"...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 15, 2019

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

via Newspapers.com

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who's the...deadest one of all? The "Saint Joseph Herald Press," February 20, 1936:
SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich, Feb. 20 (AP). Harvey Davenport, who was informed by dying Jeffery Derosier, 38, that he would be unable to remove a mirror from a table after Derosier had looked into it and saw he was breathing his last, was so frightened by what he believed to be the spell of the dead man, that he left the hospital where he was under treatment as Derosier's ward mate. He had given Rexton as his home, but at Rexton It is understood that he has left for "somewhere in the west".

The mirror, apparently tossed at random onto the steel table, "froze" solidly to the table and the efforts of Davenport, of hospital attendants, and of Dr. F. J. Moloney to remove It were in wain for more than 24 hours. Then Miss Adeline Knopf, a nurse from the operating room, using an ice pick with force, pried it up.

Today, fearful of violating ethics of their profession, and in the absence of Superintendent Emma Dickson from the city, nurses declined to discuss the case further, or to present the mirror for public inspection.

Dr. Moloney, Derosier's physician, said he had no explanation for the sticking of the mirror to the painted steel table.. He said he was positive that no adhesive or saliva had been used by the dying man. Asked if he believed the answer was a supernatural one, he answered "Do I look superstitious?"

Lewis Descheneau, elderly Brimley citizen, an eye witness to the death of Derosier, solemnly related the details of the death.

"There were four of us in the ward with Mr. Derosier, and we all could see and hear everything that was said and done. I heard Derosier ask Davenport, who, I think, was of Indian blood, to bring him his hand mirror. The mirror was just a piece of looking glass without a back.

"Davenport took him the mirror. and we all heard the sick man exclaim that his face looked terrible and his eyes wild. I was alarmed when he cried 'My God, I'm dying.' I saw him toss the glass onto the table, where it lay near the edge.

"I watched Davenport go toward the door as though to call a nurse. But he stopped when Mr. Derosier asked him to come back and give him the mirror again. As Davenport reached for the mirror, which was at the edge of the table, Derosier told him in a voice that was not loud but which we could all hear 'You won't be able to pick it from the table'.

"Davenport seemed frozen to the spot for an instant. Then the sick man started hiccoughing and we could see he was dying. A nurse came but he died right away. Then Davenport and others tried and tried to take the looking glass from the table. It wouldn't move. And that's all. I know. I'm sure I can't say what supernatural power or other cause is responsible. But that's the way it happened."

Einar V. Jorgenson, bookkeeper, who personally tried every ordinary hand method of taking the mirror off. declared he had no doubt that the explanation was a natural one but he could not say after inspecting the mirror what it was. "Perhaps perspiration on the sliver on the mirror may be the answer, he hazarded.

Detroit. Feb. 20 (AP). Scientists here and in Ann Arbor advanced molecular action, chemical reaction and hypnosis today as possible explanations for the adhesion of a mirror to a metal table top on which it was tossed by a dying patient in a Sault Ste. Marie hospital.

Prof. George W. Carter of Wayne university said it was possible that the mirror and the table surface were so perfectly smooth that all air was expelled.

"That," he said, "might permit the molecules of the table top to exert an attractive force on the molecules of the mirror surface strong enough to hold them together against ordinary prying."

Prof. Peter Harbecht of the University of Detroit, said that perspiration from the patient's hand might have set up a chemical reaction in the quicksilver of the minor, causing it to adhere to the table top.

Dr. Albert M. Barrett, director of the state psychopathic hospital at Ann Arbor, suggested hypnosis. The dying patient, he said, might nave convinced his fellow patient, through hypnotic suggestion, that he could not lift the mirror.

"This hypnosis," he explained, "could have been transferred to other persons by recital of the dying man's statement."
I have no idea what became of the understandably rattled Mr. Davenport, but I'm guessing it was a very, very long time before he voluntarily looked in a mirror again.

1 comment:

  1. This is a new one... Mention was made of the 'painted' tabletop. Could it have been recently painted...?


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