"...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, October 8, 2014

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

This sad story is curiously like the subject of my very first post on this blog, the enigmatic "Jerome." It comes from the "Daily True Delta," (New Orleans, LA,) March 10, 1866:

Twelve years ago a family named Sawyer, living in the town of Westbrook [Maine], were surprised to find that a very superior new milch cow, carefully kept in their stables, was "drying up." This continued until Mrs. Sawyer discovered, some time after, the prints of human fingers in the soap grease barrel in the stable. Communicating this discovery to her husband, he procured help from the neighbors and a thorough search of the stable followed. An examination of the hay-mow disclosed a small hole, which, being followed up by pitching away the hay, led to a sort of den-like place in the interior of the mow. Here was found a strange being, a man apparently of about 24 years, half clothed in rags, shockingly filthy, and having no feet. One foot was missing just above the ankle: the other was gone a little higher up, the stump terminating in an oblong way, and in a manner showing that it was not the work of a surgeon nor had it received the attention of a surgeon when lost. His face and head were of average intelligence, but not a word could be got from him. He had lived there a number of weeks, subsisting on the milk of the cow and the grease. He was turned over to the town authorities and placed in the poor-house, where he now is and has been for the past twelve years.

All attempts to solve the mystery concerning this strange being have proved futile. No one has been found yet who ever saw or heard of him, and during the whole twelve years he has never uttered a word. Various expedients have been tried to loose his tongue. On one occasion he was given a bottle containing a pint of whisky. He seemed to understand exactly what it was, for he placed it to his lips and drank the whole at a draught, but it had no perceptible effect upon him. In manner, habits, etc., he is like a wild beast. In the summer he is kept in a sort of a wooden, cage-like structure in the yard. He is very shy of strangers, and will hide his head in his blankets when they approach. His quarters are comfortable, and it is impossible to give him better, for sanitary reasons.

Where the creature came from is certainly a mysterious matter. He could not have walked from a distance, as he crawls upon his knees very slowly. The only theory attempted is this: A few weeks before the man was discovered, the steamer Sarah Sands arrived at this port from Liverpool with a large number of emigrants. It is conjectured that this being might have been a burden to some one over the water. Mr. Sawyer (since deceased) hauled a load home from the steamer's wharf at that time, and it is reasoned that the man might have been clandestinely added to his load, and from thence have crept into his stable.

As was the case with his Nova Scotia counterpart, the man's identity appears to have remained unknown.

1 comment:

  1. The poor man. What a sad life he must have led. But at least after he was found, he would have been fed. What could he have done better on his own? In those days, what the authorities did for him was probably the best that could be done, but it's still sad. I hope he made some sort of friendship afterward.

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