Gallus Mag

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Gallus Mag (real name unknown) was a 6-foot-tall female bouncer at a New York City Water Street bar called The Hole in the Wall in the early 19th century, who figures prominently in New York City folklore.[1] 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." [2]

In the 2002 Martin Scorsese film Gangs of New York, a character, a female street gangster, Hell-Cat Maggie, played by Cara Seymour, is a composite of Gallus Mag, Sadie the Goat, and the real-life Hell-Cat Maggie.[3]


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