"...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 14, 2015

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

"At the Death Bed," Edvard Munch

This account of the inexplicable deaths of a father and daughter comes from the "St. Louis Post-Dispatch," May 9, 1882.

About three weeks ago Mr. William Downey, of Blackwell's precinct, [Hart County, Kentucky] died in a very singular manner. His strength began failing on Wednesday without apparent cause, his flesh fell away with alarming rapidity, and by Monday following he had absolutely dwindled away, without having felt sick or suffering the slightest pain or indisposition. When placed on his deathbed a few hours before he died he was laughing and talking, and declared that he never felt better in his life.

Such a singular and unaccountable death naturally created considerable surprise and wonder in the neighborhood where it happened. But these were increased to consternation, when in a few days after Mr. Downey's death his daughter, Miss Sallie, who is about twenty-two years of age, was taken exactly as her father was, and without suffering the slightest pain or sickness has grown weaker and thinner each day, till she is but a skeleton of her former self, and at our last account was lying speechless upon what has doubtless proved her deathbed ere this. The physicians are completely nonplussed, and are unable to form the slightest idea as to the cause or nature of their very strange malady, and to add to the confusion and mystery, the sick bed of the young lady has been almost constantly attended by strange and unnatural noises--sometimes seeming like the roar of a planing mill, then like a sewing machine, and again like many other things, continually changing, but hardly ever ceasing. It has thrown the whole neighborhood into a fever of excitement, and scores of persons have visited the house where the young lady is sick, and are able to testify to the correctness of these statements.

The details about the strange noises around Sallie Downey's deathbed add a supernatural touch to this already eerie tale. In other places and/or other times, the Downeys would undoubtedly have been called victims of some local witch.

I have not found any additional articles about the story.


  1. Yes, the strange noises are the truly creepy part. The tragic part is the wasting away of two people.

  2. Most curious, obviously judging from the article it was not caused by poisoning, I wonder what the autopsy showed if one was carried out

  3. How strange! I might have to do some looking around myself, just in case I find anything


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