f you were at Centuries & Sleuths last week, you may have been as spooked as I was, listening to Jeff Mudgett talk about his latest book, Bloodstains. Mr. Mudgett is the great-grandson of the notorious H.H. Holmes whose real surname was Mudgett. Holmes, you’ll recall, was the heinous murderer in Erik Larson’s Devil in the White City. The modern Mudgett told of paranormal sensations he experienced when visiting the family homestead. When he inspected the old hotel basement where Holmes disposed many of his victims, Mudgett was so affected he suffered an epileptic seizure, the first he’d ever had.

Another frightening aspect of Mr. Mudgett’s forebear is the fact that he has been considered as a likely perpetrator of the Jack the Ripper murders since he was in London at the time those crimes were being committed. The crimes ceased after Mudgett died. If you like being scared out of your wits, read Bloodstains, a factual account (for the most part) of the Murdering Mudgett, aka H.H. Holmes.

Attention all dog lovers! The Greater Chicago Cavalier Rescue is having an all-breed walkathon, April 28, at the Birdhaven Greenhouse in Joliet, starting at 9 a.m. Register at 8:30. Any dog is welcome, but King Charles Cavaliers will be featured. These gentle, lovable dogs are perfect with families with kids, older folks, anybody. More information at www.gccavalierrescue.org.

Also a shout-out to the Grey Muzzle Foundation, which helps shelters find homes for older dogs that get abandoned.

Have you met Jennifer Murtoff, the “egg lady” of local fame? She encourages and teaches urban dwellers to raise chickens right in their own backyards. There are several such families doing that here in our area. “Home to Roost, helping city folks to raise chickens” is their motto. You can learn more about Jennifer at www.urbanchickenconsultant.wordpress.com. She is a very pretty young woman who also plays the French horn.

Parties for every occasion are enjoyed at the Brown Cow. The party room seats up to 50 and the Cow has the perfect party for you. The ice cream season is upon us.

April birthdays already! Dolores Holub, Fabrizio Cirrintano, Frances Pusak, Jessie McIlquham, Ian Hitre, Matt Novak, Matt Espinoza, Jim McGuin, Kyler Pacyga, Todd Bower, Nick Novak, Ryan Tomaso, Tony Calderone, Dorothy Bentel, Ed Charvat, Dorothy Calderone, Roseanne McGuin, Joe McGuin, Maura Flanagan, Keith Hickey, Jessie Jones, Rich Schauer, Nick Tricoci, Rick Barger, Bill Freeman, Vito Gambino, Jon Leganski, Jeanetter Gerger, Mitzi DeVilbiss, Tony Callis, Isabel Rossi, Sheri Sandow, and Kaylee Reese.

Jackie is a former Chicago and Elmwood Park schoolteacher with an undying love for music, friendly pets and a host of life’s other treasures too numerous to list. She was born on the far southwest side of Chicago in a great neighborhood when it was a great time to be young.