"...we should pass over all biographies of 'the good and the great,' while we search carefully the slight records of wretches who died in prison, in Bedlam, or upon the gallows."
~Edgar Allan Poe

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

This story appeared in numerous European and American publications in the spring of 1851. It is reminiscent of the more famous tales of "Princess Caraboo" and "Psalmanazar."
German speculators have got hold of a new subject. It is neither more nor less than a "new man." The story--as we find it related in the Correspondenz of Berlin--attests that a stranger was picked up at the end of last year in a small village in the district of Lebas, near Frankfort-on-the-Oder, whither he had wandered, no one could tell whence. Such a circumstance could hardly have piqued curiosity in another country; but to a people fond of speculation, and situated far away from the great highways of the world, there was something strange and startling in the fact, that the stranger spoke German imperfectly, and had all the marks of a Caucasian origin. Whether the man was a common impostor, and tricked the village authorities, or whether those worthies began in their usual way to construct a history for him "out of the depths of their moral consciousness" is uncertain; at all events they looked on him as a great prize, and carried him off to Frankfort. On being questioned by the burgomaster of that enlightened city, the stranger said his name was Jophar Vorin. and that he came from a country called Laxaria, situated in the portion of the world called Sakria. He understands, it is affirmed, none of the European languages (except, we must suppose the broken German,) but reads and writes what he calls the Laxarian and Abramian tongues. The latter he declares to be the written language of the clerical order in Laxaria, and the other the common language of his people. He says that his religion is Christian in form and doctrine, and that it is called Ispatian. Laxaria he represents to be many hundred miles from Europe, and separated vast oceans from it. His purpose in coming to Europe, he alleges, was to seek a long-lost brother; but he suffered shipwreck on the voyage—where he does not know—nor can he trace his route on shore on any map or globe. He claims for his unknown race a considerable share of geographical knowledge. The five great compartments of the earth he calls Sakria, Aflar, Astar, Auslar, and Euplar. The sages of Frankfort-on-the-Oder, after much examination of the tale and its bearer, have come to the conclusion that it is true. Some men believe things because they are incredible. However, Jophar Vorin has been carefully despatched to Berlin, and is now the subject of much scientific and curious gossip in the Prussian capital. What mystification hides under the story time will probably show.

Alas, this story is all I have been able to find about Jophar Vorin, wandering Laxarian. Although the man was obviously a lunatic, a prankster, or a grifter--perhaps all three--I would like to know more about him.

10 comments:

  1. I love how those times were so innocent in terms of world knowledge. Even in Frankfort (not the more cosmopolitan one in western Germany, thank goodness), Vorin was believed. He must have been crazy enough to believe his own tales or had created them in depth enough to know them well.

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  2. I read about this guy a month or 2 ago and was at first amazed by the story, then a little spooked, now I just think he must've been schizophrenic like the guy in K-PAX.

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    1. Schizophrenia is nothing more than a clever label designed to create a sort of discrimination between those who can see between the veils and those who cannot. Why would a blind man believe a mad man whose able to see? He wouldn't, because he's been told that the man with sight has a broken mind and therefore can no longer be trusted... And as the blind man nears the edge of a steep ravine, the alleged mad man shouts, " Watch out!" The blind man continues on his path paying no mind to the others broken minded warnings, he certainly must be mad to suggest that a blind man 'watch.' Just then, the blind man plummets to his death and the mad man giggles as he whispers to himself, "I tried to warn him though he refused to see."

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  3. Just thinking:
    Aflar, Africa
    Astar, Asia
    Auslar, Australia
    Euplar, Europe
    Sakria, ???

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    1. What's he told that's "Sakria be many hundred miles from Europe, and separated vast oceans from it" Perhaps he would say Amerindia/Actual American continent?

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    2. Sakria is south america because of the first two letters.

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    3. There is Shakria, at Uttar Pradesh, India. I wonder if this Sakria = Shakria :D

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    4. http://mapcarta.com/27837584

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  4. It's a hoax...http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:MYutcOkRbMwJ:www.resologist.net/lo115.htm+&cd=7&hl=en&ct=clnk

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