"...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, February 6, 2019

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

via Newspapers.com

I don't post nearly enough "murder solved by turnip" stories, so here you go. From the "Bristol Mercury," February 2, 1833:
A man has, the last day or two, been exhibiting in Monmouth a singularly formed turnip, of the sort called the tankard turnip. It is exactly in the shape and appearance of a man's right hand, minus the thumb. So far this production of nature is singular and passing strange; but, a tale hangs thereby, which, if true in all its parts, would make a person, not over superstitious, exclaim " Wonderful!" "Murder, though it hath no tongue, will speak with most miraculous organ." The story is as follows : About six years since, the body of a man named Gurney, a toll-gate keeper, was found barbarously murdered in a turnip field near Ledbury. The unfortunate man in his agonies bad grasped his hands full of the green tops of the turnips. A waggoner, named Powell, an athletic man, and who had by accident lost his thumb, was apprehended on suspicion of being concerned in the murder; but, for want of evidence to implicate him, he was discharged, and immediately left the country. On the 4th of December last, the first year that the field had been resown with turnips since the perpetration of the murder, a servant of J. Biddulph, Esq. was passing through, and wishing for a turnip to eat, plucked one from the very spot where the dead body of Gurney was found six years since. What was his astonishment and dismay when he drew one which, it is affirmed, is a facsimile of the suspected murderer's hand, even to a wart which was growing upon one of the fingers! Since this occurrence, the neighbours have invested the field with lots of imaginary horrors. "strange sights are seen,"' and a fortune would scarcely bribe the stoutest hearted inhabitant of Ledbury to pass it at the witching hour of night.
As no illustration of this important historical turnip seems to have been preserved, here are a couple of stand-ins.


  1. It's probably just as well the turnip was not found prior to Powell fleeing the country...

  2. I generally trust root vegetables but I'd like to at least know the studio's name.


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