass fingernails for combat, and Sadie the Goat had a habit of headbutting unsuspecting men on the streets in the stomach so her followers could rob them.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Asbury, Herbert. The Gangs of New York. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1928. ISBN 978-1-56025-275-7
  2. ^ Estep, Maggie (2001-03-01). "The Gangs of New York". New York Press.