"...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, September 13, 2017

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

Because I'm all for people thinking outside the box and blazing bold new pathways, meet Miss Boomershine. Usually, we say that a certain person's life "went to the dogs." Miss B. stands alone in having her life go to the grasshoppers. From the Wilmington, N.C. "Daily Journal," November 7,1874:
Human ingenuity has been much exercised in devising new ways to live, but scant attention has hitherto been paid to the discovery of original methods of death. People have shuffled off this mortal coil in distressingly similar ways. It has been reserved for Miss Boomershine, of Phillips county, Kansas, to crown her sex with fresh glory by inventing a brand-new, first-class way of traveling to that bourne, etc. Miss B. had acquired, in her native village, in Georgia, the usual accomplishments of the belles of that neighborhood. She dipped snuff with the utmost dexterity, and she saved her parents much expense by cultivating a keen appetite for clay. It is said that in three weeks she ate up a small hill which was in the way of a projected railway, and thus saved the company the cost of excavation. Her rivals affirm, however, that the time spent was four weeks, instead of three. However this may be, there can be no doubt that our busy Miss B. was emphatically made of clay. Eve could not have surpassed her in that respect.

In an unlucky hour, the Boomershines moved into the grasshopper lands of Kansas. A distressing phenomenon followed. The daughter began to dislike her staple diet before half of the clay-bank opposite the house was consumed. This would not have been so bad in itself had she not developed, at the same time, an alarming fondness for all green things. What the grasshoppers had left she devoured. One night she swept the corn field bare. Her angry father sought her in vain next morning. She came home one day after an all-day lunch on two acres of potato vines. When other resources failed, she joined the family colt in the pasture lot, and played Nebuchadnezzar with such dexterity that the poor thing died three days thereafter from lack of food. From time to time she said she felt as if she could "take wings and fly away."

A doctor dosed her in vain. She grew worse rapidly. Her predatory excursions into the neighbors' fields embodied the whole vicinity. When the grasshoppers began to fly away, the end came. Miss B. watched them from the window. Her anxious friends followed just in time to see the hope of the Boomershines play boomerang by flapping her arms as if they were wings, rising ten feet in the air, and falling back into her tracks dead. A post mortem examination revealed the mystery. The clay the girl had consumed in Kansas was covered with grasshopper eggs. They had hatched out inside. She "was literally swarming with grasshoppers." Their influence had led to her vegetable eating, and their desire to go with their comrades had finally caused her death. The discovery of this new way to die belongs to Kansas; we are but the humble agency to give it a wide notoriety.
This story really bugs me.  "Bugs," get it?

Oh, come on. You know one of us had to say it, so I thought it might as well be me.


  1. Death by grasshoppers?

    Doesn't sound cricket to me.

  2. This story really is one of the most bizarre you've published. don't believe a word of it, but it's still bizarre - and creepy. "Boomershine", indeed...


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