In this week’s news item from the past, meet Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Chesley Ott, a couple who provided definitive proof that no love lasts forever. “Hull Daily Mail,” August 28, 1912:
A courtship which, according to the principals, began 5,000 years ago on the banks of the Nile, culminated yesterday in the St. Louis Divorce Court, U.S.A., when Mrs. R. C. Ott brought a suit for a divorce from her husband and the custody of their two children.Trying to revive old love affairs is usually a bad idea.
Mr. and Mrs. Ott both believe in reincarnation, and they declare that their shattered romance had its inception in a former existence once when both were Egyptians. Mr Ott is an artist, and his wife was an artist's model when he married her in 1910, after his return from Egypt, where he went for local colour, to reproduce Egyptian architecture, for a wealthy patron.
Mr. Ott declares that he had strange dreams in Egypt, and that when after his return he met his future wife, he knew her immediately as Princess Amneris, Pharaoh's daughter, who was his love 5,000 years ago.
"We first met," he says, “during our previous incarnation in the Queen's Chamber of the great pyramid. Then we used to meet in the palace gardens, and wend our way to the Nile, where she loved to throw sweetmeats to the sacred crocodiles. I recall the great tragic night when Pharaoh discovered us. There were torches and guards, and I was seized."
Mrs. Ott said: "I remember how we went to the river together and fed the crocodiles. I remember our first meeting in the pyramid. I had accompanied my father on a tour of inspection, and looking into the Queen's Chamber, I saw the handsomest man in the world.
"We fell in love at once. That evening he came into the royal gardens, and our love, which has lasted through centuries, began.
“I have beautiful recollections of nights in the royal barge, and I vividly recall my father's anger when we were discovered together. It must have been Isis. Egypt's great goddess, who watched over us all these centuries, and finally brought us together."
Mrs. Ott now alleges that her reincarnated husband, soon after their twentieth-century wedding, began to throw crockery at her, and became insanely jealous, often insulting her in the presence of guests. She wants the 5,000-year-old romance terminated.