"...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 6, 2022

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

Via Newspapers.com

Here we have your bog-standard “prophetic dream” story, but with a rather unusual twist.  Usually in such accounts, telling the dream to others saves a life.  In this case, it was what doomed the victim.  From the “Madisonian,” May 25, 1839:

A letter from Hamburg contains the following curious story relative to the verification of a dream. It appears that a locksmith’s apprentice one morning lately informed his master, Claude Soller, that on the previous night he dreamt that he had been assassinated on the road to Bergedoff, a little town about two hours distance from Hamburg. The master laughed at the young man's credulity, and to prove that he himself had little faith in dreams, insisted upon sending him immediately to Bergedoff with 146 dollars (221. 8s.) which he owed to his brother--in-law, who resided in the town. The apprentice, after in vain imploring his master to change his intention, was compelled to set out about eleven o'clock. On arriving at the village of Bellwaerder, about half way between Hamburg and Bergedoff, he recollected his dream with terror, but perceiving the bailie of the village at a little distance, talking to some of his workmen, he accosted him, and acquainted him with his singular dream, at the same time requesting that as he had money about his person, one of his workmen might be allowed to accompany him for protection across a small wood which laid in his way. The bailie smiled, and in obedience to his orders, one of his men set out with the young apprentice. The next day, the corpse of the latter was conveyed by some peasants to the bailie, along with a reaping hook which had been found by his side, and with which the throat of the murdered youth had been cut. The bailie immediately recognised the instrument as one which he had on the previous day given to the workman who had served as the apprentice's guide, for the purpose of pruning some willows. The workman was apprehended, and, on being confronted with the body of his victim, made a full confession of his crime, adding that the recital of the dream had alone prompted him to commit the horrible act. The assassin, who is thirty-five years of age, is a native of Bilwander, and previous to the perpetration of the murder, had always bore an irreproachable character.

As an aside, I'll bet that Soller fellow wound up feeling like a bit of an idiot.

Monday, July 4, 2022

The Girl in the Boat: A Fourth of July Ghost Story

Wolf Creek Dam and Lake Cumberland

For this year’s Fourth of July post, I’m bypassing the usual tales of homemade firework disasters and botulism in the holiday picnic for something completely different, and even more frightening: a malicious ghost.  The following tale was related by Roberta Simpson Brown and Lonnie E. Brown in their book “Haunted Holidays: Twelve Months of Kentucky Ghosts.”  

The Browns were spending one Fourth of July weekend with friends in a cabin on Lake Cumberland.  Although they enjoyed sitting on the cabin’s porch and looking over the water, they did not swim.  When the lake was created, it flooded farms, houses, and wild landscapes.  They had heard alarming tales of unwary swimmers encountering barbed wire, huge fish, and other such dangerous items.  As it turned out, the lake harbored something even worse than they had imagined.

One afternoon, a family named Jackson, who were renting the cabin next door, came over for a chat.  Their seven-year-old daughter Tiffany asked if she could walk on the beach.  Both parents replied with a vehement “No!”

Mrs. Jackson explained to the Browns that when they were staying at the lake the previous summer, they had a “terrifying experience.”  As the front yard of their cabin was fenced, they allowed Tiffany to play in the yard alone.  The gate was kept locked.

Tiffany began telling her parents that every day around sunset, she saw a little girl alone in a boat on the lake.  When the Jacksons would go to look, they saw nothing.

One day, Tiffany informed them that the boat was bobbing in the water, empty, and the little girl was walking on the beach, gesturing to her.  Tiffany said that the girl wanted her to go in the boat.

Tiffany’s increasingly disturbed parents sternly warned her that she must never do that.  The Jacksons decided they needed to find this girl’s parents and have a serious talk with them.

Late the following day, the Jacksons went out to the front porch to watch the sunset.  Tiffany had already gone out to play.  They were shocked to find that the gate had been unlocked, and Tiffany was gone.  A moment later, they saw their daughter in a boat just off shore.  It was sinking, and the child was screaming for help.  Mr. Jackson dashed to the lake, rescuing the girl just before she went under.

“What on earth were you doing in that boat alone?”  “How did you get through the locked gate?” the horrified parents asked her.

Tiffany replied, “The little girl opened the gate and helped me in the boat.  She said it would be fun, but it wasn’t.”

The next day, Mr. Jackson went in search of the mysterious child’s family.  Nobody knew of any other little girl currently staying at the lake, but a man who ran a bait shop did remember something:  a couple of years back, a family with an eight-year-old girl rented the cabin where the Jacksons were staying.  One night, the girl sneaked out and took their boat out on the lake.  Gusts of wind capsized the boat, and the child drowned.

The Jacksons still had a week left on their rental, and they were loath to let this disturbing information ruin their vacation.  They decided all would be well if they made certain that the gate and the doors of their cabin were kept locked.  They also vowed to never let Tiffany out of their sight.

That night, they awakened to hear Tiffany calling them.  When the Jacksons came to her room, the child was standing by her window, looking into the yard.  Tiffany cried, “She’s back!  She wants me to go with her again.  She says she wants someone to play with.”

Her parents saw no girl in the yard, but they noticed that the gate they had so carefully locked was now open and swinging in the wind.

They brought Tiffany to their room for the rest of the night.  First thing in the morning, they packed and left for home.  The holiday was definitely over.

The Jacksons told the Browns, “This year we rented a different cabin.  So far we haven’t seen anything unusual, but it doesn’t pay to take any chances.”

So ends our Fourth of July cautionary tale.  If you were planning on going sailing today, my apologies for spoiling your holiday.

Friday, July 1, 2022

Weekend Link Dump


"The Witches' Cove," Follower of Jan Mandijn

The Strange Company staff is ready for the Fourth of July!

What the hell just crashed into the Moon?

Ancient trees tell of the biggest solar storm in history.

Being a professional executioner does strange things to people.

The poet and the Will O Wisp.

The fairy world of ancient China.

This may be the world's first musical instrument.

Books that are allegedly cursed.

What may be among the oldest artwork in the world.

Why Elizabeth I preferred to secretly murder, rather than execute, Mary Queen of Scots.

Famous writers who gave their pets pretty awesome names.  (Kiddleywinkempoops!)

Old newspaper reports of June brides.

Britain's oldest prayer beads.

Dinner with the East India Company.

William Henry Hudson and Kensington Gardens.

Old Tom, the predecessor to Big Ben.

Here's your big chance to buy a haunted bar.

Spooky rock art in Tanzania.

Centuries after he died, Sir Hans Sloane is causing a lot of people a lot of trouble.

The various meanings of the word "slug."

A misbegotten suicide pact.

The world's deepest shipwreck.

The children of the 4th Duke of Marlborough.

The globe-trotting life of Jeanne Baret.

A life-saving Great Dane.

The "Night of the UFOs."

The strange--and short--life of Thomas Chatterton.

An interview with a photographer of the dead.

Five examples of bodies being found with notes pinned to them.

Mapping ancient trees.

French galleys in British waters, 1707.

A Nigerian bronze head is in the middle of one hell of a custody dispute.

If you get an unsolicited box of chocolates in the mail from someone you don't know, it's probably a good idea not to eat them.

The secret society that's preserving the history of the American West.

Forget Stonehenge; meet Seahenge.

The world's oldest pharmacy.

A brief history of the enema.  (Warning: with illustrations.)

A don't-get-out-the-vote drive.

That's it for this week!  See you on Monday, when we'll have something a little different: a Fourth of July-themed ghost story!  In the meantime, here's the perfect hymn for 2022.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

Via Newspapers.com

This peculiar--and very sad--story appeared in the “Washington Post,” November 10, 1909:

Somerville, N.J. Nov 9. While Arthur Everton, self-styled professor and traveling hypnotist sobbed in his cell, three calm medical men witnessed a weird performance in the morgue of the Somerset Hospital late this afternoon.  There William E. Davenport, secretary to the mayor of Newark and a student of hypnotism, vainly tried to bring back signs of life in the rigid body of Robert Simpson, a former street car conductor of Newark who apparently died last night after having been put Into a hypnotic trance by Everton before a large audience at the Somerville Theater. 

Davenport failed. Simpson was declared officially dead and an autopsy was held tonight. This disclosed a rupture of the aorta. 

Meanwhile, charged with manslaughter, unnerved and shaken, Everton remains in prison where he must await the action of the grand jury as a sequel to a stage trick familiar throughout this country and abroad.

It was at the piteous insistence of Everton, while in jail after his ineffectual attempts to revive Simpson, that Davenport, a friend of Everton, came into the case today. Notwithstanding the declarations of physicians that Simpson was dead, Everton asked that Davenport be allowed to try to rouse him. Accordingly the autopsy first arranged for 2 o’clock this afternoon was postponed and the student of hypnotism was summoned.

Just as the sun was sinking Davenport arrived in Somerville accompanied by the manager of the Arcade, an amusement place in Newark where Everton had performed last week.  At the hospital they were met by W.H. Long, county physician, and three members of the hospital staff, Drs. Pecht, Stilweil, and Halstead. Davenport explained to them that he had long been a student of hypnotics, that he practiced it only as a student and that he had come in response to a pupil’s cry for help, and would, with the doctor's permission, attempt to revive the subject, Simpson.

Dr. Long, for himself and the members of the staff, said that they had not only agreed that the experiment should be permitted but that it might be made they had postponed the autopsy. In their opinion, Everton’s subject was dead. Besides the physicians there crowded into the room four of the women nurses of the hospital in their white caps and nurse uniforms, Mrs. Everton, the correspondent of The Post and a reporter for a local paper.

Mr. Davenport, after laying aside his coat and hat, pulled the black covering off the body and applied his ear to the chest as if listening for heartbeats. Then he slightly opened the eyes of the man and after bringing his own eyes close to them looked into them intently.  Dr. Halstead, standing close by the body, took the one electric lamp in his hand and swung it out so that more light brightly shone on the white still face. 

Davenport was manifestly sincere in what he was doing. He was impressed with Everton’s belief and he had been moved by the tearful appeals of Everton’s wife. His manner affected all those who silently watched him. The little room was in absolute silence as Davenport again applied first his ear and then the tips of his fingers over the motionless heart. Next he bent his head down low over the head above the black cloth, placed his lips close to an ear of the body he sought to revive, and said sharply and eagerly, “Bob!” 

It was a trained voice, the voice of a man drilled to shock or command the senses, and it startled without moving the intent group of watchers.

“Bob! Your heart!”  There was another silence as tensely dramatic as the mind can imagine. Then followed the words, “Bob! Your heart! Your heart is beating!” 

If after the sound of the operator’s voice the subject's eyelids moved it seemed as if none there would have been greatly surprised.

But there was no motion. But the operator eagerly felt again over the heart and again listened and then again spoke into the unhearing ear. 

“Bob! Listen! Hear what I say! Your heart! Your heart is beating!” 

There was no response, no movement of the eyelids, no fluttering of the heart, and Davenport motioned to the manager under whom Everton had exhibited last week. He stepped to the side of the body and repeated the phrase Davenport had used. After that Davenport pressed upon the breast as If artificially to start a movement of the heart and then spoke into the other ear. 

“Bob!” Now there was an accent of pleading--”Bob! You hear me! Your heart is moving!” 

Davenport stepped a little aside, looked at the unseeing half-open eyes, took up his coat and hat and with a bow to the doctors started to leave the room. As he passed Dr. Long the latter said, “What is your judgment?”

“I did not come here to pronounce judgment,” Davenport responded quietly, and followed by the Newark manager and by Mrs. Everton walked out of the room, up the stairs, through the hall, and out onto the veranda of the hospital. There he was overtaken by a messenger and recalled. 

Dr. Long spoke to the man again.

“Do you think he is dead?” he said. 

“I think he is dead,” Davenport replied.

Then Davenport went out, and the medical men began preparations for the autopsy.  

Eight physicians assisted in performing the autopsy, and they issued a signed statement at its close stating that death was due to rupture of the aorta, the trunk line of the arterial system. This indicated, according to the coroner, that death primarily was due to natural causes, and that the man probably had been suffering for some time from an aneurysm. A generally weakened condition of the organs through the dead man’s body was found and the physicians were disposed to attribute this to habitual drinking.

Death was practically instantaneous and probably occurred just as Simpson was coming out of the trance. Whether the strain he was put under when Everton stood on his body during his rigidity caused the rupture cannot be ascertained. The result of the autopsy will more than likely bring about Everton's release on bail.

Simpson, the victim, was 25 years old and was accustomed, it is said, to drinking heavily. It is generally admitted that he was intoxicated during the test last night. No relatives have appeared to claim the body. 

Everton has employed counsel and will fight the case. It has been suggested that he will make the novel plea that the man was still alive when the autopsy was performed, citing various cases of suspended animation as proof of this. 

Everton on Monday began a week’s engagement in a little 6 and 10 cent vaudeville show called the Somerville Theater. He was engaged only on the day previous. Everton’s terms were to bring with him two subjects and place one of them in a hypnotic trance on exhibition in a show window if that was desired. For himself and his subjects he was to receive $30. 

The men, Everton, Simpson, and a youth named Edward Thompson arrived Monday morning in Somerville and went to board at a little hotel called the Waldorf separated from the theater only by a store and a dwelling.  The hypnotist, a man about 35, rather a good looking fellow with a long and carefully trained mustache, looked like a prosperous showman and wore a fashionable frock coat and silk hat. But he was needy and Weldon advanced him $10 for his and his subject’s immediate expenses. Part of the money which Everton in turn advanced to Simpson the latter appears to have spent in the bars of the town. Of this, however, Everton claimed he was unaware.

The afternoon performance was satisfactory and the manager of the little theater sent out to a number of the local physicians an invitation to attend the evening and witness the performance. At least three physicians of good standing are known to have attended: Dr. Long, the county physician, Dr. Flynn, and Dr Francis McGonaughey. 

Dr. Long said today, “Everton took the subject Simpson, who had been hypnotized, apparently stretched him out with his head upon one chair and his feet upon another and commanded him to be rigid. I watched this performance closely and to all appearances the subject was in a cataleptic condition when the operator stepped from a table onto the subject’s abdomen. There was no yielding of the body. 

“When Everton stepped down upon the stage again he told some of the stage attendants to put the subject Simpson on his feet. This it appeared was to be done by lifting the subject’s feet from the chair and then to raise his stiffened body. But as the assistants were doing this, I noticed that the subject’s body lost rigidity and collapsed sinking to the floor. The operator was apparently surprised and shouted to Simpson, ‘It’s all right.’  Everton also used his hands in the familiar way, apparently trying to restore the subject to a normal physical condition. This was without result however. Then the subject was dragged off the stage and out of our sight. 

“Presently the manager Weldon came down into the auditorium and spoke to me in a manner which left no doubt in my mind that there was some trouble, and of course I immediately responded. Dr. Flynn also accompanied the manager to the rear of the stage and there we saw at once that Simpson was in a bad state. I discovered that there was no pulse and no heartbeat and I ordered that the man be taken at once to his room where we could more conveniently apply restoratives. He was carried out of the rear of the theater and back of the intervening buildings to the Waldorf and there Dr. Flynn and I worked on him. 

“I gave hypodermic injections of strychnine and glycerin. These produced no favorable results. Then I attempted to produce artificial respiration.  Dr. McGonaughey joined Dr. Flynn and me there and assisted us in trying to restore the patient, but after using every method for which we had appliances we agreed that life was extinct. 

“As I am a county official, I could not ignore the circumstances. I sent for a couple of police officials and told them to take Everton into custody. 

“Then the chief and I had a little interview with Mr. Everton. I told Everton I wanted to know If there was any fake in the matter. He assured me there was not. He was in a very nervous condition. He said he knew nothing of catalepsy and had never seen a man in Simpson’s condition. He could not know and could not understand how it came about.  He did say however that before he went on with the exhibition he had learned that Simpson had been drinking.  I then told the chief of police to take care of Everton, and as Everton was so positive that Simpson was still in a catalyptic state, I ordered Simpson to be taken to the county hospital.  I sent then for other members of the staff and they agreed with me that the man was dead.  The stethoscope revealed no heart action whatever.”

By the time the county physician had removed Simpson from the hotel, apparently all Somerville had heard of the affair.  Among those who heard of it promptly was Ralph Edwards, manager of the Bijou.  He at once sent for a hypnotist named Pelham, who is appearing at the Bijou, and told him of the trouble.  Pelham, in evening dress and in makeup as he was, went at once to the Waldorf to see if he could give any aid to his brother performer.  Pelham is a more experienced hypnotist.  In talking today, he said:

“I went to the Waldorf hoping to be able to take Everton's subject out of hiss cataleptic state, if he were in that state. I went first to Everton hoping that he would be in a condition to transfer his control of Simpson to me. But Everton was in no condition to do that. He was in a highly excited state and I could do nothing with him on a hypnotic basis. Then I examined Simpson and I made up my mind that he was gone. It did not look to me like catalepsy. In my opinion, Simpson probably died of shock through the transference to him when he was recovering from his abnormal state of the excitement in the operator, the man who had him in control. Had not Everton lost his head when he saw Simpson collapse, he could, I think, have brought about his recovery.”

In December, the Grand Jury exonerated Everton from causing Simpson’s death.  I have no idea if Everton continued to pursue a career as a hypnotist, but if he did, I’m wagering he had a hard time finding subjects.

Monday, June 27, 2022

The Man Who Wanted to Be Murdered

"I lay my head on the railroad track 
And wait for the Double E 
The railroad don't run no more 
Poor poor pitiful me." ~Warren Zevon

"Omaha News," September 2, 1908, via Newspapers.com

Dr. Frederick T. Rustin wanted to die.  Although he had wealth and a respected position in Omaha, Nebraska society, he was increasingly depressed and morbid.  He turned to drink, drugs, and “evil companions.”  As a result, his reputation, his finances and his career all began to suffer.  All of this just increased his feelings that he had had enough of this world.  However, he wanted his family to be able to collect on his life insurance policies, so he did not want his death ruled a suicide.

This resulted in some of the most extraordinary attempts at self-destruction on record.  They began in 1903, when Rustin told friends that he had malignant throat cancer.  Apparently, he had injected himself with the cancer cells, but despite his dramatic pronouncement, months went by finding him still alive.

His next step was to obtain through a bacteriological laboratory tubes containing pure tetanus and typhoid cultures.  Two weeks later, he came down with typhoid of the most severe type.  For weeks, he lay on his bed, feverish and suffering, but distressingly alive.  He repeatedly injected more of the culture into his veins until he became too delirious to continue.

Months later, he emerged from what for any normal person would be a deathbed, body bowed but resolution definitely unshaken.  Next, he tried the tetanus.  However, no matter how much of the stuff he injected into his leg, he remained appallingly immune.

He turned to more direct measures.  After a train in which he was a passenger was wrecked, he quickly opened a vein in his wrist, but—never forget the gods have a very strange sense of humor—this man who so ardently pursued death remained indestructible.

By this time, Rustin was getting exasperated with all these artistic touches.  He brushed off the pleas of friends that he should take a hint and forget about suicide, vowing, “The next time I try it there will be no doubt about it.  I will be successful.”

Finally, in one way or another, he was.  On September 2, 1908, Rustin was found on the front porch of his house with a bullet wound to the abdomen.  “A man shot me!” he gasped before dying.  There was no gun found anywhere in the vicinity, and there were no powder burns on his body, which would suggest he had not been shot at close range.  However, his friends, knowing of both his determination and his cunning, assumed he had somehow engineered a diabolically clever way to shoot himself.

It turned out that perhaps he had—but if so, it was not as clever as he had thought.

Nine days after the murder, a Dr. J. P. Lord identified a man named Charles E. Davis as the man he had seen leaving the Rustin house minutes after the murder.  Davis was arrested on charges of first-degree murder.

Meanwhile, a previously unknown woman suddenly entered the story: Abbie Rice, Rustin’s mistress.  When called to the stand at Rustin’s inquest, she claimed that there had been a “triple death compact” between Rustin, Davis, and herself.  Rustin, she explained, had pleaded with her to shoot him, so that his death would not look like suicide.  When she refused, he persuaded Davis to do the job.  Davis had a taste for suicide attempts himself, with equally unsuccessful results.  The deal, Rice said, was that Davis would shoot Rustin, after which he would swallow the poison Rustin had previously given him.  Rice added that she now regretted the promise she had given Rustin to kill herself as soon as he was dead.  She now planned, she said, to become a nurse in a charity hospital, “in the hope of thus expiating her sins.”

At Davis’ trial, Rice’s testimony was, unsurprisingly, battled every step of the way by his lawyer, but her story finally emerged.  For many weeks before his death, she said, Rustin “trained” her to murder him.  He would take her to operations, to numb her to the sight of blood.  He then preached to her of the nobleness of self-sacrifice, giving her books such as “A Tale of Two Cities” where one friend sacrificed his life for another.  Sydney Carton, she said, was his favorite fictional character.  He also impressed upon her the fact that he could not kill himself without his family losing his life insurance.  “I guess I’ll have to get some one to kill me,” he would say to her meaningfully.

She could take a hint.  Unfortunately for all the care the Doctor had put into her training, she found that at the last minute, she couldn’t do it.  They made several attempts to “stage” her murder of him, but to Rustin’s indignation, she just could not bring herself to actually pull the trigger.  “The training had not been complete, and I failed him.”

Then, one day Rustin came to her in unusually good spirits.  He told her he had arranged for a man to kill him, someone who wanted to die as badly as he did:  Charles Edward Davis.  

The best laid plans, etc.  Davis did indeed try to kill himself after Rustin’s shooting, but with the peculiar perversity that characterized this whole saga, he met yet another failure.  He took so much of the poison at one time that it acted as an emetic.  And Rice herself was brought in by the police before she could fulfill her part of this ghoulish bargain.  She kept silent for several days, but when she overheard someone comment, “Well, the doctor’s wife gets the insurance anyhow,” the whole story came out of her like a flood.

Davis’ defense was simply that he had indeed obtained poison from the doctor with the intention of killing himself, but he was not Rustin’s murderer.  He claimed he was in his lodgings at the time of the shooting.  (Davis may have wanted to end his life, but he obviously jibbed at the thought of letting the state do it for him.)

After thirteen hours of deliberation and, it was said, nineteen ballots, the jury brought in a verdict of “not guilty,” and Davis was freed.  It is not known whether the jury believed Davis’ alibi and rejected Rice’s story, or whether they believed the lady and figured that the good doctor had merely gotten what he wanted.

It was announced that no further prosecutions in Rustin’s murder were expected unless new evidence was uncovered.  To no one’s surprise, it never was.

[Note: Rustin's widow did "get the insurance anyhow," but only after many years of litigation against the insurance companies, who insisted, not unreasonably, that Frederick had indeed committed suicide.  All of Rustin's curious efforts to do away with himself without directly doing away with himself were very nearly in vain.]

Friday, June 24, 2022

Weekend Link Dump


"The Witches' Cove," Follower of Jan Mandijn

Welcome to the first Link Dump of Summer 2022!

Some accounts of encounters with fairies.

Urban legends about being rescued by ghost dogs.

Accepting that we really don't know jack about the paranormal.

The missing bodies of the Waterloo dead.

The UK's National Gallery is hitting the road.

The law code of Alfonso X.

For some reason, there are a lot of John Wayne Gacy paintings out there.

The last train robbery of the Old West.

A female inventor from the Regency era.

A bird's GPS tracker goes very astray.

The long history of the Grateful Dead and the Hell's Angels.

The mystery of Scotland's "bodies in the bog."

The floating coffin of Pinner.

When there was a crisis over the price of whale oil.

The murder of John Meierhoffer.

Campfires may have gone back a lot longer than we thought.

The artist who was Princess Diana's great, great, great grandmother.

Robert Burns' 119th birthday party.

A reminder that you wouldn't want to get into a bar fight with Abraham Lincoln.

That's a wrap for this week!  See you on Monday, when we'll look at one of the oddest "Was it murder or suicide" cases on record.  In the meantime, let's yodel!

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

Via Newspapers.com

This curious little tale appeared in the “Jamestown Weekly Alert,” December 21, 1883:

LEWISTON, Maine, November.—Two weeks ago Lafayette Cook, an eccentric citizen of Auburn, announced to his family that he would die on Sunday, November 11th. Yesterday his friends came to this city to buy a coffin in which to bury his remains. He was a sewing machine operator, and had been employed on a long job making overalls. He worked at home, and lived happily with his family. For a long time he had been talking about his approaching death, but as he was in excellent health little attention was paid to him. 

One day last week he asked a neighbor to take to town some work he had been doing. 

"Shall I bring down some work for you?" asked the man. 

"No," Cook replied. "I have done all the work I shall ever do." 

At the Sunday morning meal he remarked sadly, "I shall never eat another breakfast with you." He was in his usual good health and in the afternoon he went out for a walk with his grandchildren. Returning to the house he calmly announced that he would prepare himself for his coffin, and that he was ready to meet his Maker. He shaved himself carefully and put on clean clothes. He called for a spread, and lying down upon a lounge, he drew a comforter about him, and apparently settled himself for a nap. 

His wife and family gathered about him, he bid them all goodbye. They were impressed by his gentle earnestness, but had no idea of his dying. They believed that he had given too much attention to religious subjects, and that this whim was the result. Mr. Cook lay with his cheek resting on one hand and with the other arm by his aide. In that position he seemed to have fallen asleep. His friends saw a change in him. At tea time they tried to wake him. He was breathing softly but they could not rouse him. He sank into a deeper stupor. They worked over him all night, and a physician was called, but it availed nothing. Early yesterday morning be died. He had made no movement after he first closed his eyes. Those who were with him scout the idea of his having taken drugs.They say that suicide never entered his thoughts, that he was simply willing to die because he thought it was God's will. Those who have investigated the case regard it as a simple surrender of the vital power. 

LEWISTON, Maine, November 14th— Further investigation of the strange death of Lafayette Cook of Auburn, emphasizes the remarkable features of the case. Coroner Brooks made a careful examination, and found the medical facts to be as first stated. Death was shown to have resulted from natural causes, and yet there was no disease. Mr. Clark and Mr. Cates, who watched with Cook on Sunday night, say the only movements they saw was the slight expansion of his chest occasionally. The death flutter was noticed at five minutes before 8 a.m. on Monday. 

B. N. Chesley of Auburn is a brother of a recently deceased daughter-in-law of Cook, Mr. Chesley was standing in the Mayor's office in Auburn on Tuesday morning when someone remarked on the peculiar manner of Lafayette Cook's death. Mr. Chesley had not heard of it. 

“Cook dead!” exclaimed he. ‘’There is something singular about that. He had been saying for two weeks that he was going to die on Monday morning. Two weeks ago he went into a trance and made the announcement. My sister's child came over to our house last week and said that her grandfather was getting ready to die, and that he was going to die on Monday morning." 

About two months ago Cook's daughter-in-law died. Cook was one of the most sincere mourners. He accompanied her remains to the grave and expressed the tenderest solicitude toward his grandchildren. It was just after the death of Mrs. Cook that Cook made his first statement in regard to his coming dissolution. 

It was ten o'clock in the morning when a grandchild ran into the house with the news that a partridge had flown into the shed and couldn't get out. Mr. Chesley says that Cook manifested great concern. The little girl says that her grandfather turned pale and was afraid. At first he delayed going into the shed. The partridge ruffled its feathers at the children and at Everett Cook, and the latter went into the house after a gun. Then the old gentleman went out into the shed. He did not want the bird shot. Mr. Chesley says that the moment Cook appeared the behavior of the bird changed.  It flew at Mr. Cook and wheeled around in a circle about his feet. Then it perched on his shoulder, pecked at his face and alighted on his hands. At length it was given to one of the children and placed in an apple tree. It flew directly back. The bird stayed half an hour, all the time showing the utmost affection toward Cook. Finally it flew away toward the burying ground where Mrs. Cook was buried. Cook then returned to the house and went into a trance, which lasted two hours. When he recovered, he said that he should die. He said that the first warning was the visit of the bird. He had great faith in such omens.—New York Sun.