Freaky Flint History with Joe Schipani - The Prowler March 19th, 1929 #freakyflinthistory

Flint is well known for its modern violent crimes but Flint's history is filled with little known stories that read stranger than fiction. Gruesome murders, weird accidents, and violent deaths. Join us every Thursday as Joe Schipani details some of the odd but true deaths he found in Flint's archives.

The Prowler March 19th, 1929

Harry Seeback arrived at Hurley hospital shortly before three in the morning with a gunshot wound in his back. The doctors told Harry that he needed surgery and the outcome might not be good.

Harry’s explanation for the gunshot wound was that he had went downtown to get he and his wife a sandwich when he was robbed and shot by two men on Avenue A.

After an unsuccessful surgery Harry was told he might not make it through the day. Just before he died, he gave a statement to the police saying that he went to Paul Gonsler’s house to take back whiskey that the Gonsler brothers hi-jacked from him a few months back. He had discovered that it was stashed in their garage. He parked on the street and left the car running while he crept into the garage.

When he saw the light in the house turn on, he started running for the car. The door opened and shots were fired. He made it to the car and started driving before realizing he was hit. He stopped at the first house he came across. It was Mr. West’s house. He took Harry to the hospital and called the police.
After Harry’s confession the police picked up Paul Gonsler and his brother and brought them down for questioning. During Paul’s interview, he admitted to hearing someone in the yard and said he grabbed his shotgun and called out for the intruder to show themselves. He then saw the person running from his garage and thought it was a prowler trying to steal his car. He yelled for the intruder to show themselves but they kept running so he fired his gun. He claimed he did not know he hit the person. He was only firing to scare him off and let them know he meant business. Gonsler denied knowing Seeback or anything to do with the high jacking of his liquor.

The police kept Paul detained while they went to the address of Harry Seeback to inform his wife of his death. When they knocked on the door they were met by a teenage boy. He said he did not know a Harry Seebeck and had never heard of him.

The police asked to speak to the boy’s parents, the boy got his father who told them the same thing. They had lived there for years, and have never heard of a Harry Seeback.

The officer then went back to the station to check all the records for a Harry Seeback and found none, no police record, birth certificate, nothing.

Paul Gonsler was convicted of murder and spent ten years in prison for killing a mystery man.

It was never determined if Harry Seeback was the man’s real name or if any of his tale was true.

~ Joe Schipani is the Executive Director of the Flint Public Art Project and the FFAR Project Assistant at the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.  Find him on Facebook at 

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