13 February 2006
The Myth Of Dillingerís Dick
by Paul A.
In the film The Recruit, Colin Farell pleads with a pretty female spy to do Washington like a tourist: ďCome on, we can go and sit on Lincoln's knee, look at John Dillinger's penis. I swear to God, it's in the Smithsonian.Ē They never got to the Smithsonian, and even if they did, theyíd have been disappointed. But they wouldnít have been alone. Every year, The Smithsonian gets hundreds - possibly thousands of requests - to see what many believe to be the most legendary penis of all time, the 15 inch Ė no, make that 20 inch, no, make that 22 inch Ė penis of John Dillinger. We can make Dillingerís penis as big as we want because itís a pure fiction. The dick isnít on display at the Smithsonian and never will be. It doesnít exist anywhere in their collection.
So they say, anyway. Conspiracy theorists, of course, believe otherwise. In fact, thereís an adjunct to the story that if you inquire about the penis, you will be met, not with denials about its existence, but with an excuse as to why it isnít currently on display. This adjunct may be true and may in fact be how the myth got started in the first place. Itís not hard to imagine a Smithsonian attendant with a wicked sense of humor having a little sport with some hapless dick aficionados; and the next thing you know, itís an urban legend.
Whatever penis Dillinger did have, was in all probability interred with the rest of his body. And in case youíre thinking of exhuming the body to see for yourself, be advised that it lies beneath a mesh of steal and concrete purposely placed to discourage grave robbers. The question remains though, how did this rumor of gigantic genitals get started? And even if his dick isnít resting in a very tall jar, was the primary supposition true. Did Dillinger the legend have a legendary dick?
Consensus opinion is no, on both counts. No dick in a jar, no two foot long wiener. As far as I could tell from the literature there is no mention of his penis from anybody that would actually know. Usually, if a celebrity has a bat-sized beefstick, it gets around. People talk. I could give you a list (someday I might) of movie and rock stars who didnít need to make a sex video to advertise their size. Even in prudish Victorian times it was generally known if someone was packing a whopper. Apparently Victoriaís own husband, Prince Albert was ďhung like a donkey.Ē So if Dillinger was truly ďoff the charts,Ē chances are there would be some contemporary disclosure of this fact. As far as I can make out, there isnít. The only intimate account of the man I could find was provided by his unsuspecting girlfriend, Polly Hamilton (she thought he worked for the Board of Trade), who spoke whimsically about his love of home cooking and his sense of fun, but made nary a mention of his wedding tackle. Now, all this doesnít prove he wasnít spectacularly endowed. After all, the rumor must have come from somewhere, right?
The germ of what became the legend of Dillingerís schlong seems to have been this photo taken shortly after he was shot and killed by the FBI. And hey, you can see how rumors get started. Now, I know what youíre thinking, and yes, itís a little known scientific fact that a man can have an erection after his death. Itís known colloquially as ďangel lust.Ē Itís even been featured on the television series Six Feet Under and, unforgettably, in the ďyou just fucked a dead guyĒ scene from the movie Clerks.
Death erections can happen in two ways. Surprisingly, neither one of which involves rigor mortis. Rigor mortis only affects muscles and your muscle-of-love is really just a spongy tube. What makes this spongy tube hard is pressurized blood. So either the body had an erection prior to death that hasnít drained, or the body was left in such a position that blood and fluids flowed by gravity into the penis. But chances are, as soon as he was placed on his back the fluid would drain away. I say chances because there are conditions where the blood might not drain, but we wonít go into them here.
If that is his dick tenting the sheet, then itís an impressive organ. It looks to be about 12 inches, give or take. Not 22 inches, but not too shabby either. But thatís all moot because, hey, sorry, itís not his dick. Itís much more likely to be his arm which would have been in rigor mortis by this time. One wonders if the proto-paparazzi photographer positioned himself deliberately to get the effect. The most obvious clue that it isnít a penis is the fact that nobody is looking at it. I mean, come on, any stiff with a giant stiffy is worth a second glance.
So alright, thereís a photo that makes the papers and generates a few chuckles. But is that enough to get a rumor like this started? And what about his dick being in a jar in the Smithsonian? Well Iíve got a couple of theories. The first is that people wanted to believe he had a huge dick. Dillinger was a legend in his own time. He was good-looking, dangerous and charismatic. He was almost supernatural in his ability to escape from confinement and generally make the Feds look like fools. He was a hero, a criminal hero to be sure, but people were pulling for this guy. Thereís even a club that gathers annually on his birthday to celebrate John Dillinger Day. And whatís more awe inspiring than a HUGE dick. As with Rasputin, a big tool greatly enhances an already legendary reputation.
But the Smithsonian rumor, how did that get started? No one knows for sure, but itís likely that it was a case of mistaken museum identity. Kitty-corner to the Smithsonian Museum is the National Museum of Health and Medicine, which houses many famous body parts, including the vertebrae of John Wilkes Booth (pierced by a bullet) and for some unfathomable reason, Eisenhowerís gallstones. And, yes, there are (or were) a few penises in jars, although none were attributed to John Dillinger. The actual germ of the Dillinger dick in jar rumor is lost to the winds, but it could be something as innocent as some guy looking at one of these specimens and declaring ďGee, Iíd like to see John Dillingerís dick.Ē Then some guy who overhears him assumes that the dick is somewhere in the collection and asks about it only to be told that ďItís not here... try the Smithsonian.Ē
According to Peter Carlson, who recently did a piece on the Smithsonian for The Washington Post, deep in the bowels of the Smithsonian, away from the public displays, there is a jar with a long dick-like object floating in it. The label reads: "J. Dillinger FBI Transfer SI Mammals Div." Then below that, handwritten: "To Anthropology 1-27-53." But itís a joke. The dick-like object is made of plastic. But the date (1-27-53) suggests the rumor has been around for at least that long.