"...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, May 2, 2018

Newspaper Clipping of the Day




If "The Raven's Curse" isn't a classic Strange Company topic, I don't know what is. From the "Ottawa Journal," August 20, 1927:
LONDON. (By Mail). The raven, bird of ill omen and foreboder of death, is the central figure in a weird and tragic occurrence at the Tower of London.

Ravens have made their home at the Tower for hundreds of years, and it is a superstition among the troops that if a raven's death is encompassed a soldier's life pays the penalty.

A few days ago a Guardsman was leading a dog through the square. He was confronted by a raven, credited with 80 years, which attacked the dog vigorously with his beak, still sharp for all his advanced age. The Guardsman repelled the attack by means of his stick, and unintentionally killed the bird.

The barracks were filled at once with dread forebodings. The raven's body was buried with due ceremony, and a piece of wood, suitably inscribed, was erected to mark his grave.

The sequel was not long delayed. The following night Guardsman Arthur Chidgey overstayed his leave. He tried to enter the Tower by climbing the wall, but he fell Into the moat, breaking both his legs. He was the following morning--although the deepest sympathy was expressed for him--generally voted lucky in escaping the full penalty of the raven's vengeance.

He died later in the day, however, gangrene having developed. The officer whose duty it was to report the details of the case visited the scene of the accident. He found that the unfortunate Guardsman had fallen directly on the raven's grave, the imprint of his body being clearly visible.

4 comments:

  1. But was Chidgey the guardsman who killed the raven? If not its a pretty arbitrary curse. Like the sudden mysterious death of the cousin of the neighor of the grocer who sold food to the opener of King Tut's tomb.

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  2. I've heard about the Tower's ravens. I wouldn't touch them with a ten-foot walking stick.

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  3. How can he have fallen on the grave when the story says he fell into the moat? Was the bird buried in the moat? Was the moat dry? If so, then what's the purpose of the moat?

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  4. In the case of the Tower of London, the water filled moat was never really a good idea. It was originally dug as a defense ditch, by Henry III who was worried about possible war with his barons. It was first filled with water by Edward I in the 13th century.

    The water in the moat didn't drain properly, so it filled up with silt, and became, a nasty stagnant bog. In 1830,there was a large-scale clearing of the moat, but that didn't stop several members of the garrison dying in the 1840s of what was believed to be water-borne diseases.

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