Weird News Press brings together the best ‘mermaid found’ reports, strangest monsters and other tall, bizarre stories from actual late nineteenth and early twentieth century newspapers!



A Canadian River Monster
A STRANGE MONSTER. (April 15, 1870).

A strange monster was captured recently in the river, opposite Canton, by some fishermen in their seine while dragging for fish. We know not what to call it, or what it looks like, or how to describe it, for it is unlike any creature of earth, air or water, that we have ever seen. It is not a fish, nor is it an alligator or crocodile, or a turtle, it resembles the pictures we have often seen in books, of the mythyical dragon. It is a hideous-looking and apparently savage monster—the last of a past age. It has a huge, slimy, scaly body, short, strong legs, and immense claws, long, serpent-like tail and sharp teeth set in, like those of a saw. It chaws up ravenously everything with which it comes in contact, but seems loth to leave the water even in quest of food, and can only be seen when drawn out by the chain with which it is made fast. We think it to be at least ten feet in length, and weighs probably five hundred pounds. When provoked it makes a nolse similar to a sea lion.

The parties having it in charge are having a large tub or tank made for it, and they intend to take it to Quincy and St. Louis, for exhibition. They have refused a thousand dollars for it.

From— The Fremont weekly journal. (Fremont, Sandusky County, Ohio), 15 April 1870.Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.




A Canadian River Monster


On Friday last, as Mr. R. Young, accompanied by two young ladies, was rowing in a boat on the Ottawa, a little below the mouth of the Madawaska, he saw what appeared to be a ledge of rocks standing out of the water. Never having observed anything of the kind in the same place before, though familiar with the spot, he was curious to ascertain what it was.

On approaching the object for this purpose, it began to move, its progress being sinuous and wavy, like that of a huge serpent, while the water along its course was splashed about in a way that seemed truly alarming, the wake it left behind being like that caused by an ordinary steamer. The monster, for such it seemed, was about fifteen feet long, and at its largest girth appeared to be about the size of a common butter firkin. Mr. Young, who had his rifle along, would have fired at the creature had it not been for the young ladies, who became terrified, causing him at once to give up the pursuit.

Since the appearance of this mysterious visitant, many stories of huge snakes and other monsters that have from time to time been seen in the Ottawa have been revived. Mr. Carmichael, of the Calumet, tells of a snake which he saw killed there; about forty years ago, which measured nine feet in length and had a mane. Another report speaks of a snake thirteen feet long, killed some years ago at Por-tage-du-Fort. Meanwhile speculation is rife as to the nature of the creature seen by Mr. Young, but as yet no one has been able to give a satisfactory account of it.—Arnprior (Ont.) Review.

From— The Albany register. (Albany, Or.), 22 Jan. 1875. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

MONSTER FROM THE PAST? (August 11, 1900)

Prehistoric monster survives into modern day.
A London Newspaper Hopes to Find Giant Sloths in Patagonia.

The London Daily Express has got up an expedition to Patagonia to find whether the mylodon, or giant sloth, still exists in the mountains there.

The fact that scientists believe these giants of prehistoric times still exist in flesh and blood was brought to light in a lecture by Professor Ray Lancaster in London, who said:

“It Is quite possible, but I don’t want to say more than that. I believe the giant ground sloth still exists in some of the mountainous regions of Patagonia.”

Professor Lancaster concluded his interesting lecture by showing a colored representation of a mylodon as the best authorities consider him to have appeared or as perhaps he does today appear in the lower portion of the Andes.

These sloths attained an enormous length. The skeleton of one of the same family found recently in Wyoming measured 135 feet.

They had powerful hind legs and a tail of enormous strength, much resembling that of a kangaroo, but of giant proportions. They could stand upright, and it is believed that they subsisted mostly on the tender tops of trees.

Descendants of the sloth are still found in Central and South America, but they are comparatively small. The modern sloths seldom if ever stand upright. They cling to the lower side of branches, and when one enters a tree he does not leave it until it has been denuded of all its foliage. It is called a sloth because of its slow movements.

The Express expedition is fitted out so that if at all possible one of the giants will be taken alive. Hesketh Prichard, who is at present acting as The Express commissioner of the Haiti expedition, is to have charge of this search for a monster.

J. B. Scrivenor, B. A., who won the Burdett-Coutts scholarship at Oxford in 1899, will accompany Prichard as geologist.

They firmly believe they will find a mylodon, but even if they should not the unexplored region to be traversed will add much to the zoological and geological knowledge of southern Patagonia.

From— El Paso daily herald. (El Paso, Tex.), 11 Aug. 1900. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

SATURDAY, JULY 29, 2017.

DRAGONS ARE REAL? (August 16, 1891)

Dragons are real?
Winged Monsters that Devour Fowls with Three Snaps of Their Jaws

From the St. Louis Republic.

A number of persons living in the of vicinity of Redleey, Fresno county, Cal., all reputable citizens, too, swear that they have seen and hunted two dragons with winds fifteen feet long, bodies without covering of hair or feathers, head broad, bills long and wide, eyes not less than four inches in diameter, and with feet like those of an alligator somewhat, though more circular in form. They have five toes on each foot, with a strong claw on each, and its track is eleven inches wide and nine-teen inches long. These strange creatures were first seen southeast of Selma on the night of July 11, and their peculiar cries and the rushing of their mammoth wings were heard as late as 10 o'clock, when all became still. The dragons were last heard that night crying in the direction of King's River.

Two nights later A. X. Simmon’s poultry yard was visited by the monsters, many of the hens being bitten in two and left partly devoured. Those who examined the dead chickens say the teeth marks on them resemble those made by a very large dog. On July 19 a carriage loaded with picnickers was returning from a picnic at Clark's bridge, and in the clear moonlight saw the monsters plainly circling in the air and heard the rush of their pinions, snapping of their jaws, and fearful cries overhead. On Monday, July 21, Harvey Lemon and Major Henry Haight, who live just outside of Selma, going after their hogs, who fed on the tules, heard a strangling noise in the deep swale under a bridge, and in a moment, with a heavy flapping of wings, the queer creatures rose slowly from the water, flying so close to the men that the wind from the tremendous wings was plainly felt. Their description or the monsters tallies with that of the persons who saw them on the 13th and 19th.

J. D. Daniels of Sanger heard of the matter and joined a party of five that were going out to capture or kill the dragons, and he tells the following story, after reporting that their first night’s watch was a disappointment :

“About 10 o’clock that day [Thursday] Emanuel Jacobs came in and reported that the monsters had evidently been in Horn Valley, about four miles above, the night before. They had killed a number of ducks, and the banks of the pond were strewn with feathers. We had no intention of giving over the plan of capturing the dragons, and Thursday night two of us returned to watch, Mr. Templeton and myself. We secreted ourselves in the holes which we had made the before and waited patiently with our guns, determined to secure one of the strange visitors at least, should they make their appearance. About 11 o’clock the cries were heard in the direction of King’s River, seeming two or three miles away. The ominous yells drew nearer, and in a few moments we heard the rush and roar of wings, so hideous that our hair almost stood on end. The two dragons came swooping down and circled round and round the pond in rapid whirls, screaming hideously all the while. We had a good view of them while flying.

They passed within a few yards of us and their eyes were plainly visible. We could also see that instead of bills like birds they had snouts resembling that of the alligator, and their teeth could be seen as they snapped their jaws while missing. Evidently the dragons were trying to decide whether or not they should come down in the pond. They were probably examining if any food was to be had, such as ducks, mud hens and fish. At length they came down with a fearful plunge into the pond, and the mud and water flew as though a tree had fallen into it. They dived around in the water, and as nearly as we could judge at the distance thirty yards, they were something over six feet long, and while wading through the water they looked not unlike gigantic frogs. Their wings were folded and appeared like large knobs on their backs. Their eyes were the most visible parts and seemed all the time wide open and staring. They were very active and darted about among the tules and rushes catching mud hens. One of the fowls was devoured at two or three champs of the jaws. As soon as we saw a good opportunity we leveled our guns at the one nearest us and fired. One rose in the air, yelled, and flew away. Every stoke of the wing showed great strength. The other floundered about in the water until it reached the edge or the pond, when it crawled out, dragging along its wounded wing after it, and started across the plain. We loaded our guns and gave chase. We soon lost sight of it, for it went much fa-ter [father] than we could. However, we were able to follow by its dismal cries in the distance. We followed it half a mile, when it passed out of our hearing. The next day a company went in pursuit and trailed it by the blood on the grass. It was followed three miles to Jumper Slough, which it entered, and all trace of it was lost. Where it passed down the bank it left several well-formed tracks in the mud. One of the best was cut out with a spade and after drying was taken to Selma, where it is in the possession of Mr. Snodgrass.”

From the San Francisco Chronicle.

It is not entirely safe to assume that the strange winged monster which is reported to inhabit the swamps and marshes in the vicinity of Selma, in Fresno county, is a variety of the guascutus horribius, as might be expected, nor that the creature has been projected from the fertile imagination of a newspaper correspondent. There certainly is some kind of a winged animal there which devours chickens and other domestic fowl—not simply kills and eats them, but crushes and mangles them.

In addition to this mute testimony, a number of witnesses, seemingly reputable, have actually seen two great flying animals, of a kind entirely strange to them, circling through the air, uttering their weird and discordant cries, and swooping toward the ground, while another witness has shot at and wounded one of these birds, if they be birds, and has secured the imprint of the imprint of the creature’s foot in the mud.

One of two things is true, either all these witnesses are telling a falsehood, intentionally, or as the result of sell-deception, or they have come upon a survival of an earlier and prehistoric age. In this latter hypothesis there is nothing intrinsically improbable. We are accustomed to think of geologic ages as being clearly defined, accurately limited periods of time, as though one ended all at once and another began immediately upon its conclusion, as do the lines or figures representing these eras in the the text books on geology and kindred sciences. The idea is erroneous in the extreme. No one can say that at a certain time one era ended and another began. On the contrary the best authorities agree that one era lapped over upon another ; that the records show that an animal or plant of one period is often found in another, and that survival of types of forms is not to be unexpected.

If then, the marshes of Fresno have given shelter for centuries to forms of animal life with which we are unacquainted, there is nothing abnormal about it, however, strange it be. It will be an event in ornithology if these birds can be classified, especially if they are found to belong to a palaozoic age, beyond that it will prove nothing except that there are stranger things in earth and heaven than are dreamt off [of] in our philosophy.

From— The sun. (New York, N. Y.), 16 Aug. 1891. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

FRIDAY, JUNE 16, 2017.

CALL OF THE MERCHILD. (August 12, 1882)

Cryptids of the Mermaid Variety

A tiny merchild, scarcely two feet in length, caught in 1759, was exhibited that year at the fair st St. German. It was very active in the vessel in which it was kept, fed freely on bread or small fishes, and while feeding looked earnestly at the spectators—a peculiarity that was variously interpreted by those who watched its movements. Although a female, the features were ugly, the skin was harsh, the ears large, and the tail was covered with the regulation scales.

The coast of Scotland, in the early part of the present century, was very good fishing grounds for mermaids, and had it been worked properly some fine specimens might have been captured. As it is, we are not without evidence of good catches in that quarter. Elizabeth Mackay, daughter of Rev. David Mackay, was


In her account of one that she and her cousin saw in 1809; The face of the pretty creature was round and plump ; the nose was small, the eyes a light blue, and the cheeks a bright pink. The hair, “of a greenish oily cast,” way very abundant, and at times the waves washed it about the creature’s face in a manner to annoy her ; nor was this the only thing that caused her annoyance, for a bird hovered about her head, as though disposed to light there, which kept her waving her long and slender arms and well proportioned but webbed hands to baffle its efforts. This was on the 25th of May, and on the 9th of the fellowing June a schoolmaster, one William Munro, of Truros, saw a mermaid that resembled the above. He had the advantage of seeing the figure more exposed, for she was seated upon a half-submerged rock, engaged in the only known occupation of mermaid—that of combing her brown locks, which fell in waves over her rounded shoulders. But her eves were gray and not blue, which raised a doubt whether it was the same mermaid that Miss Mackay had seen some days before. When the creature saw that she was observed by the schoolmaster she modestly slipped down into the water.


The Glasgow Philosophical Society took up Miss Mackay’s published letter, and, after discussing it, applied to her father for confirmation of what she had stated, and to know it he could give any further particulars ; to which he replied that, to the best of his knowledge and belief, the mermaid, as described, had been seen by members of his family.

In 1811 a mermaid was seen at Kintyre, on the coast of Scotland, and those who witnessed its movements thought proper to make affidavit of what had come under their observation. In some respects their account is unique. The upper part of the creature had all the characteristics of a well formed and well-grown mermaid, but the scaly tail, of a brindle or reddish-gray color, widened out at the extremity into the form of a fan, twelve or fourteen inches in width, which kept up a tremulous motion save and except when it was folded up, and then it remained quiescent, but for a short time.


Claimed much of its attention, and after a while it sailed away and was lost to sight. On the same coast, in 1827, a young man was attracted to a cavern by a screeching noise, and on looking in was startled at the sight of a number of figures staring at him from the water—figures half fish, half human, with large beaming eyes, streaming hair, and long and slender arms and hands. At him they stared, but only for a moment, and then disappeared. The following day he discovered five mermaids, old and young, in the same place; the adults sleeping on the rocks and the young playing in the water.


Caight is the Gull of Sauchio, Ægean sea, in 1774, was exhibited in London in a dried state. Its neck was well shaped, its breast was full, or apparently had been ; the ears, which were like eel’s ears, were, placed like human ears ; the hair’an unusual occurrence—was scanty, and the creature seemed to rely, for the chief ornament of its head, on a membrane or fin that arose from the temples and formed a pyramidal topknot. From the waist down it was essentially the figure of a cod-fish, save that it had three sets of fins, so placed as to enable it to sit erect in the water. Edmund Burke is said to have expressed the opinion after examining this specimen, that it was the veritable thing. The Rev. Dr. Phillips, a representative of the London Missionary Society at Capetown, had an opportunity.

From— Sacramento daily record-union. (Sacramento [Calif.]], 12 Aug. 1882. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

MONDAY, MAY 29, 2017.

AN UGLY MONSTER. (July 2, 1892)

Cryptid monster living beneath the sea
Beast, snake and fish

Oakland (California) has a something for which everybody is trying to find a name. Some call it a fish and others class it with the serpents. As it was caught in the bay the fish theorists maintain that their position is correct, but the contrary minded point to the barrel-shaped body and the hideous head of the something in support of their belief that it is a snake, and an ugly one at that. At all events it is the queerest looking monster ever captured in the bay of San Francisco.

Some people claim that the Atlantic seaside hotelkeepers have permitted the one, only and original sea serpent to get away from them, and there is something about the monster that bears them out. From the tip of its ugly nose to the end of its equally ugly tail the body is 5 ½ ft long. It is round in shape, and the body tapers from the head to a fine point at the tail. The captors state that it wriggled very snakishly through the water. The thing has fins just like any well-constructed fish. The head of the monster is enough to scare a delirium tremens patient into an insane asylum. It is a very large head, shaped like a sea-lion’s, with huge staring round eyes, two small ears that lie close to the head, and a very large mouth armed with two rows of formidable looking fangs and a forked tongue. The tongue, the captors aver, darted serpentwise in and out of the mouth when the thing was alive. The head has patches of black silky hair scattered over it.

The captors were fishing off the north side of Goat Island, when they noticed the monster wriggling in the water. The boat’s painter was speedily converted into a lariat, and when the fish-snake poked his hideous head above the water it was made prisoner. The young men had a hard fight with the monster, but they finally landed it in the boat and conveyed it to Oakland, where it has been on exhibition.

The monster weighs 18 ¼ lb.

A professor at Berkely University who had been studying all day and far into the darkness over the matter, has found out what the something was and triumphantly pronounced its name. The professor’s designation of the snakefish is anarrhichilthys ocellatus [Anarrhichthys ocellatus, the wolf eel]—at least that is the telegraph operator’s version of it. At all events it is a very queer fish, and it is found only in the Pacific Ocean and the arms thereof.

So many cryptid monster lurking in the ocean's depths

Photo of Anarhichas orientalis better known as the “Bering wolffish” cousin to wolf eel. Both belong to the family of Anarhichadidae known as wolffish or sea wolves. They are indigenous to both cold Pacific and Atlantic waters. The largest species can grow up to be two meters in length. Photo by user Oviphagy, posted to Wikimedia Commons.

From— Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931) 28 2 July 1892. Trove. National Library of Australia.

SUNDAY, MAY 21, 2017.


Cryptid monster beneath a cloak.
THE HOOP SNAKE. (March 15, 1890)

The following question, says a correspondent of the Scientific American, in still being asked: “Is there such a thing as a hoop snake, and has anybody ever seen one, or a specimen of one?” The way the hoop snake is said to move about is thus: It takes its tail in its month, coils itself in an ellipse, and moves around like a hoop. There are many persons who uphold the existence of the hoop snake, yet all reports and declarations that have been advanced in its favour have all proved to be totally unreliable. The anatomy of a snake alone is sufficient to prove that hoop like progression is impossible. The hoop snake has never been described by any naturalist in any standard work on reptiles, and no museum nor collection in the world contains a specimen of it. It exists only in the minds of the ignorant and unscientific, and it must be classed with ghosts, mermaids, winged snakes, sea serpents, and fishhooked-tailed fishing snakes.

COW MILIKING SNAKES. (October 2, 1910)

An old country belief, usually called a superstition, has been justified by a very curious experience near Chipping Norton. A Mrs. Rice, residing near the village of Oddington, Gloucestershire, keeps two cows, which, although in perfect condition, were recently not giving a proper supply of milk. Her cowman, going into the meadow one day, found one of the cows lying down quite contentedly, while two large grass snakes were sucking at her udders.

SOME SNAKE YARN. (August 13, 1921)

Putting all jokes aside, did you ever hear of a hoop snake? Drovers [livestock drivers] and other overlanders in the early days often spent hours at the entrance to the old Cloncurry suspension bridge, when Coppermine Creek was a banker [river that reaches to the top of the banks], watching the antics of these reptiles. Averaging a length of nearly 5ft, the hoop snake originally received its name on account of its peculiar methods of propulsion. By, inserting its tail in its mouth, and wriggling to a perpendicular attitude in the form of a hoop, it is enabled to cover the ground with no little velocity. As above stated, the drovers coming down from the Gulf and Territory country generally found the time lag very heavily on their hands after the usual initial “spree,” writes J.T.K. in the Brisbane “Courier.” Squatting on their haunches near the entrance of the bridge, few, if any of them, were averse to “backing their fancy” [placing a bet] as the various hoop snakes endeavored to negotiate the swinging spans of the bridge. Money passed hands very freely, and curses were loud and deep when one of the leading snakes, possessing more velocity than sense, rolled from the bridge and hit the water below. These races were quite a regular feature of the 'Curry in the good old days, but I am since given to understand that snake racing has has been banned by the local Council, at the instance of a representative body of churchmen, who held that such an amusement was nothing more or less than a pastime of the devil.

SNAKES THAT FLY IN THE NIGHT. (January 27, 1917)

Recent paragraphs in The Observer about the discovery of what was at first thought to be a winged snake, have called forth from our Green’s Plains correspondent the following effusion:—Some diversity of opinion has recently been expressed among correspondents of The Observer whether another correspondent really killed a winged snake, as he asserted, or was merely the victim of an optical illusion with a lizard. Now, although not for one moment doubting that it was either a snake or a lizard that was killed, or maybe both, I would like to say right here and now, that the first correspondent, unless his veracity has been of long standing and firmly established, made a serious mistake in killing the reptile off his own bat, without having first shown it to a friend, or friends, whose testimony might have been very useful just now. This shows how very careful one should be. There cannot be the slightest doubt about this having been a belated specimen of the winged snake aerial fleet.

These reptiles were very numerous and popular in the early days of the province, when distances were largely marked by distant grog shanties, and events simply by what happened—those far-away days when the native cat and the locust were sworn enemies of the pioneer, and sought his blood or crop by day or night. It was then in the gloaming that he listened for the whirl of the white-winged serpents, as they came in flocks to chase the marauders back into the gathering night, for these fireless flying serpents were very partial to locust and wild catty. And yet they were generally understood to be labelled “not dangerous” unless they hit something. There was, of course, an occasional overgrown specimen which might not be quite so handy or harmless about the place. For instance, there is the backblocker [one who lives in the outback], who, coming home in the dusk, saw and fired at, what he took to be a wild turkey flying low, and found when it landed almost in the door of his little grey home in the bush that it was a broken-winged and very indignant snake.

They both spent a wildly wakeful night. Another early pioneer, gun in hand, in broad daylight, saw rapidly approaching overhead, and mostly all head, some remarkable monster, which he would have mistaken for an aeroplane had those innovations been about in those days. As the whirring wings passed overhead, he shut his eyes and fired, and brought down a most fearsome-looking creature with the head of a shark and the slimy winged body of a snake, which on closer inspection it proved to be. The serpent had evidently undertaken—for a wager maybe, or maybe only for a meal—to swallow a full-grown lizard of the Jewish persuasion, and had succeeded in getting the brute down all but the head, which was unusually large, and ornamented with frills and whiskers, some of which had apparently caught in the snake’s teeth, and so in all probability saved both their heads.

And this is the only authentic local instance of a lizard flying, although there is not the slightest doubt that they could do so if they wanted to. The lizard is, how ever, more of a ground bird, and seems quite content to make haste slowly; and as in the case mentioned, only flies by compulsion. But there can be no doubt that now, as in the days of old, there are and were flying serpents, and The Observer correspondent who made the discovery, or rediscovery, need not be in the least discouraged, as it is a highly creditable one, and must prove interesting to science and other denominations.

A FEARSOME REPTILE. (October 28, 1909)
The Whip Snake of North America.

One of the most terrifying reptiles in the whole world is the “whip” or “hoop” snake (genus Masticophis), found in North America. An account of it reads like a piece of clever fiction, but, nevertheless, the whip snake is very real, and one of the earth's most real dangers— that is, to one whose lot it happens to be in life to live in a portion of the country where there are deep swamps or thick woods or wild rough hillsides. This is the whip snake’s choice of a world to live in, and there he is peaceable enough.

If you happen to invade it, he will creep away, if possible, and fight only as a last resort. He will even lie so snug that you may step over him scatheless a dozen times— if only you do not step on him.

You may see him sometimes basking on a log or bare rock, blinking at the sun, and looking as inert and harmless as a fallen twig. He is long and slim, rarely under four or over six feet in length. His back is dull dead brown, his belly reddish ochre, with brown lights. He has a mouthful of sharp teeth, but no fangs; but at the tip of the tail you see a suspicious-looking horny spur, for all the world like a cock’s spur, but somewhat sharper.

So he creeps and blinks away the spring and early summer, feeding on frogs, mice, berries, and small birds and their eggs. Nobody sees him unless they hunt him, and then only by rare good luck. By-and-by, however, midsummer arrives, and dries up the marshes and woodland pools, the hill streams run low or fail altogether, and the negroes and hunters begin to say apprehensively : “Better be keerful ; time for hoop snake to come whirling out de water, an’ crazy mad at that.”

Soon you hear weird tales indeed. In this midsummer madness the creature curls itself till the horned tail rests just on the back of its head, and then with a terrific jerk flings itself into the country road or open woodland. A succession of these vicious springs are its mode of progression, and woe betide whatsoever may cross its path. The name whip snake, hoop snake, or cartwheel snake, as it is called in different localities, comes from its habit of locomotion on these mad midsummer forages.

Vision is impossible, yet in some way the creature immediately discerns a living presence, and strikes madly at it, fling its barbed tail almost its own length in front of its head. There is a poison gland at the root of the spur, full of venom so swift, so subtle, that it has no antidote.

A horse struck by it falls shivering and groaning, bathed in cold sweat, and dies within the hour. Near cattle either run bellowing into the nearest thicket in foaming frenzy, or drop in their tracks as though shot. A dog dies with the quick rigours of strychnine poisoning, then fall into merciful insensibility that runs rapidly into death.

Luckily, however, the snake misses oftener than it strikes. In that case it makes no second attack, but whirls away in search of new victims. It cannot strike sideways, but is so full of fight it will turn squarely on its course to deliver a straight-out blow.

Few things are more awesome than on a lonesome moonlit country road to encounter one of these wheels of vengeance.

The full moon of August is the whip snake’s usual season for its mad frolic ; but sometimes it runs amuck by daylight. Once a group in front of a roadside smithy were horror-struck at sight of a tremendous fellow whirling down hill at them with a speed and force of a thunderbolt. They were three men, with a tethered horse, in the midst, of them. Almost before they could drew breath the snake was upon them. It struck madly at the animal, which reared, plunged backwards, and broke rein just in time.

Instead of it, the snake struck the sapling to which it had been tied, and with such force that the horn penetrated the bark and held the reptile prisoner. The smith immediately smashed its head with a blow of his hammer, flung it away, and set about putting a shoe on the lucky beast which had had so narrow an escape.

By the time the shoe was in place the sapling began to wilt. By morning it was as black and dead as though hard frost had touched it. In fact, whenever a tree suddenly and unaccountably dies, the countryfolk will tell you that it has been stung by a whip snake—“Spare Moments.”

From— The Week (Brisbane, Qld. : 1876 - 1934) 15 March 1890, The Sunday Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1903 - 1910) 2 October 1910, The Shoalhaven News and South Coast Districts Advertiser (Shoalhaven, New South Wales, Australia) 13 August 1921, Observer (Adelaide, SA : 1905 - 1931) 27 January 1917 & Cobram Courier (Vic. : 1888 - 1954) 28 October 1909. Trove. National Library of Australia.

THURSDAY, MAY 4, 2017.

A GHOST MONSTER. (December 22, 1883)

Cryptid monster beneath a cloak.
The Strange Creature Creating an Excitement near Mexico, Mo.

The neighborhood of Hopewell church, near Mexico. Mo., is much excited over the appearance in the locality of a strange creature, which is thought by the credulous to be a ghost, and which is a puzzle at least to the most skeptical. The apparition is simply that of a lean monster man, between eight and ten feet in height, wearing a long cloak, and going about with his head bowed in an abstracted way, but occasionally glaring at those it meets with small, glittering eyes said to resemble those of a cat, or some wild beast. The negroes believe the appraition to be a ghost, the white people do not know what to say. There appears little doubt, whatever the creature may be, that it has actually been seen a number of times. The school at Hopewell Church is about abandoned because of fear of the monster, and even sturdy farmers go about armed, in apprehension of it.

John Creary, a well known old resident, declares that recently as he was returning from Mexico, to his home, he had a good view of the queer being, who was about fifty yards ahead of him, walking in a leisurely way along the middle of the big road, in mud almost knee deep, his head still lowered and his long black cloak flowing in the breeze. All at once, and in the twinkling of an eye, he disappeared in the thick woods as mysteriously as he came upon the scene. Mr. Creary says for the first time in his life, although a soldier under Gen. Grant, he was really frightened, and it was all he could do to control the horse he was riding, so great seemed its fear of the object.

Mr. C. Haggett and wife, who were returning from church Thanksgiving eve, were surprised by the monster’s peering with its cat-like eyes into their buggy and leaning against it, almost crushing the vehicle. The lady has not yet, it is said, recovered from the shock. Mr. and Mrs. H. both claim on this occasion a white cloak was worn.

A large number of others have seen the strange creature, and to-night a large party is scouring the neighborhood of Hopewell Church, hoping to capture it. No newspapers of the city are represented in the searching party, which includes one or two St. Louisans, and a report from the expedition is awaited with much interest.

From— Arizona silver belt. (Globe City, Pinal County, Ariz.), 22 Dec. 1883. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.


ISLE OF THE ‘GREAT THING.’ (January 6, 1904)

Cryptid monster on the loose.
(Combination of Fish, Alligator and Bat Found.)
Throws the old Sea Serpent Into the Shade—Gigantic Survivor of Prehistoric Ages is Over Sixty-five Feet Long, and Equally at Home in Air or Sea.

Salt Lake, Utah.—A terrible, nameless, unclassified creature of the animal world is exciting the curiosity, wonder and fear of occasional visitors to Stansbury Island, in the southern portion of Great Salt Lake.

This monster, so strange and unnatural in appearance, has lately, it is said, been seen by several persons, but the best account of its characteristics and movement is given by Martin Gilbert and John Barry, two hunters who this week returned from an expedition over the island, in the course of which they studied the habits of this hitherto unheard of creature for three days.

The monster, which appears to be almost equally at home in the air, on the bench, or submerged in the briny waters of Salt Lake, is probably the sole survivor of a prehistoric species. It is doubtless the last representative of a family whose other members, dead ages since, have left the testimony of their existence in the primeval rocks of the mountains.

Arranging in concise form the description of this incredible relic of the animal world, from the accounts given by those who have observed it at close range, it seems in plain, unscientific language, a combination of fish, allgator, and bat.


In size it is simply tremendous. Gilbert places its length at sixty feet, while Barry, who is an amateur scientist, says that an examination of Its tracks demonstrates that the monster must be sixty-five feet from head to tail.

The head is like that of an alligator, the eyes fiercely glowing, the jaws, capable of opening to a distance of ten feet from the top of the upper to the lower, are provided with a fearful array of sharp saw-edged teeth; the body, so far as observation goes, is encased with heavy horny scales. As to this Gilbert and Barry are not positive, as the constant diving of the beast, if such it may be called, into the strong brine of the lake has incrusted it with a thick coating of salt, which, save near the wings, completely hides the body.

According to their account they first sighted it at a distance of between one and a half and two miles. The day was clear, the sun intensely bright. Gilbert’s own words of the discovery are:

We were walking westward from the east shore of the island about 9 o’clock in the morning, when suddenly to the northwest there appeared a Thing, I don’t know what to call it; it looked to me like a brilliant rainbow folded into a compact mass, moving rapidly through the air.

“I was so astounded that for a few moments I doubted the evidence of my own senses. The object came nearer, but the colors were so dazzling that it was some time before it assumed definite form. No one who has not witnessed the sight can conceive its strangeness. The mass of color was glowing, flaming, radiant. I spoke to Barry, saying:

“‘For God’s sake, man can you see that?’ and he was no less astonished than myself.

“In three or four minutes the monster’s position was such that it no longer reflected the sunlight directly toward us, and we could then discern the outline of the form. Its wings were batlike, stretching out over a great expanse, I should say at least one hundred feet from tip to tip. The tail was proportionately short and resembled that of a huge fish. We were not close enough at this time to tell much about the head, only we saw that the jaws were very long. In shape the head was like that of a crocodile.&dsquo;

Gilbert gave a long account of how he and Barry watched the monster, which supported its enormous wings, swung round and round in immense circles through the air, gradually descending and approaching nearer to them. He declares that it was not more than 300 yards above their heads, when, now convinced that the awful creature was about to attack them, he fired at the monster with his rifle, a 0.4-calibre gun loaded with a steel-cased bullet.

The missile, he believes, struck fair, but inflicted no apparent wound. The monster gave utterance to a strange, fear-inspiring cry, half snort, half roar, and, rising rapidly in the air, veered quickly to the west, and after three miles of flight settled down and disappeared beyond the crest of the hills.


A few seconds after the shot was fired, while the hunters were watching the flight of the dragon-like beast, some small lumps of salt fell almost at their feet. They were more than ever mystified by this, but not until the next day were they able to ascertain its source.

Determined to learn more, of the monster, Gilbert and Barry hastened in the direction of its flight, and after surmounting the range of hills to the westward, found with little trouble the tracks the beast had left in the soil after ceasing its flight. These led the hunters to an immense cave, near the head of a narrow gulch.

They approached to within three rods of the opening in the rocks, but finding that the freshest footprints led into the gloomy cavern feared at that time to make any closer inspection.

“These tracks,” said Barry, “were five-toed, almost exactly like the imprint of a gigantic hand, if you can imagine a hand nearly four feet across the palm.”

Gilbert and Barry constructed a barricade for themselves of the largest rocks they were able to handle and lay down to await the results.

The day wore on and the men were weary and almost despairing of success in their virgll, when, just at dusk, the horrible creature crawled slowly from the cave, and, pausing at its mouth to take flight, gave them their first view at close range.

Barry says that the hackneyed phrase of exaggeration, “made his blood run cold,” is none too strong for the sight they saw.

“The monster slowly moved his great jaws,” declared the hunter, in speaking of his experience, “until it scented as if he could have swallowed a large horse at one mouthful. He gave a snort that might have been heard a mile, and then slowly spread his huge wings. We now saw that the huge body was coated with salt, apparently nearly a foot in thickness. This explained why the salt lumps dropped at our feet when the bullet struck the monster. By this we knew that the creature must spend much of its time in the waters of the lake.

“The great beast made a short run before taking flight, taking long jumps upon its hind legs and tail. The fore legs were comparatively short, and appeared to be used only when it crawled flat upon the ground.

“The frightful head was not more than ten feet from us when it rose in the air, but so well were we screened by our shelter of rocks that we were unobserved. The large, fiercely gleaming eyes, the sharp, serrated teeth, the wide expanse of wings that began to move rapidly as the horrible beast rose from the ground and passed directly over our heads, combined to make a terrible sight—one that I shall never forget.

“We watched it disappear in the gathering gloom of night, but were for a long time paralyzed with fear, not knowing when it might return. It was probably an hour later when it did come back.

“We heard the swish of the mighty wings before it could be seen, but as it drew nearer, by the light of the young moon in the west, we saw that carried in its great jaws was a large horse, which I suppose it had swooped down upon while feeding. The horse was badly crushed and mangled.


“The monster carried its burden into the cave and we could hear the crunching of its jaws and the cracking of the horse’s bones as the beast devoured its victim. After an hour or so all was still and we then slipped quietly away in the darkness and returned to our camp on the eastern shore of the island.

“Had it not been for a bad break in our boat we would have fled the Island that night. As it was we worked all night to repair the craft, although the task might have been accomplished in two hours except that we feared to build a fire to afford light.

“It was just dawn and we were preparing to launch, when Gilbert said: “There it comes again!’ In an instant we turned the boat bottom up and crawled under it. One end was lifted about a foot above the end by a rock, and we were able to watch the monster’s actions.

“It settled down on the beach less than fifty yards to the north and dived quickly into the lake. From its actions while nearly buried under the waves I judged that the creature was gathering and feeding upon the salt water shrimps which abound along the coast there. When the monster came up it was very close to us, and we were particularly impressed by the fact that the strong brine had no effect upon its eyes, which appeared lidless. Evidently the animal’s food in the water was found by the sense of sight.

“Although of such gigantic size, there was nothing sluggish in the movements of the monster. It swam and dived as rapidly as any large fish.

“We watched it for perhaps half an hour as it gradually worked its way northward and finally disappeared.”—Philadelphia Record.

From— The star. (Reynoldsville, Pa.). 06 Jan. 1904. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

FRIDAY, MARCH 3, 2017.


* * *
OLD DEEP-SEA CREATURE. (August 17, 1923)

“Old Man of the Sea,” long famed, or something extremely like him, has been discovered. A hileous marine monster fish, but with almost a human head, has been captured by the crew of the barque Duque d'Aotsa off the Brazilian coast. The creature’s head has a well-defined nose, ears and gaping month. Its general appearance being that of an old man. One spike projects from the monster’s forehead. It is probable that early mariners, who told wild tales of having seen mermaids, mermen and demons when in tropic seas, had in reality seen some such rare creature of the ocean depths.

* * *
They Guard Fabulous Treasures of Gold and Silver in their Mountains.

In western Patagonia, among the Cordilleras mountains, dwell the giants of whom so many big stories have been told. As a matter of fact these Arancanians, as they are called, are rarely under six feet in height and sometimes reach eight feet, seven foot men being not infrequent, says the Philahelphia Press. Though mildly disposed, they admit no strangers to their territory, and by stubborn resistance they have compelled Chili to let them alone. Fabulous treasures of gold and silver are believed to be stored away in their mountains, but prospectors who have ventured thither have always been driven away. They commonly adorn themselves with rich and heavy ornaments of these precious metals. The greater part of Patagonia belongs now to the Argentine Republic, Chili holding by treaty the strip along the Pacific coast, which continues its shoe-string-like territory for nearly half the length of South America.

Most of the country is a desert waste, cold of climate and contrasting strongly with the richly productive pampas or plains of the southern Argentine. These pampas are remarkable for the strange illusions which beset the eye of the traveler who journeys over them. On any bright day a distant thistle field is as like as not to be transformed seemingly into a forest, while a few clumps of grass will take on the appearance of a troop of horsemen. Mirages are constantly in view, frequently offering a delusive prospect of water, by which men are often deceived but their horses never.

* * *

Elias Midkoff of Hamilton, Lincoln county, was in Charleston the other day and proposed to the State Historical and Antiquarian Society that if it would send him a taxidermist to Hamlin the society could secure a monster bird, of a kind never seen before by any one in West Virginia. The feathered monster is described by Mr. Midkoff, from measurements taken by himself and V. W. Adkins of Hamlin, who killed the bird at the mouth of Vannatters creek, with five bullets from his rifle, while hunting deer on Monday. The bird is 7 feet 4 inches from tip to tip, 4 feet from tip of bill to tip of tail, flat bill 4 inches long and 3 inches wide, somewhat similar to that of a duck; web feet, neck 19 inches long, and about 1½ inches through below the feathers; plumage dark brown, relieved on the wings and breast by light-blue shading. The bird when first seen was circling high in the air, but came down very quickly and alighted in the water, where Adkins got a good shot at it, crippling its wing. Adkins attempted to capture the strange fowl alive, but it was so vicious that he could not get near it without killing it, which required five bullets.—Baltimore American.

* * *
A GIANT BALLOON FISH. (November 2, 1896)

Who has ever heard of a balloon fish? Not the little, puffing fellows that are so annoying to modest anglers fishing from a dock or small boat, but a huge monster that plows the seas far away from land, and one who is a worthy compeer of the great unknown and highly respected sea serpent.

Captain Slocum, of the schooner Saladin, out from Jacmel, Hayti, while in latitude twenty-six degrees north, longitude seventy-five degrees west, descried to the eastward an object which at first he supposed to be the wreck of a small vessel. Altering his course, he ran down to the supposed wreck, a distance of about five miles. The following extract from the ship’s logbook will explain the adventure :

&lquo;Time 7:30 a.m., June 4, at 6 a. m. the object was first seen&mdah;weather murky&mdah;and at 7 a. m. we came up to it. It proved to be a large and vicious looking sea monster, such as I had never seen or heard of at any time. The body appeared to be about forty feet long and the tail about sixty feet, with forked ends, each fork about four feet long. It had two feet, or fins, not unlike those of a sea serpent. The creature stood about twelve feet high out of the water, and was fully forty feet in breadth.”&mdah;New York Journal

* * *
English Scientist Tells of Creature Which He Thinks May Have Been Giant Python.

F. C. Cornell, Fellow of the Royal Geographical society, who recently returned to England after spending twenty years in practically unknown parts of South Africa, is author of a story about an unknown monster that had been seen near the Great falls of the Orange river. It has a huge head and a neck ten feet long like a bending tree. It seizes the native cattle and drags them under water. The natives call it “Kyman,” or the Great Thing. Last May Mr. Cornell, accompanied by two white companions, W. H. Brown and N. B. Way of Capetown, and three Hottentots [offensive slang for Khoikhoi people], went to the Junction of the Oub and Orange rivers to see the monster if possible. He writes: “At the cries of the natives I saw something black, huge, and sinuous swimming rapidly against the current in the swirling rapids. The monster kept its enormous body under water, but the neck was plainly visible. The monster may have been a very gigantic python, but if it was it was of an incredible size. This reptile may have lived for hundreds of years. Pythons approaching It in size have been said to have lived that long.”

* * *

The mail seeamer Angola arrived at Liverpool Thursday with the biggest sea serpent story yet told. Either the one hundred or more officers, passengers and crew are a company of awful liars, or his majesty, the sea serpent, mysteriously missing this season from the American coast, has emigrated to West Africa. This is the story of the witnesses sigued by everybody on board.

While the vessel was steaming between Bay Beach and Lagos, a long, moving mass was discerned about a mile from shore. There were no fins or flappers to be seen, but the leviathan was proceeding along at the rate of five or six miles an hour by an undulating, wriggling motion. It was traveling in an opposite direction to that in which the steamer was going, and it was kept in sight for more than ten minutes. It was estimated that its length would be about 200 feet. The water at the time was as smooth as a mill pond, so that an unobstructed view of the monster could be had. At one time it raised its enormous head and looked in the direction of the ship, showing two tremendous green eyes. It was broad daylight at the time, and when first seen the creature was within easy distance, being readily discerned by the naked eye, and the glasses which were used only confirmed the opinion that it was a sea serpent.

* * *
OMNIVORA. (March 15, 1896)

For The Post.

There is a frightful ogre
          Infesting earth today.
That rends the hearts of mortals
          Selected as their prey.
A creature formed of many,
          Yet none was ever caught.
In fact a hydra monster.
          Although composed of naught.
It lives among the people,
          And boldly sports around.
But should one seek to find it,
          It never can be found.
No eye hath ever seen it,
          And yet, by no means small,
It spreads the whole world over,
          But is no where at all.

Its eye, and ears are countless,
          No distance is too great,
But that their power will reach it,
          Relentlessly as fate.
Its tongues are ever wagging,
          The while it viclously
Prepares its oral missiles,
          And pelts vindictively
No might hath ever snubbed it;
          Vain either prayer or moan;
The slaughter still continues,
          Of hearts to feed upon.
Wouldst know this deathless monster,
          No earthly power can stay?
It is the Omnivora
          Of human hearts, “they say?”

—Alva Clay Bravo.

From— The L'Anse sentinel. (L'Anse, LS., Mich.), 17 Aug. 1923, The St. Johns herald. (St. Johns, Apache County, Arizona Territory [Ariz.:), 28 July 1892, Crawford avalanche. (Grayling, Mich.), 30 Jan. 1896, Freeland tribune. (Freeland, Pa.), 02 Nov. 1896, Edgefield advertiser. (Edgefield, S.C.), 23 Aug. 1922, Alexandria gazette. (Alexandria, D.C.), 01 Nov. 1892. & The Houston daily post. (Houston, Tex.), 15 March 1896. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



A bonafide Georgia Bigfoot!

From the St. Louis Republic.

In August, 1812 a party of hunters found in a mountainous region now known as Rabun county, Georgia, a being nearly eight feet high, covered with bluish hair and having a human face adorned with immense ears resembling those of an ass. The creature was stone deaf, and on that account seemed to be wholly unconscious of the approach of the men. This monster seems, from old accounts, to have been seen upon several occasions during the next four years.

In 1816 a number of adventurers from Virginia, most of them surveyors working up the unexplored portions of Georgia and the Carolinas, formed themselves into a party for the express purpose of capturing the uncanny being, if possible. They scoured the hills and valleys for several days, and at last returned unsuccessful to the starting point. The learned Joseph Earie, then living in at Culpepper, Va., wrote the following in a letter to John Bishop of of Boston, Lincolnshire, England.

“An awful creature, half animal and half man, of gigantic stature and fierce mien, is known to inhabit the wild regions to the south of us. Some think that there is a race of these monsters hiding in the hills and mountains of Georgia, the place where it or they have been the oftenest seen. Of the few people which inhabit this wild country, not a soul which we have approached doubts that the creature is all that it is represented as being. Indeed, sir, one poor planter, who guided us a great distance from the falls, is convinced that he saw him face to face not more thon three weeks since, an assertion my adventurous componions were only too ready to believe.”

The many tales told of this a extraordinary being seem to have created quite a stir all along the Atlantic coast. A printed circular issued by a land company in 1815 says: “The climate of Georgia is exceedingly mild, the soil productive, and the danger of attack from uncouth beasts, which are represented as being half beast and half man, are fairy tales not worthy of consideration.”

From— The Anaconda standard. (Anaconda, Mont.), 15 May 1891. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



A real life Jackalope captured!
* * *
TEXAS RABBITS HAVE HORNS. (January 26, 1912)

Cureo, Texas—Several giant jackrabbits that have evidently been crossed with white-tail deer have been killed in this section and brought here during the last few weeks. The rabbits have well-defined antlers several inches long. Many jackrabbits with horns have also been killed recently.

* * *
THIS TIME OF YEAR. (August 2, 1890)

This is the time of year when news items grow very scarce and the newspaper man who is not all opinion is rescued from filling his editorial page with base ball biographical plate matter by the kind Kansas man who opportunely find snakes with legs, rabbits with horns and three-eyed calves.

* * *
JACK RABBIT WITH ANTLERS. (February 20, 1913)

What is said to be the first specimen of an antlered rabbit ever killed was recently shot by a Mexican near San Benito, Texas. It was of the jack rabbit type in all respects except that protruding from its head and fastened to its ears was a set of horns much resembling the antlered adornment of a young buck deer. The longest of these prongs measures nearly seven inches. The other prongs measure one to six inches. It is believed by local authorities that this specimen of the rabbit family is a freak of nature. The head was severed from the body and mounted.

* * *
ODD REPORT. (April 21, 1882)

Dr. J. P. Tate went out hunting the other day and killed a mule-eared rabbit which on examination, he found antlered with seven distinct, well formed horns, six across the forehead and one on the nose, after the style of a rhinoceros.

* * *
A HORNED RABBIT. (January 20, 1911)

As another evidence of the greatness and productivity of Marion county, Mr. Will Gray, carrier on Route No. 4, brought to this office last Saturday a rabbit head to which was attached six perfectly formed horns, though one was lost in handling the head after the animal was killed. The bunny was shot by a negro, John Feilder, who lives on Mr. Gray’s route some five or six miles from the city and is now on exhibition at the Jimplecute office.

Many conjecturs have been offered as to the species of the animal, but we are inclined to think that, as Col. G W. Watson says it is a genuine specimen of the long extinct “Gooklookus,”—though why he should call it that we don’t know. Anyhow the head can be seen here at any time and is a curiosity indeed.

* * *
KILLED HORNED RABBIT. (October 29, 1915)

Roscoe, Tex.—Another horned rabbit was killed near here a few days ago by W. A. Ater of Roscoe. It was the second cottontail with horns to be found in Texas, and leads to the conclusion on the part of local scientists that there is a distinct breed of this species.

* * *

Sanford Bellmire, a farmer of Homestead, Okla., has a curiousity in the way of six rabbits of which the males have horns. The find was made under a heap of rocks. The male parent rabbit is about the size of a jack; it has two large horns, two and one-half inches long and one inch in diameter. They are hard and shaped like the horns of a yearling calf. Five smaller horns also adorn his head. Two of the young rabbits are males and upon examination callous spots were found which eventually will develop into horns.

* * *
RABBIT WITH HORNS. (March 15, 1917)

This story may seem something in the line of a fish story, but it isn’t, it’s a fact. The story runs in the rabbit line this week.

J. H. B. Mathenia, who lives north of this city, was here Monday and showed us the horns he took from a rabbit he killed that day. The horns measured nine inches long and were curved much like that of a steer. He said when he removed the horns he took them from between the ears, and that they protruded about one and one-half inches on each side. We examined them thoroly [sic] and they are genuine in every detail. This is quite a rare think and the first one of the kind we have ever known of.

* * *

Rabbits with horns like a goat are reported as seen in Iowa. This is probably a direct result of the low price of corn.—Wolf Point Herald.

From— Macon beacon. (Macon, Miss.), 26 Jan. 1912., The Wichita daily eagle. (Wichita, Kan.), 02 Aug. 1890., The Yale expositor. (Yale, St. Clair County, Mich.), 20 Feb. 1913., The Waco daily examiner. (Waco, Tex.), 21 April 1882., Jefferson jimplecute. (Jefferson, Tex.), 20 Jan. 1911., The copper era and Morenci leader. (Clifton, Ariz.), 29 Oct. 1915., The Washington bee. volume (Washington, D.C.), 10 May 1902., The Hayti herald. (Ham Mo.), 15 March 1917. & Great Falls tribune. (Great Falls, Mont.), 09 April 1922. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



Wonderful discoveries are made of mermaids.
* * *

Mermaids do not appear to have favored the American coast, yet one would suppose that they would have found the Gulf Stream a delightful place for their gambols. Of a mermaid that was once discovered in the harbor of St. John, Newfoundland, we have an entertaining account. It was seen by Captain Richard Whithourne, who described it in his book of voyages, a pamphlet published in London in 1622. The Captain was standing by the river side, when it came swiftly swimming toward him, and looked cheerfully up in his face. “It was like a woman by the face, eyes, nose, mouth, chin, arms, neck, and forehead, and in those parts as well proportioned.

Round Its Head

It had many blue streaks, resembling hair, but certainly it was not hair.” As it approached the Captain drew back, for fear that it might spring upon him, which he thought was its intention, whereupon it turned and swam away, looking back as it did so, and then he had an opportunity to see its back, which was “as square, white and smooth as the back of a man, and from the middle to the hinder part it was pointing, in proportion like a broad-headed arrow.” Captain Whitbourne’s mermaid, finding that she could not lure him, swam away to a boat in which there were a number of men, one of whom, William Hawkbridge, the Captain’s servant, who after wards became master of an Indiaman [East India Company ship], said the mermaid “put both its hands upon the boat, and did strive much to come into him and divers other in the boat, whereat they were afraid and one of them struck it a full blow on the head, whereby it fell off from them and came to other boats in the harbor.” The mermaid was not captured, and of course there was no opportunity to inspect it closely, and I cannot find that any other living specimen was ever seen on this side of the Atlantic.—[New York Post.

* * *
A SCOTTISH MERMAID. (March 8, 1851)

A MERMAID—A Glasgow paper relates that in the hyperborean village of Shieldaig, on the Western shores of Scotland, a lady appeared the other morning, whose visit is likely to throw the sea serpent into the shade. A number of women had risen pretty early, as their custom is to go for fuel to the Gascon, when the attention of one was attracted by a number of seamews which were hovering and screaming near the church. On a further inspection, she discovered a lady sitting on the rock, with a comb and glass in her hand, singing one of her madrigals in a plaintive voice, and duly pointed her out to the others, who all maintained that they saw the strange apparition. The probability is that this mermaid was of the Razaay white seals, which are known to sit frequently on rocks during the night, uttering plaintiff sounds ; but so superstitious are the fishers that not a single boat has put to sea since.

* * *

C.C. Lord & Co., curio dealers, to-day placed on exhibition a mermaid six feet long. It was imported from Japan. It is the largest mermaid ever seen in California and is regarded with awe and amazement by eastern visitors. Mr. Lord can discourse at considerable length concerning the habits and characteristics of the strange species. The head of his new possession is of good size, the skull much resembling that of a large monkey.

* * *
HILL’S SEA SERPENT. (July 17, 1902)

While passing through the Rice hotel last night a Post reporter observed a portly oh gentleman laughing heartily at something he had read in a newspaper. He pointed out the article to a friend. It was an account of a sea serpent which railroad king J. J. Hill is alleged to have seen while on a pleasure trip in Northern waters.

“I’ll bet old Jim had a bully good time,” said the gentleman. “The serpent was 225 feet long, so the account states. That ain’t so long, after all. I’ve seen a few myself. But the darndest yarn I ever heard of is recorded as a fact by S. Baring-Gould, a fact which was well authenticated and which comes down to us unvarnished and unimpaired. Remember, it as a fact.

Once upon a time, after a violent tempest, which broke down the dykes in Holland and flooded the lowlands, some girls in town of Edam in West Freisland, going in a boat, to milk their cows and rescue their poultry, observed a mermaid in shallow water and embarrassed in the mud. They took it out of the water, placed it in the boat and brought it to the town, where they dressed it in female attire and taught it, by dint of coaxing, to spin and assist in household work. It fed with them and took part in all their pleasures, but could never be taught to speak.

It was afterwards brought to Harlem, where it lived peaceably for several years, though still showing a strong inclination for water, it was instructed in its duty to God and made reverences before a crucifix. With such a well authenticated story story as that we can not be surprised at Hill’s serpent, and well may we ask, with Tennyson:

“ ‘Who would be
A mermaid fair
Singing alone.
Combing her hair,
Under the sea
in a golden curl,
With a comb of pearl
On a throne?’ ”
* * *
THE MYSTERIOUS MERMAID. (February 8, 1905)

A five-year-old boy wonderingly surveyed the picture of the mermaid that adorned his new story-book, and when his mother explained to him that the mermaid was partly a beautiful maiden and partly a fish, he demanded, eagerly: “And could you eat her, mamma?”

From— Sacramento daily record-union. (Sacramento (Calif.)), 12 Aug. 1882., Southern sentinel. volume (Plaquemine, Parish of Iberville [La.]), 08 March 1851, Los Angeles herald. (Los Angeles [Calif.]), 22 May 1908., The Houston daily post. (Houston, Tex.), 17 July 1902. & The Logan Republican. (Logan, Utah), 08 Feb. 1905. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



Battle with sea monster.
Peter Hansen Chopped It Off With an Ax.

Norwegian Boatman’s Extraordinary Adventure With a Marine Monster on Puget Sound—It Was 150 Feet Long and Had the Head of a Serpent.

The much discussed question as to whether the sea serpent is a reality or not is as much of a problem today as it ever was. Scientists as a whole confidently state that no such monster does or can exist. On the other hand, every now and then persons of more or less credibility report personal sight of such creatures, and in the main their descriptions agree. The San Francisco Examiner prints an interesting contribution to the discussion from the pen of Peter Hansen, a Norwegian boatman on Puget sound. Hansen is an old sailor of more than average intelligence, and his reliability is vouched for by his neighbors at Quartermaster, Wash. Here is his story:

On Feb. 24 I was in my boat towing a small raft of cedar logs from the opposite shore to my ranch. The bay, or rather strait, is about three miles wide here, and I was within half a mile of the west shore, upon which stands my cabin. The raft I had in tow contained six newly cut logs. Upon the middle of the raft I had built a small platform of cedar shakes, and on this platform were my tools—a double bitted chopping ax, a broadax and a loaded double barreled shotgun. My Newfoundland dog was with me in the boat, standing high up in the bow, barking at the ducks and gulls.

Carl had just finished a prolonged fit of barking at the ducks when he suddenly fetched such an unusual growl of anger that I looked around to see what the matter could be. The sight that met my gaze paralyzed me, and the oars dropped from my hands. On my port quarter, about three-fourths of a mile distant, there loomed the swaying head and neck of some monster unlike anything I had ever seen or dreamed of in all my life, and I have been a seaman for more than 40 years and visited every part of the navigable globe.

When first seen, the creature was making straight across the bay, with his head 10 feet in the air; but, as it seems, having heard Carl’s defiant and piercing cries, he changed his course and swam directly toward us with fearful velocity, the mighty throes of his extended body emitting a sound not unlike that caused by the pounding of a sidewheel steamer’s paddles.

My first impulse was to reach my trusty shotgun, cartridge belt and hatchet. I plunged into the sea and swam for the raft, about 20 yards astern, calling to my dog to follow me. But I miscalculated the speed of the great snake, for while yet several yards from the raft I heard a howl of agony from my brave Carl. Looking over my shoulder, I instinctively fetched a shriek of horror and despair.

While I had been swimming 15 yards the snake had glided more than half a mile and pounced upon Carl. The dog weighed between 75 and 80 pounds, and his green eyed captor was holding him in his mouth 20 feet in the air. I do not know how I reached the raft, but in less time than it takes to record it I had seized the gun and sent a heavy charge of buckshot into the creature’s belly about where it emerged from the water. A visible tremor passed through his body, his head fell, and bringing Carl down with frightful velocity the poor dog was hurled against the side of the boat with a force that killed him instantly.

It now appeared that my shot had not only wounded the reptile, but it had angered him to rather a dangerous and alarming degree. Instantly his head was again on high, deafening hissings came from his throat, and the waters for a hundred feet seaward were churned into foam by the horrid writhings of his body.

Again I raised my gun and discharged the other barrel. If my first shot had angered him, my second shot worked him into a frenzy that knew no bounds. Throwing back his great hooded head in true serpentine style, he began to strike at the boat. At one time, fastening his jaws upon the starboard gunwale, he wrenched off a piece of solid timber 5 feet long and 2 inches thick as easily apparently as a man would bite into the thin end of a shingle. Throwing his body into a series of great, vertical coils 8 feet in diameter, he completely encircled the boat, and with one constriction crushed it into a shapeless mass.

After crushing the boat the serpent did not immediately uncoil himself, but lay some minutes with the fragments still in his embrace, while his ever restless tall whipped the surface of the sea.

Curiously enough, in one of its gyrations the end of the tail fell upon my raft, and with what must have been superhuman agility I seized my broadax and with one blow cut off five feet of the wiggling end. I was esteeming this a most valuable prize, but before I could secure it the slimy mass wriggled into the water and was lost.

From this time the great reptile evidently began to weaken from the loss of blood, which was pouring in streams from his head and the wound given him by the broadax. Slowly regaining his normal position in the water, the creature withdrew toward the open sea and was soon out of sight.

When I first saw him swimming squarely abreast of me, I should judge that from the elevated head to where the sea was lashed by the end of his tail the distance was 150 feet. The great flattened head was hooded like that of an East India cobra, and from the tip of the nose to the insertion of the neck would have measured perhaps 8 feet. The head was fully 2½ feet wide, but appeared to be deficient in vertical depth. The eyes were set just forward of the hooded appendage and were as large as the eyes of an ox. There were no indications of a dorsal fin or rudimental feet, as have been attributed by some former observers to the so called sea serpent.

The dog’s body drifted ashore after a few hours, and from the condition of the carcass it was apparent that the reptile was not venomous.

From— Little Falls weekly transcript. (Little Falls, Morrison Co., Minn.), 11 May 1894. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.


DINOSAUR AT LARGE. (December 30, 1909)

Dinosaur in Africa.
RHODESIAN DINOSAUR (December 30, 1909).
Combines Features of Crockodile, Rhinoceros, Python and Hippopotamus.

London, Dec. 30.—Although the sea serpent and his tribe are distinctly out of season at this time of the year, a “Rhodesian dinossaur” [Zimbabwe] has this week made his bow to the public. Herr Carl Hagenbeck, the zoologist, acted as his advance agent in his recent book, “Beasts and Men.” Herein Herr Hagenbeck mentions reports made to him of an immense and wholly unknown animal said to inhabit the interior of Rhodesia. He quotes native stories of a “huge monster, half elephant, half dragon,” dwelling in the depths of the great swamps, and suggests that it may be some kind of a dinosaur seemingly akin to the brontesaurus.

Scientists in South Africa received the news coldly. The zoologists of the Rhodesia museus treated the reports with derision, declaring that nothing of the alleged dinosaur could be gathered from natives. This was on November 29.

On December 14 the dinosaur reasserted himself in the columns of the Bulawayo Chronicle. A correspondent of that paper declares that he has investigated the matter himself and has met two natives who affirm in the most positive manner that they have actually seen the dinosaur. Neither of these natives knew the other, and both were shown separately a number of sketches some wholly imaginary and others constructed from illustrations of prehistoric reptiles.

Both natives immediately picked the same sketch as closely resembling the monster they had seen. Each, however, called the attention of the sketcher to the omission in his picture of what from their description would appear to he something in the nature of propulsory flippers.

The creature is supposed to inhabit a lake between the rivers Lunga and Kafce. Judging from the description given by the two natives to the Bulawayo Chronicle’s correspondent, it would seem to possess the head and tail of a crocodile, the horns of a rhinoceros, the neck of a pythen, and the body of a hippopotamus with, of course, the addition or propulsory flippers. Thus one specimen would in itself form a very fair mixed bag of big game, and when he was finished with Uganda Col. Roosevelt might well turn his attention to it.

From— The evening times. (Grand Forks, N.D.). 30 Dec. 1909. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



The Jersey Devil Strikes Again.
JERSEY DEVIL IN VIRGINIA. (February 11, 1910)

Staunton, Va., Feb. 2—A report comes from Hightown that David Freeze has just seen what some declare is the famous Jersey devil, reported to have first been seen in New Jersey, whence it gets its name. Freeze says that the strange bird or beast was flying directly over him and had a head like a horse, feet and legs like a mule and soared along on great red wings. It is said that the animal was seen in West Virginia some months ago, and it is supposed to have lived in mountains, feeding on bear and deer. It is most extraordinary combination of beast and bird ever seen in these parts.

The above very “interesting” fabrication has been largely published as the out-growth of a “special” sent out from Staunton some time ago. Of course, the fellow who invented and sent it out got his “space” for the work; it indicates no heavy drain on the intellect, no one was fool enough to believe it, hence no harm is done. Highland has no David Freeze and no visible devil. In fact, since the good people of Staunton clipped the wings of his Satanic Majesty a few months ago, one can scarcely recognize his imps hereabouts.

“JERSEY DEVIL” IN AGAIN. (January 8, 1919)
Reported Seen Near Woodbury, Which ls Still “Wet”

The “Jersey Devil” is in again!

It appeared again this morning Just as dawn was breaking on the roof of the bag-loading plant at Woodbury. The monster, according to guards near the plant, has grown considerably since last seen here. Some say it looked like a calf with an owl’s head. Others assert it was much smaller—not much larger than a fox. Still others declared it had a body like a dachshund, with a head like a parrot.

Those whose views are regarded more seriously say the thing had a body like a bat and a head like it weasel. The original “Jersey Devil” was captured and exhibited some years ago. The animal seen in Woodbury may be the “Jersey Devil, Jr&rdquo.; Incidentally, Woodbury is one of the few towns in south Jersey which is still wet [permits the sale of alcohol], and yesterday was pay day.
Hair Raising Shrieks Bring Crowd to Old Mill—Motorman Describes “Thing.”

Paterson. N.J., Feb. 1.—“We have found the devil-bat,” was the message flashed over the wire to Police headquarters early yesterday morning by Sergeant Milner, who was doing duty in West Paterson.

Captain Taylor, directing that every effort be made in capture the devil-bat, hurried the reserves to West Paterson. They found Sergeant Murner, Patrolman Carroll and a dozen sober but excited citizens preparing for a hunt through Sullivan”s woods, in the rear of the Riverlawn sanitarium.

Hair-raising shrieks fell on their ears. The hunters dashed toward the spot whence the shrieks came, but found only a large windmill, the ponderous wheels of which squeaked.

The police and citizens were convinced that the strange animal that disturbed South Jersey last week, and for the capture of which a reward of $500 has been offered was eluding them. An hour later Patsy McCue, a motorman on the Singac trolley line, reported to the police that he had seen “the thing” on the Singac road. He said it was the size of a sheep and had large, spreading wings and a head that resembled that of a mule. He said it kept pace with his car for a mile, at times running and again flying.

A STRANGE CREATURE. (October 10, 1921)

A strange creature, apparently a hybrid fish and reptile, was captured recently by two Italian fishermen on the bank of the Delaware River, near Gloucester, N. J. It had eight flexible arms like those of the octopus, by which it made its way overland. The fishermen dubbed it “Jersey Devil.” It showed fight as they approached and was captured by throwing a strong net over it. It manifested considerable strength by tearing up a light net.

From— Highland recorder. (Monterey, Highland County, Va.), 11 Feb. 1910., Evening public ledger. (Philadelphia [Pal), 08 Jan. 1919., The Mitchell capital. (Mitchell, Dakota [S.D.)), 04 Feb. 1909. & The evening world. (New York, N.Y.), 10 Oct. 1921. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



Man-eating cryptid.
Along the Classic Banks of the Teton the Monster Frolics.

From time to time vague rumors have reached Great Falls of the depredations of a horrible monster which is reported to be roaming at large in Choteau county. Such fear has seized the people along Teton river that they have made every preparation against the monster, be it man or beast. Women and children are reported to have been frightened by the strange creature to such an extent that they have become seriously ill. Antelope and coyote hunters claim to have seen it skulking along the brush along the Teton, and ranchers claim that at night, hearing disturbances in the sheep pens, they have hastened forth, but just in time to see the brute escaping with a choice mutton wether clutched in his strange talons.

Many scoff at the stories circulated and profess to believe that the animal is a wolf of great size and unusual courage, but others, more credulous, claim that the animal has avoided bait which would tempt any wolf and say that it is invulnerable to bullets from any ordinary rifle.

One rancher claims that recently, while his wife was returning from the hen house, about noon, she heard a commotion among the poultry, and returning to the hen house to investigate, as she opened the door a monstrous beast leaped over her head, its hot breath being plainly felt upon her face, and with a sound like a human moan, it disappeared around a building before she had recovered from her fright. A lady who was riding along a trail recently saw a queer beast loping along ahead of her and gave chase to it. She had nearly overtaken it, when it turned and with a cry, more of agony than of terror, rushed past her, frightening her horse so that he threw his rider.

The Fort Benton River Press says of the beast: “Morgan Williams, who came in from the Teton to-day, reports there was great excitement in his neighborhood yesterday. A sheep shearer came in on horseback at a breakneck speed, dashing through wire fences and other obstacles, and explained his hurry by declaring that he had been chased over the prairie by a hideous man-eating monster. From the description given of the animal it appeared to he a cross between a mountain lion and a buffalo, its size comparing with that of a 2-year old heifer” “Others declare that the animal is nearer the size of a Norman stallion, with the agility of a monkev and the grace of a panther. It is said to have the voice of a human being, but no one has been able to get an accurate description of it.

From— The Neihart herald. (Neihart, Mont.), 22 June 1895. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



Giant Salamander cryptid.

He is Clearly Seen—Fifty Feet Long and Barred in Black and Yellow.

[London Spectator, December 30.]

In the Straits of Malacca, the sea monster so repeatedly seen, and so repeatedly declared to be mythical, appears at last to have been carefully observed by competent witnesses. The creature was seen by the passengers and crew of the ship Nestor, on her voyage to Shanghai, and on her arrival at Shanghai the master of the ship (Mr. John Keiller Webster) and the surgeon (Mr. James Anderson) made a statutory declaration of what they had seen before a magistrate, as a mode, we suppose, of formally attesting that they spoke in good faith.

The creature (which resembled a huge salamander, only that instead of being about six or eight inches long, these dimensions must be multiplied by at least 73 or 100, the body being from 45 feet to 50 feet in length, the head 12 feet, and the tail, it is said, no less than 150 feet), was first seen at 10:30 on the 11th of September, fifteen miles northwest of the North Sand Light-house, in the Straits of Malacca. The weather was fine, the sea smooth and the air perfectly clear. The Chinese on deck were terribly alarmed, and set up a howl. The whole watch and three saloon passengers saw the creature clearly, and observed its movements.

It traveled for a lung time about us fast as the steamer, appearing to paddle itself by the help of “an undulatory motion of its tail in a vertical plane,” The body and tail wore marked as those of the salamander are marked—with alternate bands, black and pale yellow in color. ”The head was immediately connected with the body, without tiny indication of a neck.” Both witnesses state positively that the only resemblance was to some creature of the frog or newt kind, while one of them (the surgeon) says that the longer he observed it the more he was struck with its resemblance to a gigantic salamander. Its back was oval in form. No eyes or fins were seen, and it did not blow or spout water in the manner of a whale. The great part of its head its never seen, being beneath the surface. Probably the creature is of a race which survives from that very different world in which creatures of gigantic size seem to have been so much commoner than now. There appears to no manner of reason for doubting the very express evidence so succinctly and soberly given.

From— Public ledger. (Memphis. Tenn.). 20 Jan. 1877. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.


LAIR OF THE BLACK WYRM. (March 26, 1878)

Giant underground cryptid.

A Rival to the Sea Serpent.

A recent bit of news from South America has attracted unwonted attention on the part of zoologists to the highlands of Southern Brazil. There is reason to believe that a gigantic animal of subterranean habits, as yet unknown to naturalists, exists in the region where the great rivers Paragury and Parana take their rise. It is variously described, but all accounts represent it as a very large trench-digging creature not less than three feet in thickness. The inhabitants call it the Minhocao, and believe it to be an enormous scale-covered earth worm some fifty yards long, which ploughs up the ground after the fashion of a giant mole, overturning full-grown trees in its path.

Stories of such an animal would be worthy of little attention if they came from a single unknown traveller. As it is, however, they are communicated to the scientific world by an accomplished German naturalists. Fritz Muller, long resident in Brazil, who was carefully collected and weighed the evidence as to the asserted existence of this underground monster. Native testimony certainly makes out a pretty strong probability that some such creature exists. Herr Muller has never seen the animal himself, but from his summary of the native accounts furnished to the Zoological Garden, a German journal of natural history, it appears to have been seen on at least three occasions. It is found only near rivers. To one observer, who saw it lying on the bank of a stream, it seemed “an animal of gigantic size, nearly one metre in thickness, not very long, and with a snout like a pig, but whether it had legs or not he could not tell.” Before he could procure assistance to attack it, the strange creature had buried itself in a trench of its own making. In another instance a Minhocao seems to have undermined and drawn off a large pool. A negro woman, who went thither for water, found that the water was all gone, but saw an animal in the vicinity, “as big as a house,” moving rapidly away. This was in the Brazilian province of Parana, where some time afterward a young man had a still more remarkable adventure. He saw a pine tree fall suddenly and without any apparent cause. Hastening to the spot “he found the surrounding earth in movement, and an enormous worm-like-black animal in the middle of it, about twenty-five metres long and with two horns on its head.”

Apart from these views of the animal itself, there is proof of the existence of trench-like excavations in the South Brazilian highlands, the formation of which must be attributed to living creatures. Nature, the English scientific journal from which we have quoted the foregoing description, accepts the evidence as conclusive on this point. What, then, are the true characteristics of the animal? The width of the trenches leaves little doubt that it is large ; a small beast would hardly make a gallery underground, twelve feet wide and over a half mile long, such as was discovered in the valley of the river Cachorros. It is also tolerably certain that the Minhocao likes to live in damp places. Beyond this, the evidence relating to the animal affords great scope to the imagination.

The idea thrown out by Nature that this so-called subterranean serpent may be a last descendent of the Glyptodonts has led to a search of the leading authorities as to that remarkable genus of mammals. The Glyptodon, says Prof. Huxley, is essentially a large armadillo, though it departs in some respects not only from all armadillos, but from all other mammalia, and even stands alone among the vertebrata. Seven species of Glyptodonts are mentioned by Andrew Murray, in his large quarto work on the geographical distribution of animals; of these, four occur in Buenos Ayres, and three in the Brazilian bone caves. Until now, the entire genus has been regarded as extinct, and the remains from which these species are described, occur as fossils in the poet-tertiary formations of South America. A picture of a Glyptodon (G. clavipes) may be found at page 612 of Nicholson’s Manual of Zoology. “They differed from living armadillos,” says the author of that work, “in having no bands in their armor, so that they must have been unable to roll themselves up. It is rare at the present day to meet with any armadillo over two or three feet in length ; but the length of the Glyptodon clavipes from the tip of the snout to the end of the tail was more than nine feet.”

Taking all these facts together, do they not indicate the present existence of a wonderful “land varmint” in the shape of a gigantic armadillo ?

From— The Sedalia weekly bazoo. (Sedalia. Mo.). 26 March 1878. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.


NETTING A REAL MONSTER. (August 5, 1874)

Capturing a cryptid.


Quite a sensation was produced on Saturday last at Atlantic City, N. J., by the arrival at the landing in the inlet of the fishing sloop Amanda. B., having on board a veritable sea monster, the like of which has never before been seen in these waters. The oldest fishermen and watermen manifest surprise at the appearance of this monster of the deep, and are at a loss to determine what it is.

It is undoubtedly of the turtle species, with a head similar to that of a cow, with white spots on the top. The body is black in color, and from the nose to the tip of the tail six feet long. It has four flukes or flippers, and is five feet seven inches in breadth. The diameter of the body is two feet and a half. It is estimated that the weight of the creature is about seven hundred pounds. The monster had been seen in the neighborhood for two or three weeks past, and numerous fishermen had at different times pursued it with darts and spears, endeavoring to capture it.

On Friday last, about 5:30 o’clock, Captain Dan Champion and the crew of the boat named above cast a large seine off Brigantine shoals, about five miles out at sea, and were successful in getting the animal entwined in the meshes of the net. A rope and tackle was slipped under its body, and it was raised into the sloop and deposited in the hold, where it was kept until Saturday afternoon, when the rope and tackle was again called into requisition and the monster transferred to a large tatteau, and finally placed in a tub, which had to be built for the purpose, near the New Inlet house, where it was visited during the day by hundreds of persons, who expressed the greatest surprise at seeing what may truly be termed a wonder, and which will no doubt engage the attention of zoologists and showmen.

From— National Republican. (Washington City (D.C.)), 05 Aug. 1874. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 28, 2016.


A strange cryptid.

(Veteran Missionary Tells of Hideous Reptile)
From Its Lair in a Mine, the Creature Attacks Workman—
Was Unlike Anything the Minister Had Ever Seen or Heard of.

Dr. Watkins, the veteran missionary who has just returned from a four months’ evangelical trip through the outlying states, tells a strange story of a wonderful snake which he killed in an old, abandoned shaft of a mine down in the State of Guerrero.

“My attention was attracted one day,” says Mr Watkins, “by the horrified cries of an Indian miner who came running toward me, his face ghastly with fright and the perspiration dripping like rain drops from his brow. The man rushed up and cast himself at my feet where he lay trembling and gasping. As soon as he was able to get his breath he told me that he had been seized by a horrible monster which had suddenly sprung upon him from one of the hidden recesses of the mine, and that he had narrowly escaped being drawn down into its embrace.

“My curiosity was aroused and proceeded to the mouth of the shaft with the man as soon as I could induce him to return. We looked down, but in the dense obscurity could see nothing. Drawing my revolver I bade the man go down into the shaft a way, assuring him that no harm would befall him, as I would follow close with my cocked revolver ready for use.

“The miner did as I commanded and had gone down for a number of feet when suddenly from the dense blackness I saw a huge and indescribably hideous head with wide-open mouth shoot up. The jaws of the creature were wide open, showing its sharp-fanged teeth in its mouth looking large enough easily to take a man down at one gulp.

“The miner screamed with terror and I feared he would lose his hold and fall, but he clung desperately to the ladder while I thrust the barrel of the revolver full into the creature’s mouth and fired. With a tremendous hiss it dropped its head and then we saw it was a huge serpent like unto nothing I had ever heard of before.

As its struggling body came into my view I fired again, and the snake, slipping from the ledge on which it had stretched itself, fell with a squashy thud to the bottom of the shaft, where we could hear it thrashing about in struggles which momentarily grew weaker and finally ceased altogether. Then we went below, fastened a rope about the body of the reptile and hoisted it to the surface.

“There was then unfolded before our eyes the most hideous creature man could ever dream of. Its head was like the huge stone head of a frightfully carved Chinese dragon. Its body about the middle was as large as a man’s thigh, and its length was so great that I dare not say how many feet it measured. I very much regretted being unable to preserve the skin and bring it back for the study of scientists, but I was compelled to leave it behind.“—Philadelphia Telegraph.

From— The Paducah sun. (Paducah, Ky.). 04 March 1903. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

MONDAY, AUGUST 22, 2016.


A Flying Serpent.

South Carolina Paralyzes the Seaside Serpent Business.

Columbus (S. C.), May 31st—A remarkable story of a flying serpent comes from Darling county. The report is that on Sunday evening Miss Ida Davis and her two young sisters were taking a walk in the woods, when a huge serpent appeared above them, moving through the air with the speed of a slow-flying bird. It did not seem to be very high in the air, and moved without any visible effort. It appeared to be about fifteen feet long and ten inches thick.

The girls stood spell-bound until the formidable looking object was out of sight. The flying serpent was seen by several other people in a different part of the county early in the afternoon of the same day, and they tell all sorts of stories about its appearance.

[*** A remark concerning the alleged superstitiousness of African Americans has been omitted. Despite what such generalizations may lead one to believe on the nature of false beliefs, out of all superstitions racism is the granddaddy of them all. Be assured, even today, there is nothing so superstitious, baseless or objectively absurd than prejudice in any of its forms. ***]

At, the village of Grasslands ten miles to the southeast of where the aerial monster was seen by the Davis sisters, a panic was caused among the inhabitants by the approach of the creature. The steeple of the Methodist Church is crowned by a weathercock in the form of a gilded dove. The last rays of the sun caused this dove to glisten bright, and the eyes of the serpent were attracted by it. Descending in its flight, it soared to within a few feet of the dove, and circled around it as if moved either by curiosity or a desire for prey. Suddenly it appeared to discover the inanimate and inedible nature of the dove, and with a furious mash of its tail, knocked the weathercock from its fastenings and sent it to the ground below in a hundred pieces. Some of the fragments picked up are stained with blood, showing that the monster’s tail came into contact with the stout iron rods by which the dove was held in place.

Reverend Richard Medway, pastor of the church, vouches for the accuracy of the details here given. He was approaching the sacred edifice at the time, on his way to hold the evening service. His wife, who was on his arm, fainted at the sight of the monster hovering like an evil spirit over the church. Mr. Medway says there can be no doubt of the aphidian nature of the creature. His description of it agrees substantially with that given by the Davis girls.

From— The Clifton clarion. (Clifton, Graham County, A.T., Ariz.), 13 June 1883. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 19, 2016.


Strange Kentucky Cryptid.

Lives In a Cave, Looks Like a Man and Lives by Robbing Farmers.

Over in Washington county, near the line of Mercer, reigns a being which, man or beast, mystifies all the neighborhood. For months the housewives have missed their chickens, eggs, milk, meat from meathouses and half grown pigs and young lambs. At first all efforts and schemes to catch the guilty one proved of no avail. Joseph Ewalt arose one morning before day and went to the springhouse, a hundred yards distant from his dwelling. His wife and son, becoming alarmed at his continued absence, went in search of him and found him at the door of the springhouse in a faint. They restored him to consciousness, and he told them he had seen a man beast, and that he ran out of the springhouse as he opened the door; that he had great, long white hair hanging down from his head and face that was as coarse as a horse’s mane. His legs were covered with hair, and the only article of clothing ho wore was a piece of sheepskin over the lower portion of his body, reaching nearly to his knees. When it became noized around that Ewalt had seen a man beast, sober headed men began to set a plan to catch the monster in the neighborhood, near the mouth of Deep creek, is a cave of considerable proportions, and the natural conclusion was that there would be the place to find their game.

Early Sunday morning Eph Boston and his sons, Tom and James, saw the object of their watch walking in a half gallop, half run for their barn. Notwithstanding the men were armed, they were badly frightened, and after they saw the object enter the barn all three were afraid to enter to try to capture the terrible looking creature. They kept hid and were not seen by the monster, standing in a half erect position nearly 6 ½ feet. His feet were like the paws of a bear or brute, with long claws. His hands also were like those of a feline more than a human. Before the men could come to some action or get over their fright the creature came out of the barn in the same half gallop run gait and made for the creek. By this time the men started in safe pursuit. Tom Boston foolishly shot at it, and the creature half turned and glanced at them, increasing his gait, but never dropping the three large chickens he held in his claws. The Bostons managed to keep in sight of the creature for only a half mile or so, they vowing he ran swifter than a horse. Just as they got to the top of a hill about 500 yards off they were rewarded by seeing the brute man turn, with a wild, scared look, glance around and enter the cave.

The men went to the mouth of the cave, but would not enter. They saw feathers, bones, etc., scattered around the entrance. They returned home and reported what they had seen, and Tuesday they, with a half dozen other men, went to the cave and made a partial survey, proceeding in several hundred yards. They saw fresh indications of habitation by bones, feathers, pieces of calf and sheep skin being strewn around. The passages grew smaller and dwindled, and no one of the party would enter alone, though one, Joe Smith, went in 80 or 40 feet, when the most unearthly yell the men ever heard greeted them. They were good, stout men, but they cowed before that yell and beat a hasty retreat to the main pasage of the cavern, but after consultation they agreed it would not do to kill or be killed, and they gave up their search fur another time.—Louisville Courier Journal.

From— Capital journal. (Salem, Or.), 03 July 1894. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 14, 2016.


Monsterous Sea Serpents.

* * *
AN AMPHIBIOUS MONSTER. (December 14, 1906)
Seen In Lake Champlain by a Number of Different Persons.

A monster animal-fish was seen in Lake Champlain opposite Charles L. Parrish’s on Wednesday, November 23, by Lewis Wilkinson, the Port Franklin ferry man. Wilkinson states that the monster or supposed shark was from 25 to 80 feet in length and made great speed in the water, throwing water in all directions. The monster has several times been seen opposite Port Henry, also at other places, and in appearance has great strength. Sailors have been frightened of late at the sight of this monster following their vessels. As the creature appears to be able to exist partly out of the water it may be a more dangerous prodigy than is generally supposed.

* * *

The monster seen in the Mississippi river above Memphis a few months ago by the captain and crew of a towboat reappeared the other day near island ninety-five. This time the frightful creature was seen by some of the crew of a produce boat. The monster’s body was shaped like a snake’s, his tail forked like a fish’s and his bill formed like a pelican’s. His bill was about six feet long and a flowing black mane stood out from his head, which was erected eight feet above the water, as he swam majestically down the stream. One twist of his forked tail knocked off the steering oar of the produce boat and sent the crew in terror to the hold. The ill starred craft now lies moored at Vicksburg, deserted by all the crew but one man, the others believing that the monster is lying in wait for this particular boat to sink it out of sight.

* * *
A BIG TURTLE. (August 17, 1899)

The latest “fish” story is to the effect that one of the water holes south of Y street, in the vicinity of the dumps, contains a monster sea turtle. Persons who claim to have seen the creature say its probable weight is between 200 and 300 pounds.

* * *
A STRANGE MONSTER. (October 18, 1889)

According to a French paper, a sea monster, such as no fisherman has ever seen before, has been stranded on the island of St. Honorat, near Cannes. The creature measures eighteen feet in length, and is about seventeen feet round the thickest part of the body. It has a beak rosembling that of a parrot and two horns on its head ; its eyes are at a distance of three feet four inches from the extremity of the beak.

* * *
A Great, Flat Headed, Horrible Creature.

Washington, Nov. 23.—(Spl.)—Our old tried and true friend, the sea serpent, has bobbed up again. There can be no shadow of doubt of his existence now for Uncle Sam himself stands sponsor for him. In an official report; backed by all the official proofs in the way of signatures that can be asked for, the Hydrographic bureau describes his snakeship. The following is the report made by Henry H. Neligan, third officer of the steamship Irade, regular observer for the bureau, dated Oct. 26:

“At 11 a. m. today to latitude 27 degrees, 26 minutes north and longitude 90 degrees 18 minutes west, passed a large sea serpent appearing about 100 feet long. The head had a blunt square nose and was ejecting water to a height of two or three feet from its nostrils. The animal or fish had three distinct sets of fins and a tail lying across, like a porpoise. On its back was a series of humps, like a camel, it was heading about east, (true) and moving slowly.

The part of the ocean specified is the Gulf of Mexico. The word “true” within the parenthesis is not meant to be applied to the veracity of the story, but indicates that the direction taken by the monster was “true east, instead of the mariners east, as measured by the magnetic compass.

From— Middlebury register. (Middlebury, Vt.), 14 Dec. 1906., The Lamoille news. (Hyde Park, Vt.), 06 Feb. 1878., The record-union. (Sacramento, Calif.), 17 Aug. 1899., Sullivan republican. (Laporte, Pa.), 18 Oct. 1889. & Akron daily Democrat. (Akron, Ohio), 23 Nov. 1901. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.


SASQUATCH ATTACK. (January 31, 1902)

Bigfoot sighted in Pocatello.

(An Eight Foot, Hair-Covered Giant Terrorizes Idaho.)


Creature Wait First Seen By Party of Skaters Brandishing Huge Club With the Intention of Attacking Them. They Fled In Terror and Escaped.

Salt Lake, Utah, Jan. 28.—According to the Pocatello, Idaho, correspondent of The Desert News, the residents of the little town of Chesterfield, located in an isolated portion of Bannock county, Idaho, are greatly excited over the appearance in that vicinity of an 8-foot, hair-covered human monster, he was first seen on Jan. 14, when he appeared among a party of young people who were skating on the river near John Gooch’s ranch. The creature showed fight, and flourishing a large club and uttering a series of yells, started to attack the skaters, who managed to reach their wagons and get away in safety.

Measurement of the tracks showed the creature’s feet to be 22 inches long and 7 inches broad, with the imprint of only four toes. Stockmen report having seen his tracks along a range west of the river.

The people of the neighborhood, feeling unsafe while the creature is at large, have sent 20 men on its track to effect its capture.

From— The Union times. volume (None), 31 Jan. 1902. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.


TO BURN A VAMPIRE. (July 15, 1893)

The vampire, the creature of fear must be destroyed.
They Burned the Vampire.

To most people the word “vampire” only brings up visions of noxious South American swamps, whose banks teem with venomous creatures, legless and otherwise, nightly visited by myriads of large, leathery-winged bats, which are reputed to have an insatiable taste for human blood. To the ancients it meant something far different. There was a time when all Europe believed the vampire to be a blood-sucking ghost of a defunct human being. The most celebrated of these blood-chilling vampire stories is that of Arnold Paul.

During life he had resided near Madnerga, Hungary. Within thirty days after his burial four persons near the place of interment had died, each with the marks of a vampire (small bluish incisions in the throat). Another person had been awakened in the night and recognizing Paul’s ghost in the room, cried: “Avaunt, vampire! In Jesus’ name!” whereupon the apparition instantly vanished.

When this story was told the town prefects held a meeting and determined to open Paul’s grave. This was accordingly done. There was blood on the lips of the corpse, also upon his hands. The ambassador or Louis XV., who was present at the disinterment, declared the proof positive, and Arnold Paul’s remains were hoisted to the surface, burned to ashes and the ashes scattered to the four winds.

It is need less to add that Paul’s vampire ceased to vex the good people of Madnerga.—St. Louis Republic.

From— Western Kansas world. (WaKeeney, Kan.), 15 July 1893. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



The lost dinosaur of Death Valley.

A Supposed Iguanodon Benrissantensis.

(A Prehistoric Monster in Death Valley Desert.)

The Horrible Creature Recently Seen by a Scientist—His Description of an Animal Belonging to Past Ages.

That marvelous monster which was seen in the Death valley desert, about twenty miles from Daggett, recently by Mr. E. W. Speer and Mr. Henry Brown of Daggett, at separate times, while out on prospecting parties, has occasioned a wonderful interest in scientific circles, especially those who have made palæontological research.

Yesterday Mr. Oscar W. Clark, who has been spending some time in Daggett and who has been making geological researches along the coast in the interest of the Royal Academy of Sciences, was on his way to Coronado to take a rest. Mr.Clark has made a number of journeys into Death valley desert, and was one of the parties who saw this gigantic monster. He has sent the result of his experiences to the Smithsonian Institute, with a view to having a party sent out here to endeavor to capture the monster.

“The announcement of the experiences of Messrs. Spear and Brown rather anticipated me,” said Mr. Clark yesterday. “I had a fine opportunity of seeing this strange denizen of that mysterious land known as Death Valley desert, and I desire to say that this animal is the most wonderful living proof of the exact authenticity of the researches made by savants into the field of pal&ealig;ontological study. This animal is really the only living link between prehistoric times and the present. It is virtually a marvel of the ages, an eighth wonder of the world. A marvelous illustration of the profound economy of nature. It was six weeks ago that I had the pleasure of seeing this remarkable animal. I was some thirty miles distant from Daggett, and stopped at 6 o’clock in the evening to rest, having made some valuable additions to my collection of fossil remains.

Happening to glance to the southwest through the haze heat peculiar to the desert I saw a strange body moving along about one mile away. I went toward it and was soon both elated and horrified by seeing an animal fully thirty feet long that differed from any of the known forms of the present epoch. It was an immense monster, walking part of the time on its hind feet and at times dragging itself through the sand, and leaving tracks of a three-toed toot and a peculiar scratchy configuration in the sand whenever it changed its form of locomotion and dragged itself.

The forelimbs of the animal were extremely short, and it occasionally grasped the desert scrub and devoured it. The thumb of the three-pronged forefoot was evidently a strong conical spine that would be a dangerous weapon to attack. Whenever the animal stood upright it was fully fourteen feet high. The head was as large as a good sized cask, and was shaped somewhat like a horse, while the body was as large as that of an elephant, with a long tail extending from the hindquarters much like that of an alligator.

When I saw it the strange animal was on the edge of a great sink-hole of alkaline water—a sink-hole, by the way, that my guides told me was a bottomless pit, and evidently a remnant of the days when Death valley was an inland sea. I approached within 300 yards of the monster, crawling cautiously over the stand and watched it for fully half an hour. Suddenly the beast began to bellow, and the sound was of a most terrifying and blood-curdling character. Its immense eyes, fully as large as saucers, projected from the head, and gleamed with a wild and furious fire, while from the enormous mouth of the monster streams of steam like vapor were exhaled, and as they drifted toward one the effluvia was something awful. The animal was liver color, with bronze-like spots. The monster dragged itself to the edge of the sink hole and lashed its tail, and finally fell off into a quiescent condition. I left the scene and attempted to secure the assistance of my guides in an effort to capture the monster, but they were absolutely terrified and refused to do anything.

“From what I saw of the animal I am perfectly satisfied that it is one of the species of the Iguanodon Bennissantensis, of the European Jurassic, an animal presenting many points of structure in common with the iguana of today. In fact, that is the report that I have sent in, and knowing fully well the geologic environments of the Pacific slope and the very remarkable and peculiar conditions regarding the Death valley section, I am satisfied that my deductions are correct, and that there is today living and existing in the desert of Death valley one of the most remarkable animals now existing on the face of the globe, none other than one of the monsters of the pre-historic epoch—a wonder of the centuries.”

From— Los Angeles herald. (Los Angeles [Calif.)), 21 May 1892. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2016.


Monster hunting in South America.

By the Associated Press.

BUENOS AIRES, March 24.—The elaborate arrangements for the capture or destruction of the Anachronistic creature reported to have been seen in an Andean lake. The expedition which left last night for Patagonia under the auspices of the Buenos Aires Zoological Garden.

The members of the party are all well armed, carrying elephant rifles and lassoes. A quantity of explosive is also being taken, with which to mine the lake and thus scare out the monster—be it plesiosaurus, glyptodon or megatherium, as variously reported.

The zoo’s taxidermist is taking along embalming materials for use in case the beast is killed. Another item of the outfit is a gasoline motor with which to propel the boat to be constructed on the shores of the lake. The expedition will proceed by rail to Neuquen, thence by camions to Bariloche and from there on horses into the territory of Chubut, where the lake is situated fifty miles from a settlement called, “18 de Octubre.”

Prof. Onelli, director of the zoo, who organized the expedition, has directed that, if it fails to find the animal after six weeks’ search, the party shall proceed to other parts of Patagonia. He said to the correspondent:

“I am laughed at, but I am convinced that some large, strange animals exist in Patagonia. When Theodore Roosevelt visited Argentina he was presented with a fragment of hide picked up in Patagonia with long hair still attached to it. The hide was a half inch thick and curiously reinforced beneath the surface with tiny rods of bone. It must have belonged to some huge animal recently alive. What was it?”

From— Evening star. (Washington. D.C.). 24 March 1922. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.


MOTOR WAGON WHEEL. (February 10, 1900)

Motor wagon wheel.
Latest and Most Original Development of the Automobile Idea.

One of the latest and most original developments of the automobile is a motor wheel which has recently been patented by J. W. Walters, says The Scientific American. The motor wheel consists essentially of a heavy wheel which is journaled in a stout yoke or forks, the head of which turns in a socket. The arrangement is similar to the front wheel and forks of a bicycle except that instead of being controlled by a handle bar the wheel is steered by a band wheel, shaft and gear wheels, as shown in the illustrations.

To the right hand fork is attached a two cylinder gasoline motor, and two gasoline tanks are carried on the other fork. The wheel is driven through a loosely mounted pinion, which meshes into a gear that is bolted to the spokes of the wheel, and a clutch mechanism, the lever for operating which is within easy reach of the driver of the wagon. The two cylinders are carried horizontally, one on each side of the fork, with the crank shaft, upon which is keyed a flywheel between them. The motor wheel is built in various sizes, from one horsepower, suitable to a bicycle, up to four horsepower for a carriage or ten or more horsepower for a heavy dray truck. In attaching the motor wheel to any existing vehicle it is merely necessary to remove the framework of the front wheels and bolt the steering socket to the body of the wagon. When the motor wheel is applied to a light vehicle, it is attached in front, thus transforming the same into a tricycle. In the case of hansom cabs it is attached at the rear. When it is applied to the heavier vehicles, such as express wagons, coal carts. etc., two idle wheels are attached to the motor wheel and work in unison with it.

One material advantage claimed for this system is that no reversing mechanism is necessary, the motor always running in the forward direction. If it is desired to back the car, the motor wheel is turned completely around in the steering socket and the motor started. It will be noticed that as the motor wheel is entirely self contained and has a single point of attachment to the car none of the twisting strains due to the irregularity of the road are thrown upon the motor. Moreover, in case of disablement of car or motor, the ease with which a change of motor wheels from one car to another can be made conduces to facility and rapidity of repairs.

From— El Paso deity herald. (El Paso, Tex.), 10 Feb. 1900. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



Jersey Devil Bat.

Weird ‘Devil Bird’ Crossed State Line and Terrified Spring Valley, New York


Described as Having An Immense Head, and a Small but Muscular Body Covered with Hair—Arms Equipped with Web-like Skin.

Spring Valley, N. Y.—An armed possess of fearless men searched hill and dale and invaded swamp lands fearlessly in and around this village, in hot pursuit of the weird Jersey “Bombat,” which has made its lair nearby. The alleged capture of the “devil bird” at Atlantic City is not credited here. It wasn’t the real “devil bird” that fought Fisherman Dougherty, for the monster is in “the midst” here.

The creature appeared in the heart of the swamp near the business section of Main street. Its uncanny cries at first startled the villagers, and when an exploring party, armed with lanterns, entered the swamp the gleaming eyes of the creature and its, wild gyrations threw terror into the hearts of the bravest, and the scouting party, led by Charlie Fisher, who keeps the bowling alleys, filed back to the security of the village streets.

Throughout the night the cries of the whatever-it-is were heard coming from various directions, but always from the neighborhood of the swamp.

Chief of Police “Tommy” Walker, who is the entire uniformed force, was appealed to, but “guessed as how” his business did not consist of running down Bombats or Jersey Devils, and he reckoned he’d better remain on Main street and do his usual bit.

On their way to school next day children flocked together passing the haunt of the Bombat. Women expressed equal fear and men ventured forth fearful of encountering the creature.

It was described as having an immense head atop of a small but muscular body, covered with hair. Its arms appeared to be equipped with a web-like skin which answered the pursue of wings, giving the creature an ability to leap immense distances, while the wings flapped lifting its body clear off the earth.

At night when the awful shrieking at times mournful cries of the Bombat carried into every home of the village, the negroes living on Chicken Hill ran terrified into the village and many flocked into the Methodist church and prayed hysterically.

[ *** Our apologies for rather predictable stereotyping and poor taste by the Bloomsburg Columbian. History deny it we cannot, others today—alas—not so much :-/ *** ]

Sarah Allston, wife of Omega Allston, a woodchopper, was more hysterical than the rest. She fled from the church down Main street and fell dead in front of the post office. Dr. Smith declared she had died from heart disease, but the villagers exclaimed that the evil hand of the Bombat had been raised against Sarah, and that any one so indicated by the monster would meet the same fate.

An hour later the fright of the villagers was intensified when word was brought in that the body of a dead man was found on the railroad tracks. The body has not yet been identified.

After a night of vigil, during which the Bombat continued to howl and shriek and moan, the men of Spring Valley met in Fisher’s bowling alley, but not a ball rolled, not even a high ball. Matters were too desperate, Charley Fisher allowed, to permit any sort of festivity.

“I tell you what we’ll do,” spoke up Tom Moore, throwing out his chest. “We’ll form a hunting party, arm ourselves to the teeth, and every man pledging himself to stand together, we’ll sally into the swamp to-morrow and hunt down that pesky critter.”

There were several present who declared as how it might be well to call for outside assistance and not go on tempting the devil, but when J. C. Gibbs, Harold Sheldon, Ross Youmans, Roswald Farrington, Walter Foley, Shep Small and Dink Davis volunteered to start the hunt, first thing next morning, the others fell into line.

During the remainder of the night followed a scurrying throughout the village for firearms, and cutlasses, and it came to pass that bright and early the band entered the swamp to hunt the terrifying bombat to the death.

Spring Valley awaited with hushed anxiety the result of the formdiable dash of the brave men of the village into the heart of the bombat’s chosen fastness. Their search was in vain.

From— The Columbian. (Bloomsburg, Pa.), 24 June 1909. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



Hallmarks of a good campfire story.
Strange and Mysterious Warnings Heeded in Time to Escape Death.

“I want to tell you a story,” said Dr. Moliere, a well known physician. “I’m not a superstitions man, nor do I believe in dreams, but for the third or fourth time in my life I was saved by a premonition. I got aboard car No. 81, on the Sutter street line, at the ferry, to ride up to my office. As usual I walked to the forward end of the car, took a seat in the corner with my back to the driver, and, pulling a paper from my pocket, was soon deeply engrossed in the news. Suddenly something said to me, ‘Go to the other end of the car.’

“Acting on impulse I changed my seat, and so rapid were my movements that the other passengers in the car noticed them. Remember, I was sitting in the first place with my back to the driver. I was paying no attention to anything but my newspaper, and the premonition, if I may so call it, could not have come from any outside influence, such as seeing approaching danger: but, sir, I had not been in my new seat more than five seconds when the tongue of a heavy loaded wagon crushed through the side of the car just where I had been first seated, and had I not changed my seat my back would have been broken by the wagon tongue.

“As I said,” continued the doctor “I am not superstitious, but the incident I have just related, taken in connection with other incidents of a similar nature occurring in my life, make me believe in spite of myself that there is a ‘divinity that shapes our ends, rough-hew them how we will.’”

In answer to a question as to what similar warning or premonition of danger he had ever received, Dr. Moliere said: “Well, one time I was riding on the Michigan Central railroad. It was a bitter cold night, and when I entered the car my feet seemed frozen. I walked forward and took a seat near to the stove in the forward part of the car, putting my feet on the fender. In a short time a gentleman changed his seat and came and sat beside me. The train was running at a high rate of speed, and the draught soon made the heater in the car red hot. Suddenly there came to me a premonition of danger, and turning to my companion I said: ‘If we should meet with an accident, a collision, for instance, you and I would be in a bad place. We would certainly be hurled on that red hot stove.’

“At the same instant, and before my seat mate could reply, the impulse to grasp the end of the seat came upon me , so strong I could not resist it, and hardly had my fingers closed upon the rail of the seat when there came a crash, and the car we were in was thrown violently from the track. I clung to the seat, and my companion, when thrown forward, narrowly missed the stove. My position in the seat was such that had I been pitched headlong as he was I could not have missed the heater. A broken rail caused the accident, but what caused me to grasp the seat as I did I would like to know.”—San Francisco Chronicle.

From— The Dalles daily chronicle. (The Dalles, Or.), 13 April 1891. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.


FOG STOPS CANNON FIRE. (December 31, 1903)

A very dense fog.
So Thick That It Stopped Cannon Balls and Created General Havoc—Next!

They were gathered around a campfire telling of the old times. The leading subject had been the fogs down south, says the American Tribune. After the others had tried their memory and imagination in describing dense fogs a little, nervous fellow, with a red nose and a red badge, told the following experience:

“Well, comrades, you may talk about fog for a week and then I can tell of a little difficulty that I had with the stuff that will overtop all you ever saw or imagined. If you had never encountered these dense fogs I would not dare to tax your credulity with my story, but after your experience I believe that here I will have hearers who can comprehend truth, and I will repeat a story I once embodied in an official report and thereby lost a fine chance for promotion, and worse than that lost the name of ‘truthful George,’ which had clung to me for many years.

We were down on the Texas coast, and, though only a sergeant, I was in command of a section of our vance upon us by the enemy, and I was sent out to the right with two companies of infantry and ordered to throw up a lunette to protect the guns and support. I staked out a redoubt and set the men to work; then went to a planter’s house in rear of position, where I took several drinks of peach and honey, and filled my canteen with the same.

“After dark a terrible fog raised, and I ordered the men, who had finished the earthwork, to build a wall of fog back of the fort to protect us in the rear in case the enemy surrounded us. About day-light the rebs advanced, and we gave them case and canister as fast as we could load, and with terrible effect. The enemy replied with cannon and rifles. Though they were in overwhelming force, we could easily have held the position without much loss if that wall of fog had not been built in our rear. You set, the boys, having plenty of material, had built the wall about ten feet high, and every rifle ball and cannon shot that went over us struck that dense wall and rebounded, doing fearful execution. One after another the men were cut down, and I was left alone. Seizing a cartridge, I rammed it home and covered it with a double charge of canister. Just as I withdrew the rammer a ball rebounded, taking off my right arm. I sprang behind my gun, inserted a primer, and was pulling when when another shot struck me back of the neck, but as I fell dead, my hand still grasping the string, the primer exploded, fired the gun, killing so many rebels that the rest—"

Just then Colonel Ellis fired the morning gun, the men sprang to their feet and rushed to the cook tent for coffee and hardtack, and “truthful George” did not finish his story.

From— Williston graphic. (Williston, Williams County, N.D.). 31 Dec. 1903. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.


HUNTED DOWN BY A SHARK. (June 28, 1908)

Fight for life against a shark.
Told by Chas. A. Reeves and set down by H. Melton Ayres in The Wide World Magazine.

It was in May, 1906, that an adventure happened to me which dispelled once for all in my mind a deep-rooted doubt as to whether a shark would attack a human being in a boat.

The weather had been stormy for some days, but had finally cleared, and a smooth sea tempted me to try my luck with the “auau,” a fish which is a favorite of mine on account of its “gamy” qualities.

Embarking in a fourteen-foot flat-bottomed skiff soon after daylight, I rowed to my fishing ground near the bell-buoy, a distance of nearly two mass from the harbor of Honolulu, anchoring about six hundred feet on the Waikiki side of the buoy.

Sport with the auau was good, and it was not long before I had about forty of the long, little fish, each about two feet in length, lying in the bottom of the skiff.

While fishing I had noticed two sharks pass near me, one of which hovered around the boat for a little while and then disappeared. Their appearance caused me no apprehension, however, for it was no unusual thing to see sharks near the bell-buoy.

Presently my attention was attracted by a big shark, fully sixteen feet long and unusually heavily built, which made a dash at a fish that I was pulling in. It turned over on its side in an attempt to seize the auau, but I was a little too quick for it, and managed to land my fish safely.

I recognized the shark as a “niuhi,” one of the argest and fiercest species found in the local waters, and much dreaded by the natives on account of its unsavory reputation as a man-eater. Its presence off Oahu is rare, the fish frequenting the warmer water near the Equator. Hawaiian tradition says that the “niuhi” is seen only after or during a heavy storm, the disturbed water having driven it away from its usual haunts. The scientific name of this shark is, I believe, Carcharodon carcharias.

The failure of the big brute to secure my fish seemed to anger it, and it came to the surface again, poking its head out of the water and regarding me with malevolent eyes. Then it seam slowly round the boat, frightening all the auau away.

Still I did not feel alarmed, but tried to scare the shark off with an oar, having no spear or other weapon in the boat. The man-eater disappeared for a few minutes and, congratulating myself on having got rid of such an ugly customer, I began to scent up the water, with the idea of attracting back the frightened school of auau. I had hardly started fishing again, however, when the big shark came to the surface a few feet from the boat, throwing its body half out of the water as if intent on swamping the craft. Had he hit the skiff he would assuredly have wrecked it. Luckily, the shark miscalculated its distance and struck the water instead, causing a commotion which rocked my little craft violently.

By this time I was thoroughly frightened, for I recalled stories told me by natives of gigantic sharks whose habit it was to attack small boats until they succeeded in falling on them, and thus brought their occupants within reach of their voracious maws.

Hastily pulling up my anchor I started to row to Kepo Harbor, a small channel in the reef, and nearly a mile nearer the shore than the main harbor. Just then the shark made another great leap out of the water, landing on the surface with a terrific splash. He repeated this alarming maneuver several times, each time coming nearer, his object clearly being to fall on the boat.

Thinking to pacify the monster, I threw a fish from my catch into the water, and the shark made for it almost instantly and devoured it. Taking advantage of the lull in the brute’s activity, I made as much headway shoreward as possible, but had not pulled many strokes before my assailant caught up with me, and repeating its former tactics, while I pulled for dear life, came within an ace of upsetting the boat. His great gleaming body rose from the water like a flash of light, to fall again with a resounding smack, driving great waves towards me, and I shuddered as I pictured my fate if he once succeeded in striking my part of the boat. Had the skiff been very light, so that I could more or less calculate his next move and pull away, the boat would certainly have been swamped.

I threw over another fish, and it was immediately grabbed by the shark, which was now swimming close alongside the boat. It did not rise from the water on this occasion, however, being probably tired out with its former efforts.

There was still a considerable distance to be rowed before Kepo Harbor was reached, and I kept on throwing fish overboard whenever I saw the shark approaching, which was a matter of no difficulty, owing to the clearness and calmness of the water.

It was not long before I began to realize that it was a question whether my fish supply would hold out until I reached the little harbor in the reef. If it didn’t—well, I felt my hair bristling at the very thought. In order to eke out my rapidly-diminishing catch I cut the remaining fish in two and threw half an auau at a time to my insatiable pursuer.

Despite this expedient, however, my stock was all gone before the harbor was reached, while the attitude of the man-eater was as threatening as ever. Directly the food supply stopped the shark, with uncanny intelligence, apparently realized that he had been duped and that his intended victim was escaping, for he promptly renewed his efforts to swamp the boat, and he came terribly near being successful, for I was getting exhausted from my hard pull, and less able to dodge his rushes. Had there been another quarter of a mile to travel, I believe that the brute would have got the best of me, for when I finally reached a place of safety I was completely played out.

The great fish boldly followed me right into Kepo Harbor until as shallow a depth as ten feet of water was reached. Then, very reluctantly, he retreated seaward.

There were times during the shark’s pursuit when I was well-nigh in despair, for I thought that the monster could surely get me. Since then I have not been fishing in deep water off Honolulu unless in a heavy shore-boat and with company.

From— The Pacific commercial advertiser. (Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands), 28 June 1908. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



Baby survives avalanche.

—As J. W. Bolton sat in front of his barber shop last evening gazing at the approaching storm it occurred to him what a remarkable change had taken place in fifteen years. But the sounds of thunder were the same and he could not help thinking of an incident of fifteen years ago. “I’ll tell you a strange, but true story. I was sitting under a tree milking a cow. The clouds were appearing on just such an evening as this. Then the lightning commenced. The bolts struck all around me and suddenly the cow reeled over. She had been hit and was stone dead. The shock affected me and my mind was a blank for a time. When I awoke from the stupor I found that I had been milking the dead cow. And when I looked at the milk I found it was sour.”

Goes in a Trance Daily After Attending Revival Meetings.

A series of revival meetings conducted in Afton, Iowa, by Rev. A. A. Athington, a California evangelist, have had a strange effect upon Miss Mae Mutchlar, a pretty 18-year-old high school girl of that town and daughter of Town Marshal Mutchlar, says the Chicago Chronicle.

Miss Mutchlar up to the present time has always seemed a healthy and well-balanced girl, except that she was of a rather high-strung nature, and has always been a good student and a general social favorite.

Rev. Mr. Athington is said to be a man of commanding and imposing appearance, with much personal magnetism. His voice is strong and musical and he thrills his listeners with his impressive sermons.

One of the most faithful attendants at these meetings was Miss Mutchlar. Her lessons, social pleasures and all other interests were forgotten, and her whole mind seemed concentrated upon the discourses.

At the close of one of the regular meetings Miss Mutchlar suddenly went into a strange sort of a trance which lasted three days. Upon awakening from this sleep it was found that she had lost her power of speech. The minister attributed this to a direct manifestation of the divine power, and prophesied that when her power of speech would return it would be in a strange tongue. True to this prediction she began to talk in a peculiar and hardly intelligible manner one day. Rev. Mr. Athington was immediately sent for and took her remarkable story in writing. Since this time she has gone into a trance daily, and upon awakening has a story to tell of new experiences.

A Chicago psychologist who has studied the case thinks that the girl was hypnotized by the minister and while in this hypnotic state sees these strange visions. However, no matter what the solution of the mystery may be, Miss Mutchlar’s story is an interesting one.

Upon losing consciousness the girl claims she had a feeling of being carried upward by unseen hands. When she reached the portals of heaven she was surprised to see not a “golden city,” as has always been taught, but a place that looked like a beautiful spot on this earth. Mountains and lakes dotted the landscape, while beautiful, villas were built in the semblance of earthly architecture. The atmosphere) was warm and balmy, very much like I a summer day on earth.

A very dear girl friend who had died some years ago met her with these words:

“Dear Mae, I have been waiting for you so long. Now you must come and live with me always.”

The queer part of it was that the, people in heaven lived in families just the same as on earth and dwelt together in modern-looking homes. The people were all gowned in silken robes made very much like the dress of the Japanese women and seemed water-proof.

The lakes were deep and clear and used by the people to bathe in, and great was her surprise when she found herself walking under water without the slightest sensation of choking. Exquisite submarine flowers and plants grew on the bottom of these lakes.

Vegetation was much the same as upon the earth according to her story, only with a greater tropical luxuriance, and the only difference she found in the people was that no one showed extreme old age. The different stages from childhood to the adult age were all portrayed, but old age was nowhere to be seen. The ability to soar through the air like the birds was one of the peculiar characteristics of this strange people and to wish for a thing meant to realize it.

The air seemed to vibrate with the sweetest strains of music imaginable and no night ever came; instead a soft glow as of twilight spread over the place.

When the wonderful story told by Miss Mutchlar was made known to the residents of Afton many flocked to her bedside begging for messages from departed loved ones or requesting her to take some message to them during her next flight into the hidden world.

Weird as it sounds, this is the power claimed by the young woman. When in a trance she can find anyone in the spirit world and exchange messages with the spirit, transmitting those she received in heaven to the friends upon earth when she awakens from insensibility.

During one of her visits to heaven she claims to have questioned one of the apostles regarding the strange phenomena that allowed her to vibrate as it were twixt heaven and earth. The following is her own ver-sion of his answer:

“‘My dear child,’ he said, ‘the two worlds are not so far apart as people in the earth life think. Their souls really do not leave the earth at all, but only seek more favored regions.

“‘Heaven is all about them if they only knew it, in the ethereal blue above the clouds, in the rosy glow of sunrise and sunset, in the cool quiet depths of the sea, in the luxuriant shades of the tropics, on mountain tops and amid silent woods.

“‘The disembodied soul has to obey no material laws, so it flies at will from mountain peak to ocean depth like the spark of thought of the mortal mind or like the message flashed by wireless telegraphy across seas or by the cable under seas.

“‘You see more beauty in heaven because you have finer senses to perceive it.

“‘In the earthly life you are made up of many personalities. There is the childself that you first grow into, then youth and maturity, all more or less an animal life. The soul life slumbers and awakens and grows slowly, but this survives when the other life withers and dies like the butterfly emerging from the worm.

“‘To a few like you is given the privilege of hearing messages between the two worlds—because your soul life is more fully developed.’

“I do not pretend to understand all this, for I am only a schoolgirl. But from what I have read in psychology I suppose it is my second self that leaves my body at times and strays off into a distant or different existence.

“It is my secondary or subconscious self that relates these experiences while I am going through them. Otherwise, on regaining consciousness I should have only a dim, uncertain recollection of them, as one does after awakening from a dream.

“The vision life, or heaven, whichever you may call it, is very different from any dream. It is quite as real while it lasts as our everyday life, but far more beautiful and uplifting.”

A REMARKABLE STORY. (September 9, 1873)

A Remarkable Story.—A paper published in St. Joseph, Mo., is responsible for the following story of what it calls a strange case but nevertheless a true one: “Yesterday Dr. I. H. Rogers, of Amazonia, came down to the city, and when he got off the train at the Francis-Street depot he was robbed of his gold watch and chain. Last night he dreamed that it was hid under the depot, and this morning he went and found it, safe and all right, and still ticking.”

Colorado Child Caught in Big Slide and Dug Out Unhurt Next Morning.

Salida, Col.—Edgar Mason, four years old, is probably the only person of any age who has had the startling experience of being rushed down a mountain side in an avalanche of snow, given up for dead and dug out next morning alive and well.

The worst snowslide in the history of this region occurred at Monarch. 18 miles west of here, killing six people outright, seriously injuring one and injuring a dozen more or less severely. But the baby boy was saved.

Monarch is a small camp consisting of a few buildings and nearly all the inhabitants had gone to bed when the slide started with a noise like a cannon shot. Beyond this there was no warning and no chance to escape. The Mason cabin was directly in the path of the huge area of snow, which gathered weight and velocity as it rushed down the mountain side.

The slide seemed to be the signal for the beginning of a terrific blizzard, which much hampered the rescue party sent from this city. They dug out the bodies of five people, and then about 10:20 next morning came to the boy Edgar. He was in the top story of the cabin, which bad been carried 1,000 feet.

The cabin gave the appearance of having been overturned completely, and he was so wound up in the bed clothes that it is probable they protected him and saved him from certain death.

The other children escaped with cuts and bruises, but the father and mother were killed outright by the slide. It may be days before their bodies can be recovered, as the snow is still coming down in great clouds and there are already 18 feet of snow in the streets.

Montanan in Vision Sees Self in Coffin, Makes Will and Dies.

Butte, Mont.—A remarkable case of a dream coming true and a wish being gratified as a result of his dream vision happened when Patrick Joseph Graham, a resident of this city for 26 years, died at the home of his sister, Mrs. Mary Weldon. The strange story of Graham was disclosed when Attorney Louis E. Haven appeared at the courthouse to record a will written by Graham a few hours prior to his death.

Mr. Graham, who had been ill for several weeks, took a nap shortly before supper and dreamed that he saw himself laid out in a casket. So impressed was Graham that after supper he summoned Attorney Haven to his office and related his experience, insisting that the lawyer draw up a will. The attorney laughed and in an effort to ease Graham’s mind suggested there was no need of hurry, but this client was obdurate and the will was drawn up, Graham leaving his property to his sister.

“I wish I would die before morning,” Graham told the lawyer as he was leaving. “I never thought of death with a feeling of pleasure before. Now that my will is made I’m ready.”

Early the next morning Mr. Haven was informed that Graham had died.

From— Arizona republican. (Phoenix, Ariz.), 29 July 1899., The Topeka state journal. (Topeka, Kan.), 28 March 1907., Richmond dispatch. (Richmond, Va.), 09 Sept 1873., The Spanish Fork press. (Spanish Fork, Utah), 21 March 1907. & Iron County register. (Ironton, Iron County, Mo.), 13 May 1915. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.


MERMAID CHAINED. (August 22, 1913)

Mermaid found at the bottom of the sea.
Mermaid and Merman.

Amongst the many curiosities culled by Mr. Mark Foy during an extensive motor trip through the north-east of Africa, there are two specimens which must rank as anachronisms, and which (says the “San”) instinctively carry the beholder back to the days when the land was peopled with pixies and elves, whilst the deep, as its correlative, had for denizens mermaids and mermen.

Though in this prosaic period the existence of these marine creatures has paid the toll to modern credulity, yet a visit to Medlow Bath will leave the visitor with much food for reflection. In a garage situated at the rear of Mr. Foy’s cottage are two preserved specimens of beings, anthropomorphic to just below the waist, and ichthyomorphic, or fish-shaped, thereafter. On inspection the visitor beholds a form lying on a mass of shavings. The form is certainly human to below the waist-line, whence it tapers off in approved fish fashion, quite in accordance with the illustration of mermaids in the books of our infancy. Measuring over six feet in stature, and of a dark mahogany hue, this denizen of the Libyan Sea—for it was at a seaport on the north-east coast of Africa that Mr. Foy acquired the lady in question—presents an inscrutable problem.

The cadaver, as such, seems to be absolutely entire, and is surmounted thy a head human in type, but relatively small in proportion to the size of the body. The features hardly coincide with our modern ideas of a sea-born aphrodite, but anatomically they are human. The usual bucal and nasal apertures are present, whilst the eyes have been protected with eyebrows, rudiments of which may yet be seen. The trunk to the waist-line, which is sharply defined, is that of a woman of more than ordinary proportions, and, moreover, is absolutely typical even to the two breasts. The arms, wrists, and hands bear a marked resemblance to the human. The latter have the same number of fingers, whilst the wrist bones, ulna and radius, are there in situ, the same as the ordinary being, only of somewhat smaller dimensions.

From below the umbilical region the fish is the dominant type, the body tapering away and ending in a fish-like tail. Lying alongside is the vertebral column, which was removed when evisceration took place. There are, in addition to the column itself, ribs attached, as in man, to the sternum, or breast-bone, floating ribs, lumbars, etc. Enclosed in a coffin-like case of gargantuan proportions is the merman, over eight feet in length. The same characteristics are present as in his female companion, while in addition two savage-looking tusks adorn the upper jaw.

The history of these two paradoxes is shortly this. They were brought by Arabian Arabs in a dhow, and had been so their captors asserted, caught in the nets during fishing operations. The Arabs, not liking the look of the captives, incontinently speared them, and took them into the port, a journey of about 100 miles, where Mr. Foy purchased them. Since their arrival at Medlow Bath they have been inspected by more than a dozen medical men, all of whom have remarked more especially on the human-like aspect of the wrist-bones. The dark mahogany coloring which characterises the appearance of the strange pair is attributable to the use of formalin, in which they were pickled in order to preserve them.

* * *

Two very remarkable fish were captured at Algiers on the North Coast of Africa, in 1913. They were of gigantic proportions, the male being ten feet three inches and the rentals nine feet in length, the upper portion of both bearing a very strong resemblance to human beings. Mr. Mark Foy, of the well-known firm of Mark Foy, Ltd., of Sydney, who was travelling through Algeria at the time of this capture, purchased them and had them both sent to Australia in curiosities for his private residence at Medlow Bath.

They aroused considerable interest and controversy amongst the scientists. After seeing these remarkable creatures one comes to the conclusion that the mermaid is not a myth after all. Something has caused that belief to originate. The female of this species has probably been seen sitting on the rocks holding and suckling her young similar to that of a woman. It is quite feasible that that is how the idea of mermaids originated. We are informed that these two creatures are on view on the show grounds. If so, they should be well worth seeing.

From— The Richmond River Herald and Northern Districts Advertiser (NSW : 1886 -1942) 22 Aug 1913 & The Bundaberg Mail (Old. : 1917 -1925) 1 Jun 1921 Trove. National Library of Australia.



Steampunk gas suit.
Vanginot Apparatus For Use In Poisonous Atmospheres.

The Vanginot respirator, which is coming into increasing use in the mines of France, has been in service several years in the Paris fire department. This respirator, being of the compressed air type, furnishes the user with a continuous supply of fresh air and thus without the old of any cooling device. The explanation of this is the large absorption of heat due to the expansion of the air, which lowers the temperature of the containing flasks considerably and keeps them cool even in a heated atmosphere.

The Vanginot apparatus consists of three parts—a battery of accumulators, an indicating reducing gauge and a respiratory mask or helmet. The battery of air accumulators, which is composed of two steel desks, is charged at a pressure of 2,130 to 3,150 pounds per square inch by means of it compressor constructed specially for the service. The volume of air thus stored is sufficient for on hour to an hour and a quarter’s use.

The indicating reducing gauge, as its name indicates, lowers the pressure of the air contained in the desks to an ordinary tension and supplies the user with a volume of expanded air which may be further regulated by means of a so called regulating valve, supplying a greater or less volume, according to respiratory needs. This reducer recorder is also employed to operate an alarm whistle wanting the rescuer of the reduction of pressure and of the approaching exhaustion of the compressed air supply. The moment when this warning shall be given may be regulated at will, but with the ordinary adjustment the apparatus is supplied so regulated that the whistle will sound when the air supply is within fifteen to twenty minutes of exhaustion.

The respiratory mask with its crest resembles a fireman’s helmet extended downward mid forward so as to inclose the face completely. It is strong enough to protect the wearer’s head from blows or falls of hard substances. The respirable air contained within the helmet is isolated from the external atmosphere by means of a pneumatic tube which can be inflated at will and which, adjusting itself to every contour of the face, assures most absolute safety so far as air tightness is concerned, while it avoids all harshness of contact.

The discharge valve for the exhaled air is proof against any derangement. It consists of a simple membrane with large surface.—Engineering Magazine.

From— Aberdeen herald. (Aberdeen, Chehalis County, W.T.), 16 July 1908. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



Cryptid sightings.
* * *
HIDEOUS MAN-EATER. (June 22, 1895)
Along the Classic Banks of the Teton the Monster Frolics.

From time to time vague rumors have reached Great Falls of the depredations of a horrible monster which is reported to be roaming at large in Chotean county. Such fear has seized the people along Teton river that they have made every preparation against the monster, be it man or beast. Women and children are reported to have been frightened by the strange creature to such an extent that they have become seriously ill. Antelope and coyote hunters claim to have seen it skulking along the brush along the Teton, and ranchers claim that at night, hearing disturbances in the sheep pens, they have hastened forth, but just in time to see the brute escaping with a choice mutton wether clutched in his strange talons.

Many scoff at the stories circulated and profess to believe that the animal is a wolf of great size and unusual courage, but others, more credulous, claim that the animal has avoided bait which would tempt any wolf and say that it is invulnerable to bullets from any ordinary rifle.

One rancher claims that recently, while his wife was returning from the hen house, about noon, she heard a commotion among the poultry, and returning to the hen house to investigate, as she opened the door a monstrous beast leaped over her head, its hot breath being plainly felt upon her face, and with a sound like a human moan, it disappeared around a building before she had recovered from her fright. A lady who was riding along a trail recently saw a queer beast loping along ahead of her and gave chase to it. She had nearly overtaken it, when it turned and with a cry, more of agony than of terror, rushed vast her, frightening her horse so that he threw his rider.

The Fort Benton River Press says of the beast: “Morgan Williams, who came in from the Teton to-day, reports there was great excitement in his neighborhood yesterday. A sheep shearer came in on horseback at a breakneck speed, dashing through wire fences and other obstacles, and explained his hurry by declaring that he had been chased over the prairie by a hideous man-eating monster. From the description given of the animal it appeared to be at cross between a mountain lion and a buffalo, its size comparing with that of a 2-year-old heifer.”

“Others declare that the animal is nearer the size of a Norman stallion, with the agility of a monkey and the grace of a panther. It is said to have the voice of a human being, but no one has been able to get an accurate description of it.

* * *

Charles Smith, watchman for the Narragansett Bay Oyster company at Prudence island and Thomas Harty, a fisherman, tell a strange tale of a weird sea monster that is borne out by a score of reputable citizens, who say they have seen the beast. The monster first made its appearance here about a week ago. Wednesday Smith and Harty spied it close to shore in shallow water. The creature is as big as an ox, is built like a kangaroo with-out legs, has a fluked tail, a long neck, and a small head, with two horns. Smith emptied his rifle at the beast, but the bullets rattled off the hide. Then he and Harty chased it and managed to fasten it with a noose about the neck to a piling weighing a ton. The monster dragged the piling into the water as though it were a feather and swam off.—Providence (R. I.) dispatch to New York Tribune.

* * *

Last Tuesday evening about seven o’clock, says the Winnemucca (Cal.) Register of August 9, the people in the lower town were startled by the sudden appearance of a huge monster we are at a loss to know whether to call fowl or beset, notwithstanding it had wings and could fly. It was certainly the biggest creature ever seen in this country with feathers. If a bird, it belongs to a giant species unknown to American ornithology. Our attention was first attracted by hearing some one sing out, “Holy Mother, see that cow with wings.”

We stepped to the door just in time to see the monster alight with something of a crash on the roof of Mrs. Collier’s dwelling house, where it remained for several minutes taking a quiet survey of the land and the astonished multitude who stood gazing at that unexpected visitor. It could not have weighed less than seventy or one hundred pounds, with a pair of ponderous wings, which when stretched out to the breeze, must have been fully twelve feet from tip to tip. Its color was that of a raven, with the exception that the tips of the wing and tail were white. An “old salt” who happened to get sight of the bird thinks he must be a renegade member of the condor family. He says be has frequently met with such “Critters” on the coast of South America.

* * *
The Slimy Beast is a Rod and a Half Long and Big as a Barrel.

DUBUQUE August 3.—Nicholas Premier, a farmer living near Sprecht’s Ferry, in Wisconsin, some miles above Dubuque, tells a most wonderful snake story. He says a monster snake appeared in his pasture and killed two of his cows by winding itself around them. He saw one of his cows in the folds of the snake but was afraid to interfere and ran away. Returning later, he found the cow dead and a large hole in her flank. The same thing was repeated the next day. A party was organized to hunt the monster, but when they came upon it they were also frightened and allowed it to escape. One man claims he saw it swallowing a cow. Premier describes the snake as about twenty-five feet long and three feet in circumference in the middle. The folds in the snake left deep creases in the animals killed. It is supposed the reptile escaped from some menagerie. Premier is well known and is believed, incredible as the story appears.

From— The Neihart herald. (Neihart, Mont.), 22 June 1895., The Topeka state journal. (Topeka, Kan.), 10 Dec. 1908., The Fairfield herald. (Winnsboro, S.C.), 05 June 1872. & Iowa state bystander. (Des Moines, Iowa), 07 Aug. 1896. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



A curious campfire story.

A correspondent of the Richmond Dispatch sends the following remarkable story to that paper :

“The following strange occurrence happened in North Carolina and is strictly true in every detail—only names are concealed, and it is vouched for by responsible parties: A. short time ago my brother, my friend S—, and I were strolling out a short way from town when the subject of death was brought up, and we conjectured as to whether it were possible for the spirit of one dead to return to earth and make itself known. After discussing it awhile we three agreed that the spirit of the first of us who died should return and discover itself to the remaining two. We were all young and in vigorous health, and soon the agreement passed out of our minds. A few months after the above my friend S— left town to visit his mother in a neighboring village.

The third night after his departure I dreamed that I was sitting with the family at the tea-table when a soft rap was heard at the door. I responded to it, and upon opening the door saw my friend standing in the hall. His face was bruised upon the right side so much as to be almost blue, his eyes had the glassy stare of death, and his lips were rigidly drawn as if in intense pain ; but particularly noticeable was a deep triangular cut over the right eye. Its appearance suggested some jagged instrument. With a ghastly smile he said : ‘I have come ; tell Charlie I want to see him.’ My brother at once turned as if to go to him, but I caught and violently restrained him, beseeching him the while not to go there, for I believed S— to be dead.

The dream was ao vivid that I awoke with a start of horror and aroused my brother, and was about to narrate to him my terrible dream, when, right in the doorway, with the same bruised face and ugly wound I had seen in my dream, stood S—gazing intently upon me. I nervously called my brother’s attention, but could not by any means persuade him to look where I directed. Only once, and that when he first woke up, did he cast his eyes toward the doorway. Fully two minutes the spectre-like figure stayed, then vanished, leaving my brother and myself sitting upright in bed conversing at the top of our voices. Our father in the adjoining room was disturbed by the commotion and came in to learn what the matter was. Being Informed he hooted the idea, and said it was nothing more than an unusual nightmare. Notwithstanding we did not sleep any more that night.

The next day we received a message to the effect that S—had become dizzy while stooping to drink from a spring, had staggered and fallen, striking his head upon a sharp stone, causing instant death. My mother hastened to his home to sympathize with his bereeved parent, and learned that the location and shape of the wound was identically the same as I had seen in my dream and also as I saw upon awaking. The agreement we had made to return after death occurred to me, and I knew that S—had kept his promise.”

From— Alexandria gazette. (Alexandria. D.C.). 27 June 1889. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



Some Austrailian tall tales.
* * *
A TRAVELLER'S TALL TALE. (April 17, 1910)

“My cause for rejoicing is that an all wise nature taught monkeys how to cross a stream,” Montroan Macintosh, whose card bears the words “globe trotter” under his name, said as he smoked his after dinner pipe to a San Francisco hotel. Mr. Macintosh had just arrived from British Guiana, South America, on a tramp steamship. He had been spending six months in the hot, Amazon country. “It was quite extraordinary of course,” he said, “but the fact remains that if it hadn’t been for those monkeys I wouldn’t be here to tell the story. I was hunting along the Jamunda, last May, when the blooming thing happened. Our party was in a canoe, but I saw a bird I wanted to shoot, and got out and pushed back some distance into the swampy forest.

Imagine my horror when I saw a boa constrictor reaching at me from a limb, so sure he had me, he actually was grinning. My weapon went off by mistake, and I had to drop it, you know, and run. He slipped along behind so easily I could see he was just making sport of me before devouring me. I finally scrambled through the tangled growth to the bank, to find that my companions had rowed further on. Quite inconvenient. Eh! What?

“I ran along the bank yelling like mad. Suddenly I swung round a big tree which had a branch reaching over the water, and then I saw a ray of hope, for here was a string of monkeys getting ready to cross the stream. Monkeys, you know, when they want to do that form a living chain. The first one hooks his tail around the limb and holds on to the others, each one holding the other’s tall. They get to swinging, and when they have swung out far enough the lowest one grabs a limb on the other side and the whole bunch swings over.

“Here was a string of them twenty-five feet long. One more swing and they would catch the limb on the other side. As they swung back I grabbed hold of the lowest monkey, gave a long run with the string to help them along; and swung out with all my strength over the stream, which was thirty feet wide, just as the snake made a dart at me.

“When we wore high over the other bank I let go and shot in a parabolic curve into the mud on the further side. My first act was to stick my tongue out at Mr. Constrictor whose grin had disappeared.

“In fact, he was so surprised he didn’t notice the monkeys as they, swung back, and they bumped him square in the face. It must have hurt him, for he limped off into the woods with his tail between his—I mean he acted as if he wore quite done up, you know.

“One more swing and the monkeys came over. They began to rub their tails as soon as they landed, for I guess my extra weight must have stretched them some, what?”

* * *
A TALL TALE. (February 16, 1915)

Mr. Shorter was painfully aware of the fact that he was gradually becoming bald. But he cheered himself with the reflection that he had managed, with the aid of sundry locks brushed over from either side, to so far cover his bare pate as to hoodwink his friends. But last Sunday the climax was reached, when Johnnie, the tour-year-old atom of Shorter, after gazing at his father for some time, suddenly surprised the company by shouting, in childish glee :

“Oh, papa, ain’t you growing tall ?”

“Tall, my, dear,” answered the amazed Shorter. “What ever makes you think so ?”

Then, pointing to the shiny pate just visible through the struggling locks, the cherub replied : “Why, papa, you’ve growed right through your hair.”

A TALL TALE. (October 25, 1912)

The “Bulletin” revives the following yarn :—Reverting to the Hawkesbury and its numerous oldest inhabitants—it was up that way, that, once upon a time, a traveller found a male person of 60 sitting by the roadside and weeping bitterly. Being asked the cause of the woe, he stated that he had just been walloped by his parent.

This so staggered the traveler that he has to lean against a tree for support, but when he recovered he went to the door of the adjacent house and cautiously reconsoltred. Inside, and ancient of 85 was leaping about in fury, and denouncing the person of 60 for his youth, laziness, cussedness, ill-manner, and general discredibility.

Inquiry revealed that the disgraceful person had been throwing stones at his grandfather, and had hit that venerable on the back with a sample of road-metal. And he had done this merely because he was forbidden to go bird’s-nesting. Yes, they are old, old crowd on the wonderful, “Oxberry” River.

From— Sunday Times (Sydney, NSW : 1895 - 1930), 17 Apr 1910, Euroa Gazette (Vic. : 1915 - 1918), 15 Feb 1916 & Molong Argus (NSW: 1896 - 1921), 25 Oct 1912 Trove. National Library of Australia.



Some extraordinary fish stories.
* * *
This Time He Puts One Over His Fellow Fisherman

... Bill and Doc went fishing the first two days of the season and brought in nice catches. The trouble was that worms were scarce. A couple of days later Bill was taken sick. His wife called up Doc on the phone and caught him just as he was starting fishing. He was out in the garden digging up all the early vegetables hunting worms.
Doc hustled over to Bill’s house. He diagnosed the case as appendicitis, got out his instruments, performed the operation, got Bill back to bed and hurried off to go fishing. He came back that afternoon and stopped in to see Bill, who was doing well.

He brought in the big trout to show his patient who nearly had a relapse. Now Bill declares Doc just operated on him to get his appendix for bait and that he caught that big trout on it.

* * *
A BEMIDJI FISH STORY. (June 28, 1913)

The following-fish story is related in the Brainerd Dispatch: Axel Nelson, the night clerk at the Ransford hotel caught a monster pickerel while out fishing at Gull lake in company with Frank Wright, Charles Moore and Fred Cook. With the smallest bamboo pole in the crowd and a small sized pike hook Nelson angled patiently.

“Gee, I’ve got a bite,” he suddenly called out. Don’t trip to haul him right in,” said Cook. “Let him go awhile.” Suddenly the pickerel gave a vicious lunge and actually leaped into the boat, slapping against Cook’s shoulders as he landed. Cook felt the fish’s hot breath and his teeth rasped against his ear.

The fish was a 17 pounder and measured 41 inches in length. Moore got a club and walloped the beast on the nose and Wright bailed blood out of the boat with a minnow bucket to prevent them from swamping [flooding the boat]. The fish last night was on exhibition in the windows of Coffrain & Cook’s barbershop and pool room.

* * *
CHAMPION FISH STORY. (November 13, 1916.)
(New York Tribune)

The fish story to be told herewith is at the outset admitted to be the hardest to believe ever emanating from Nev Jersey. However, truth crushed to the ground will rise out of the crushers there can be no denying that:

Louis G. Bowden, of Little Falls roar was fishing in the waters of Peckman river on Saturday and caught a pickerel. It was a great big one, and as he snapped it out of the water he give a triumphant cry. A fish hawk flying over his head seized the fish and continued on his way, allowing the hook to flop down empty. Mr. Bowden, at might be expected, was exceedingly annoyed. He was especially anxious to eat some pickerel, and he whipped the river for an hour in an effort to get one. No luck.

The fish hawk who deliberately stole that pickerel flew over the truck farm of Jacob Gissing after leaving the scene of the robbery. The pickerel was heavy, and the hawk with difficulty flew on. Mr. Glissing saw the bird swooping low and, throwing up his hat, shouted with energy. The bird dropped the fish. When Mr. Gissing took the fish home his wife said it was so large and fine that she would call up Mr. and Mrs. Bowden, who lived near by, and have a splendid fish dinner with new peas, new potatoes, fresh beets and strawberry shortcake.

Mr, Bowden, angry beyond words, arrived home just as his wife was ready to go to the Gissing home. He went. What a night! What a triumph. His own fish.

* * *

“In my garden,” said a resident of Brookline, “I dug last fall a hole three feet deep, thirty feet long and thirty feet wide. I filled the hole with water—I made an artificial lake out of it. Today that artificial lake is full of fish. Where did they come from? I didn’t put them there.”

“The question you ask me,” replied the biologist, “has been asked me many times before. Innumerable men, building artificial lakes, have, like you, been mystified to find these lakes spontaneously producing hosts of fish.

“This is the secret of the matter. Fish-eating birds, the gull and hawk, and so on, settle on these new waters, drop into them from their bills fish-spawn—the crumbs, so to speak, of a recent meal—and these crumbs propagate, become fish. Thus, in time, we have an apparent miracle—an artificial lake spontaneously producing hundreds of finny denizens.”

* * *
LOVE IN FISHDOM. (March 21, 1918)

This is no “fish” story as the term is usually referred to, but it is a story about fish. Jim Foster, student of fish affairs, vouches for its authenticity.

Jim has a collection of big live fish in a small aquarium in a down-town restaurant and for 12 hours every night he watches them perform.

“The fish are very affectionate,” declared the fish student. “They are good-tempered and kind toward one another. See those two largest fish? They are ‘married,’ I guess, or else in love with each other. They always kiss each other’s mouths. The female of the two never puts her cold fins on the male one’s back. And in the morning—say, it’s amusing to watch them yarn and stretch themselves.”—Detroit Free Press.

From— Bogalusa enterprise. (Bogalusa, La.), 27 May 1915., The Bemidji daily pioneer. (Bemidji, Minn.), 28 June 1913., The public ledger. (Maysville, Ky.), 13 Nov. 1916., The Evening statesman. (Walla Walla, Wash.), 05 April 1905. & Rogue River courier. (Grants Pass, Or.), 21 March 1918. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



Some extraordinary reports.
NEW RACE OF GIANTS. (August 5, 1899.)
Monsters of Humanity In the South Polar Regions.

Some papers are exploiting photographs of a race of giants said to have been discovered by Dr. Frederick A. Cook, who has just returned from an exploring expedition to the south polar regions. The existence of such a race has always been denied by scientists, but Dr. Cook, it is said, has not only seen and talked with them, but brings back photographs to prove beyond argument that the biggest race of human beings in the world is to be found in the frozen south. The monstrous forms of both the men and women are clad in furs. The men arm themselves with bows and arrows and wooden clubs. Their strength and endurance are remarkable. The men can outrun any horse on a long stretch. They can cover 50 miles in a few hours. To see a company of these wild men crossing a plain is like watching a herd of antelope skim over the ground. Only their upright position, with their scanty goats’ skins flying in the wind and the flourish of their clubs and bows and arrows, shows that they are men instead of belonging to the lower animals. Dr. Cook is going to write a full scientific account of these people.

* * *
PIANO PLAYED BY “GHOSTS.” (May 22, 1909)
Watchmen Frightened from Supposed Treasure Building, Where Woman Was Burned to Death.

St. Paul, Minn.—The house in Forest street where Mrs. Anna Post, an aged recluse, was burned to death, is supposed to be haunted, and the watchmen who have guarded the house every night since the death of the woman, in the belief that a fortune is hidden somewhere in the ruins, have all been frightened away.

Early the other morning the third watchman who ventured to guard the place heard a noise coming from the partly burned piano, and sought protection from Policeman Swenson and Shook, who were on their way home.

The watchman was terrified, and told the policemen that he distinctly heard the sound of a funeral dirge played on the piano. He was assured that it was imagination on his part, but he could not be persuaded that the house was not haunted, and he resigned his job then and there, leaving the premises to the mercy of the “spooks.”

Since the death of Mrs. Post bet relatives have had the house guarded at night and during the day the ruins are searched for gold supposed to have been left by the old woman, but so far none has been unearthed. Last week the watchman was frightened away by noises that he asserted he heard in the house, and the other watchman was frightened in a similar wanner.

* * *
HORSESHOE IN PINE TREE. (August 18, 1911)

Milton, Ind.—In the heart of a pine tree 18 inches in diameter a horseshoe was found by M. E. Hubbell when he cut the tree down. The position of the horseshoe indicates that it was placed around the tree many years ago when it was a sapling and in time had been covered by the growth of the wood.

* * *
PYTHON EATS ALLIGATOR. (December 14, 1901)
Big Reptile at Central Park, New York, Makes Morning Meal of Captive Companion.

The largest of the three pythons in the Central park menagerie at New York felt hungry early the other morning. Uncoiling itself from around the top of the tree trunk in its cage in the monkey-house, it crawled over toward the tank of water, where three young alligators were lying asleep, and swallowed the largest one, which measured two feet eight inches. The snake was eight feet long. The swallowing process is supposed to have taken about an hour.

Jake Cook, the keeper of the monkey-house, entered the building as the snake was completing its meal. He reached the cage in time to see the alligator’s tail twitching as it disappeared from view. The keeper knew that he could not rescue the victim without damage to the python, and pythons are more valuable than alligators, so he notified Superintendent Smith of the menagerie. Smith ordered the other two alligators taken from the cage, lest the snake swallow them also. The python evidently did not consider one alligator sufficient for a meal, for he slid into the water tank at frequent intervals and searched about for the others he had previously seen there. When the snake stretched itself on the floor there was an apparent bulge in its middle, and the outlines of the alligator could be seen plainly.

Superintendent Smith said that the python would have its strange meal digested in about a week without any bad consequences. He was surprised at its conduct, as the two species of reptiles live in peace with each other in a wild state, and that was why he had put them in the same cage.

* * *

Oakley, Kan., Feb. 3.—In the blizzard of the last 48 hours the greatest damage was done by the Russian thistle, more commonly known as the “tumble weed.” The weeds, which are about the size of a half bushel measure, and almost round, blew over the prairies by the millions. In some cases they even stalled trains by piling in cuts.

Near Oberlin a touring car belonging to the Miller real estate firm, of Elden, caught fire while trying to force its way through Russian thistles and was completely destroyed, the occupants narrowly escaping being burned to death.

Russian thistles by the millions were hurled before the winds and orchards are packed full, yards and fences hidden, alleys and sidewalks blocked and in instances the weeds are piled so high about the houses that only by using pitchforks can occupants clear a way through them.

From— Akron daily Democrat. (Akron, Ohio), 05 Aug. 1899., Charlevoix county herald. (East Jordan, Mich.), 22 May 1909., The Holbrook news. (Holbrook, Navajo County [Ariz.]), 18 Aug. 1911., The Washington bee. volume (Washington, D.C.), 14 Dec. 1901. & The Mitchell capital. (Mitchell, Dakota [S.D.]), 04 Feb. 1909. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



A real marvel of a mermaid found.

Extract of a Letter, dated Ardshcal, Argyleshire, 12th Sept. (14 miles from Fort William). Our curiosity has been greatly excited by the appearance of a Mermaid on this coast. I dare say, you will give an incredulous smile, but many we have had such distinct accounts of it, from different people, that we can have no doubt of the fact, though we are all very anxious, you, may be sure, to have occular demonstration. —The last time she was seen is nearly a, fortnight ago ; since that the weather has been very stormy. When it settles, we may have a chance of seeing, or at least having more accounts, of this strange animal, which I hope has not left our shores. It is some time since she was first seen very early one morning, by a lad, lying on the shore at a Ardsheal. He was at a considerable distance, and thought it was some person hiding himself in the sea weed, with an intention of frightening him, but on coming nearer he saw that though the upper part was like a human being, the lower part was like an immense fish. He was so frightened that he ran off ; and, when he mentioned what he had seen, people only laughed at him, and thought no more about it.

Near a month afterwards, some children were gathering blae berries, on the top of a rock immediately above the sea, about a mile further down than Ardsheal ; they thought they saw a woman drowning, and trying to get on the rock ; some of them ran home to tell, and the rest staid to see what would become of the woman as they thought ; but, on looking more attentively, they discovered that it was not a human being ; they gave a very distinct account of what they saw. The upper part was exactly like a woman ; the skin appeared very white and a good deal of colour in the cheeks, and very long darkish looking hair ; the arms were very well, proportioned above, but tapered very much towards the hands, which were no larger than a child’s of eight or ten years old ; the tail was like an immense large cuddy fish or scith, in colour and shape.—By the time the people of the farm came, it was about a gun-shot from the shore, sitting quite upright on the water. One of the men proposed, to shoot her ; but the rest opposed this, so he did not do it ; he whistled, an which she turned round, but did not go away ; she remained in sight above two hours, at times making a hissing noise, like a goose. When she disappeared, she laid herself very gently down on the water, and swam away, the head only appearing above the water. She was seen a little distance from shore twice after this, always early in the morning and when the sea was calm.

* * *
AN ERRESBEG MERMAID. (January 14, 1820)

Mermaid.—Naturalists have hitherto doubted of the existence of and Mermen; we have it now in our power to set at rest the doubts of sceptics upon this duplex order of animals, one having been lately discovered basking upon the rocks of Derrygimla, in Erresbeg (Ireland), after the ebbing of the tide.

It was discovered by a female of the lower order, who was then about four months pregnant ; she was suddenly startled by a kind of scream, which was followed by the plunging of an animal half female and half fish, her lower extremities having the conformation of a dolphin. This woman was so terrified, as to miscarry. The tide being out, the animal had some difficulty in reaching the water. A gentleman just arrived upon the coast in time to witness her last plunges; having gained the water, she dissappered for a few moments, but again appeared perfectly composed. He now had a favourable opportunity of examing this so long doubted genus—it was about the size of a well grown child of ten years of age; a bosom prominent as a girl of sixteen ; a profusion of long dark brown hair ; full dark eyes, hands and arms formed like the human species, with a slight web connecting the upper part of the fingers, which were frequently employed in throwing back her flowing locks, and running there through her hair ; her movements in the water seemed principally directed by the finny extremity ; for near an hour she remained in apparent tranquility, in view of upwards of three hundred persons, until a musket was leveled at her, which having flashed in the pan, she immediately dived and was not afterwards seen. She did not appear to him to possess the power of speech ; for her looks appeared vacant and there was an evident want of intelligence.

It is extremely probable at the time she was first discovered, she was in search of some place to deposit her young. Several depositions upon oath were made as to this animal’s appearance.

From— Java government gazette. 28 July 1815. & De Curagaosche courant. 14 Jan 1820. Provided by KB (Koninklijke Bibliotheek). The European Library. Conference of European National Librarians (CENL).


A NOVEL FLYING MACHINE. (March 15, 1896)

A steampunk marvel if I ever saw one! DAVID B. JAMES of this City writes THE CALL as follows regarding a new device for navigating the air: In your Sunday edition, March 1, appears, under the heading of “Human Flight,” an article contributed by Otto Lilienthall, embodying his ideas of muscular flying. I will not discuss the practicability of his theory, or the absurd idea advanced and published of the great inventor Edison, of building ships and inflate the sails with gas, and sail through the air the same as if they were on the ocean.

Man has wanted to fly ever since he knew the birds navigated the air, and many minds have given the subject great study. So far none have solved the problem farther than to go up in a balloon. We all know that flying is not impossible, that it is demonstrated by the flight of a thousand different kinds of birds and insects that employ only mechanical means to overcome the action of gravitation. They simply understand how to do it.

Inventors so far have not got on to the lines that promise success, and have made but little advance beyond the balloon.

The day will surely arrive when the air will be navigable by aerial machines as safely as carriages are drawn through the streets, but inventors will have to discard the fine of steam and electricity for a motive power, as they both involve too much weight to be employed as practical agents, and must investigate other fields for motors that will be adapted for the purpose.

A rocket soars into the air to a great height and with great force. What does it? It is simply the combustion of the material used turned into gas as it is forced out of the tube as it is created, and the expansion creates an impact against the atmosphere while the rocket is speeded by a continuous recoil until the explosives are consumed. I suppose nearly every one is aware that rockets are employed in carrying lines from distressed ships to the shore, and from the shore to ships. Thinking over this, it has occurred to my mind that gas exploded in a chamber and discharged out of a bell-mouthed tube again the atmosphere would propel the vessel in proportion to the amount of gas used at each explosion and the surface of the atmosphere covered by the mouth of the discharging tube. We also know what great force is exerted to expel a cannon ball of a ton weight for miles from a cannon; it is simply the combustion of the powder into gas, and this same force will drive balls through plates of steel a foot thick. The power is there, if it can be controlled and harnessed.

My idea for an aerial machine is to have a cigar-shaped cylinder with folding aeroplanes on each side of it fastened to the car that would cover a large surface and open immediately, like parachutes, to prevent a too rapid descent and also a rudder on the forward end of the car and the exploding chamber and tube on the other, as per sketches of side and end views. No matter how fast the machine was going through the air it could not create any vacuum and as it were there would always be air for the gas to operate upon as a fulcrum.

I submit this idea for such men as Maxim and others that are experimenting in this field to think over.

From— The San Francisco call. (San Francisco [Calif.]), 15 March 1896. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



A honest-to-goodness sea monster!




Has a Bulldog’s Head, a Tiger’s Fangs, a Snake’s Body, a Fish’s Fins and a Pugilist’s Neck.

That the West is rapidly assuming many of the sacred prerogatives of the East was clearly demonstrated the other day by the news from Tacoma, Wn., that there had been captured in Hood’s Canal, Puget Sound, two sea serpents.

Heretofore the East has monopolized the sea serpent industry, but in its bravest days it never ventured the claim of having seen two sea serpents at the one time, let alone capturing them. In fact, heretofore the East contented itself by thrilling reports’ from time to time by its sea captains, of the magnitude of the sea serpents which had been sighted. Sometimes these sea serpents were only sixty feet long, and again they reached the stupendous length of 600 feet. One captain of an excursion barge which was kept out all night in Long Island Sound, so that the manager of the bar on board could sell all of his beer to the thirsty passengers, reported passing a sea serpent 1,000 feet long, and some of the passengers were quite sure it was 2,000 feet long. It is necessary to state that this sea serpent was sighted after every drop of beer and whisky on board had been consumed.

The Tacoma sea serpents, as far as length go, are very mild in comparison with their Eastern brothers and sisters. One measured ten feet and the other eight feet. This, of course, is disappointing, but their capture proves beyond all peradventure that sea serpents actually exist. A number of scientists have examined them without being able to classify them. One of the sea serpents was killed during the capture, but the other, a female, was alive and well at last accounts.


She is not a pretty creature by any means. She has a head like a big bulldog and an extraordinarily thick and long neck measuring about twenty-six inches in circumference. Her body is like that of a huge rattlesnake, striped and spotted and tapering to a point at the tail. A colossal fin runs the entire length of the vertebrae, and a similar fin underneath runs along the stomach to the tail. She has great fangs like those of a tiger and heavy molar teeth. Behind the gills are inside fins, and but for these she would never be recognized as bearing any kinship to the fish family.

If this sea serpent had not been captured the fishermen who first saw it would doubtless be classed with what is generally termed the grand army of sea serpent liars. When the news of its capture reaches all parts of the world it will doubtless cause something of a sensation, as scientists have fought and wrangled over what is called the sea serpent myth for many years. Yet on the books of the United States and British navies are many records furnished by captains of warships of sea serpents which had been seen. Furthermore, it is known, for instance, that monsters exactly corresponding with the descriptions of the sea-serpent by people who claim to have seen it existed in, past ages. In the museum of Yale College are the skeletons of many of these creatures, dug out of rocks and from the beds of dried-up seas, where they had reposed for ages.


Geologists all know that certain strata are almost certain to disclose the skeletons of great sea monsters, hundreds of feet in length, which in far remote ages swam the oceans of the world and bred numerously. The vertebrae, the ribs, the skull, the jaws of these sea serpents of a bygone age are as well known to scientists as the bones of the megatharium and the mastodon. Coming upon such bones or traces of them in rock formation, the scientist classifies them instantly, knowing that they are the remains of the sea serpent.


One of these antediluvian sea serpents had a neck at least fifty feet long, according to the scientists of the British Museum, where the skeleton of such a specimen is to be seen. It had a large head, with immense eyes, and it swam through the water something like a giant snake.

Judging from the records on the subject the sea serpent was more plentiful a century ago than he is to-day. For instance: Captain Laurence de Ferry made oath before a magistrate in 1746 that he had chased a sea serpent with a crew of sailors in a rowboat, but that the monster escaped. The captain described the creature as a formidable specimen, fully 600 feet long, whose coils above water looked like a row of hogs-heads. It had the head of a horse, with a sort of mane, and it was gray or brown in color.

Eleazer Crabtree, “a man of unimpeachable veracity,” who dwelt on Fox Island, in Penobscot Bay, in 1778, said be saw a sea serpent 500 feet long. His description was very much like that of Captain de Ferry’s, and the monster he saw had a large black mouth. The same Crabtree saw another sea serpent near Mount Desert in 1793.


The adventure of Commodore Preble, U. S. N., when he gave chase to a sea serpent took place in 1779. He was then a midshipman, and when the sea serpent was sighted from the deck of the sloop of war he was placed in command of a boat manned by twelve seamen and sent in pursuit. The monster is said to have been 100 feet long and possessed of a large head. Its motion was so rapid that it could not be overtaken, but it was observed by the officers and men for over an hour.

Captain Little, U. S. N., swore that while in Penobscot Bay, in 1780, on board of a “public armed ship,” he saw a sea serpent at sunrise one morning. He had a boat lowered, and took the tiller himself, but before he could get near enough for the marines to shoot, the animal sank out of sight.

Abraham Cummings reported a sea serpent in Penobscot Bay in 1802, and another in 1808. In the same year the Rev. Mr. Maclean, a clergyman, of Eigg, sent a careful description of a sea serpent, with “a head somewhat broad,” that swam “with his head above water for about half a mile.” He described the creature as about eighty feet long.

In 1817 Captain Tappan, of the schooner Laura, and his whole crew told of seeing a sea serpent off Gloucester. They said it looked like a string of buoys, with a head like a serpent and a long tongue that stuck out of its mouth like a harpoon. Its motion was more rapid that that of a whale.


Several persons made affidavits in 1818 to having seen a sea monster off Cape Ann. In 1822 the sea serpent was reported from the fjords of Norway, and in 1831 it was seen off Portsmouth, N. H. In 1848 the British ship Daedalus, Captain McQuahae, encountered a sea serpent which was distinctly seen by many of the passengers and afterward described by them, with much care. The captain and passengers of the ship Silas Richards reported encountering a monster on June 7, 1826, in latitude 41 and longitude 67, and described the serpent as of a brownish color and seventy feet long.

Three Maine fishermen, “all reliable and God-fearing men,” sailed far out to sea one summer’s day in 1823 and came across a sea serpent basking near the surface. Two of the fishermen were so badly scared that they went below, leaving the third, a Mr. Gooch, to face the intruder. Mr. Gooch is authority for the statement that the boat passed within fifty feet of the serpent and that he had a good view of it. It raised its head and looked at Mr. Gooch, and then dived out of sight.

There were many kinds of sea serpents in that year. The steamship Connecticut reached port several days overdue, and explained the delay by saying that much time had been consumed in chasing sea serpents. The passengers and crew were unanimous in their description of the monster, which fled across the sea in spirals. The people on land became very much excited, and three days later the Connecticut put to sea with a hundred excusionists who wanted to get a glimpse of the snake.

Countless other instances could be cited in which mariners belonging to every nation on the globe made solemn, and in some cases sworn, statements of having seen sea serpents, but those already mentioned cover the ground quite fully. It can be seen that in every case the sea serpent escaped, although in some instances the monster was fired at by gun and cannon. Tacoma can justly be proud of the fishermen who made the capture, as the specimen should set at rest forever the disputes which have survived a century or more.

From— The Topeka state journal. (Topeka. Kan.). 01 Aug. 1896. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.


THE ASTRAL VISITOR. (September 26, 1913)

An excellent example of a campfire story. Hamlin Garland, Famous American Author and Psychic, to Support Sir Oliver Lodge’s Remarkable Declaration That His Life Exists After Death, Tells for First Time His Wonderful Experience With a Projection of the Astral—A Ghost That Melted in Plain Sight.

By Hamlin Garland, Famous American Author of “The Shadow World,” “The Tyranny of the Dark,” Etc.

One summer night, a few years ago, I went over to Staten Island from New York to visit a young lawyer and who had told me marvelous stories of the manifestations at private circles which he held regularly in his home every Sunday night at 8 o’clock.

His small apartment was in the second story of a frame house on a quiet street and the sitting took place in the little parlor. The “cabinet” was an alcove bedroom which was separated from the parlor by heavy draperies. The family consisted of his wife, her small daughter and her mother. One other visitor, a young Pole, and myself made up the “circle.”

I examined the bedroom and closet at the request of the wife and then took my seat beside the young Pole. The wife played softly on the piano. Under these conditions and while a kerosene light was burning brightly enough for one to perceive anything in the room, the psychic suddenly appeared looking very white and very intense and began to pace up and down before the curtains. At last I moved to the right of the portiers and stood gazing intently at the opening.

“Come out!” he commanded.

Noiselessly—like a puff of gray-blue vapor—a figure emerged and confronted us. Its head and shoulders were well defined, but the arms appeared to trail off into smoke-like veiling. Its eyes were indistinguishable, its chin vague, but it bowed several times in slow and solemn fashion!

Meanwhile I was studying the psychic who stood with a strained, distracted look on his face, his knees shaking. One hand was outstretched and clutching at the air as if he were making a supreme effort to hold the apparition till I should have time to study it. The other was at his heart as if to ease a pain.

Slowly he crept toward the wraith. Each second he seemed to bend, to grow weaker and the ghostly visitor turned toward him, became vaguer and more formless and then, as two drops of water do, they appeared to meet and mingle and the psychic fell like a log inside the curtain, but the heel of one foot remained visible.

The wife continued to play softly on the piano until at last the heel was withdrawn and my young host appeared looking pale and weak, but calm and mentally alert.

He told me that he had held the “materialized form” as long as he could; that he felt a “drawing out” of his vital force, through his solar-plexus and from his forehead.

“It is always hard to produce a form so far away,” he said.

Conditions were not as I would have made them for a test, but they were plain and simple and the sitting a courtesy on the part of a young man who earned his living by hard work in the office of a New York corporation.

I could not explain this projection of the astral then—nor can I now. It is one of the deep mysteries of my life.

From— The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 26 Sept. 1913. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.


THE SNAKE AND THE BICYCLE. (November 11, 1893)

An excellent tall tale of a snake.
Fearful Effects of the Bite of a Large Rattlesnake on a “Bike.”

To our ears there have come many wonderful rattlesnake stories, painted with the glowing colors of truthfulness. but never to our long experience has such a one as here related been reported.

It is an entirely modern snake story, and it relegates the old rusty tales out of sight. It truly belongs to the new era. It is a bicycle snake story—a regular safety, pneumatic tire snake story—a snake story that would make the hair rise on a tiger’s back and make Bill Nye turn green with envy.

But it is a true snake story and was related to us by a young gentleman who is good looking and truthful. While telling the adventure to us his soft black eyes dilated and his black mustache bristled.

“I took a ride on my bicycle,” said he, “on an embankment near Augusta. The sun was blazing down at a South African rate. Working on my trusty steed the way home, after a good long spin, suddenly my attention was drawn to an object, in the distance of immense proportions. Coming nearer I soon saw that it was a large rattlesnake.

“Return I could not, neither was I willing if I could, and I supposed that by this time the snake had ’discovered‘ me, for it lay sullenly in my path. As I approached nearer and nearer it coiled tighter and tighter for battle. On seeing this I of course formed my plan for action also. There was no escape, and as quick as lightning I rode over the rattler to rattle no more. His snakeship rebounded as if he were made of rubber.

“I glanced hastily over my shoulder and saw a disjointed mass. I then knew that I had killed the reptile. On arriving home I put my safety in its usual place.

“The next morning I wished to use it to take my usual exercise. On bringing it before the light I found the luster of the tubing faded away, and in its place there was a dark, dull, blue color overspreading my once magnificent and shining wheel. Since then the pneumatic tire has decayed so that I had to have it completely overhauled. The cause of the complete dilapidation of my prided wheel is that the snake in its rage sank its poisonous fangs in the tire, thus causing the poison to spread all over the cycle.

“On going back to the scene of the combat a fewdays later I found the dried bones of my antagonist and 24 large rattles, the snake measuring exactly 8 feet and ½ Inches.”—Millen Herald.

From— The Hawaiian star. (Honolulu [Oahu]), 11 Nov. 1893. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



Fish stories from those boyhood days.
* * *
A FARGO FISH STORY. (June 27, 1907)

Here's a Fargo fish story. A fish walked out of the river on four legs and bit a small boy in the leg, and then went back into the muddy Red. The fish is said to have had but one eye and in the center of the top of the head. This was published in the Fargo papers and is probably true.

* * *
JUST A FISH STORY. (July 31, 1908)

Forty years ago, when my father was Captain of an East India trading ship, while off the coast of Africa near the equator the ship’s carpenter was taken sick and died. He was sewed up in canvas, and with him were sewed his kit of tools and grindstone for ballast to sink him. Services were held and the body committed to the sea.

Four days later the ship’s boy fell overboard, and a great shark came up under the stern and swallowed the boy before he could be reached.

The next day the shark was still following the ship. A shark hook was baited and put over the stern, and the shark was caught, but was so large it could not be taken on board, and they were obliged to shoot him. He looked so plump and large the mate, who was an old whaler, wanted to go over the side and cut the fish open. He was lowered over and cut a hole in the shark and was surprised to hear voices and on looking in saw the ship’s boy turning the grindstone for the ship’s carpenter, who was sharpening his ax to cut their way out.

My father, who is eighty years old, can vouch for this that it is a fish story.—Boston Journal.

* * *
A FISH STORY FROM MAINE. (July 26, 1895)

A Lewiston man tells the most startling fish story. Four years ago he was fishing at Lake Auburn with a long silk line and a hook of his own manufacture. In the afternoon of one May day he hooked a monster salmon which came to the surface three or four times and then broke the line under the keel of the boat. One day last week he was up there fishing, and about five hundred yards south of the island hooked a salmon which he pulled in by the aid of a scoop net. Embedded in the lower jaw was his old hand-made hook.

* * *
BOY’S FISH STORY. (April 20, 1905)

In the little village of Woodville, Mass., lives a small boy, with a roguish eye, red cheeks and deep dimples, aged four years, and he answers to the name of Dana. He went into his aunt’s house one day and remarked:

‘I have been fishing.’

She looked up with surprise and said: “Did you put the worms on yourself.”

“No! I put them on the hook,” he instantly replied.

* * *

The heavy rains up State has caused the Santee to leave the channel and for the past few days, most of the swamp roads are impassible, the water acquiring a depth of some five or six feet in some places. Our good fisherman friend, Mr. Geo. Lesesne is reported catching the Carp with his pitch fork by the wagon load in the public road-several miles from the river. We heard this however and do not want any one to repeat it as it may be a fish story and little boys must not tell fish stories.

* * *
A BASS SLAPS A MAN’S FACE. (July 28, 1889)

Since a salmon trout leaped from Conesus lake and seized by the nose a boy who was riding in a boat, some years ago, no better fish story has been told in this vicinity than actually took place on the river above Black creek. John Harris, his son, and School Commissioner Moody were coming down in a canoe, when a black bass leaped from the water and struck the commissioner over the eye with sufficient force to raise a lump on his forehead. The fish tumbled into the boat, was captured, tried, and convicted of an aggravated assault.—Rochester Post-Express.

* * *
SOME FISH STORY! (April 19, 1915)

SOME FISH STORY! Connelisville, Pa. — Mrs. Thos. B. Erhard had hardly broken the record for several years by hooking a 14-inch trout when a boy at Jones Mill, nearby, cause one 22 inches in length.

* * *
A VERMONT FISH STORY. (November 14, 1874)

A charming little, fish story front Vermont: “A boy caught an immense pickerel which broke the line and disappeared. The boy fell into the water and sank to the bottom, whereupon his brother grabbed him by the hair and pulled him out, only to find the lost, pickerel firmly clasped in the boy’s arms.”

* * *
SOME FISH STORY. (June 25, 1915)

’Squire Thos. Hubbard, M. H. Hubbard and Wm. Scalf went to Browneys creek Saturday fishing and claim to be champion fishers. They report a catch by M. H. Hubbard of a yellow catfish that measured 3 feet and 8 inches and weighed 68 lbs. on an ordinary cotton line. 40 lbs of nice bass were also gathered in. They disposed of the large fish for $10 and came away with a smile on their face a yard long.

* * *

CONSIDERABLE FISH!—Below, says the Franklin (St. Mary) Journal, of the 22d, we give a letter from E. W. Fuller, Esq., describing a fish recently captured at his saw mill, Chicot Pass. Not being sufficiently conversant with the genealogy and character of the finny tribe to solve the question at the close of the communication, we give publicity to the letter, in order that some one more learned, upon the subject, may trace the genus of this remarkable fish, and enlighten the public in the premises. This is no fish story, but the facts, as given, are, positively so. Mr. Faller is a man of undoubted veracity, and a prominent citizen :

Mr. Editor—Dear sir : Yesterday my workmen hauled up into my saw mill a hollow log, in which we found a large fish, of the genus filibuster, judging from his equipments. It resembled both the alligator gar and shark, apparently being a cross between them, with the tushes of the gar and a tripple row of worked teeth. It.was about seven feet long, in girth measuring thirty-one inches, with as coat of mail similar to the gar. In his stomach we found three dollars and seventeen cents in small silver and copper coins—there being twenty-nine pieces—together with a good sized Bowie-knife and scabbard, and a revolving pistol with five barrels, all loaded and capped ready for instant service.

He appeared as farocious as a tiger, and would snap and bite at every thing in his reach. The power of his jaws was immense. He bit the end off from a piece of plank two inches thick by four wide. Altogether he was an ugly customer, which I would not fancy to meet in his own element. What kind of a fish was it?

Respectfully, yours,
May 10th, 1856.

* * *
AS YOU LIKE IT. (May 14, 1920)

Guy L. Dickinson, Zack Ralston, John Ruggles and A. M. Blue went fishing Saturday. Guy was sleeping the sleep of the just at 3.30 a. m. when he was roused by a thundering on the door of his domicile. He thought hard as to who might be anxious to ambush him, but finally got up and it was Blue, babbling of babbling water and fish. He got Guy up then repeated the cruelty on Ruggles, who thinks bed was meant to stay in at long as possible. Ralston was already a victim and away they went to fish. Blue got one large bass, said to exceed the weight limit of three pounds, weighed on its own scales to be sure. His friends are talking about a gold ring he found in the stomach, but it may be a fish story. We know fishermen. Blue says we should not listen to a bunch of alligators and he comes of good Methodist stock. He insists it is a gold brick and not a gold ring yarn and there you are.

From— The Ward County independent. (Minot, Ward County, N.D.), 27 June 1907., The McCook tribune. (McCook, Neb.), 31 July 1908., Hopkinsville Kentuckian. (Hopldnsville, Ky.j, 26 July 1895., Red River prospector. [Red River, Taos County, N.M.], 20 April 1905., The Manning times. [Manning, Clarendon County, S.C.], 30 July 1919., Wichita eagle. (Wichita, Kan.), 28 July 1889., The day book. (Chicago Ill.], 19 April 1915., The Caucasian. (Alexandria, La.), 14 Nov. 1874., Mountain advocate. (Barbourville, Ky.), 25 June 1915., New Orleans daily crescent. ([New Orleans, La.]), 26 May 1856. & Mountain advocate. (Barbourville, Ky.), 14 May 1920. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



Some extraordinary voyages.



Monster Catamount Is Lassoed and Dragged Half a Mile—Shows Fight When Captor Tries to Cut Its Throat.

Medora, N. D.—John Hinkins, cowboy, is in the hospital at the “Lazy L” ranch, 14 miles east of Sentinel Butte, in a badly used-up condition as a result of a strenuous encounter with a catamount. His face is badly clawed and across his chest is a deep gash made by the sharp nail’s of the animal. While his wounds are of a serious nature, it is expected that he will recover.

Hinkins had been sent to look up a remuda of horses that were needed for use in the spring roundup. He located their range near the Little Missouri, but for some time was unable to come up with the band, which seemed to be unusually wild. He followed them all of one day, and finally succeeded in rounding them up in a coulee a short distance from the river. Here he decided to camp for the night, intending to start the horses ranchward in the morning. Hinkins was aroused during the night by the wild neighing of the animals and started to investigate. He found the horses in a wild panic, the cause of which he soon discovered when he came upon the dead body of a young stallion on which crouched a large panther. Hinkins emptied his revolver at the animal, but if he succeeded in hitting it the bullets made no other impression than to make it snarl angrily and retreat slowly.

Hinkins did not pursue the chase, devoting his time to quieting the horses, but the next morning he decided; to follow the trail of the catamount and to have at least another shot at it.Early in the morning he mounted his horse and set out in pursuit of the panther, having little difficulty in following its trail, drops of blood indicating that some of the shots he had fired at it the night before had taken effect. Just at the edge of the wood he discovered the beast, in a crouching attitude. There was scarcely light enough to secure perfect aim with his revolver, and Hinkins decided to attempt to ”rope“ the panther. He swung his lariat and, being an expert with the rope, succeeded in landing the noose about the beast’s neck. Instantly he turned his horse, gave it a sharp dig with his spurs, and the pinto set off at a gallop down the trail dragging the panther at the end of the rope, despite its efforts to regain its feet. After dragging the beast half a mile or more Hinkins concluded that it had been choked to death. He stopped his horse, alighted and went back to cut the beast’s throat. The Panther, however, as soon as it felt the rope slacken, leaped to its feet, wild with rage, and made a bound in the direction of Wilkins. He fired shot after shot at it with his revolver, but was unable to stay its onslaught, and the beast sprang upon him, ripping his shirt to tatters and gashing his chest and face in a horrible manner.

Hinkins attempted to defend himself with his knife, but probably would have been killed had not the horse given a sudden tug on the rope, which had been attached to the saddle and pulled the catamount off of Hinkins. He quickly recharged his revolver and, while the horse kept the line taut, so that the beast could not again spring, Hinkins Succeeded in planting three bullets squarely in its forehead, bringing it to earth then fired half a dozen more shots at it before he was satisfied that it was dead. Hinkins was considerably weakened by loss of blood, but succeeded in roughly dressing his wounds and was able to reach the ranch house.

A party was organized to bring in the dead panther and the remuda of horses. The panther was of unusual size, its head being almost as large as a water pail. The animals have been rare in this part of the state tor several years, and the present specimen is supposed to come down from the mountains across the line in search of food.

* * *
BLACK RAIN. (April 12, 1900)

From time to time falls of black rain are reported in various parts of the world. The first case recorded was with reference to the fall that occurred at Grahamstown. In Ireland, and surrounding district. It extended over an area of no less than three hundred and sixty square miles. That was in 1888. Since then there have been reported several showers of inky substance, but these have been less pronounced in their sable character.

Other showers of black rain have been recorded in Ireland, one of which was felt over an area of four hundred square miles. No one seems to have microscopically examined the water that fell at Grahamstown, but it was noted that in a suitable vessel, and a black precipitate fell from it. In the later cases referred to the deposit was been carefully examined, was found to consist of microscopic organisms that averaged about the twelve-thousand-five-hundredth part of an inch in length, and which were identified with the same fungoid organisms that are responsible for blight in the plants which they infest, and subsequently for smut, mildew, and rust in wheat and barley. Humidity is known to contribute largely to the copious production of fungi, and during protracted drought the regions affected thereby will remain comparatively bare of fungi, but during the seasons of frequent rainfalls the productions of frequent rainfalls the production of a fungoid vegetation is largely increased.
* * *
THE WONDERBERRY. (February 3, 1909)

Mr. Luther Burbank, the plant Wizard of California, has originated a wonderful new plant which grows anywhere, in any soil or climate, and bears great quantities of luscious berries all the season. Plants are grown from seed, and it takes only three months to get them in bearing, and they may be grown and fruited all summer in the garden, or in pots during the winter. It is unquestionably the greatest Fruit Novelty ever known, and Mr. Burbank has made Mr. John Lewis Childs, of Moral Park, N. Y., the introducer. He says that Mr. Childs is one of the largest, best-known, fairest and most reliable Seedsman in America. Mr. Childs is advertising seed of the Wonderberry all over the world, and offering great inducements to Agents for taking orders for it. This berry is so line and valuable, and so easily grown anywhere, that everybody should get it at once.
* * *
A TRUTHFUL FUNERAL SERMON. (September 28, 1900)

A preacher at Ft. Scott, Kan., delivered a brief but truthful funeral sermon the other day. Here it is: “A word to you all. Post mortem praises are in the air. People kiss their dead who never stop to kiss their living. They hover over an open casket in hysterical sobs, but fail to throw their arms around their loved ones who are fighting the stern battles of life. A word of cheer to the struggling soul in life is worth more than all the roses of Christendom piling high over casket covers.”

* * *
DO QUEER STUNTS. (January 10, 1902)
Peculiar and Mysterious Things Happen in an Indiana Home.

Elkhart, Ind., Jan. 4.—According to Mr. and Mrs. James McCarthy of this city, several boarders and ten or twelve neighbors, some very peculiar and mysterious things happened at the McCarthy house, and for the want of a better explanation they ascribe the manifestations to some unnatural power possessed by thirteen-year-old Bessie Currier, the daughter of a woman who lives with a daughter-in-law, Mrs. William Currier, just south of this town.

The manifestations occurred only in the presence of the girl and ceased when, at 4 o’clock, the girl was sent away, going to her sister-in-law’s home.

Chairs Turned Over

on the floor; a stick of wood found its way to the center of a room twice; a joint of stovepipe came up the cellar stairs and stood in the room; plates rolled off the diningroom table; a sewing machine tipped over gently and rested on its side on the floor; a pail emptied its water three times; the clothes line broke three times and further efforts to fix it were abandoned; a lamp chimney floated from its place on the lamp to a bed and the lamp followed, and various other things equally as puzzling happened, according to the apparently sincere statements of the witnesses mentioned.

Bessie Currier had been with the McCarthys about a week, and nothing unusual occurred until after Mrs. McCarthy.

Had Angered the Child

by mildly reproving her for shirking her work. The girl denies responsibility for the unnatural antics and declares her ignorance of the possession of any supernatural or abnormal power, declaring that she was scared herself at the manifestations and glad to be sent away. The girl is large for her age and has a strong, rugged appearance, evidently possessed of unusual vitality. Her complexion is fair, clear, with blonde hair and dark eyebrows and calm blue eyes.

All the statements made above were vouched for by half a dozen witnesses to whom your correspondent has talked. All who saw the strange happenings declare that they could not be deceived as to what occurred.

From— The Virginia enterprise. (Virginia. St. Louis County, Minn.], 18 May 1906., Iron County register. (Ironton, Iron County, Mo.), 12 April 1900., Barbour County index. (Medicine Lodge, Kan.), 03 Feb. 1909., The Hickman courier. (Hickman, Ky.), 28 Sept. 1900. & The pioneer express. (Pembina. Dakota [N.D.], 10 Jan. 1902. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.


MERMAID IN ST. LOUIS. (November 24, 1880)

Mermaid found and brought to St. Louis.
The Strange Creature, Half Woman and Half Fish, Now in St. Louis.

Mr. Chas. A. Doyle is a San Fanciscan, lately returned from Japan. He is registered at the Lindell Hotel from Yokohama, and in addition to the interest that attaches to him, owning to the strange country he hails from, he enjoys the further distinction of being known as the man with a “mermaid.” A Globe-Democrat reporter learned yesterday that Mr. Doyle not only enjoys the distinction mentioned, but really is the possessor of a genuine mermaid. The reporter hunted up Mr. Doyle and had a pleasant chat with him. He had been in Japan for several years and was greatly interested in the many modernizing influences at work in the Orient. Mr. Doyle, who is an art critic and collector, went into raptures over the richness of Japans’ art products, and this is just what was expected from him, as he is here with a large quantity of rare Japanese artisles, as curious as they are costly.

But these lost all interest to the reporter when a long deep glass cage, in the shape of an acquarium, was exhibited, which held the most curious and the rarest of all the objects in the collection. It was a wonderful looking thing, almost hideous to look upon, but possessing a powerful attraction for the beholder, owing to the queer amalgamation of species displayed in its formation. Those who have seen the old-time geography illustration, which has recently been used as a trademark for a certain patent hair restorative and which represents the mermaid rising from the sea and combing her long looks with one hand while in the other she holds a small looking-glass, can recall this picture and thereby form an idea of what the present monstrosity looks like, barring, however, the beauty, which is a distinguishing trait of the ideal mermaid. Mr. Doyle’s strange curiosity is half human, half fish. The head, chest, abdomen and arms are unmistakably human, but from the abdomen down the creature is a fish, scaly, finny and formed like the extremities of a dweller in the water. The arms are covered with scales to the wrist, and the backs of the small hands have the same scaly covering to the finger tips. The head is small as that of a baby, but is perfect in every detail; the forehead does not recede, but is high and straight and is of the class that indicates an unusual degree of intelligence. The eyes are soft, swimmy and lightless, as those of a fish; but the mouth, the ears, the nose, and in fact all the other features, are pronounced human, regular, clear cut, and as perfect as a beautiful woman’s face. A light covering of brown hair, several inches in length, and eyebrows of the same color, are the only hirsute of appendages. The spinal column is clearly seen running up to the base of the skull and falling down the back until it is lost in the fishy extremity. Ten ribs are easily counted upon the breast, and the mammalian female development fur feeding the young is readily discernible. The mermaid measures almost three feet from the crown of the head to the extremity of the candal fin, and is said to be larger than the only other specimen of the kind ever seen in this country. The other mermaid is now on exhibition in the New York Aquarium, and attracts a vast amount of attention from scientists as well as from the general public.

Mr. Doyle is very proud of his mermaid, and, although a great many attempts have been made to induce him to sell the curious creature, he has thus far refused to part with her. He says the monstrosity has been subjected to the closest scrutiny by scientists of the Pacific slope, all of whom have pronounced her the most wonderful natural phenomenon ever brought to their notice, and have concurred in declaring mermaids no longer myths. The curiosity was captured two years ago by three fishermen, near Urishaba, in the great island sea. They had seen her many times and had made many attempts to capture her, and succeeded in taking her after the most persistent efforts. When taken she was placed in the museum at Tokio and remained there for a year and a-half. She had been heard by the fishermen to sing a peculiar song while on the rocks, but never spoke, except to feebly try to articulate after her capture. She was fed on a peculiar sea-weed, the secret of which is known only to the Japaneses, and thrived under the great care taken of her. Mr. Doyle purchased her from the authorities of Tokio at the extravagant figure of 5,000 sats, or dollars. The purchase was made to satisfy a sudden desire to possess the strange creature, and Mr. Doyle does not know what special advantage he enjoys in being one of the very few men who own a mermaid.—St. Louis Globe-Democrat.

From— The Lexington dispatch, volume (None), 24 Nov. 1880. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



Steampunk bicycles and x-ray machines.
* * *

There is a likelihood that the problem of rapid transit has been solved by Hiram Mikerson of Stoughton, Mass. He has invented an apparatus that he calls the “aerial bicycle,” although it travels on a rail.

The rail for this apparatus is on a post that curves outward several feet at the top, and the rider sails along beneath the rail. Two wheels run on the rail. They are connected by a tiepiece, to which is fastened a framework that extends downward.

At the end of this framework is a propelling mechanism, seat and handle being very much like the ordinary bicycle. The pedals are driven in the ordinary way, and power is communicated to the wheels above by an endless chain that passes along the framework and over one of the hubs.

Such a railway should be very cheap to build, and it has the advantage of not taking up any ground to spent of, as crops can be grown between the posts. Considerable speed ought to be developed with very little power.

* * *

The following simple and inexpensive device for the production of X rays is described in the Scientific American of June 11, from which we also copy the accompanying illustration:

“The expense of special Crookes tubes, powerful coils and batteries has deterred many from entering this interesting field of experiment; but R. McNeil of this city has recently devised apparatus in which an ordinary incandescent lamp is substituted for the Crookes tube, and an induction-coil of common form is made to supply electricity of sufficiently high potential to produce the X-ray phenomena.

“The lamp, which is a 52-volt, 16-candle-power Sawyer-Man lamp, is made of German or lime glass. For convenience, it is mounted in an insulating standard. The top of the lamp is covered with aluminum foil, which is connected with one terminal of the secondary of the induction coil, and then the bottom is connected with the other terminal of the secondary, is shown. The X ray proceeds from the cathode. By means of the fluoroscope the shadows of the bones of the hands and feet, also of the limbs, may be seen when they are placed between the instrument and the lamp.

“It has been found in this experiment that when a blue fog appears in the lamp the vacuum is too low for the best results. By placing the lamp in the house circuit for fifteen or thirty minutes the high vacuum is restored by the heat and will remain good for about fifteen minutes.

“The coil is capable of giving a three-inch spark, and the X ray produced by this simple and inexpensive apparatus is sufficient for making radiographs.”

* * *

An ingenious device for testing the purity of the air in workshops and other crowded places is on exhibition at Zurich. A closed vessel tilled with a chemical solution, sensitive to carbonic acid gas, sends out a drop through a glass siphon every two minutes; the drop soaks through a cord hanging vertically from the end of the siphon. If the air is very bad the drop changes its natural color, red, to white at once, at the upper end of the cord. It keeps its color along the cord in proportion to the purity of the air, not changing at all if the air is perfectly pure. A graduated scale fixed to the cord marks the degree of impurity.

From— The San Francisco call. (San Francisco (Calif.]), 09 Aug. 1896. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.


THE LAST OF THE MOAS. (April 8, 1893)

Has the moas survived?

(Living Moas Discovered in the Wilds of New Zealand.)

Museum Managers and Showmen Have a New Object in Life.

A despatch from Berlin a few days ago stated that the Ornithological Society had discovered in the north island of New Zealand a living species of bird twice as large as the ostrich, and supposed hitherto to be extinct.

If the German scientist has really caught his bird the discovery is the most remarkable in natural history, and his prize is a much greater attraction than Barnum’s white elephant or any other animal that the most enterprising circus manager over exhibited to a curious audience. In short, this bird is the moa, which has interested ornithologists since white people first entered New Zealand. When the British settled in New Zealand they found numerous skeletons of a gigantic bird of the ostrich family. As the skeletons indicated, it was from twelve to sixteen feet high. Professor Owen made a study of forty-seven almost perfect specimens sent to England by Mr. Williams, a missionary, who had them taken from the banks and beds of rivers, where they were buried only slightly in the mud and evidently within recent times.

The interest of the European investigations was further excited by the tales that New Zealand natives told of the gigantic bird. The scientists named it the dinornus gigantcus, but the Maoris called it the moa, and the native name prevailed. The Maoris said that the bird was alive in New Zealand not many generations ago, and their tribal lore contained many accounts of encounters with this enormous ostrich. There were legends of daring moa hunters, and some of the natives asserted that a few of the great birds still existed in lonely and almost inaccessible parts of the New Zealand Mountains. Thus everything pointed to the fact that the bird was not confined to some former geological era, but had existed until a comparatively late period. This theory received further confirmation from the fact that the Maoris themselves had been in New Zealand only a few centuries.

According to their undoubted legends these Maoris were originally natives of Samoa. Their ancestors, cruising around in canoes, had been blown many hundred miles away to New Zealand in the thirteenth or fourteenth century of the Christian era. The island being uninhabited before they arrived, the great bird could have flourished there unmolested for ages. The Maoris slaughtered the birds in great numbers. The moa was not dangerous unless wounded or infuriated by the hunters, being similar in temper, as in form, to the ostrich. The moa captivated Professor Owen’s imagination. He pictured it the lord of the great Polynesian Islands of New Zealand, and ruling all its animals, until the human animal, with his superior intelligence, came. According to Prof. Owen’s theories, deduced from his studies of the skeletons, the moa was heavier and bulkier in proportion to its height than the ostrich, but less swift of foot. The shape of its skull indicated an affinity to the dodo, with a lower cerebral development, and consequently with greater stupidity. Thus this heavy, stupid bird became comparatively easy prey to the Maori hunters, who are the boldest and most vigorous type of the modern barbarian [seriously?], a few hundred of them holding 10,000 perfectly armed, equipped and well-officered British troops at bay for more than two years.

Some such discovery as this German scientist is reported to have made is not unexpected. Scientists have been inclined to believe the Maori stories, and of them have held that the living bird would be discovered yet in the wild interior of New Zealand.

So far as can be ascertained, there were two distinct species of these birds. One habitat the North Island of New Zealand and the other was a native of the South or Middle Island. The South Island bird was the largest and stood sixteen feet in height. Prof. Owen, on account of its size, called it the elephantopus. It was extraordinary for the massive strength of its limbs, breadth and bulk as well as height.

This story of the moa finds its parallel in the North American continent. Many persons have seen the skeleton of the mammoth in the museumset natural history. It is generally believed that the huge beast became extinct thousands of years ago.

Far up in Alaska, almost to the coast of the Arctic Ocean, the Indians say that a herd of the mammoths still exist. The story is repeated with such persistency and with such an air of sincerity that some people believe that it is not a mere hunter’s tale. About a mouth ago this report was brought in again by Indian hunters to one of the Alaskan trading posts. They claimed that they had seen the mammoths running along the desolate shores of the Arctic Ocean. Their description of the animals tallied exactly with the mammoths of the museums.

Perhaps the ordinary American citizen may some day look upon the living moa and the living mammoth.

From— The evening world. (New York, N.Y.), 08 April 1893. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



A great campfire story for a cold night. There is in Parkville, L. I., an old house whose timbers once formed part of the notorious “Home of Blazes,” the scene of many murders and affrays of lesser import on Thirteenth street, New York. When the “House of Blazes” was demolished, many years ago, its material was taken to the Flatlands road and made into another house. The house was occupied for the past seven years by a John Moran, his wife and three children. During their tenancy there were queer rumors about the house, believed to be mainly because of its timbers. About a year ago Mr. Moran moved out, and Mr. Reisner, his wife and an 18-year-old son moved in.

Two nights after the son was awakened and saw a ball of fire flying about the room. It vanished as it came, and he thought it was an optical delusion. The next night he saw a ring of fire and then grew frightened. A few nights after this he was treated to a much more startling appearance. Shortly after retiring he was awakened by the presence in the room of a man whom he described as very dark in complexion and wearing a dark peajacket as his principal article of clothing. This figure danced around the room and grinned and gloated over the terrified boy until the latter screamed out in terror and brought his mother into the room just in time to see the figure vanish, as they both declare, into thin air. Next night Mrs. Reisner saw the figure in her room, but Mr. Reisner, who was with her, did not and laughed at her fears.

Saturday night he was convinced that there was something wrong, for approaching the house after dark he saw a figure dancing in front of him, which vanished when he hurried toward it and raising, about midnight he was struck across the face with a hand so hard that the prints of four fingers were left there.

This settled the question. The Reisners left the house incontinently, carrying their clothes with them, and dressing in the open air. They refused to re-enter the house and moved Monday. The house is now vacant, except as to balls of fire and mysterious figures which the neighbors declare can be seen there nightly. No one has been brave enough to solve the mystery.

From— The Wahpeton times. (Wahpeton, Richland County, Dakota [N.D.]), 16 May 1889. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



A giant tall tale
Mr. Sanscript Tells Another Story.

‘Speaking of big men,’ said Sanscript, laying down the newspaper and wiping the dew from his spectacles with the table-cloth, ‘speaking of big men reminds me of the time I was in California—

‘John,’ interrupted Mrs. Sanscript, ‘are you getting ready to tell one of your big California lies again?

‘No, madam, I’m getting ready to tell about a big California boy—the biggest fellow ever was born.’ ‘Was he born so, John?’ inquired Mrs. Sauscript, innocently, for she saw the old man was into another whopper, and she made up her mind she’d encourage him once, and see how far his elastic mind would extend without bursting.

‘Born so big? Bless you! no. He was born just like any other baby—no bigger than a kitten, with a red face and a bald head. But he growed after he was born. Everything grows out in California, and keeps on growing and growing till the limit is stretched.

‘Just like your stories’ thought Mrs. Sanscript.

‘But,’ continued John, ‘this man I'm talking about beat everything in California growing. The big trees were discounted. His parents had to piece his crib before the child was eight months old. One day he went to school, and when he got back in the evening the door was too little—he couldn’t get in.

‘Oh, John,’ exclaimed Mrs. Sanscript, throwing up both hands.

‘I know its hard to believe, wife; but I hope I may never die if it isn’t true. He lay down to sleep on the porch that night, and next day the old man busted the gable end out of the house and put up double doors like they have in a barn, just to accommodate his son.’

‘But, John, that couldn’t have done much good,’ suggested Mrs. Sanscript

‘ Why not?’ asked John, with a frightened look, fearing the old woman was about to corner him.

‘ Why that only let the boy in one room, and how could he get through into the reet of the house?

‘He couldn’t. One room had to do him, because the old man swore he’d see that brat banked up before he’d knock out the partitions, too.’

‘See the brat—what?’

‘See him banked up. Don’t you understand? Damned—banked up.’


‘Yes, sir; but the house failed at last.’

‘Failed, John.’

‘That is what I said. The young man outgrew the old family mansion! He woke up one morning and found the double doors too narrow to furnish his exit. No time was to be lost, It was a fine growing weather in spring, and the old man swore he wasn’t prepared to have his house split all to the divil by a growing boy, so he just knocked off the door-jambs to squeeze the youngster through.’

‘And then ?’ ‘Well, that’s the last time the young man of Calaveras ever got inside of a mansion this side the sky.’

‘This side the sky?’

‘That’s what I said. Don’t know about the mansions up there,’ said Sanscript, casting his eyes piously toward the attic.

‘ Why, John, did the poor dear boy die?

‘Did he die? Didn’t he though.’

‘But, John, how did the boy get clothes to fit him?

‘That brings me to my personal recollection of him. Let’s see,’ said John, looking into the fire with great steadiness. ‘I think it was in the fall of ’56—anyhow it was coming nigh onto winter. I was sitting into Joe Geiger’s tailor shop down in ’Frisco, talking over the prospects for a cold season, when a boy came in and said there was a man down on the Commons as big as a meetin’ house, who wanted to see Mr. Geiger right away. ‘Then why don’t he come and see me,’ said Geiger. ‘’Cause he can’t get through the streets without obstructing trade and delaying transportation,’ said the boy. That settled it. Geiger and me started right straight down to the Commons to see the big man.

‘A circus must have come to town,’ said Geiger, as we emerged on the Commons.

‘Why?’ asked I.

‘Because there is the tent,’ said he

‘Tent!’ said the boy who had followed us ; ‘that aint no tent ; that’s the man what wants to see you. He is sitting down now.’

Sure enough it was the big boy from Calaveras. He arose to receive us, and we stood looking up to him like rats looking at an elephant.

‘I want to get a suit of clothes,’ came rumbling down from the sky where his head was sticking.

Geiger fell back into my arms in a dead faint. While he was coming to I noticed that the big boy needed a suit rather bad. All he had on was several window curtains and table-cloths.

The first words Geiger gasped when he revived were:

‘He wants a snit of clothes.’

‘Have you anything that’ll fit me,’ asked the big boy.

That riled Geiger. He thought the fellow was making fun of him, and he yelled :

‘ Do you think I make clothes for the Sierras and keep ’em in stock?’

‘Then you must make me a suit, said the big boy.

‘Make you a suit,’ said Geiger; ‘why it would cost you about three thousand dollars, young man.

‘All right,’ said Calaveras; ‘I must have a suit of clothes; besides, my pa is rich.’

‘He won’t be, though, if you tackle a tailor very often,’ muttered Geiger.

‘Well, to make a long story short, a bargain was at last struck. Geiger was to make the suit; and the Calaverous youth was to pay one dollar a yard for the cloth, three dollars a day to the workmen while the suit was building, and all incidental expenses. He was to pay $1,000 cash, $1,000 in two years and the balance in three years, to be secured by a mortgage on his father’s farm.

‘Oh, John, arn’t you—’

‘Now, don’t be skeptical, wife, I might not have believed it myself if I hadn’t been there to see. Well, as I was saying—let’s see; what was I say-ing? Oh, yes. Well, Geiger he sent the boy right back to town with instructions to bring the surveyor, but—

‘The surveyor, John! What for?’

‘Why, to take the young man’s measure, of course. The tape measure method was clearly out of the question, and it would have taken too long to have scaflolded around the fellow as you would do in painting a church steeple. I, myself, suggested the surveyor as the best and quickest way of having it done. Well, the surveyor came with his tripod, compass, transit, sextant and such things. He stood Calaveras up a hundred yards away, and began to bear upon him with his transit, right and left, taking distances and marking angles. Geiger, who was noting it down in his order book, said it was the first time in his life he ever heard the measurer yell.

‘Ten feet, six inches.

‘Three yards, one foot.’

‘Two rods, twenty-four inches,’

‘It took almost half a day to make the survey, and the engineer said he guessed the suit would fit if he hadn’t strained his instrument in taking the distances. It was an instrument made for surveying ordinary town lots, and this was the first hard test it had been put to.

‘ Well, the suit was made, but the scaffold had to be built after all. It was a queer sight to see twenty tailors on scaffolds all around that young man, sewing away for six days. During the job scaffolding was changed fifty-three times. At last, when the job was finished and the scaffolding taken down, Geiger got mad and told Calaveras he had better take the lumber home, and next time get a carpenter to fence him instead of busting up a tailor.

‘Why, did it break Geiger up, John ?

‘Just the same thing. His stock was exhausted when the suit was done and he closed up shop.

‘He got his money, though, for the clothes?

‘Well, yes, but not without foreclosing the mortgage and forcing the old man Calaverous into bankruptcy. Then the old fellow swore he’d shoot his boy if he had a cannon handy.

‘No need, however.’


‘Because the lad died the next spring.’

‘Of what?’

‘He growed so fat one day that he split open like a roasted chestnut. That was the day when the greatest windstorm ever known on the Pacific Slope swept over California,

‘And John—’

‘Yes, dear.’

‘Was this young man a Christian?’

‘ He was born a Christian, but whether he outgrowed it I couldn’t say.

“Do you think he went to heaven?

‘No doubt of it—that is, he went there; but whether he got in is another question. I’ll bet St. Peter had to unlock the carriage-gate or lay down twenty panel of fence if the young man became an inmate of that country. When I go up there I shan’t be one bit surprised to find Calaveras’ spirit camping on the commons just outside the walls. Oh-a-yah,’ yawned John, guess I’ll go to bed.

‘Do, dear. You must be so tired,’ murmured Mrs. Sanscript.

From— The Democratic press. (Ravenna, O. [Ohio]), 12 Feb. 1880. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



Amazing fish stories.
GIGANTIC LOBSTER. (July 7, 1903)
Caught After a Protracted Struggle by Capt. Emery Gray, Off the Maine Coast.

This fish story is about a lobster, but it’s all right and its veracity is vouched for by Capt. Emery Gray, one of the most hardy and daring fishermen on the island of Vinalhaven, off the Maine coast. In fact, Capt. Gray is the hero of the story, or, at least, shares first honors with the lobster.

One morning, so the tale runs, the doughty captain was strolling along the shore near the mouth of Indian creek with a clam hoe in his hands, when he caught sight of a lobster claw protruding from the sand. The unusual side to this discovery was that the claw was about a hundred times larger than any whole crustacean the captain had ever encountered. Thinking it was but a lifeless relic of some species, belonging to ages agone, the captain gave the claw a sharp blow with the hoe.

It proved to belong to the very active present, however, and snapping its claw on the offending weapon. the lobster nearly wrenched it from Gray’s hand. The timely appearance of another fisherman enabled the captain to dig up the giant beast from its hole in the sand. Securing the lobster with heavy fishline, the men dragged it home, where it immediately became the center of a group of astonished natives. The lobster was fastened to a pile supporting a dock, but the following morning there was a pile missing; also the lobster, which had been named Hercules because of its immense size. A search soon revealed the crustacean’s whereabouts from the roily water caused by dragging the heavy pile, and he was recaptured after another fierce struggle in which the fishermen’s boat was nearly wrecked by the beast’s tremendous struggles. The animal died soon after being recaptured, however, not standing captivity well. A photographer secured the picture herewith presented, in which Capt. Gray is seen near by.

* * *
MINNESOTA FISH STORY. (August 23, 1904)
River So Jammed with Sturgeon the Boatmen Couldn’t Bow Against Them.

E. F. Crawford, a prominent attorney throughout the northern half of the state, who practices at Bemidji, met with the most thrilling experience of his life while coming up the Big Fork river in a canoe, says a Ripple (Minn.) correspondence in the St. Paul Dispatch. He saw the river filled from bank to bank with sturgeon, the big lake fish that at this time of year ascend streams from Rainy river to lay their spawn in shallow waters. Not only was the sight appalling, but on several occasions his boat was in danger of being crushed by the countless monsters.

In company with two rivermen, Mr. Crawford was paddling up river in great haste to reach Big Falls on the day of its being incorporated as a village, which matter was in his charge.

To reach the town, a canoe trip was necessary, as a log jam at the mouth of the river prevented steamboats from passing upward. The river is full of rafts at various points, and some of them are so strong that their boat had to be yarded over land along the banks. They came suddenly upon a splashing surface, which extended across the river and several hundred yards ahead. Here the slope was gentle and no such conditions were present as to hint that rapids should form at this point. The men were in the center of the river, but at once began to paddle their boat shoreward to avoid the rapids. Suddenly one of the boatmen cried:

“My God! This is not rapids, but a jam of fish!”

Mr. Crawford saw in startled amazement that they were, indeed, surrounded by big fish, some longer than a man. The sturgeon leaped and darted, showing the white gleam of their bellies, as they spurted along and churned the waters with head and tail. There were thousands of them, traveling up stream in a wedge shape, with a leader at the head. Except for a narrow streak on each side of the river, the fish wade the river look like a bed of rapids. By striking with their paddles, the men managed to clear a path to the bank without their canoe being crushed by the sportive monsters. Then, by dragging their canoe cautiously along the bank for half an hour, they got ahead of this school, which was swimming at the rate of about three miles an hour up stream. Later another school like the first was encountered. and still another, a although smaller. After that Mr. Crawford’s party passed straggling bunches of five or six.

* * *

W. C. May, of White Oak, while fishing in White Oak creek last week, ran his hand under a log when it accidentally found its way into the mouth of a large pike. Thinking he had found something good to eat, the fish at once proceeded to swallow Mr. May’s arm up to the elbow. Mr. May made desperate efforts to free himself from his finny foe but in vain, until he pulled his antagonist onto the bank and called in a friend to assist in extricating his arm from the vice-like grip of this gamest of game fish, whose long sharp teeth were buried deep into his biceps. The fish was a beautiful specimen of his species weighing twenty-three pounds, and the largest of his kind caught in that section during several years past. Mr. May’s injuries, while quite painful are not serious, and no danger is anticipated unless pytæmia should result.

* * *
A Shark Swims Away With All Its Internal Organs Removed.

Dr. Rhett Goode, the well-known surgeon of this city, tells a story which is certainly one of the most remarkable ever recorded. It is a fish story, but a true one.

The doctor, with Messrs. W. H. Barney, E. O. Zadek and W. C. Gellibrand was the guest of Captain J. W. Black, manager of the Sullivan Timber Company, on an excursion down the bay Wednesday, says the Mobile Register. The party reached Fort Morgan early in the morning and spent the day in fishing, enjoying excellent sport. Mr. Barney brought two shark lines and cast them early in the day, but not until afternoon, when the party was at dinner, did he get a bite. Then the fishermen pulled in two moderate-sized sharks, one about five feet long and the other about seven feet long. When the fish, after considerable excitement, were pulled up on the wharf, they were given their quietus with an ax.

Some time after it was suggested that Dr. Goode open the sharks and recover whatever gold watches, finger-rings, etc., their stomachs should be found to contain. The doctor opened the seven-footer and then plied the knife on the smaller shark. The story as he tells it is as follows:

“I made a straight incision and opened the body of the shark. I took out the stomach, the alimentary canel and the intestines, and, having examined the stomach, threw those organs over into the water. Having a curiosity to see how large a heart such a fish has, I cut into the diaphragm and extracted the heart. This organ, I found, was about the size of an egg—rather small, I thought, for so large a fish. The curious thing about it was that it continued to pulsate after I had taken it from the fish. It beat regularly for a minute or more, lying there in my hand. When it stopped beating I pricked it with the knife, and it again, pulsated for a short time. It was perfectly-empty of blood.

“Meantime the pilot and others pitched the seven-foot shark off the wharf, and it sank to the bottom. We could see it plainly through the clear water. They then took the smaller shark, all of whose internal organs I had removed and whose heart I held in my hand, and threw it into the water. You can judge of our surprise to see that shark swish its tail around and flap its fins from side to side, and then swim briskly away until it disappeared.”

“It went with the current?”

“Yes; but it was swimming. We all saw it as plainly as could be. The other shark sank like a shot; this one swam straight away as naturally as any fish.”

“Was the fish apparently dead when you cut it up?”

“Yes. It did not make a single move all the time I was cutting it. The way that dissected fish did beats anything I ever heard of or ever imagined. We could see it for twenty or thirty yards as it swam away. It made the pilots down there open their eyes, I assure you.”

From— Hopkinsville Kentuckian. (Hopkinsville, Ky.), 23 Aug. 1904., The Hazel Green herald. (Hazel Green, Wolfe County, Ky.), 14 June 1894., The Columbus commercial. (Columbus, Miss.), 07 July 1903. & The morning call. (San Francisco [Calif.]), 25 May 1891. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



extraordinary ecounters.
ON A STREET CAR. (March 10, 1909)

Denizen of Northern Forest Gives
Conductor and Motorman a Bad Fright.

Winnipeg, Man.—The idea of meeting a real, live, sure enough timber wolf within the limits of a full-grown city is rather a startling one, but in Winnipeg it is not uncommon. A recent visit from one of these sharks of the forest was noted in the society columns of local papers. A late street car was whirling along making up time on a suburban avenue running parallel to the famous Red River of the North when the motorman saw a gray streak flash to a position just between the two rails and stand there threateningly. He had just time to realize that the object was an unusually large, gaunt, gray timber wolf, with its neck ruff abristle, when the car struck it. The fender snapped down to the accompaniment of a terrifying howl of mixed fright and rage, and Tom Jones, the motorman, shouting to his conductor, turned on the power and yanked the reverse. Tho conductor and two passengers who were on the car rushed to the front door, the conductor with a heavy switch thrower in his hand, just as the car came to a standstill.

The moment the car stopped the big wolf sprang to the ground, bewildered and frightened. The motorman and the conductor slammed open the doors of the vestibule as the wolf leaped into the darkness and loped off toward the river bank. Jones pulled his gun and took a couple of pot shots for luck, and the “bone picker” was gone. A moment later, from the river bank, the men heard the long, quavering howl of the true timber wolf echo through the night. The great gray beast was making for the forest in the outlying parks over the snow-covered ice of the frozen Red.

Periodically Winnipeg receives a visit from one or more of these great wolves, driven into civilization from the north by the pangs of hunger. They cover great distances in single nights, following the river over the ice.

* * *
Hartford Insurance Man Has an Unusual Experience.

Hardford, Conn.—Though nobody ever accused William A. Moore, first vice-president of the Phoenix Mutual Life Insurance Company, of being a spiritualist or a member of any of those kindred cults, nevertheless Mr. Moore’s former incredulity is staggering under a remarkable psychological vision and a weird conversation which he thinks he had at the moment that his friend Richard P. Romaine, president and general manager of the Windsor Locks Paper Company, died recently. Mr. Moore is vainly seeking an explanation of the marvelous phenomenon.

Just before closing time Mr. Moore, having signed his mail, was dozing on a couch in his private office, when he was suddenly aware of a familiar voice calling appealingly: “Will! Will!”

“Who is it ?” he asked.

“It’s Romaine,” came the reply, in short accents. Bewildered, Mr. Moore shook himself together and searched his office, and then, bursting open the door into the main office, had the telephone operator hurry a call to the Romaine home. When he asked for Mrs. Romaine he was told that she could not answer just then; and he inquired how Mr. Romaine was getting along.

“He died about two minutes ago,” replied the maid. And now Mr. Moore wants an explanation as to how his life-long friend communicated with him at the moment of death.

* * *
Sailor’s Trying Experience with Shipwreck and Hunger Off Coast of Australia.

London.—A walk of 230 miles, the weathering of a cyclone on a bamboo raft and an existence of three weeks on turtle eggs and guanas are some of the experiences which recently befell Capt. Williams, in charge of the lugger Nebraska, which was lost on Green Hill island, 100 miles or there-about from Port Darwin, in the northern territory of Australia.

When the lugger broke up Capt. Williams swam to Green Hill island and then tried to make the mainland in a dingy which he was able to make seaworthy. He was caught in a squall and after drifting for three days was carried into the gulf and eventually landed on Feld island, off the mouth of the Alligator river.

This island is destitute of water, but some rain fell, and he eked out an existence for 12 days on the small supplies thus obtained and turtle eggs. Both turtles and alligators were numerous. He then re-embarked in the dingy and made his way into the mouth of the West Alligator river, but could find no fresh water. He obtained from the bark of trees sufficient liquid to sustain life until rain fell.

Abandoning the dingy he made his way up the east bank of the Wildman river, living on sweet potatoes and iguanas. His matches having been exhausted, he carried firesticks with him. He eventually crossed Wildman river and came out on what he thinks was Lake Finnis, where he found plenty of swamp turtles, iguanas and other native food.

On striking the Adelaide river Jungle, Williams saw plenty of buffalo. but his only weapon being a revolver he did not shoot any. He got down to the Adelaide river near what is known as Lawrie’s landing, where he built himself a raft of bamboo and crossed. He had not long gone south when a cyclone squall came on and blew the timber down all around him. He narrowly escaped death, but pluckily resumed his 230-mile walk till he reached Port Darwin.

* * *

Pikeville, August 13.—Corn stalks 18 feet 3 inches high are reported in Bledsoe county, growing in the local gardens on fertilized ground. A. K. Shoemate, a jeweler at Pikeville, who is also trying to suppress Old High Cost of Living by growing mammoth vegetables, has this size of cornstalk in his garden. What it is in altitude on the richer river bottoms has not been reported yet, but it is bound to be phenomenal.

* * *
New Yorker Learns How to Climb Tree Subconsciously in Record Time.

Three buck deer, a grizzly bear and mountain lion, the spoils of a ten-days’ hunt in the Monte Cristo region in north-eastern Utah, were brought into Salt Lake yesterday morning by George Humphries, Alfred McMillan and Frank Holt, all of Buffalo, N. Y. The three sportsmen have been the guests of James Schuppe at his ranch in the Monte Cristo range. Early Saturday morning they started overland from the region of their hunting expedition, traveling by wagon.

The grizzly bear is a monster. The day’s hunt, which ended in the bagging, of the big Rocky Mountain monarch, endangered the lives of all three men and their guide. They trailed big bruin for ten miles after finding his tracks in the snow near their camp and cornered him in a clump of brush at the top of Sugar Pine canyon, one of the wildest and most inaccessible spots in Utah.

At the first shot the monster bear charged. In the excitement Holt and Humphries lost their footholds as they scrambied for cover. The force of his rush took the bear right over and beyond Holt’s prostrate form, but before bruin could turn again Holt had reached the shelter of a big tree. He declares he has no recollection of climbing the tree, but his companions say that he reached the topmost branches before the bear had fairly turned around. Two well directed shots from the guns of McMillan and Schuppe, the guide, ended the combat.

All three men say game is very plentiful in the Monte Cristo Country. The mountain lion was bagged on the way to Salt Lake. He was killed in Beaver canyon on the western slope of the Monte Cristo range. The deer were killed in the Woodruff Park region, near the Wyoming line. From Salt Lake the men will ship their spoils to Buffalo, where the deer heads will be mounted and the hides of the bear and cougar made into rugs.

Innumerable will chickens were also brought in by the hunters.

From— Barbour County index. (Medicine Lodge, Kan.), 10 March 1909., Barbour County index. (Medicine Lodge, Kan.), 07 April 1909., Barbour County index. (Medicine Lodge, Kan.), 19 May 1909., Sequachee Valley news. (Sequachee (Sequatchiel, Tenn.), 16 Aug. 1917. & The Salt Lake herald-Republican. (Salt Lake City, Utah), 03 Nov. 1909. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



Mermaid found in the ocean deep.

Curious Beliefs Which Are Held About Mermen and Mermaids.

Stories Told of Them All Over the World—Seen by Early Navigators—Some Which Have Been Captured—Marriages Between Sea People and Human Beings—Water Sprites.

IN THE HEBRIDES SEA BEANS ARE supposed to be fairies’ eggs. Whether this is a correct belief or not it is certain that all peoples of the world living near the ocean have entertained faith that its waters were inhabited by human-like creatures more or less supernatural. Mermen and mermaids have figured in song and story from the most ancient times. Many of the accounts given respecting them are highly circumstantial. On one ocasion a Shetland fishermen saw a group of mermaids dancing on the strand. He ran and picked up the seal-skin belonging to one of them before she could secure it. Then she was at his mercy and was obliged to marry him. One of her children found the sealskin subsequently and showed it to her. She immediately put it on and escaped into the water, being afterward seen by her husband in the form of a seal.


Mermaids have been said to commonly appear in the form of seals while in the water, divesting themselves of the skins when they come on shore and assuming the aspect of beautiful girls. Sometimes they are of an amiable disposition, while on other occasions they are extremely mischievous. In Russia they are disposed to tickle bathers to death. Water sprites in that country are imagined to be the ghosts of still-born and unbaptised children or of drowned persons. They light the mysterious jack-o’-lantern. Sometimes they raise storms, and ordinarily they have much influence upon the luck of fishermen.

Columbus described three mermaids which he himself saw floating on the waves. Many other early navigators give similar accounts. In the writings of Hendrik Hudson that bold mariner says: “One of are company looking overboard saw a mermaid. She came close to the ship’s side, looking earnestly at the men. Soon after a sea came and overturned her. From the navel up her back and breasts were like a woman’s, her body as big as one of us, and long black hair hanging down behind. When she dived we saw her tail, which was like that of a porpoise, speckled like mackerel.” Undoubtedly these mermaids, beheld by old-time voyagers were dugongs and manatees. Seals and walrus seen by persons unfamiliar with those animals have given rise to many such tales.

Scoresby says that the front view of a young walrus without tusks resembles a human face so remarkably that it required very little stretch of the imagination to mistake the head reared above the water for that of a human being. The French call the manatee “sea woman.” and the dugong is named by the Dutch “little man.” Stories of mermaids singing or talking may have arisen from hearing the cries of seals, which resemble those of children somewhat.


In a learned report respecting a mermaid caught in Denmark, who was taught to knit. Dr. Kerschur describes the creature as having a pretty face, mild eyes a small nose, fingers joined by cartilage like a goose’s foot and breasts round and hard. He asserted that mermaids and mermen constitute a submarine population, which, partaking of the skill of the ape and the beaver, build grottoes of stone in places inaccessible to divers. In 1611 a sea woman was taken alive near the island of Boro. She was five feet long. After surviving four days she died, not having eaten anything. Her head was like that of a woman, the eyes light blue and the hair sea green. The upper parts of her body were almost as white as a woman’s, but the lower part was like the tail of fish.


It is related that in 1493 a mermaid swimming in the Zuyder Zee during a period of tempest and very high tides was carried through a hole in a broken dyke and could not find her way out again. She was captured and taken to the town of Edam, where she wan washed and cleansed from the sea moss which had grown about her. She then appeared like any woman of the land, adopting proper dress an partaking of ordinary food. She tried often to escape and to make her way to the water, but was closely guarded. People came from great distances to see her. Supposing this story to be true, the woman was either a fraud or a demented outcast. In the Faroe Islands it is believed that on every ninth night the seals cast off their skins, assume human forms and dance on the beach. But if they lose their sealskins in any way they cannot resume the shapes of seals.


Numerous instances are related of these people of the sea having carried off human beings, conveying them to their pearl-lined grottoes in the depths. Mermen have in this manner often obtained human girls for brides, while mermaids not infrequently seek to secure for husbands good-looking youths from dry land. Sometimes the individuals who are entrapped or seduced into taking up a submarine manner of life have found it much more enjoyable than their former terrestrial existence, but in a majority of the cases on record they have sought to escape sooner or later. In Denmark one day a merman enticed a maiden to the bottom of the ocean. She became his wife and bore him several children, but she always felt a longing to go up when she heard the bells in the steeple, of her native village. Finally her husband permitted her to go, on promise that she would return, but she never did come back, and his wails from the depths are often heard.


The Arabs believe that certain fishmen live on islands in the Indian ocean and eat drowned people. In a Japanese story a boy has his fish carried off by a large fish. A merman appears and sets him afloat in a basket, in which he sinks to the palace of the sea dragon, whose daughter he falls in love with and marries.

In the tale of the Lord of Dunkerron he encounters a mermaid.

“For a beautiful spirit of ocean, ’tis said.
The Lord of Dunkerron would win to his bed.
When by moonlight the waters were hushed to repose
The beautiful spirit of ocean arose.
Her hair, full of luster, just floated and fell
O’er her bosom, that heaved with a billowy swell.”


It is said that a mermaid asked a Scotchman who was reading the Bible if there was any comfort in the book for her. He replied that there was mercy for the sons and daughters of Adam, whereupon she screamed and disappeared. In the year 1619 two councillors of Christian IV of Denmark, while sailing between Norway and Sweden, discovered a merman swimming about with a bunch of grass on his head. They threw out a hook and line, baited with a slice of bacon, which the merman seized. Being caught, he threatened vengeance so loudly that he was thrown back into the sea. One extraordinary tale relates to a maiden who while on a voyage is seen and beloved by a merman. He bores a hole in the ship and transforms her into a serpent, thus enabling her to escape through the hole, after which he changes her into a mermaid and makes her his wife. In a Sicilian story a maiden treacherously thrown into the sea is carried off by a merman and chained to his tail. On one occasion a peasant is said to have chalked a cross upon a water sprite’s back, preventing him from going into his natural element until the cross was removed.

A Party of fishermen once found a lump of ice in the sea and gave it to St. Theobald, their bishop, to cool his gouty feet. He heard a voice inside and succeeded by saying thirty masses in liberating and saving the soul of the spirit within. Every lake, river and pond in Germany is inhabited by water spirits. Some are good and others bad. They often come ashore, when they may be known by the wet hem of their garments. Norwegian sailors believe in a mysterious water goblin who singes their hair while they are asleep, knots ropes and commits all sorts of absurdities. He is a small man, with fiery red hair and green teeth, dressed in yellow breeches, tall boots and a steeple-crowned hat. He often helps the sailors in their work, but to see him is certain death.

From— Evening star. (Washington, D.C.), 09 April 1892. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



Steampunk innovation permits a person to walk on water.

THE ambition to walk on the surface of water is probably as old as the desire of mankind to fly in the air. We have solved the latter problem, and recent invention at least approaches a solution of the former.

“Water skates,” as somebody has called them, in order to be satisfactory, must not be too cumbersome. A new invention, fairly acceptable in this respect, takes the form of a pair of lightweight aluminum cylinders, long, narrow, pointed at both ends, and covered with rubberized canvas. They are secured to the feet of the wearer by straps, but in such wise that in case of an upset he can readily detach himself. Beneath the cylinders are paddles, which are so hinged as to flatten when the leg moves forward, opening on the backward movement to give the requisite propulsion. The wearer has only to go through the ordinary motions of walking, and his “water skates” carry him ahead.

A modification of this invention employs, instead of the paddles above described, a small paddle wheel at the rear, which is operated not by leg movements, but by the feet.

From— Grand Forks herald. (Grand Forks, N.D.), 13 Feb. 1922. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



Curious cryptids indeed.
* * *
A FEROCIOUS MONSTER. (December 19, 1895)

Beeville, Dec 14.—John W. Cook, who is just back from a hunt in the upper part of this county, reports a remarkable experience with a wounded deer and some unknown and unseen monster wild animal, he had wounded a large fat doe which had made it to temporary escape into the brush near by. Mr. Cook followed it a short distance, when he heard it bleating and making a peculiar noise, as if in great agony.

He rushed into the thicket when to his astonishtnent some ferocious animal had pounced upon the dear and had badly mutilated its body. There were long and deep gashes back of the head, nearly all of one side had been torn away and its hips badly lacerated. As this was all done in only a few moments, he is curious to know what kind of a varment it could have been. He secured his game, however, and brought it into camp, but says he was somewhat neryous. He has lived on the frontier a number of years, but has never encountered so ferocious or bloodthirsty a creature before.

* * *
PYRAMID LAKE MONSTER. (March 23, 1883)

Pyramid Lake, Nevada, has a monster-like alligator or seal that devours trout by the wholesale. A hunt for him is to be organized.

* * *
MONSTER IN THE LAKE. (September 24, 1903)

Kensal News: Wright Marks and Plummer Purington went down to Airwood Lake last Monday night hunting ducks and had an adventure which they will long remember. The fact that both of them had their heads shaved a short time ago is all that saved their hair from turning gray. They had found a good place to lie down in the grass on the west side of the lake and were waiting for the ducks to come and be killed, when they were suddenly startled by a roaring and hissing and a terrific splashing of water.

They started to their feet and the sight that met their gaze almost froze the blood in their veins. There, not a hundred feet away, wallowing about in the lake, was a ferocious looking monster about fifteen feet long with a horrible looking alligator-like head covered with scales and the jaws armed with long, curved tusks. The body was also covered with huge scales of a dirty yellow color. The creature had four legs and two long arms terminating in cruel looking claws that looked as though they were sharpened up for business.

As the boys leaped from their place of concealment the monster spied them and immediately disappeared in the water only to appear in a few minutes close to the shore. Two guns were immediately leveled and fired at the monster but he did not pause a second.

Emitting terrible blood-curdling roars he made for the boys and they were obliged to turn and fly for their lives. After a chase of half a mile the monster gave up and returned to the lake while the boys made the best of their way home. There is talk of organizing a party to thoroughly search the lake for the monster and capture him if possible. Airwood Lake is about seven miles southwest of Kensal and is quite a popular resort for picnic parties during the summer.

* * *
STRANGE TRACKS. (November 5, 1881)

As a couple of residents of Bullionville, who had been stopping at a ranch down in the Wash for several days, were returning home, they run across some mammoth tracks, larger and far different from any that they had ever seen or heard of. They first thought that the track was made by a monster grizzly bear, but then it was twice the size of a bear track, measuring eight inches broad and 27 ¾ inches in measuring and upon closely examining the track, the impression made in the dirt by tho toe-nails showed that instead of being long and sharp claws like that on the foot of a bear, they were broad, measuring 1 inch is width.

The men became somewhat excited in regard to these strange tracks, an I determining to satisfy their curiosity and discover the monster that made the tracks, they started to trail it. They followed the trail, through the sagebrush, for about five miles, and the men observed that there was a beef’s track along-side of the unknown animal’s trail nearly the whole of the way, so concluded the beef was being chased by the monster, who wished to devour it for food.

These men trailed the animal up to Panaca, and followed the tracks in a stable, where they espied a young lady attending to a cow that had just been brought home a short while before. It appears that a Panaca belle had been out in search of a lost cow that morning, and it was her tracks that these men had been following up.

* * *
WILD MAN AT “COAL HOLLOW.” (October 27, 1897)

The picturesque and beautiful hunting ground, “Coal Hollow,” known to every urchin of this city, where many a “cotton tail” and the frisky squirrel have been slaughtered by the hundreds, is now supposed to be inhabited by a wild man, whose strange actions and appearance has excited the curiosity of the inhabitants of that immediate neighborhood, who have come in contact with this strange piece of humanity upon several occasions during the past week, and who immediately disappears within its dark and dismal ravines as soon as discovered; and it seems impossible for them to get him to talk with them, as he always turns a deaf ear to questions propounded to him, and leaves them none the wiser of his movements, and for what purpose he has selected this spot for his abode.

He has been seen by quite a number of persons in that neighborhood, and all seem to think he is an escaped lunatic, and fear that the fires that have been raging and that have caused so much destruction to farming property, in the wood’s throughout the county, may have been started by him. They have organized a posse to capture him if possible and find out who he is and from whence he came. The young nimrods of this city who go in that direction to hunt had better be on the look out for this monster of the forest, as he is a giant in stature, and has the strength of a “Sampson,” and may attack them at any moment.

From— Shiner gazette. (Shiner, Tex.), 19 Dec. 1895., Omaha daily bee. (Omaha (Neb.)), 23 March 1883., Jamestown weekly alert. (Jamestown, Stutsman County, D.T. (N.D.)), 24 Sept. 1903., The Pioche weekly record. (Pioche, Nev.), 05 Nov. 1881. & The weekly register. (Point Pleasant, Va. NV. Va.)), 27 Oct. 1897. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.


GHOST OF NORWICH. (May 16, 1889)

A campfire story to chill the bones.

A man named George Greene dwells in a lonely house several miles from Norwich, Conn., which is haunted by a novel ghost. In the dusk of evening a colorless human shape imprints itself on the gloom of his bed chamber. It remains motionless. When he arises from his bed and lifts the curtain for the light to come in at he window the apparition vanishes. In the daytime the family hear the sounds of an invisible object moving about the room or in distant chambers. The furniture responds to the pressure of unseen hands. Once a case of drawers was thrown down with a loud clatter and nothing was seen to touch it. On another day a chest was tipped over, a table danced, a door opened and shut noiselessly, and a capering of feet was heard on the back stairs.

When Mr. Greene goes out of the house a rustle follows him and when he comes in it goes ahead of him. He has searched every nook and cranny of the habitation in vain for an explanation of the phenomena, and now he has decided to flee from the haunted house. The dwelling was built about 200 years ago, and there is a tradition of a ghost in its history.

In Bullock county. Ga., not long since, a man and family by the name of Brannen moved on to a farm formerly occupied by a very old and miserly couple. These old people (man and wife) had no children or relatives, and, both dying within a few weeks of each other, were kindly buried by friends in the neighborhood.

It was found that they had been living in the most abject poverty. The place presented a miserable appearance, there being very little furniture or cooking utensils, with scarcely any provisions, and several emaciated cats, and half starved fouls completed the poverty stricken aspect. Mr. Brannen bought the place at auction shortly after the two old people died and immediately moved there with his family. But they were there only a short time before they wished they had never seen the place. Strange beings were to be seen flitting about after nightfall, and dismal, unearthly sounds were to be heard during the day. Mr. Brannen, his wife and sons, being honest hard working people and non-believers in “ghosts,” they paid little attention at first, thinking it some practical jokes of the neighbors. But as the weeks sped by things grew worse instead of better. Cold, clammy hands were laid on different members of the family at all hours of the night, sending them into nervous chills. The bedsteads were jerked about the room, occupants and all, by some unseen power.

Everything was turned topsy-turvy and it was impossible to keep anything like order on the premises. Pandemonium reigned. It seemed as though the very air was filled with uneasy spirits. The Brannens grew desperate, and were thinking of hunting “pastures new,” when one morning Mr. Brannen and one of his sons, being in the yard, were startled by a strange, roaring noise, which seemed to proceed from the ground at their feet. As he described it, it appeared to be a small “whirlwind of noise,” and some thing seemed to impel them to follow it. It gradually drifted over into a corn field, and at the further corner seemed to sink into the ground, at the roots of an old dead peach tree. They went to the house, procured implements, returned, dug, and found, no one knows just how much, but that it was a great deal of money, and the hoarded wealth of a lifetime of the old couple that died, is well known.

The Brannens have still decided to remain on the old farm, and it is quiet and serene there now, where all was chaos a short time ago. The uneasy spirits have accomplished their mission and are at rest.

From— The Wahpeton times. (Wahpeton, Richland County, Dakota [N.D.]), 16 May 1889. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



Here's a real tall tale for you.
Related by a Veracious Cow Puncher About a Beautiful Bucking Bronco.

A cowboy visiting an eastern city not long ago got to talking about broncos and their ways, and he was reminded of a story which his friend, the “Montana Kid,” is fond of telling, relates the Little Chronicle. “We was a lot of us talking,” said the man from the west, “about the way a bronco will buck and how long it will take him to get tired out once he gets started, providing he don’t throw his man before he gets through with it. One of the boys was saying as how he did not believe no cowpuncher was alive that could stay on a bronc as long as the critter felt like bucking. He said the man would fall off dead beat long before the bronc was anywhere near having enough.

“The Kid says, says he: ‘How long did you ever know a bronc buck?’

“‘Two hours, or two and a half? says the other feller. And he said it as if he was kinder ’shamed; just like he had been caught bluffing half way through a bluff.

“‘Two hours,’ says the Kid. “Two hours or two hours and a half, is it? Why, say, I stayed on a bucking horse for two days and three nights once. He commenced bucking along towards evening of one day and he kicked around the place all that night and all the next day and the next night and the next day and the night after that. The next morning after that he dropped, and he didn’t get bucked since.

“The boys all took to laughing at the Kid and making sport of him for being more or less untruthful. One of them says:

“‘Say, Kid,’ he says, ‘you must have been kind, of faint and hungry when you got off that horse. Didn’t you think it was worth the trouble to get off for a meal once in awhile?’

“‘No need to do it,’ says the Kid. ‘No need to do it. The cook he saw the way things was going, and the horse couldn’t buck far away from the rest of the outfit, because he was pretty well fenced in, and the cook kept a cooking up hot biscuits for me night and day, and every time me and the horse went sashaying past the kitchen door cook would come out and throw me a biscuit, and I’d have to catch it or go hungry. I caught all I wanted o’ them.’

“The boys thought that was pretty good, for there couldn’t none of them see what he did for water.

“‘Water,’ says the Kid, ‘water?’ Why, there was the creek three feet deep running right across behind the kitchen, and the horse he bucked through it on an average once every two hours. All I had to do was to dip it up in my hat as we was going through.’”

From— The Cape Girardeau Democrat. (Cape Girardeau, Mo.), 16. June 1900. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



Fantastic Fish Stories.
* * *
THE CHAMPION FISH STORY. (December 1, 1883)

I have heard the champion fish story. It is vouched for as authentic by “the highest and most trustworthy authority,” and, in future, all of the sportsmen who heretofore have not gone it one better should hide their diminished heads. At no time has a Rhode Island dub fireside circle of fishing experts quite attained its level, although some pretty tall tales of marvelous takes have been heard thereabouts. A well-known Providence lawyer recently went forth with rod, line and bait to capture from a country pond the fresh water bass. He got a bite, he gently lifted his pole, he hooked the fish, he reeled him partially in. Suddenly an impediment prevented the rapid landing of the fish. It must be it has gotten behind a stump. The reel works hard. “I mustn’t break the pole.” He keeps up the tension on the line, and runs the pole carefully down to explore, with negative results. Steady but hard pull on silk line finally bring up fish and impediment. It was a pound bass with the bail of a two-quart tin kettle in its mouth, the kettle entire and half filled with mud and leaves. In drawing in the fish, which struck for the bottom, its wide-opened mouth caught the pan-handle, which became entangled with the hook, and remained entangled until the two were brought to the surface. Next!—Providence Press.

* * *
A SAN-FRAN FISH STORY. (August 3, 1891)

SAN FYANCIESCO, Aug. 1.—Frac Pino, Pietro Motline and Joseph Courpiani, fisherman, tell a remarkable story of their encounter with a huge swordfish today. They were engaged in fishing near Point Reyes when a swordfish attacked them. They beat the fish off twice with a harpoon and a boathook. The swordfish finally ran its sword through the bottom of the boat and through Pino’s leg, terribly lacerating it. The host began to fill with water, but they pulled into shallow water, while the swordfish disappeared.

* * *
CAUGHT SHARK BY TAIL. (August 25, 1907)

The prowess of Fletcher Davis, an athletic young man from Oklahoma City, Okl., is a subject of much wonderment and was the cause of no little excitement at Virginia Beach, Md.

Davis was enjoying a swim, when he saw good-sized shark towing through the breakers some distance beyond the ropes. Without more ado Davis set out for the shark, rounded him up and drove him within the ropes, causing a panic among the bathers.

The swimmer then taught the shark by the tail and dragged him to the shore.

The daring exploit of Mr. Davis was a thrilling spectacle to the great crowd present. The monster, which weighed over 100 pounds, was photographed.

* * *
ANOTHER FISH STORY. (January 3, 1907)

Abe Hindley, of Potter, while fishing, felt a light bite as he was pulling in his line. Then there was a second pull, and just as the fish was appearing on the water an enormous pike made a spring at it, and went off with his prey and 100 feet of line. After much trouble it was wound in, and the astonished angler found that he had caught first a perch of about one pound weight and well on the hook, then a pike of four pounds, which had half swallowed the perch, then a pike of 13 pounds weight, who had seized on the smaller pike in his endeavor to wrest the perch from him. [Signature of Bryan Williams.]

* * *
FISH STORY WITH EVIDENCE. (September 1, 1915)

Emporia, Kan.—Frank Cooper suffered a fracture of his left arm here while pulling out a 29-pound catfish from the Cottonwood river. In the excitement of hauling up the big fish cooper slipped and fell.

* * *
A FISH STORY. (October 21, 1922)

Roger Dolan, fishing in, Portage Lake, Ontario, catches a dore—wall-eyed-pike-perch, generally and incorrectly called Canadian pickerel.

Dolan kills the four-pound fish with a club, throws it in his canoe. Half hour later, on shore, he cleans the dore, tears its insides out. Two hours afterward, he happens to notice the “cleanings”—and finds the heart beating normally and vigorously as if in the fish. Life still was present.

No one can explain it. But this much is probable: If the dore had the human ability to worry, its heart would have stopped in the canoe or when the insides were torn out. Worry is a sure killer.

* * *
Deacon Bell, of Bayou Grande, Relates Remarkable Occurrence There.

Deacon Owen Bell, who lives at the head of Bayou Grande, is the author of a fish story that about tops anything of the kind heard recently. He says he was fishing in the bayou a few days ago when he ran out of bait. He was smoking the stump of a cigar and it occurred to him to put what remained of his cigar on the hook and give the fish a chance at it. He did so and the trout took to immediately the bait lasting until he had landed some dozen or more speckled beauties.

While no one would of course question Deacon Bell’s veracity, the story is vouched for by Victor Goldbach and “Uncle George” Turton. It is not stated whether the fish thought they were smoking or chewing, but the deacon says that Bayou Grande fish exercise some very cultiated tastes and that they are capable of doing either.

From— The Arizona champion. (Peach Springs, Mohave County, AT. [Ariz]), 01 Dec. 1883., The Dalles daily chronicle. (The Dallas, Or.), O3 Aug. 1891., Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]), 25 Aug. 1907., Hopkinsville Kentuckian. (Hopkinsville, Ky.), 03 Jan. 1907., Bismarck daily tribune. [Bismarck. Dakota [N.D.]). 01 Sept. 1915., The Daily Ardmoreite. (Ardmore, Okla.), 12 Oct. 1922. & The Pensaco a journal. (Pensacola, Fla.), 22 July 1909. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



Fantastic Stories.
Colorado Rancher Has Exciting Experience with Vicious Animals.

Tie Siding, Wyo.—Chased by a pact of hungry, vicious wolves down through Cedar canyon, and saved by the presence of a homesteader with a good team of horses, was the experience of Al Hinton, a rancher living just across the state line in Colorado. Hilton’s arms, legs and body bear the marks of the animals’ fangs, and he is confined to his bed under the care of a surgeon.

Hilton was out searching for a bunch of cattle which had strayed into the mountains. He carried a double-barreled shotgun, but had only one round of ammunition.

“Late In the afternoon,” he says, “I gave up and turned back. I had gone but a short distance when I heard the howling of wolves. I hurried through the underbrush, but the pack gained on me. I turned and fired, when they came in sight, and killed the leader. But this did not stop them, and after a sprint of another 100 yards or so I fired again, killing two of the beasts.

“This stopped them for a few minutes. I don’t know whether or not they are the dead ones, but it was only a few minutes until they were after me again.

“Once they got so close that I brained one wolf with the club end of my gun.

“I was almost exhausted when I reached the end of the canyon and out into the prairie. And there, a short distance away, was a man in a buggy drawn by two horses. I yelled. He waited. I jumped in just as the wolf pack broke from the woods.

“We drove as rapidly as the horses could travel, but the wolves soon caught up with us. They were snapping and biting at the horses. The homesteader had been to town and had a quarter of beef in his buggy. We threw this to the wolves and they stopped to devour it. While they did so we made good our escape.”

“The stock of Hilton’s gun is battered and broken from the clubbing given the wolves in his fight to escape.

* * *
FREAK OF A TORNADO. (August 25, 1907)

Attending the story of every cyclone there is something of the nature of a freak to be related. During the small twister in the Highland district recently, relates the White City (Kan.) Register, the almost incredible happened. But we must believe the story, for it was told by truthful men. Between two cornerstones of a barn (Mr. Ruthruff’s barn, we believe) the feathers and perhaps the foot of a chicken protruded. The stones were intact and showed no sign of ever having been disturbed by man or the power of the elements. But the chicken was blown in between those large stones by the fury of the storm in some manner. It was a chicken without a doubt, though pressed as thin as an onion peel. How did it get there? The theory shared by nearly all who witnessed the phenomenon is that during the storm and a sudden gust of wind the barn and the top stone were lifted sufficiently high to allow the chicken to be blown into the crevice and before the fowl could get out the barn settled down.

* * *
HE BATHES IN THE SNOW. (February 12, 1892)
An Akron, Ohio, Man Tries a Novel Cure for La Grippe.

H. E. Miller, off Akron, Ohio, thinks he has a sure way of preventing the grip, and, though the treatment is heroic, advises all people to try it. Every morning at 5 o’clock he goes out into the back yard, naked, and for ten minutes rolls around in the snow. This practice he has kept up for two weeks, although the temperature sometimes has been as low as 16 degrees below zero. When snow is not on the ground, he takes a tub of ice water. He has not had a cold this winter, and attributes his excellent physical condition to his snow and ice water baths.

* * *
HE SAW [THROUGH] THE CARD. (July 16, 1886)

A United States Senator, who, years ago, used to flirt with chance, but who has since become a staid and conservative citizen, said to a Washington Critic reporter one day last week:

“Here is a card story that you won’t believe, but it happened just the same. Just after the war I was in Washington on a visit, and one night I went around to a gambling house with several acquaintances.

I happened to know the man who ran the place, and stopped in the ante-room for a few minutes to talk to him while the rest of the party passed into the card-room. In a short time I followed.

There was a faro layout there and a crowd gathered about it, and as I came up the cards had just been put in the box for a fresh deal.

The instant I looked at the box I saw under the first card, which you know does not count, the jack of clubs. It was as plain to my eyes as though the top card were made of glass. Before the dealer began I asked him what odds he would give me if I called the second card. He looked up a little queerly, and the people about the table laughed derisively.

‘That is a curious way of betting,’ he said, ‘but I’ll lay you ten to one that you can’t.‘ I put down $10 and called the, jack, and when he removed the top card the jack of clubs was there sure enough just as I had seen it.

I would have called the suit, but I was afraid he would not bet. The cards had been put in the box before I came, up to the table, and the only one visible was the top card, but it is literally true that I saw the card under it. You don’t believe it? I did not suppose you would.

Nevertheless, this is absolutely a fact. Of course, I did not attempt to account for it, and it has never happened since.”

* * *
WELL ANYWAY IT’S A GOOD YARN. (March 29, 1921)

Here is a story you can believe or not, just as you please. It isn’t part of a Keystone scenario, but it happened right here in Hammond.

One night last week. Phil Croak, a brother of Jack Croak, the State street plumer, was driving through East Hammond about 11 o’clock. It was raining quite hard and the windshield of Croak’s car was covered with mist and rain, making it difficult to see the road. As Phil drove along he noticed a slight jolt as though the car had struck a bad place in the street, but he thought nothing of it and drove on.

He proceeded to Calumet avenue and there the wind-shield was an covered with mist that he was forced to stop and walk around to the front of the car to wipe it off. To his astonishment he found a man comfortably seated on the bumper of the machine.

“What in the world are you doing there,” said Croak in astonishment. “I am just riding till yez git ready to take me back to where yea picked me up,” said the uninvited passenger with a strong Irish accent.

Croak turned around and took the man back.

From— Hopkinsville Kentuckian. (Hopkinsville, Ky.), 01 July 1911., Omaha daily bee. (Omaha (Neb.]), 25 Aug. 1907., The Mitchell capital. (Mitchell, Dakota (S.D.]), 12 Feb. 1892., The times. (Owosso, Mich.), 16 July 1886. & The Lake County times. (Hammond, Ind.), 29 March 1921. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



Mermaids fact or fiction.
FIRST MERMAID OF THE SEASON. (September 21, 1883)

The first mermaid of the season was seen recently at Fort Cottage, N. H. The story, complete and unabridged, is as follows: “In the surf, just in front of this house, during a southeast gale, as a few of the islanders were gathered near the beach to witness the effects of the storm, a mermaid made her appearance three times on the top of huge waves, showing to the crowd a head well crowned with long, heavy hair, streaming over the shoulder. and bosom, a pleasant face, and long, muscular arms. Taking a long look on shore, this daughter of the sea waved her fair hand, and threw a kiss to the spectators on the strand, and departed again for her haunts in the depts of the ocean. —Chicago Herald.

* * *
A REAL LIVE MERMAID. (July 7, 1893)

A REAL LIVE MERMAID.—The English seaside fake is far more interesting than the American sea serpent. The announcement is made this early in the season that a real live mermaid has again been seen at Deerness, Orkney Islands. Half a dozen honest fishermen are infallible witnesses that the crowning attraction is an infant mermaid, which appears this year with its mother. Spice is added to the public curiosity by persuading a London novelty dealer to undertake the capture of the sweet creatures. It is declared that the outraged islanders are preparing to resist the profane enterprise.

* * *
HE HAS A MERMAID. (December 6, 1899)
The Yacht Crescent and Her Captain.

The sloop yacht Crescent, Captain Hendrick, is in port for short time, and lovers of sea serpent yarns and those who have “never seen a mermaid” have now their chance, as Captain Hendrick, in addition to having the crack yacht of her class on the coast, is a charming narrator of the fabulous marine and has seen more and told more about it than any sailor on the coast. The Crescent bears the pennant of the Passale Yacht Cub, of which her captain is a member, and she lies in the Roanoke dock. She is little wonder, but 21 feet long, 9 feet beam and 2.5 feet draught.

She carries mainsail, jib and spinmaker. Her main boom is 26 feet long, gaff 15 feet and hoist 19 feet and her spinmaker is nearly as large as her mainsail. She also carries 2,000 pounds ballast which, considering her load of canvas. appears very necessary. The craft in of white cedar, copper rivited and sound as a trivet.

The captain humorously stated yesterday that he made the trip from Old Point to Norfolk in one hour, five minutes and fifteen seconds and could have beaten this considerably but he had to stop to light his pipe and anchored several times to throw the lead and see hew fast he was going.

The Mermaid which he is eager to show Norfolk land lubbers he claims he caught off Cobb’s Island during the big blizzard of last winter, when Rev. Thomas Dixon’s yacht was ice-bound. His imagination did not freeze. The Crescent will go to North Carolina soon on a gunning trip.

* * *

C. C. Lord & Co., curio dealers, to-day placed on exhibition a mermaid six feet long. It was imported from Japan. It is the largest mermaid ever seen in California and is regarded with awe and amazement by eastern visitors. Mr. Lord can discourse at considerable length concerning the habits and characteristics of the strange species. The head of his new possession is of good size, the skull much resembling that of a large monkey.

* * *
A MERMAID. (March 6, 1873)

The Los Angeles Express says that a genuine mermaid is now on exhibition in this place, having been caught in the Pacific waters a few weeks since, and embalmed by a physician of San Diego. It is thus described : “The eyes, in large sockets, were pricked to let out the water in the embalming process. The month is very broad, with twenty-eight curved and singularly shaped teeth. The nose is an abomination of the Roman and the snub. The brow is heavily indented with heavy brain lopes ; long and broad ears adorn the queer-looking head, and short, wooly hair covers the head and sides of the face. The cerebellum and Adam’s apple are very prominent. The arms are long and terminate in long claws, consisting of four fingers and a thumb, with the sharpest of nails. There are eleven ribs extending around the body and meeting at the breast. Here the fishy portion of the thing begins. It is covered with scales, the spine having the dorsal fin, and the fish continuing in the usual development to the tip of the tail.

* * *
MERMAID THE CREW SAW. (September 26, 1909)

—In one of his voyages Hudson and his came upon “An island whereon were 40 or 50 sea-horses (Walruses), lying asleepe, being all that it would hold, it being so full and little.” Nor were his observations confined to the humdrum, bears and walruses, for he tells us with solemn conviction, “This morning one of our companie looking saw a Mermaid, and calling of the companie to see her, one more came up, and by that time shee was close to the ships side, looking earnestly on the men; a little after, a sea came and overturned her: from the Navill upward her back and breasts were like a woman’s, (as they say that saw her) her body as big as one of us; her skin very white; and long hair hanging down behind, of colour, blacke; in her going down they saw her tayle, which was like the tayle of a urposse, and speckled like a Marcrell. Their names that saw her, were Thomas Hilles and Robert Rayner.” There you have the observation and the foot notes, can you doubt the truth of the story?

From— Semi-weekly Bourbon news. (Paris, Ky.), 21 Sept. 1883, Alexandria gazette. (Alexandria, D.C.), 07 July 1893, Virginian-pilot.(Norfolk,Va.),06 Dec.1899, Los Angeles herald. (Los Angeles (Calif.]), 22 May 1908, Eaton weekly Democrat. (Eaton, Ohio), 06 March 1873 & The Salt Lake tribune. (Salt Lake City, Utah), 26 Sept. 1909. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.


THE MOTOR-SCOUT. (November 2, 1899)

Steampunk motor-gun.

At a recent automobile show at Richmond, England, a motor vehicle for use in warfare was exhibited by its inventor, Mr. Frederick Simms. This carriage, which has been called a motor-scout, is fitted with one and one-half horse-power, which can propel it, if need be, at the rate of eighteen miles an hour. Mounted upon the motor is a light Maxim gun, so arranged that it can be fired in any direction and when the car is going at any speed. Mr. Simms has designed another motor, mounted with two Maxims, carried in two revolving turrets, and having also an electric searchlight. The motor exhibited at Richmond behaved admirably on all kinds of ground.

From— The Dupuyer acantha. (Dupuyer, Mont.), 02 Nov. 1899. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



A living mammoth found in the arctic.

Anybody tired of fox-hunting might, according to a Russian, Cheriton, find some sport in Siberia. In his accounts of his exploits he says that one day he found the wide and lofty entrance to a cave. He entered with some precautions, for the rocky pavement was worn as if by use, and within he heard a slow measured movement, as of an animal gently ruminating, and heavily breathing, with great, calm inspirations and expirations, like the sigh of a smith’s bellows. One turn, and then another, he heard a heavy, startling snort, and there, in the half light of the cave, standing still before him, alive, chewing the cud, and waving its proboscis to and fro with a slow, gentle, majestic motion, he saw—a mammoth!

“I did not know then,” said Cheriton, “what I have since been told, that Siberia was an old habitation of these animals, and that some of the best scientific judges are uncertain whether to look upon the remains found upon the shores of the Arctic Ocean as fossil animals, or as the remnant of wandering herds caught and perished in storms, individuals of which may still exist under favorable circumstances. With out intending it, I have solved that doubt.”

Cheriton describes the mammoth as being a very imposing looking animal, covered with reddish brown wool and long black hair. During his stay in the valley he was close to five of them, all of which were nearly of a size, being about twelve feet high, eighteen feet long, with tusks projecting about four feet, and being about eight to ten feet counting the curve. The skin, which was bare on the upper surface of the ears, on the knees and rump, was a mouse color, and seemed very thick. The animal was nocturnal in its habits, frequenting eaves of forest depths by day, and feeding at night or early morning. Chariton thinks there might he some fifteen or twenty of these monsters together.

* * *
Dr. Frizell, Back From Alaska, Declares Marks in the Snow Were Huge.

SAN FRANCISCO. Cal., Oct. 19—Dr. J. P. Frizell, who has arrived here from the north, says in an interview:

“I don’t wish to make myself ridiculous to the scientitic world by stating as at fact that at least one living specimen of the mammoth family is still roaming at large on the American side of the Arctic regions. However, I saw with my own eyes comparatively fresh tracts that apparently could not have been made by any other animal but a mammoth. I ran across the animal’s tracks in the island of Unimak, which is 125 miles around and twenty-five miles in width. It is about four miles from the mainland, and animals can walk back and forth from land.” Dr. Frizell is in the Government’s employ, and has been in the Arctic regions for several years.

“The tracks could be distinctly seen in the ice and snow, and I followed them for quite a distance.” the doctor added. “They sank four inches deep into the frozen ground, and were four feet apart, showing that distance to be the stride of the animal. The size of the tracks were nineteen by twenty inches. In each track were the distinct impressions of eighteen toes. I ran across these animal tracks in the country between Mount Pomgromni and Mount Scheshchaid.

“Unimak fairly teems with animal life, and particularly with game. It is a hunter’s paradise for caribou, bear, and the red fox. The cinnamon variety of bear there is large, but an animal of that kind couldn’t have made the tracks which I and the members of my party ran across. The tracks were so large and almost circular in form that a large bucket turned down over one of them would just about have covered it.”

* * *
NO LIVING MAMMOTHS. (May 12, 1897)

For several years the story has been extensively circulated that the natives of Alaska are acquainted with living mammoths. The probable origin of the story was pointed out at a recent meeting of the Biological Society of Washington by Mr. C. H, Townsend. In 1885 when he was in Alaska, some of the natives qnestioned him concerning the nature of the giant animal whose bones are not infrequently found there, and he drew restorations of the mammoth in order to show them how it looked when living. They were greatly interested in the pictures, and made copies of them. These copies, he thinks, have been widely scattered through Alaska, and, being found by white men in the hands of the natives, have given rise to the belief that the prehistoric beasts still inhabit that country.

* * *
WEIRD RUMORS. (October 21, 1903)

The weird rumors which the Eskimo [Inuit] have repeatedly published about the existence of strange men and beasts, which walk about the sunless days in the hyperboreal regions, may after all be founded upon truth. However, until positive proof is furnished, Professor Frazzle’s statement about the live mammoth must be taken as a traveler’s highly colored tale.

From— Gallipolis journal. (Gallipolis, Ohio), 27 Nov. 1873., The Washington times. (Washington ID.C.11, 19 Oct. 1903., The Abbeville press and banner. (Abbeville, S.C.), 12 May 1897. & Manchester Democrat. (Manchester, Iowa), 21 Oct. 1903. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



A real campfire story.

The following curious story is told by a well known gentleman of Buffalo:

“In the summer of 1885 death took from me a beloved younger brother. He had lived in my family almost ever since my marriage and commanded from myself and wife double affection, for he seemed to us both son and brother. When living with us in health he occupied two rooms, one a large front room with an outer door opening on the piazza. Diagonally across from this—in the I opposite corner of the room—the door opened from his bedroom into his sitting room. The outer door of his sitting room had venetian blinds attached to the outer casing, thus allowing the door to be open while the blinds could be closed and I fastened, giving increased circulation of air while insuring against intrusion.

“In the later weeks of my life, my brother had his sitting room because, although he was never bed ridden, he said he was ‘growing lazy’ and felt like lying down a good deal.’ A month or so after his bright light ceased to shine for us here, we were occupying his rooms, taking his large room for our sleeping apartment. One night after we had retired and my wife had fallen asleep, I remained awake, as was my custom, reading.

I had put aside my book and was about to put out the light, when the partly open door of the smaller room stepped the form of my dead brother. Our bed was in the corner or the room directly opposite. My first thought was that I must have dropped asleep. But I rubbed my eyes, sat up in bed and looked about me. There was my wife quieting brightly, there were my books and newspaper, and there was my brother. I did not notice that he stopped while he took the hurried survey, but now I saw that he was approaching me.

He had on his dress suit and a soft black hat. His face was not so worn as when he left us, but it bore the look of patient endurance which pain heroically borne had stamped upon it, and through that shone the cheerful spirit this brave youth never lost and which could not be conquered. He came to within a few feet of me, and I was strongly minded to speak, but he appeared to be about to address me and I kept still. Just then his eye seemed to light on my wife, and he turned his face away and hurried from the room, leaving by the outer door. His manner was such as it might have been in life if he had unwittingly intruded into my wife’s sleeping room. The outer door was open, the blinds being closed, and the only unusual thing about the affair was that he passed through the blinds without opening them.

I was not all startled by the apparition. I should not have been if he had stopped and talked with me as if he had been permitted to return for a visit with us. Indeed, after I had convinced myself that I was awake, I did not think of the appearance as other than a reality, and only waited the pleasure of one whom I dearly loved, and whose untimely death made me feel that I was crippled for life. I was glad to see him. After he was gone I told my wife of what had passed, but mentioned it to no other for along while.

“In childhood I had been taught that there were no such things as ghosts, of which some of my playmates stood in mortal fear. And I never took any stock in spiritualism. My own experience I could not deny, and could only consider it a mental phenomenon. I confess, however, that for a long time I felt as if I had really been granted one more look ‘in life’ for which we long after the earth has swallowed up our beloved; and I was secretly eased by it. I am a cool headed, practical man and may say with any one: ‘What I have seen, I have seen.’ I had lost dear friends by death before, and even dearer ones have been snatched from me since, but in my waking hours I was never vouchsafed any open vision of any of them. This seemed strange. But in all my life I never had any experience more vivid, nor any the details of which are fixed more completely and clearly in my memory than that of the few minutes I spent with my brother a few weeks after we had commited his wasted form to the earth.”

From— The Wahpeton times. (Wahpeton, Richland County, Dakota [N.D.]), 16 May 1889. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.


’CAUSE I’M THE KING OF ROARIN’ CREEK. (August 31, 1893.)

A real tall tale.

“The great fault of story tellers is their absurd struggle for striking effects,” observed Jones, with a sententious air, after getting his second cigar well started. “Unless the average story teller has something out of the way, or bloodcurdling, or utterly impossible, he thinks he has nothing to relate at all. Hairbreadth escapes and marvelous encounters are not the only things in this world. The interesting lies all about us. Better a quiet tale well told than a story of shipwreck on the coast of lost Atlantis in the style of a patent office report. Genius, gentlemen, illumes the lowly and gilds the everyday with the splendor which rested on Bagdad’s shrines of fretted gold.”

“That’s a very true observation, Jones,” returned Jackson Peters. “Oddly enough, I was just on the point of relating a little incident which illustrates it to perfection. I was out in Kansas last fall on election day. It seems that in one precinct a woman had by mistake voted a recipe for currant jelly instead of the regular ticket, and when the female inspectors of election came to it while counting the vote they read it and got into a dispute as to whether or not currant jelly made by it would jell, and”—

“Come, come, Jackson, our friends here do not want to listen to any such stuff as this. You somehow fail to give it that touch of genius for which you are celebrated. Besides I made those discriminating remarks of mine as a prelude to a humble tale of an experience of my own in Missouri.”

“But Jones,” said Robinson, “you often relate the exciting and marvelous yourself.”

“Certainly, when it is true. I am not afraid of the striking, or the improbable, if it come within my experience, and I can vouch for each word of it. For instance, when I told you recently of how I once caught an escaped circus tiger by inducing him to put his tail through an augur hole of a board fence and then tying a knot in the tail, did I seem ill at ease? I think not. The more subdued incident which I started to relate happened to me when I had a store in a little backwoods Missouri town.

“I had not been open a week when one day a large, angular man, with a protruding lower jaw, came in and asked my prices on plug tobacco, revolver, cartridges, bowie knives and bear traps. He was a strikingly large man, probably 6 feet 4 inches, and must have weighed considerably over 200 pounds. He was well proportioned and seemed as quick and active as a cat. He carried a heavy pistol in a holster and appeared irritable and captious. I gave him the figures he asked for, and also mentioned that I carried a full line of pocket flasks, brass knuckles and tools suitable for breaking jail. He listened and then said:

“ ’Podner, my name is Whipsaw Pepper, and I’m the king of Roaring creek. I live up at the head of the creek, where the old Giasticus sharpens his fangs on the bones of his dead. Everybody on Roaring creek looks up to me and does as I says. They all trade at the store where I say, and I’m in the habit of getting my terbacker [tobacco, Colloq.] and things free for directing of ’em to a store. I’m willing to do this by you.’ He stopped, and his hand rested lightly on the butt of his revolver. Gentlemen, I saw that my success in that neighborhood depended on my action. I laid down the dredge which I used for scratching dried apples out of a barrel, stepped around front behind the counter and kicked Mr. Pepper heavily. Before he could express his surprise either orally or Delsartely I kicked him the whole length of the store, about 10 feet at a kick, and through the front door, leaving a large, jagged hole in it. I then painted this sign and put it on the front of my building:

Roaring creek men are directed to buy their goods at this store. Those disobeying this order will be shot. Enter by the hole through which I kicked the old Giasticus. JONES, King of Pike County.

“I had no further difficulty and did a lively business for three years, my chief trade coming from the Roaring creek settlement.”

Jones paused and silently took a match from Smith’s proffered box.

Robinson straightened up and said, “Jones, that was a good story.”

“Thank you, Robinson, for saying so. Merely a plain account of what happened. But what would our condition now be had we listened to the depressing tale of my young friend here, Jackson Peters, of the lady who cast a curl paper for prohibition? Jackson is all right, but he is young yet. No man can be a good story teller till he is 50 years old and has had large experience in different parts of the world.”—Harper’s Weekly.

From— Santa Fe daily new Mexican. volume (Santa Fe, N.M.), 31 Aug. 1893. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.


WRESTLING AN OCTOPUS. (April 28, 1904)

A giant octopus.
Sailor Tore Out the Eye, of Dread Monster With His Teeth.

A daring fight between a man and an octopus occurred off Punaluu island [O’ahu?] Of Hawaii, a couple of weeks ago. Waha, a native sailor on the steamer Mauna Loa, was the victor of the fight.

He displayed an unusual amount of recklessness, for he attacked the creature without any knife or implement.

The purser of the vessel saw the octopus swimming near one of the small boats from the steamer and called attention to the peculiar looking fish. Waha, who wore only a pair of trousers, saw that the thing was an enormous squid, or octopus Without a word he sprang overboard to attack the creature. The sailor grabbed hold of two of the tentacles near the beak of the monster, and then ensued the most remarkable battle probably ever witnessed by any white man in that part of Hawaii.

The most vulnerable part of an octopus is its eyes, and it was at these spots that Waha made his onslaught. He fought with his teeth and hands. The instant that the octopus felt the man’s grip it lashed madly around and then dived below the surface of the water. Fortunately the water was only up to Waha’s shoulders, and the man succeeded in getting a foothold on the bottom and thus kept his head above the water. The arms of the octopus were seen wrapped around the body of Waha, but the man clung on. He realized that he was engaged in a life struggle, for if he relaxed his hold the creature would drag him under the water and drown him.

The octopus emitted a blackish fluid that colored the water in the vicinity of the struggling pair. But the native struggled on. He kept biting savagely at the eyes of the octopus. Once he got the right eye firmly gripped, but a sudden dive under water choked him into letting go his hold.

The fight lasted fully fifteen minutes. First one eye of the octupus was torn away by the sailor and dually the other. With the loss of the second eye the octopus gave up the fight. The creature measured fifteen feet across. Its tentacles were as large as a man’s wrist. Watts was badly bruised and his arms and body flayed.

From— Lewiston evening teller. (Lewiston, Idaho), 28 April 1904. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



Aviator attacked by an eagle.
M. Gilbert Shoots Bird That Repeatedly Swoops Down on Throbbing Machine.

Alsasqua, Spain.—Aviator Gilbert, after a battle with an eagle at a height of four thousand feet, landed here second in the Paris-Madrid race for $20,000.

In his flight over the Cantabrian mountains, while soaring at a lofty height, a monster gray eagle attacked Gilbert, swooping down on the aeroplane and beating the aviator with beak and talons.

Gilbert’s aeroplane required all his attention because of treacherous air currents over the mountains. The machine was at a height of 4,000 feet, with the country lying dim beneath. The great bird circled round and round the aeroplane, evidently thinking it a new and monster member of the bird family. Finally Gilbert managed to draw his revolver and fired two shots at the eagle, driving it off. When the aviator landed here he declared the aerial battle with the giant bird had given him the most exciting moments of his career.

At one time the eagle attacked him so fiercely, he said, that the aviator had to take his hands off the levers and momentarily lost control of the machine. It was at this time that the intrepid airman drew his revolver. The first shot went wild, but frightened the bird, and the second struck it. Gilbert regained control of his machine just in time to keep it from crashing to the ground.

* * *
SAMPLE OF ENGLISH FOG. (December 30, 1904)

When a very dense fog settled over the Thames valley a few Sundays ago, and most densely over London, it imposed a complete silence on animal life. London was itself as silent as the grave, for all traffic was stopped, and as on Sunday traffic of any kind is reduced to a minimum, the great city was almost as still as a country village at midnight. The streets and even the river were almost without a sound, for not a single tug was moving on the Thames. In the country no bird uttered a sound; they all sat still, silent and moping.

* * *
SNAKE STORY FROM ABROAD. (August 29, 1907)
“Nature Faker” Story That Will Test the Credulity of the Most Profound Geologist.

London, England.—Good snake stories are rare, but the Roumanian districts of Hungary are responsible for the best. A telegram has Just been received from Mehadia by a Budapest scientist, affirming the honesty of the Hungarian viper. Away among the Wallachs in this quiet and quaint little township lives a schoolmaster named Juon Popescu, whose daughter is the heroine of the story.

It appears that every morning the schoolmaster’s wife placed her little daughter in the court garden whilst she busied herself with the duties of the house and for her consolation a cup of milk was placed beside the child.

Children, as a rule, are not afraid of animals or reptiles, and the more harmful such are reputed to be the less harm is realized. One morning a viper wriggled its way to the child, who sat amusing herself there, but instead of attacking the child, contented itself with drinking the cup of milk. This amused the little girl, and after a day or so the two became quite friendly and every morning the viper appeared for its drink of milk.

Finishing her work rather earlier than usual one morning the mother went to fetch her daughter, but was horrified to find her playing with the snake. Fearing that noise might imperil the child, she waited until the viper started for its home. Then raising an alarm, neighbors appeared who immediately destroyed the snake. The little child on hearing of what had occurred immediately burst into tears, declaring that the viper had been its constant playmate for over a fortnight.

* * *
DOG NURSES POLAR BEAR CUBS. (December 16, 1904)

The two polar bear cubs which were Born at the Buffalo “zoo” a short time ago are alive and thriving. Curator Crandall has obtained a foster-mother for them in a female Irish setter.

The dog nurses the cubs, and her milk appears to agree with them. The dog, however, does not yet mother the little ones. That is, while she permits them to nurse she does not cuddle them and protect them with her body from the cold. It is, therefore, necessary to keep them in a large box, cotton lined and filled with hot water bags. For this reason it is necessary to keep a constant watch upon them to see that they do not become ill or die from exposure.

“I am in hopes that the dog will soon mother them,” said Mr. Crandall. “When she does, it will not be necessary to watch them constantly, as the warmth of the dog’s body will be all the protection they need from the weather.”

The mother bear gave birth to three cubs, but before they could be taken from her she ate one of her offspring. This is the trouble that curators of all zoos have in raising young bears.

From— The Holbrook news. (Holbrook, Navajo County [Ariz.)), 11 Aug. 1911. The Falls City tribune. (Falls City, Neb.), 30 Dec. 1904. The Salt Lake herald. (Salt Lake City [Utah), 29 Aug. 1907. The Falls City tribune. (Falls City, Neb.), 16 Dec. 1904. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



A real mermaid marvel!
A WHAT IS IT. (November 7, 1896)
English Fishermen Kill a Strange Freak of Nature in the Pacific.

Seattle, Wash., Nov. 3.—A party of Englishmen who have been porpoise fishing in the Pacific discovered and killed a monster that resembles a merman. The party was off the island of Wamoff in the hunting boat, and Lord Devonshire one of the fishermen, had just shot a porpoise, when some one called “look there,” pointing to a frightful looking monster about a cable length away.

Hastily raising his weapon he fired and hit the creature between the eyes. The shot, though it did not kill it, so stunned it that it lay perfectly still on the surface of the sea. It showed fight when hauled into the boat and had to be killed to prevent it from swamping the craft.

The monster is said to be one of the strangest freaks ever put together. It measures ten feet from its nose to the end of its fluke shaped tail and the girth of its human shaped body was just six feet. It would weigh close to 500 pounds. From about the breast bone to about a point where the base of the stomach would be, were it human, it looked like a man. Its arms, quite human in shape and form, are very long and covered completely with long, coarse dark reddish hair, as is the whole body.

It had, or did have at one time, four fingers and a thumb on each hand, almost human in shape, except that in place of finger nails there were long slender claws. But in days probably long since gone by it had evidently fought some monster that had got the best of it, for the forefinger of the right hand, the little finger of the left thumb are missing entirely. Immediately under the right breast is a broad ugly looking scar, which looked a if some time in the past it had been inflicted by a swordfish.

The creature is now being preserved in ice at Seattle and will be shipped to the British Museum.

* * *
THE FEJEE MERMAID. (August 11, 1842)

THE FEJEE MERMAID.—A committee of scientific gentlemen yesterday examined the mermaid brought to this country by Mr. Griffin, and now exhibiting at Concert Hall, No. 404 Broadway, and reported that notwithstanding they had hitherto regarded the existence of this animal as fabulous, and as an anatomical impossibility, they were now convinced to the contrary, and could plainly discover that the formation and anatomical construction of this creature would allow its being under water a great length of time, but that it evidently remained, for the most part, with its head out of water. Nearly two thousand persons visited the mermaid yesterday and last evening, and the crowd daily increases, from the fact that it will positively not be exhibited after Saturday of this week. No person should for a moment delay viewing this curious monster of the mighty deep.

* * *
WHAT! SAW A REAL MERMAID? (January 13, 1911)

New York, Jan. 10.—Scott Latham, petty officer of a Hansa line freighter, Stotzenfels, in port today from Colombo and Calcutta, is willing to lay oath to having seen real mermaids near Arabia. Mr. Latham had been studying the apparently phosphorescent properties of the Red Sea and one Sunday afternoon was deeply engrossed. Suddenly he pointed excitedly to a spot in the sea that bubbled up.

The only one present to appreciate Mr. Latham’s excitement was Mullah Bin Sarah, Malay, who is a quartermaster on the Stotzenfels, and looks after the native sailors and firemen. Mr. Latham could only shout the word “mermaid” and the old Malay, in his native lingo, said “shark.”

* * *
Types of Animal Life.

IN THE time of Alexander the Great, and afterwards under the Seleucidæ, the ancient Greeks became acquainted with the northwestern part of India. Among other things they heard that the seas about Ceylon were peopled with mermaids. In this case, as in the case of so many other wonderful tales, there was a certain amount of truth underlying the fiction, for these seas are peopled by creatures as big or bigger than human beings, which have a habit of raising themselves up vertically out of the water, when they present a very startling appearance to an unscientifically critical eye.

Astonished travelers behold beings with rounded, human looking heads, showing their body down to the bust out of the water, displaying a pair of rounded prominent breasts, and not seldom holding a baby in their arms. But the creature thus seen is as different in temper and habit from the fabled mermaid as it is in body. Instead of seeking to seduce the unwary voyagers to visit its home beneath the waves, in order there to devour them, the dugong (for that is the name of this sort of a mermaid) browses peacefully on seaweed and is as harmless as it is curious.

* * *
A MERMAID. (December 28, 1905)
Communication to the Philadelphia Ledger.

The revival of the sea serpent tales and theories naturally brings to mind that other marine curiosity so often mentioned in connection with the sea serpent—namely, the mermaid. Many stories are told of this remarkable creature, not only by ancient but by comparatively modern writers and travelers.

Of course, such superstitions were not to be let pass by those unscrupulous and scheming individuals who are ever ready to use the credulity to their own benefit. Thus, to say nothing of the impostures constantly practiced at fairs and by traveling show people, a striking instance of this kind occurred not many years ago in London. A mermaid was exhibited in a leading street at the west end of the town. A pretty round fee was charged for admission, and the dupes were shown a strange-looking object in a glass case which was unblushingly declared to be a mermaid. But the imposture was too gross to last long. As the result of a law suit which arose over the profits that accrued from the exhibition, it was ascertained to be the dried skin of the head and shoulders of a monkey attached by a glutinous matter to the dried skin of a fish of the salmon kind, and the whole was stuffed and highly varnished, the better to deceive the eye.

In a pamphlet communicated to the Royal Society in 1676 by one Thomas Stover, “an ingenious chirurgeon” who had lived for some years in Virginia. Mr. Stover would seem to have reckoned the merman among the inhabitants of the colony, judging from the minute accuracy of his description of the creature, which is as follows: “A most prodigious creature much resembling a man, only somewhat larger, standing upright in the water with his head, neck, shoulders and breast to the cubits of his arms above water; his skin was tawny, much like that of an Indian; the figure of his head was pyramidal and slick, without hair; his eyes large and black and so were his eyebrows; his mouth very wide, with a broad black streak on the upper lip; his neck, shoulders, arms and breast were like those of a man; his hands, if he had any, were under water.” The above is suggestive, as illustrating the creative powers of the mind of a person having faith in such superstitions, coupled with a vivid imagination.

From— The daily herald. (Brownsville, Tex.), 07 Nov. 1896., The New York herald. (New York [N.Y.)), 11 Aug. 1842., The Norfolk weekly news-journal. (Norfolk, Neb.), 13 Jan. 1911., St. Paul daily globe. (Saint Paul, Minn.), 16 July 1893. & Evening star. (Washington, D.C.), 28 Dec. 1905. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



A steampunk marvel.



Proposes Chain Armor of Invisible Links to Ward Off Attacks of Hostile Torpedoes — Wants $75,000 for His Secret.

Washington.—William Wilson of Paterson, N. J., appeared at the capitol the other day in the guise of the savior of the United States navy.

He has walked through the dark valleys that lie at the bottom of the sea. He has stood, hand in hand with a mermaid, on the crests of submerged mountains. He has communed with the shark and the scuttlefish. He has learned from the swordfish how the waters of the mighty ocean may be hacked to pieces. The secrets of the seas are his and the mysteries of the waters are like A B C to him.

Therefore, William Wilson has thought it to be a grievous error to let this knowledge go for naught. William Wilson did not let it go for naught. He has invented a device that will mean millions, possibly billions, of dollars to the government’s capacious pocket. William Wilson has an invention that, at a nominal cost, will so fortify the ships of the American navy as to make the swiftest torpedoes of other navies mere minnows nibbling in vain at the sides of Uncle Sam’s men-of-war. The strongest subsurface projectile will strike the ships and fall, vain and useless, to the bottom of the ocean when once the chips have been provided with the new invention.

William Wilson’s contrivance is is the nature of an endless chain. It consists of links visible and invisible. It is to be hung around the hulks of vessel, and, in time of battle, it is to be dropped into the sea, completely surrounding the part of the ship that is under water. Torpedoes will get mixed up in this chain-armor effect, kick against the links in useless energy, signal the surface that there’s nothing doing in the destruction line, and then drop out of existence forever.

But William Wilson cannot give up his knowledge for nothing. He carries in every pocket copies of a bill he wants introduced providing that to William Wilson $75,000 shall be given and that, in return for this paltry sum, William Wilson shall drop in on navy department officials and teach them how the ships of the navy shall be made impregnable.

William Wilson has a sublime confidence in his invention. He has pictures of it in sections, and as a whole. He has a water color painting of a battleship safeguarded by the chain-like fort.

He is a stout man, of medium height, with whiskers that look like the beard of Neptune. On his face there is a crimson hue that comes from braving the dangers of the deep, conversing with mermaids on the crests of submerged mountains and communing with the shark. He smiles but rarely. He is tremendously in earnest.

“The invention is entirely reliable,” he explained. “I have tested it on a rowboat in Chesapeake bay. It will not injure a ship’s speed, and it is absolutely impossible for a torpedo to make any impression on it. I am giving it away, when I say the government can have it for $75,000.”

William Wilson, however, has found no enthusiasm at the capitol regarding his invention. No member of congress cares to introduce the bill he carries in his pockets. One member told him he had been approached by John M. Jones of New York, who wanted $50,000 to build an airship, and, having refused John Jones’ request, he would have to refuse William Wilson’s.

As William Wilson retired from the abode of the lawmakers, declaring he would return to take up again the fight for recognition, an irreverent employe of the capitol sang a few bars from “Swim Out, O’Grady.”

But William Wilson regarded him with an expression of profound pity.

From— Williston graphic. (Williston. Williams County. N.D.). 06 Aug 1908. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



Curious cryptids.

New Jersey Farmers Terrorized by a Creature, Apparently Half Man.


NEW BRUNSWICK, Nov. 26—The thinly populated district known as the Great Bear Swamp, twelve miles west of New Brunswick, has a well-developed sensation on hand, which promises to make things interesting for the farmers.

It appears that a misshapen monster, half human and half animal, has been devouring sheep, carrying off pigs and rending young cattle in the neighborhood.

There are less than half a dozen people who have seen the monster, and each described him differently. One Thompson, who lost several head of sheep, believes the strange visitant to be is cross between a kangaroo and a panther. William Simpson, who had a pig taken out of a pen at the rear of his farm, found the half-munched bones of the porker lying in the woods next day. Nen the bones were huge tracks in the soft soil, indicating that the wonderful beast had been the thief. Farmer Peter Dolan claims to have seen the strange animal that startled the farmers in that section one year ago, and believes it to be the same beast on a return trip. Many of the neighbors have barricaded the doors of their houses, and now look their stock in the barns after nightfall.

Gunning parties have searched in vain for the lair of the monster, whose tracks were plainly visible in the snow of yesterday and Sunday. The trail led to the soft swamp land and could not be followed. At a meeting of some of the bravest farmers yesterday it was decided to form a gunning party of fifty on Thanksgiving Day and surround the Great Bear Swamp to hunt the monster to his death.

* * *
BACKUS MONSTER (July 14, 1904)
People of Harry Gann’s Town Perturbed by a Sea Serpent or—Something.

H. L. Tonskemper, the popular Duluth traveling salesman, was in the city last night with a story from Backus for which he vouches that is something out of the ordinary in the line of stories. It concerns a monster, a son of a serpent or—something and it has the good people down that way in a state of mind that nearly borders on digcombobulation at present.

Mr. Tonskemper is a careful man and does not claim to have seen the serpent, but he is very emphatic in the statement that there is something in it. Just what it is he is not prepared to state and it’s the same way with the people at Backus. Any way its something. It is about the size of a horse and seems equally at home in the water of the lake or on the land. Several parties have seen it swimming in the lake while fishing. Its gen-eral mein is described as something terrible and all who have seen it have been too badly frightened to pay any particular attention to details. It might be a cross between a steamboat and grizzly bear or something equally bad, or it might be a white moose. Anyhow any number of people have seen the monster and hunting parties are out today to see what can be done about establishing its true identity.

People down the Backus way are said to be very much excited and there seems to be little doubt but that there is some freak of nature roaming the woods and water in that vicinity. Developments will be awaited with interest.

* * *
MYSTERY OR A HOAX. (May 24, 1904)

There has been excitement in the Beersheba neighborhood during the past few days over the alleged presence of a mysterious wild animal which, though as yet unseen, has been taking all manner of shapes according to the different imaginations by which it has been pictured.

The excitement referred to is traceable principally to the discovery of strange looking marks, taken to be tracks along the bed and bank of Buckhorn creek, near Cain’s springs last Saturday. The find was discussed at Beersheba on Sunday, and as the result of the various contributions of alleged facts and circumstances that were made during the discussion, there developed an almost tangible theory of the mystery.

Quite a number of people went down to see the tracks. There they were for a distance of half a mile or more—tracks that showed the imprint of immense claws and tracks that showed a flat shapeless impression, that might possibly have been made by a barefooted horse. As to whether the trail was that of a biped or a quadruped was not altogether certain. Some thought one way and some another; but all were equally puzzled and it was determined to organize a party on Monday to make further investigation.

The party was duly made up yesterday morning of some fifteen or twenty men and boys armed with shot guns and rifles and accompanied by dogs; but somehow the dogs could not be interested to any great extent, and when some of the closer observers began to insist that they could detect heel tacks in the tracks of the alleged mysterious monster; many began to figure that possibly they were being made victims of a hoax.

Just what the facts in the case are would be difficult to say; but it is a fact that a large number of people of Bethel township were inveigled out to hunt a similar monster a few years ago, and after the excitement had been worked up to a very high pitch, it found dissipation in a very decided conviction that one well-known citizen, who was responsible for the whole disturbance had been laughing in his sleeve all the while.

* * *
SNAKE MONSTER. (November 30, 1876)

A FARMER living near Eldora, in Iowa, had three large valuable farm horses recently destroyed by a monster snake. When discovered they were literally crushed into a jelly. The farmer’s name is given as Gabriel Stout, and a neighbor of his, S. Carlin, lost a fine two-year-old colt that was killed by the same snake. The whole neighborhood have turned out in search of the monster, but all that they have been able to discover so far is a portion of his snakeship’s last year’s skin, eleven feet in length, which is supposed to be only about a third of its entire length. Another farmer writes from the neighborhood of the monster’s whereabouts that two calves and several head of young stock are mysteriously missing, and the opinion is general that they have been killed and eaten by the big snake. There appears to be some truth in the story. The eleven feet portion of the skin of last year that was found during a hunt for the reptile is now on exhibition at the Court House at Eldora, and R. H. McBride has organized a body of men to prosecute the hunt until the monster is taken.

From— The evening world. (New York. N.Y.). 27 Nov. 1888., The Bemidji daily pioneer. (Bemidji. Minn.), 14 July 1904., Yorkville enquirer. volume (None). 24 May 1904. & The Highland weekly news. (Hillsborough [Hillsboro]. Highland County. Ohio). 30 Nov. 1876. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



A sure fire, campfire story.
A SUPERNATURAL STORY. (August 6, 1893)
The Contents of a Paper Found on the Person of an Insane Suicide.

Here is a story of the supernatural. It happened more than 100 years ago, so that you may hope that it is not true. Yet in those days the invention of news was not yet known, and the paper which contains this story was a sober and honest journal. One of the patients in a madhouse—a parish madhouse, I think that of Launceston—escaped. That was no new thing. They all wanted to escape. As the woman, although very mad indeed, was quite harmless, they went about their search in a leisurely fashion. At last they found her drowned in a shallow ditch and carried her back to the madhouse.

On preparing the unhappy woman for the grave they found in her corset—then called her stays—something that rustled. They cut the thing open and discovered a small parcel rolled up tight in some waterproof stuff—whatever was then invented. The parcel was a document written on parchment. It was written very small and misspelled, but this was how it ran:

“The man came along after dark. He stopped at our door and said he was a stranger, and would my aunt take him in for the night? He seemed a sailor and said he was respectable and showed money. ‘Elizabeth,’ said aunt, ’he can have your room, and you shall sleep with me.’ There were two bedrooms in the cottage, up a ladder, both garrets. During the evening he sent me out for drink, and he had a lot and was drunk, but he got up the ladder safe and so to bed. In the night I heard aunt get out of bed. There was a moon shining in the skylight window.

“She took something and went into the man’s room. Then I was frightened and sat up in bed, and I heard a sound as of a blow and nothing more. Presently aunt came back, and in the moonlight she saw me sitting up in bed. ‘Get up,’ she said; ‘go down stairs and get, if you can, a light.’ So I did and brought the rushlight up the ladder. Aunt had the Bible in her hand. ‘Swear,’ she said, ‘that you will never tell any one what has been done.’ So I swore, trembling, and wished I might go suddenly mad if I told. ‘Then,’ says she, ‘I’ve killed the lodger. His pockets were full of guineas, and I’m a made woman. But you must help me.’

“So she made me help to drag the body down into the room bellow and out in the garden, where we dug a hole under the cabbages and laid it as deep as we could. Then we covered all up and went back to the house and waited till daybreak. As soon as it was light we washed up the place, and nobody ever found out. One night, when I was a woman grown, the dead man came to my bedside and said, ‘Tell the story.’ and I said, ‘I cannot, because I swore.’ He said: ‘If you tell, you have sworn to go mad. If you do not tell. I will haunt you till you go mad.’

“So, as I am bound to go mad either way, I have written the story down and sewn it up. When I am dead somebody will find it and will dig up the poor man and bury him in a churchyard. The house is situated” * * *

Thus the narrative. And they dug up the garden in the plaice indicated and found the dead body in what had been sailor’s clothes.—Walter Besant in London Queen.

. From— The Roanoke times. (Roanoke, Va.), 06 Aug. 1893. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

Photo Credit: Mary Pickford from “Tess of the Storm Country” (1922). Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. From Library of Congress. http://tinyurl.com/z84x2bo




Razorback hog from Arkansas.
THE ARKANSAS HOG. (April 5, 1907)
It Can Outrun a Greyhound and Whip a Wolf or a Bear.

An esteemed contemporary gave space to the following communication from a subscriber on “The American Hog:” “Arkansas has a greater variety of hogs and less pork and lard than any state in the Union. An average hog in Arkansas weighs about fourteen pounds dressed with its head on and about six pounds and a half with its head off. It can outrun a greyhound, jump a rail fence, climb like a parrot and live on grass roots and rabbit tracks. It hasn’t much tail or bristle, but plenty of gall. It will lick a wolf or a bear in a fair fight. It is called razorback because it is shaped like a sunfish. In hunting a razorback it is always shot at sideways, for there is not a ghost of a show to hit it otherwise, any more than to shoot at a split shingle. It can drink milk out of a quart jar on account of its long, thin head. This type of razorback known as the stone hog because its head is so heavy and its nose so long that it balances up behind. The owner of this type of hogs usually ties a stone to its tall to keep it from overbalancing and breaking its neck while running. If the stone is too heavy, it will pull the skin all over its eyes, and it will go blind.”

* * *

GAINESVILLE, FLA. — “Somebody ought to have a genuine Florida razorback mounted before they become extinct. They’re hard to find, now.”

Thus does no less an authority than the bureau of markets and crop estimates of the United States Department of Agriculture officially confirm the suspicion that the porker around which so many yarns have been spun soon will be a candidate for the museum.

The Florida farmer is responsible for the passing of a pack of bones and bristles chock full of mischief. The razorback was reared on a farm but was permitted to roam the woods until he became half wild and only a photograph could portray the damage he could do once he wormed his way into a plot of cultivated ground.

As an article of food he was worth little. Florida farmers for several years have been stocking their places with pure bred swine. Co-operative sales of fine pigs, boys’ and girls’ pig clubs organized and operated under the supervision of county agricultural agents, and numerous sectional organizations of hog breeders sounded the death knell of the razorback.

Floridians have said his backbone formed an edge sharp enough to cut a fence rail and many tourists believed the old yarn that the hundreds of thousands of pine trees on turpentine farms in the state, with the bark chipped off on two sides to a height of several feet, were damaged by the razorbacks, sharpening themselves, preparatory to cutting another fence. Snakes and alligators are rarely seen outside of zoos and now the razorback is passing.

* * *
THE RAZOR-BACK HOG. (April 21, 1910)
Menace to Hunters—Destroys Egg and Young of Game Birds.

A North Carolina correspondent says that through the enforcing of the stock laws in the mountains of that State the ravages of the razor-back hog are being curtailed.

“In a number of the Southern and Middle Western States hogs are permitted to roam at will through the woods and river bottoms of sparsely settled regions. An attempt is made to mark them by means of notching, slitting or clipping the ears, an unsatisfactory method at best, and one which has caused many a neighborhood feud and the spilling of some human blood.

“There is always a certain percentage of these hogs that cannot be claimed or taken up by any person, because proof of ownership is lacking, and, as the practice has been in vogue for great many years, there are plenty of genuine wild hogs.

“Whether or not the progenitors of the razor-back hog were fat, slow going beasts, such as prosperous farmers own, we do not know. The fact is that the present woods rangers are long of leg, swift of foot and so lean that the term “razor back” is fairly appropriate. Accustomed to encounters with other woods prowlers in defense of their young, they have developed courage of a sort, and, while they will not attack men, they often set upon hunting dogs, invade camps and despoil everything within their reach.

“In the regions infested by these scavengers the loss in eggs and the young of game birds is very large. Where there are no fences the razor-backs scour the woods so carefully that nothing they will eat escapes. They travel fast and far and rake the country as with a fine tooth comb; their sense of smell is highly developed, and eggs and young of ground-nesting birds are never safe when they are abroad.—Forest and Stream.

* * *
THE RAZORBACK. (November 25, 1898)

Moultrie Observer:

The razorback is a breed of hogs raised in the South, before the war, and is still to he found in some localities, says a western exchange.

He is built on the Swiss cottage style of architecture. His ears lay back with a devil-may-care air. His tail has no curl, but hangs limp as a dish rag. The highest point of his corrugated back is 10 inches above the root of his tail. He ignores the slow, stately walk of the Berkshire, and goes in a lively, 2:10 trot. He always travels as if he was trying to catch a train which had just whistled for the station, and he had a quarter of a mile to make to get there. The thoroughbred razorback prowls around in the woods, living on acorns, nuts and roots, and if necessary can climb a tree like a monkey. Occasionally he crowds under a gate and assists in the harvesting of his owner’s corn crop, and if he has any time to spare from his owner’s crop, he will turn in and help his neighbor, often working at night rather than see the crop spoil for want of attention. He never knew the luxury of a sty. He wouldn’t get fat if he could, and is only fit to kill on the day of eternity. Crossing the razorback with the blueblood stock makes no improvement. The only successful way is to cross him with a locomotive going thirty miles an hour, he then becomes an imported thoroughbred and the railroad company pays for him at the rate of 50 cents a pound. The ham of a razorback is almost as juicy as the ham of an iron firedog; but not quite as good eating as sassafras bark. A man who is authority on razorbacks says a razorback is the only bird of prey that is amphibious in its habits and can lift a gate off its hinges without ruffling a feather.

From— East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, Umatilla Co., Or.), 05 April 1907., The St. Charles herald. (Hahnville, La.), 26 Aug. 1922., Hopkinsville Kentuckian. (Hopkinsville, Ky.), 21 April 1910. & Natchitoches populist. (Natchitoches, La.), 25 Nov. 1898. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.




An abudance of fish stories.
* * *
A WESTERN FISH STORY. (April 19, 1879)

A WESTERN FISH STORY.—The sweetest little fish story of the season is told by Frank Abbot, of Burlington, Iowa. At Clear Lake dwells a little girl who takes a ride every day in a small skiff drawn by two pickerel. They are regularly harnessed, and by means of lines she is enabled to guide them in any direction. The fish are about three feet in length, weigh between seven and eight pounds each, and are very powerful. When the girl has tired of riding she drives the pickerel to the boat house, where they are unharnessed, taken into a commodious glass aquarium, made expressly for them, and fed. When she goes to the tank to harness them for a ride, the pickerel jump almost into her arms, so glad, apparently, are they to see her. The young miss has been offered $1000 for her team.

* * *

A wonderful fish story comes from Port Tampa, Fla. It is about a twelve-foot shark, which was caught in the shallow water near the beach, a short distance from Port Tampa. His sharkship appeared to be sick, and was an easy victim. The parties who captured the prize noticed that his stomach was considerably distended, while the lower portion of his body and tall were quite thin. These facts excited the curiosity of the fishermen and they decided to dissect it. Upon opening his stomach a small pork barrel with one head knocked out was found. The mouth of the barrel was pointing upward toward the fish’s throat, and was literally filled with dead fish, but they could not be digested, hence the shark was literally starving to death, yet he had a barrel of fish in his stomach.

* * *

Fosston is coming to the front as the real fish-story center of the state. A while ago we were told it took six prominent citizens to pull one maskalonge to the shore in Cross Lake. Yesterday we learned that a fish cut a hole in the bottom of a rowboat with one of his fins. We hesitate to think what would have happened if he had used all of his fins. As the boat filled with water, one of the fishermen seized a stone anchor and giving it a mighty swing, threw it at the fish. “There was a splash followed by a stream of water and blood, and the lake for a distance of ten feet from the boat was lashed into foam, drenching the anglers. This lasted but a moment, when there was a calm, and the body of the peculiarly shaped fish appeared on the surface of the water.” We anxiously await the next fish story from Fosston.

* * *

A gentleman who came up from Caldwell yesterday brought a bran new fish story with him. As Caldwell people never lie the story must, be true.

About a week ago a boomer came into that town flushed with excitement and spread the alarm that he saw a whale or a sea serpent, or same other aquatic monster in Fall Creek just below the water works dam. He was quite sure it was the biggest fish mortal eyes ever rested upon, but when he was pinned down to it he acknowledged that the fish wouldn’t weigh more than 200 pounds. This was sufficiently large to create excitement even in Caldwell and the chief men of the town put their heads together and sentenced that fish to death. Sam Woodson got a repeating rifle, Pat O’Connor, being pretty handy with a pitchfork selected that weapon, Uncle Billy Crozine, being a cowman, naturally took a lariet rope along John Nyce took a double-barrelled shot gun and Harvey Homer, whose rain-making experiments have made him partial to explosives, took an immense stick of dynamite. Arriving on the scene they fished for the fish but could not find him. A council of war was held and it was unanimously decided that the fish was biding under the water fall caused by the dam. How to get him out of there was the important question. Horner was immediately seized by a happy thought. He placed Woodson, O’Connor, Nyce and Corzine in the creek about 100 feet below and told them that he would explode the dynamite where he supposed the fish was and that when the explosion occured the fish would swim towards them and that then they could kill him easily. “Capital idea,” all shouted in unison and taking off their boots and tucking up their trousers the four entered the creek, forming a guard extending from bank to bank. This being done Horner exploded the dynamite at the base of the dam, but instead of it blowing up the fish it blew up the dam and the four men below came within an ace of being drowned in the wild, tubbing volume of water that was liberated.

The repairs will cost about $500 and in the meantime the water supply is dependent on a few emergency wells. Horner is the only man who finds consolation in the incident. He has been telling the people all summer that be could produce floods by explosives and he has succeeded to the entire satisfaction of the four citizens who barely escaped from the jaws of a watery grave with their lives.

* * *
A TALL FISH STORY. (September 16, 1882)

A fish story comes from the vicinity of Sea Girt, N. J. It is stated that one day the family of a much-respected clergyman living in a cottage near that fashionable resort were without meat and fish for dinner, and were driven to the probability of having to dine on cabbage and other vegetables. About 10 o’clock in the morning a large fish-hawk was soon to swoop down to the sea and rise with a fish in its beak. It is well known that this is the manner in which the fish-hawk does his marketing, and, having thus secured his prey, takes it home to his wife and children in their nest on top of a high tree. It so happened that this fish-hawk had caught too large a fish. It was a ten-pound bluefish, and it struggled violently for liberty when captured by the hawk. Presently, just as the hawk was flying over the poor clergyman’s back yard, the fish got the better of him and hit the hawk such a powerful blow with his tail that the hawk was glad to let him drop. The fish suddenly descended among the clergyman’s wife and daughters, who were sitting in the shade of a tree outside the kitchen and preparing their frugal meal. They accepted the fish as a gift from heaven, whence, indeed, it seemed to have come, so unexpected and startling was its descent from above. The clergyman’s family called in two or three of their neighbors and enjoyed with them a substantial fish dinner. The poor fish-hawk had to make other provision for his family in the tree-top. This is only a fish story, yet it is said to be vouched for by several excellent and trustworthy people.

* * *
ONE TRUE FISH STORY. (October 18, 1918)

Miss Anna Carlson says the only true fish story ever recorded is found in the Bible, when the disciples said, in effect, “Master, we have fished all night and caught nothing.”

From— The Pacific commercial advertiser. (Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands), 19 April 1879., Staunton spectator and vindicator. (Staunton, Va.), 29 July 1897., The Minneapolis journal. (Minneapolis, Minn.), 24 June 1903., The Wichita daily eagle. (Wichita, Kan.), 01 July 1893., The Ottawa free trader. (Ottawa, III.), 16 Sept. 1882. & The Ogden standard. (Ogden City, Utah), 08 Oct. 1918. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.




Giant black racer.

(Whopper of a Snake Story Told by Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, Man.)


New Story Brought to Philadelphia by Huckleberry Man from the Mountains of Keystone State Shows Snake Bite Medicine Still Powerful.

Philadelphia, Pa.—It was a whopper! No, not the story, but the snake. It was part of the narrative of a Lycoming county huckleberry contractor who employs an army of pickers. He was here to place a consignment of the sylvan fruit with a Philadelphia produce merchant.

“Up in the Alleghenies,” he said, “they are telling snake stories. The snake is prominent now because of the huckleberry season. The berries grow only on the high mountainside or snake zone and their harvesting is attended with actual danger. There is no place so snug as a huckleberry bush for a snake to hide under and as sure as a hand is thrust beneath the foliage sheltering a copperhead it will receive a hypodermic injection of green venom that will harass the owner for a lifetime.

“The berry-picking season is a time of adventure and of braving the rattler in his den, and therefore the flood of snake stories.

“Everybody at the postoffice in my village, where the farmers gather in the evening, was talking about a huge black snake that makes a sequestered outlying farm its headquarters. The reptile was first seen on the farm five years ago and since then it has made its appearance with increased length and girth every summer. The farmer is a skilled hunter and a good shot, but his bullets have so far been wasted on the heath.

“It was not only his size, but his extraordinary speed, which astounded the farm hand who first saw him.

“ ‘I was cutting a rye field and had stopped my mower to rest the horses.’ he said, ‘when I heard a low whistle, which I thought must be a locust. I throwed my eye over the field. Locust, the devil! It was a black racer. The head and about two feet of the snake stuck out above the level of the rye, and he swept across the field faster than a horse can run. He passed close to me and his eyes flashed like fire.’

“At another time the snake was surprised by a woodcutter, who came upon his snakeship taking a nap at full length on a rail fence. When aroused the snake snapped together like a stretched elastic band and glided off into the woods.

“Here was a chance to take his measure, as the serpent was slightly longer than the rail he occupied. The rail measured ten feet.

“Since then the racer has grown enormously. His agility has enabled him to capture and devour scores of toads and birds, with now and then fowl from the henhouse.

“One night the farmer was awakened, so the story goes, an unusual commotion in the barnyard. All the animals on the place were excited—the horses were stamping, the cows bawling, chickens cackling and geese quaking. Above all was the terrified squealing of a pig. The farmer lit his lantern and ran to the barn just in time to see an anaconda gliding off with a young pig in his jaws.

“Oh! why din’t he think of his gun? The black robber disappeared into the dark borderland beyond the lantern’s light.

“They were saying at the village store—but repeat it not to ‘Sweeney’—that the snake was seen milking the cows which are sent to the woodland pasture.

“A story came to the village last week that the hired man on the farm had just seen the snake stretched across the road. The head had disappeared in the brake at one side of the road and there still was more snake coming with no tall in sight So Cy beat it.”

From— The Columbus commercial. (Columbus, Miss.), 03 Nov. 1912. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.




Hypnosis machine.
A REAL MERMAID. (March 4, 1870)

A REAL MERMAID.—A correspondent of the Delhi Gazette, writing from Benares, on December 19 says: “Some Mohammedans [Muslims, archaic] of Bengal have recently brought here a mermaid preserved in a case. It exactly resembles a fish covered with scales in the lower half, and a monkey having a head and two arms, with fingers and nails, in the upper. Of course, it is a curious thing to look at. I was quite astonished to learn from some of my friends that a real mermaid, exposed in the chouk of this city, could be seen on paying a single piece. So, as this filled my mind with great curiosity, I went there, yesterday, and saw that it was all true, and that a man, sitting at the door, with a bell in his hand was inviting the passers-by to that spectacle. I, with two friends, went in, saw the animal, and felt it with my own hands. I couldn’t make out anything fictitious in it. On inquiring of the man who was present there, I was informed that it was a real mermaid, found in the sea near Japan, and that a man bought it for five hundred rupees at a public auction in Calcutta. He further told me that another of the same sort, but as big as a man, was soid there for fourteen hundred rupees. The length of the one I saw here was about a foot and a half.”

* * *
A MERMAID. (October 27, 1881)
The Remains of One of These Strange Creatures of the Sea on The Steamship Nelly Abby,

N. O. Times.] “Mermaid : a sea woman ; a fabulous marine animal represented as having the head of a woman with the tail of a fish.” So says the lexicographer, and as such has been considered by all who live in this enlightened age, notwithstanding the fact that frequent mention has been made of these semi-mortal and semi-finny beings by the most ancient writers, sung by poets and painted in glowing colors, for the amusement of the little folks in fairy tales.

A real mermaid in this advanced stage of navigation ordinarily would find it difficult to keep from the sight of human beings, and up to some two months ago succeeded in evading capture, when a native fisherman, a resident of Aspinwall, captured one of these beings and successfully pressed it. This wonderful curiosity arrived in this city on the steamship Nelley Abby, now lying at the head of Josephine street, and through the courtesy of Captain Horne, the owner, a Times reporter was yesterday allowed to examine it. The lexicographers definition fully covers the case, and all doubting individuals can call at the ship and see for themselves.


on the head of this curiosity still remains ; the features of the face are perfect even to the teeth, the arms are the same as human beings with claws resembling an eagle’s talons in place of the finger nails. From the waist up the resemblance to a human being is unmistakable, and from the waist down the body is exactly the same as an ordinary mullet, with scales, fins and tail perfect. Captain Horn came into possession of this wonder through Mr. Groch, of the Boston Ice Company, stationed in the city of Panama. Several scientists yesterday visited the ship and examined this curiosity.

* * *
HE DEMANDS HIS MERMAID. (December 27, 1897)
A Young Man Sees “The Whirl of the Town” and Goes Crazy.

ST. LOUIS, Dec. 24.—Sergeant King of the Fourth district police station was startled this afternoon by an excited young man who rushed into his office and demanded to see his mermaid. A moment later a sobbing woman entered and explained that the young man, her son, was demented. She said he had become crazed at the Olympic Theatre two weeks ago while watching the presentation of “The Whirl of the Town.” The plot of the play is based on the adventures of a mermaid. Since then the young man has been constantly seeking a mermaid, and his family locked him up, but he escaped to-day. His mother took him home and declined to give her name.

* * *
WONDER OF CREATION. (August 24, 1842)

AMERICAN MUSEUM, Broadway, opposite St. Paul’s Church.

WONDER OF CREATION! For one week more!

In consequence of the immense crowds of Ladies and Gentlemen which have visted the Musuem during the last week, and being aware that thousands of persons have been unable to see the MERMAID, who are desirous of doing so, the Manager has, at an immense expense, made arrangements with the proprietor to exhibit at the Museum, for one week more, the greatest curiousity in the world, the


No extra charge for admission to the Museum.

In order to accomodate the immense number of visitors which daily attend here, there will, this week, be a splendid DAY PERFORMANCE EVERY AFTERNOON, commencing at four o’clock—the performance in the day precisely the same as those in the evening.

Positively the last week of WINCHELL, the Comic Drolierist, who will appear in eight characters—Miss TAYLOR, the popular vocalist from the Park Theatre—LA PETITE CELESTE, ALBINO LADY, BALLOON ASCENSIONS, Fancy Glass Blowing, and 500,000 Curiosities.

Admittance to the whole 25 cents. Children half price. an22

From— Bedford inquirer. (Bedford. Pa.). 04 March 1870., The weekly clarion. (Jackson, Miss.), 27 Oct. 1881., The sun. (New York [N.Y.]), 25 Dec. 1897. & New-York daily tribune. (New-York [N.Y.]), 24 Aug. 1842. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



HYPNOSIS MACHINES. (August 22, 1896)

Hypnosis machine.

(Devices to Produce the Mesmeric State Mechanically.)


Influence of Certain Chemicals Upon Sensitive Subjects.


EVEN HYPNOSIS may now be produced by machinery. We are approaching a day when the direct influence of Svengalies will not be necessary to throw Trilbies into subjective states, when hypnotists will exert their powers through machinery set to operate at given times, the presence of the instruments being unknown to the subjects. The mechanical mesmerizer will then find an essential place in the burglar’s tool kit, and we will have to look under our beds to see if such traps have been set by our enemies. The mechanical hypnotizer as now made, however, is strictly a scientific instrument. The government’s bureau of education recently purchased a collection of such apparatus, which are new in this country. They will be used by a specialist for studying the values of hypnotic suggestion in the education of the abnormal classes. [???] Experiments will be made determining their effect upon the sensibilities, emotions, breathing, circulation and temperature of the body.


The most elaborate form of hypnotizer is a small box, containing clock work, surmounted by two horizontal oblong fans, one over the other, revolving rapidly in opposite directions. The fans are studded on each side with a row of circular mirrors, about the size of nickel pieces. The rapid rotation produces an odd flashing effect which greatly fatigues the eyelid muscles of the beholder. This machine is found to be very effective when used upon sensitives who can be thrown into a hypnotic sleep by concentration or sight stimulus.

A simpler form of mechanical hypnotizer is a belt of broad tape to be placed upon the forehead and over the temples, being tied at the back of the head. From a metallic plate in front protrudes a wire, extenting upward in an S-like curve and holding a bright ball of nickel, about the size of a marble, at the end. When this is placed upon the subject the wire is bent until the ball reaches a point above the eye, where it may be seen by the wearer only by intensely straining the eyelids. The same effect, as produced by the former machine is accomplished by this simpler apparatus. These instruments have been invented to serve in substitution for the gestures, known as passes, commonly made by hypnotists. The scientific hypnotist makes movements before and above the eyes of his subject to concentrate his attention and to fatigue the eyelid muscles both by causing the eyes to follow the movements and by fanning air against them. Fatigue of the muscles of the eyelids is found to be one of the direct causes of sleep. Persons in no mental need of sleep may “read themselves sleepy” under a too bright or a too dim light. A severe breeze against the eyelids will cause the same effect.


Another form of hypnotizer, in this collection, is a large horshoe magnet with an attached armature. It is given to a sensitive who is told to continuously separate and fit together the two parts. A similar magnetic hypnotizer is a steel ring to fit the index finger. The ring is of magnetized steel and is broken at one place, the space being filled by a small steel armature. These two contrivances are used principally for humoring the more unsophisticated and superstitious sensitives who foster the belief that hypnotism is supernatural. The magnet in most eases suggests mystery to the ignorant and sensitives of that class are readily excited by it. The ring device, also called a hypnoscope, is used by some hypnotists for determining sensitives. Hypnotizable persons are alleged to experience certain tinglings in the skin and twitchings of the muscles while wearing it. A more complicated instrument in this collection, which may be used as a hypnoscope, is a bulb-shaped rod, resembling an electrode, which may be made to create pressure against the palm of the hand by a spring inside. When the pressure is applied the subject is asked if he feels an electric shock. If he so confesses he is rated as a hynotic sensitive. Sometimes the whole frame will tremble as a result of this imaginary electrical fluid.


Equally interesting devices of a related class, now growing in vogue among certain experimental hypnotists, are for application to sensitives for the purpose of causing hallucinations known as crystal visions. One instrument of this class is a ball of crystal mounted upon a handle. Mirrors and other polished or transparent surfaces are employed for the same effect. The crystal or reflecting medium by producing partly obscured or scattered reflections to the sensitive mind’s eye aid the subject in perceiving unnatural mental embodiments of various objects. Many abnormal persons, habitually haunted by phantasms, for which visions they develop appetites, so to speak, employ these crystals and reflectors for throwing themselves into states during which they may experience what is alleged to be the actual or imagined “sixth sense” or “second sight.” Crystal gazing has lately become so popular that many psychic experimentalists in Europe are inviting tests with the paraphernalia thus employed, and agents were some time since engaged by the Society for Psychical Research to furnish balls for the purpose. Prof. Wm. Romaine Newbold of the University of Pennsylvania recently made an extensive investigation of crystal vision and found that twenty-two subjects out of eighty-six could perceive illusions by gazing into mirrors, surfaces of water and objects of glass varying in form. Phantasms appeared to the sensitives usually within five minutes, being preceded directly by cloudiness, hazes of color or illuminations before the eyes. The phantasms varied from dim outlines to brilliant colored pictures. Like dreams some of these forms were based upon recent experiences of the subjects, while others were purely fantastic...

From— Evening star. (Washington, D.C.), 22 Aug. 1896. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.




Monster bird.
A   M O D E R N   R O C

West Virginia Mountaineers Terrorized by a Gigantic Bird.

A Ten-Year-Old Child Carried Off by the Feathered Monster—A Hunter’s Terrible Battle.

West Virginia Correspondence Globe-Democrat.

Not since the treacherous Gauley river rose suddenly in the night and swept scores of the mountaineers living along its banks to death in its icy waters, has Webster county been so excited as it is at present. From away down on Cherry river to the remotest settlements on Sugar run, in the upper part of the county, the mountaineers are talking of the gigantic bird which has been terrorizing this section for the past week or ten days.

About two weeks ago a child of Dan Junkins, who lives over on Bergoo, some fifteen miles from this place, suddenly disappeared in a manner which for a time puzzled the oldest hunters and woodsmen of the county. It is now regarded as an absolute certainty that the child, a little girl of ten years, fell a prey to the winged monstrosity which for want of a better name the mountaineers call an eagle.

Little Landy was sent by her mother one Friday afternoon to the cabin of Joe Warnick, a mile and a half south of that of Junkins’, to ask after Mrs. Warnick, who had been sick. The girl started soon after noon for the Warnick cabin, but never reached there, and vanished as completely as if she had been spirited away by supernatural power. As Landy did not return by 4 or 5 o’clock Mrs. Junkins grew uneasy and sent her husband to look for her. He thought, perhaps, she had remained with the Warnicks, and went straight to the cabin. There he learned that the child had not been there. By that time it had become dark, and, assisted by the Warnicks, Junkins started to hunt his daughter. Nothing could be seen of her, and the whole party returned to the Junking cabin. As there were several inches of snow on the ground, the tracks of Landy could be plainly followed. They were followed to a point within half a mile of the Warnick cabin, where they suddenly disappeared, and could not be seen any further. The point where they stopped was in a cleared field, where buckwheat had been grown last season.

The child must evidently have been frightened at something, for the tracks left the path, and where they stopped were some 15 or 20 feet away from it. There were a number of her tracks together, as if she had turned around and around, while trying to avoid something. Beyond this point the footprints disappeared. The search was continued far into the night, and the surrounding forest was scoured as far as possible, as it was thought the child might have wandered from the path. The searchers were compelled to return to the almost distracted mother with the news that the missing child had not been found.

The next day the search was continued by a number of others, who had heard the story, and come to volunteer their services. Search as closely as they could, beyond the footprints in the snow at the point near the path, they could not be followed further. How the child could have vanished and left no farther trace puzzled every one. If she had been seized by a wild animal, its tracks would surely have been left in the snow, but there was nothing of the kind. There was no explanation to he offered, and the mystery of the disappearance was not revealed until several days later.


Peter Swadley, a noted bear hunter of Webster, is now in the village being treated for the wounds he recived from the huge bird over on Laurel creek day before yesterday. He is still in a precarious condition from the encounter. Swadley was brought to Addison by Abe Kitsmiller on the afternoon of the day it happened. Swadley was hunting a bear over on Piney ridge, and had his dog Gunner with him. The two were tracking a bear, whose haunts Swadley had known for some days, through the laurel on the mountain side, when he came into a little clearing, and suddenly without other warning than a scream louder than that of a panther, which Swadley thought at first had jumped on him, the immense feathered creature swooped down with the evident intention of bearing him off. The bird dug its talons in his back, tearing his coat into shreds, and for some minutes there was a fierce fight in the snow. Swadley lost his rifle, and did not get a chance to use his hunting knife.

Though he is a large, powerfully built man he had no chance with his bare hands, and his wounds show what a fight for life it must have been. One of the worst wounds the hunter received was over the left eye, where the scalp was torn away for at least three inches, making a terrible wound. Swadley still managed to retain his footing in the snow, though nearly unconscious, and strove to ward off the blows of the eagle’s talons, which nearly tore him to pieces. Swadley’s dog Gunner was probably the only thing that saved him from being killed. The dog was off from its master when the bird attacked him, but when Swadley shouted it returned and made for the eagle. The latter turned from the man to the dog, and Swadley says with the stroke of its powerful claws ripped open its stomach and flew away with the poor creature whining in its talons. Almost blinded by the blood which flowed from the wound over his eye, the hunter contrived to find his way down the mountain side to the cabin of Abe Kitsmiller, on Little Laurel creek, a mile or more from the place of conflict. He stumbled into the cabin nearly dead from the loss of blood. Kitsmiller was at home, and after he had bound up Swadley’s wounds as well as he could, he put him on a horse and brought him to Addison.

Owing to the fact that the bird came on him so suddenly, and nearly blinded him at the outset by the blow on the head, Swadley is not able to give much of a description of it. Its strength, however, he declares, was prodigious, and twice he was lifted off his feet by its onslaughts. Its body, he says, is as large as that of a man. “Ef it was to come ez ter how I should have ter pick atwixt a painter [panther, colloq.] and the varmint, in fair hand-to-hand fight, I should take the painter every time,” he said in telling of the affair.

From— Evening star. (Washington. D.C.), 16 March 1895. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



A WALKING CORPSE. (March 30, 1889)

Nothin' like a good campfire story to chill the bones.

No less a man than Samuel Johnson believed in ghosts—believed in them implicitly, some of his biographers relate. Many eminent men believe in them. Few of them pretend to explain why they believe in them. They just do it, that’s all.

About six years ago there was studying at a noted eastern medical university an extremely bright and promising young fellow from Tennessee. He was distinguished among his fellows for his absolute fearlessness. Many a ghastly joke have they put up on him to shake him from his pinnacle of courage, but he remained undaunted. They resolved to give him a mighty test. They dared him to sit alone through the night in the dissecting room in the presence of a corpse. He accepted the challenge.

The dissecting room was a long, narrow chamber with a door at each end, with several suggestive tables in the middle and ranging shelves of surgical instruments on the walls.

Into this room was brought the body of a man who had committed suicide a couple of days before. The body was laid on a slab at one end of the room. At the other end was a table, with a student’s lamp in the center and covered with books. Two loaded revolvers were laid on the table side by side. The student had placed them there as a precautionary measure. But the men who were testing his nerve took the bullets out of the revolvers and replaced them with blank cartridges. Early in the evening the student entered the room, examined the corpse, lit his lamp and sat down at his table and began to read. He became deeply absorbed in what he was reading and was oblivious to his surroundings. His fellows, who were watching him through a crack in the door at the other end of the room, took advantage of his absorption and one of them, clad in a long white robe, quietly entered the room and took the corpse from the slab and placed it underneath a table. He then lay down on the slab in the place of the corpse. Tho student, intensely interested in his book heard nothing and did not lookup.

He read on for another half hour, when he heard a slight noise. He looked up and he turned white as he noticed one arm of the corpse slowly moving. He was totally unsuspicious of any trick. The supposed corpse slowly sat bolt upright. After a moment it rose to its feet and stood perfectly still. The fellows, who were watching through the farther door, noticed that the student was deathly pale and seemed dazed. But he did not lose his nerve. He jumped up, seized a revolver in either hand and faced the supposed corpse. The corpse took a long step towards him, then slowly advanced. The student commanded it to stop. No response, but the corpse kept advancing. Again the student, evidently crazed at the sight, commanded it to halt. No attention was paid to his demand, and the corpse was gradually nearing him.

The youth, who was enacting the part of the corpse, raised his hand, pretended to catch the bullet (he had a hand full of them), and threw it back at the student. Again the latter fired, and again and again, until he had discharged the twelve cartridges. After each shot the bullet was tossed back at him. The pistols fell out of the student’s hands and he dropped dead.

From— The Salt Lake herald. (Salt Lake City [Utah). 30 March 1889. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.





... Shortly after establishing camp Quartermaster Neal was making a reconnoiter with a detachment to find a suitable place for the hoop nets and throw lines, when from out of the rocks, and unobserved a whangdoodle sprang upon him. Fortunately Scout Neal had his jackknife in his hand and was about to cut a pole for a throw when attacked. The affray was fast and furious and before his comrades could come to his rescue he had dispatched the whangdoodle.

In the encounter Scout Neal received an ugly wound in his right wrist, but his injury was promptly dressed by Dr. Nina Johns and at this time the scout is resting nicely.

We refrain from mentioning the size of the monster for fear the parents of the scouts will become alarmed. We understood that our prospective second camp is infested with wampus cats, whangdoodles, mountain boomers and whirligigs, but tell your readers to have no fear, as the scouts are well organized, the camp is well parolled and every precaution is takers against the lurking dangers that seem to be on every hand ...


* * *
ENGLISH IN THE SENATE. (February 23, 1913)

Dictionaries were in great demand a few days ago in the senate Senate.

Martin declared Senator Clark, chairman of the judiciary committee, had given only “platitudinarial assurances” of what was to he done with the Clayton anti-injunction bill.

Senator Nelson asserted that Senator Martin was going at the question with “whangdoodle haste.”

Senator Martin retorted he believed there had been “whangdoodle delay,” but admitted he did not know what he meant.

“Senator Williams of Mississippi, the great authority on such phrases, isn’t here to help out,” he added —Washington Letter to the Philadelphia Public Lerger.

* * *
THE WHANGDOODLE. (September 21, 1906.)

... And the Courier-Journal came out with the dread word: “The staid old Baltimore Sun has got itself a whangdoodle. Nor is this one of those bogus whangdoodles which we sometimes encounter in the side-show business, merely a double cross between a ginricky and a gyascutis—but genuine, guaranteed; imported direct from the mountains of Hepsidam. And to give facts to the above remark it quotes the immortal lines:

“The Whangdoodle, the Ginrickey
          and the Gyascutis,
Are of imagination all compact.
          One sees more devils than vast hell
can hold—
          That is the Whagndoodle.”

This mystifies the Sun paper. It laborously inquires, “What is a Whingdoodle?” It says, “We have heard of sharks, mugwumps, bohemoths, protozoan, heptasophs and steptococoi, but the whangdoodle is a bird that has yet to fly between us and the sun.” It then goes into the etymology business. It finds that the veb “whang” means to “give out a banging noise,” and that “doodle signifies “to drone like a bag pipe.”

We desire to add what light we can to this dark subject. The whangdoodle is not — bird at all. It is a mammal, with all the affection of the mammalia for its offspring. That banging, droning noise is the articulate voice of bereavement. It inhabits the place of buried hopes and shattered dreams. Some of its progeny was evidently left to it, but is was true to the memory of its oldest and best-beloved. We are surprised at our contemporaries for making light of its sorrows. Have they never read the classic lines,

“Gone where the wood-bine twineth,
And the whangdoodle weepeth for
its first born.”

The fact is that both our esteemed contemporaries are trying to create a diversion. They are both so thoroughly committed to the Bryan movement that the little reference to government ownership had to be met by distracting public attention for a moment. But they might have been at better business than mocking the grief of the poor old whangdoodle. Are there not other conclusions? Has the terrapin proved less luscious than usual? Has the mint julep lost its savor?—Atlanta Journal.

* * *
THE GYASTICUTUS. (July 1, 1891)

(A Specimen Found at San Juan Capistrano.)

The Finder Calls It a Specimen of a Cadorus, But it is Surely
a Gyasticutus or a Whangdoodle—A Description of the Queer Animal.

At last that supposed-to-be extinct animal of which “Phoenix” wrote and Bret Harte sang—the great Gyasticutus Californicus—has been found. The HERALD received it yesterday from San Juan Capistrano by a gentleman who exhumed its remains from a pliocene bed near the San Juan hot springs, at a place appropriately named “Saints’ Rest.”

It is one of the most extraordinary bird-animals ever seen. It has a head like a wild cat, with two tusks protruding from its lower jaw. Its body is shaped like that of a wild cat but it has only two legs, tremendous ones, about twenty inches long each, and supplied with four distinct joints. The legs terminate in large flappers, showing that the animal was amphibious and made use of its enormous webbed feet to paddle its own canoe. When standing on its two feet erect, it could not have been less than twenty-eight inches in height. The face of its head gives evidence of its ferocious character. It was made to fight with its well-armed jaws.

The gentleman who sends this wonderful specimen gives it the scientific name of “Cadorus ;” but the HERALD is sure it is the long-lost gyasticutus, the companion of the whangdoodle that for unnumbered æons ranged in the valleys and swamps of the Pacific coast. Its habitat reaches as far north as Oregon, but there is no instance on record of it having been found beyond that latitude.

The California academy of sciences has been searching for one of these bird-animals, and at one time a very large reward was offered for it. At the time when “Truthful Jeemes” discovered the pre-historic Calaveras skull and the plethiosaurus, it was believed that the searchers were getting very near to either the whangdoodle or the gyasticutus. But the branch scientific academy of Murphy and camp ran out of funds, and the explorations had to be given up. It was reserved for the glorious section of the state, which always must have grown anything that was grown anywhere else, to carry off the great honor of first presenting to the world a complete specimen of the famed gyasticutus. It is needless to say that this “find” will shake the scientific world from center to circumference. Never since Mr. Pickwick discovered the great archaic stone has there been so valuable a discovery made in natural history.

* * *

The Courier-Journal has received from “An Old Fogy,” at Huntsville, Ky., a package with this note :

Inclosed please find two locust wings with a W or an M on them. I am at a loss to know whether it means Wilson’s Wrangle or McKinley’s Millennial. Please give your interpretation.

The letter is a W and marks the wings of that species of the locust known as the whangdoodle, the M, so far as is known, having no other significance than as an initial of the insect’s name.

The whangdoodle is a very peculiar insect. It is the most erratic member of the Locusts Migratoria family. It has no regular periods of visitation, like its seven, thirteen and seventeen-year kin. Its coming, however, is not thought to be in independence of all law. On the contrary the appearance of the whangdoodle has long been considered as accompanying certain conditions of the human race. This theory is so well established by an extended series of observations that it is now hardly thought worth while to dispute that the whangdoodle is always an accompaniment of the waves of folly that occasionally sweep over the country. For many years there has been no passing epidemic of popular lunacy which has not brought with it the orthoperous whangdoodle. Indeed there is little excuse to-day for ignorance of the fact that the whangdoodle always comes in numbers proportioned to the greatness of the need for the fool-killer.

We are not in the least surprised to learn that the whangdoodle has come. This ought to be a great year for whangdoodles. It would be hard to recall a time when there was more need for the fool-killer. The people seem to have gone daft. There is a tidal wave of folly over the entire country. Everywhere fools, who are ordinarily sensible men, are crying out against the hard times which were brought about by Republican legislation, and yet are falling over each other to vote the Republican ticket simply because the administration in power is labeled Democratic.

Certainly the whangdoodle ought to swarm upon us this year, and he ought to wax exceedingly fat upon his food of human folly.—Courier-Journal.

* * *
“WHANGDOODLED” (March 23, 1907)

Oliver says he was “whangdoodled” out of the Panama canal contract. The whangdoodle, it will be rendered, was the historic doorflicker of the mountains of Hepsidam that mourned for its first-born to lion-roar accompaniment.

* * *
THE WHANGDINGER. (February 13, 1921)

A whangdinger, according to the Encyclopedia Bullconia, is a specie of gollywhopper, and was one time thought to be part of the twiddle-dum of twiddie-dee.

* * *
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS (November 27, 1920)

Q. A man in a lecture used the expression “where the Whangdoodle crieth for his first born.” Where can this phrase be found, and what is a whangdoodle? G.H.M.

A. The whangdoodle is a fictitious animal, whose characteristics have never been adequately described. The line reads “where the lion roareth and the whangdoodle mourneth for its first born,” and is from a recitation “The Harp of a Thousand Strings,” published anonymously, but attributed to W. T. Brannnan.

From— The Chickasha daily express. (Chickasha. Indian Territory [Okla.]). 19 June 1912., Arizona republican. (Phoenix. Ariz.). 23 Feb. 1913., The Ocala banner. (Ocala, Marion County, Fla.), 21 Sept. 1906., Los Angeles herald. (Los Angeles [Calif.]), 01 July 1891., The evening bulletin. (Maysville, Ky.), 13 June 1894., Goodwin's weekly : a thinking paper for thinking people. (Salt Lake City. Utah). 23 March 1907., The Washington times. (Washington [D.C.]), 13 Feb. 1921. & Arizona republican. (Phoenix, Ariz.), 27 Nov. 1920. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.




Good ol' Fish stories.
POT CALLING THE KETTLE BLACK. (September 24, 1915)

When the flood which had spread over a northern Missouri bottom subsided the other day a farmer ventured to wade back to his home, which had been in the water and still had a foot of water over the floor. Going into the kitchen, he saw a big catfish floundering about, and it was only necessary to close the kitchen door to catch the fish. We don’t expect anybody to believe this story. In fact, we don’t believe it ourselves. We happened to read it in a weekly paper up where the floods are, and we print it just to show what liars some folks can be.—Henry County Democrat.

* * *
A WONDERFUL FISH STORY. (November 11, 1921)

A fish story that is absolutely true and that puts all the others in the shade is vouched for by Mrs. Joe Henry, her cook, and a number of people who bear witness to the truth and accuracy of the statement.

Last evening while preparing a trout which weighed about five pounds for supper, the domestic employed by Mrs. Henry who resides on Academy street in this city, cut off the head of the fish, and out sprang an octopus, about eight inches in length having eight tentacles, from three to six inches in length. The cook dropped the fish and ran screaming into the house. Mrs. Henry came in, and together they secured the octopus which was brought up town this morning to the drug store of Mr. Doane Herring where it was viewed by a number of people. The reptile is now in the possession of Mr. Henry who is employed at the Hackney Wagon factory.

The octopus which evidently had been swallowed by the trout had eaten the inside of the fish until hardly anything but the skin and the gills of the fish remained. Mr. Herring may preserve it in alcohol.

* * *

The fish story of the season comes from the Gilpin Valley and gains its origin from the recent floods that helped to lay waste to so large section of the country. Where the Guyan overflowed its banks near the home of Jasper Bridges a school of German carp was scattered all over the lowland and left stranded in a pool. Armed with gigs, clubs, pitchforks and other implements the men and boys, women and girls of the vicinity waded into the pool and proceeded to slaughter fish until they could scarcely stand for weariness. More than five hundred pounds of carp was taken from the pool during the day.

* * *

The reliable and oft quoted Copper Era is responsible for a fish story which, if it emanated from any other source, would scarcely receive credence. In a quarter of a column a tale is told of a capsized picnic party, a floating lunch basket and the eventual recovery of the latter. But to quote:

“Mr Johnson had trouble in recovering a large lunch basket which had floated some distance down stream. When it was finally secured and brought to shore it was discovered that it was nearly half full of speckled mountain trout that were feeding on the lunch, which furnished the first fish dinner of the trip.”

If the story had said that the fish were cooked because of the basket floating into a submarine boiling spring we would not have questioned the accuracy of the statement for even a brief second.

* * *
FISH TALE FOR VEGETARIANS. (September 2, 1911)
Captor of Thirty-Two Pound Carp Says He Saw It Picking and Eating Strawberries.

Fred Vosen, who lives near the Valley mill, has the champion fish story of the season, says the Springfield Republican. He captured a carp at the Lee Water company’s reservoir that weighed 32 pounds. Now, this part of the story is positively vouched for, but the surprising part follows.

Mr. Vosen says he was fishing and heard on the shore what he at first supposed was a muskrat. On investigating it proved to be a big carp. He watched the fish for some minutes, and states positively that along the shore strawberries hung over the water, varying in distance from four to ten inches from the surface, and he was surprised to see the big fish bobbing his head out of the water and grabbing the berries. He watched him repeat the operation half a dozen times. He then tried his bait, and succeeded in hooking the fish, and had to shoot I him before he could land him. Mr. Vosen was accompanied by several friends, who state that his story of the carp picking strawberries is true in every respect.

* * *
PIKE 267 YEARS OLD. (May 18, 1912)

The pike is a fish for which now there is little demand. Yet Edward I., who regulated the prices of different fish, that his subjects might not be at the mercy of the venders, fixed the value of pike higher than fresh salmon and at more than ten times that of the best turbot. Pike are supposed to live longer than any other fish in spite of their former popularity as food. Gleaner relates that in 1497 a pike was caught in Swabia with a ring attached, inscribed, “I was first put into this lake by the hands of the governor of the universe, Frederick II., October 5, 1230.” This is the fish’s story.—London Chronicle.

* * *
NO NEED. (August 25, 1893)

A fisherman claims to have caught ninety-five pickerel in the Mouse river near Towner a few days ago, which proves that the river doesn’t need stocking with fish nor the country with fish story tellers.

From— Ripley County democrat. (Doniphan, Mo.), 24 Sept. 1915., The Wilson times. volume (Wilson, N.C.), 11 Nov. 1921., Daily public ledger. (Maysville, Ky.), 25 June 1906., Arizona silver belt. (Globe City, Pinal County, Ariz.), 15 June 1905., Hopkinsville Kentuckian. (Hopkinsville, Ky.), 02 Sept. 1911., Hopkinsville Kentuckian. (Hopkinsville, Ky.), 18 May 1912. & Bismarck weekly tribune. (Bismarck, Dakota [N.D.]), 25 Aug. 1893. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.




Petrified man.
A PETRIFIED MAN. (December 31, 1890)

On December 13th, says a Fresno, Cal., dispatch, two men named Packwood and Barrett came in from Cantua canyon with a remarkable curiosity, namely, a petrified man.

The men are from Fresno, but have land at Cantua canyon, which they were engaged in cultivating. One of them saw a foot protruding from the ground, and, upon investigation, they unearthed the body of a man. They found that it was petrified when they attempted to lift it, it being as much as they could do to carry it to their wagon. As it was, they let it fall, and a foot and leg were broken off.

Packwood and Barrett brought their strange find to Fresno and deposited it in the rear room of a drug store here, and but a few are being permitted to see it. Your reporter saw the petrified man this afternoon, he is remarkably well preserved, and even the lines on the back of the hand are visible. The left hand rests on the breast, the right on the stomach, which is depressed. Tho head is of a good size and the features are of the Caucasian type. The man measures nearly seven feet in length.

Physicians have seen the petrifaction and declare it genuine, but have not determined upon the race he belonged to. Your reporter examined the portion broken off, and found it somewhat porous. From appearances the petrified man is a genuine curiosity. He was found in a district noted for its petrifactions.

Packwood and Barrett sold the curiosity to M. J. Donahoo of San Francisco and P. B. Donahoo, his brother, of this city. The consideration was $10,000. The body was placed on exhibition here yesterday morning and more than on thousand persons were admit a small charge being exacted. The first owners of the curiosity were offered sums ranging all the way from $2000 to $8000 before concluding the bargain with the Donahoos.

It is the intention of the purchasers to exhibit the petrifaction throughout the Pacific Coast and the East. They intend to go at it in a businesslike way. First an artist will visit the spot where the body was dug up, and views of everything around about will be taken. A picture of the petrifaction will also be made, and everything possible of a convincing nature will be secured to substantiate the discovery and the genuineness of the petrified body. Very close to where the body was found a prospector not long since, while sinking a prospect hole, unearthed a petrified snake, but upon being exposed several days it crumbled to pieces. There are now within a few hundred yards of the same place many excellent specimens of petrified wood, notable among them being a log ten feet long and fully forty inches in diameter.—Ex.

* * *
A PETRIFIED MAN. (October 9, 1897)

About ten years ago Rees Davis, Sr. died at his home on Johnson Fork, Magoffin county, and was buried. The body was afterward disinterred and removed to another burial place, and was found to be completely petrified. The features were as perfect as they were the day of the burial.

Rev. W. B. Lykins, of this place, will preach the funeral of Mr. Davis on the second Sunday in this month at 11 a. m. at the Davis homestead, his relatives say the body will be exhumed, washed, dressed and placed in view of the congregation during funeral service. A large crowd will attend the funeral of the petrified man.—West Liberty Democrat.

* * *
A “PETRIFIED” MAN OF CEMENT. (September 19, 1902)

Wagoner I. T. Sept. 17,— W. F. Long has been arrested on a charge of obtaining money under false pretence. Long has been boarding at the Missouri Pacific house here and a few days ago he made a trip to the Verdigris river fishing. He discovered a “petrified” man in the sand and called to his assistance a ferryman who helped to pull the “man” out of the mud. The “petrified” man was brought here. Long obtained a tent and exhibited his “man” charging an admission fee of 10 cents. A Wagoner physician pronounced the rock man a Spaniard. The “rock man” was perfect in form and nothing was lacking except a small piece of the nose and one or two indentations on the body, as though it had been gnawed by some ammal. Marks on the side of the head and in the breast indicated bullet holes. Last night when the “petrified” man was put on exhibition a man looking at the uncanny object accidentally broke a piece off of it. The “man” fell over and was found to be made of cement. The whole thing was pronounced to be a “fake” and the officers arrested the man who was exhibiting the “petrifled man. The petrified man now lies in a pile in an alley near a church.

* * *
AMUSING INCIDENT. (April 28, 1892)

One of the most amusing incidents that has occurred in Phenix lately was an old drunk crying over the petrified man at the Commercial hotel Sunday. Some one had told the old fellow that the stone man favored him very much, and on making a vist to him he discovered the likeness and declared it to be a long lost brother. He visited the cold form again yesterday and indulged in some more tears. He says his brother was supposed to have been killed in the canyon in which this petrified man was found near Fresno, Cal.—Phenix Gazette.

From— The Pacific commercial advertiser. (Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands), 31 Dec. 1890., The Spout Spring times. (Spout Spring[s], Ky.), 09 Oct. 1897., Anadarko daily democrat. (Anadarko, Okla.), 19 Sept. 1902. & The St. Johns herald. (St. Johns, Apache County, Arizona Territory [Ariz.)), 28 April 1892. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.




Mermaids yay!
* * *
MERMAIDS. (May 2, 1904)

All the world over there are legends about mermaids. The Chinese tell stories not unlike others about the sea woman of their southern seas. Mankind is taught on the most excellent evidence that a mermaid was captured at Bangor, on the shores of the Belfast lough, in the sixth century, while another caught at Edam in 1403 was carried to Haarlem and kept there for many years.

* * *
THAT MERMAID. (November 27, 1880)

Mr. Charles A. Doyle, who has brought a real mermaid all the way from Japan, has been induced to give public exhibitions of the same, and the strange and beautiful creature will be introduced to St. Louisans at one of our prominent public halls in a few days. The mermaid is one of the most extraordinary objects it has ever been the good fortune for people to look upon. As all who know anything at all about the creature must be aware of it is half woman and half fish, the human formation ceasing when the abdominal region is reached, and the fish appearing here and continuing down to the finny extremity. The head is perfect and beautiful as that of a well-developed child; the eyes are soft brown and swimming; the nose, mouth and ears are unquestionably human; the hair is long, wavy and black as living jet; the arms are beautifully round and end in a beautiful pair of tiny hands; the breasts are fully shaped and have the female mammalian development readily discernible, and the only evidence of fish in the upper half is had in the scaly covering of the arms. The fish half is entirely covered with scales and exactly resembling the extremity of a finny dweller in the water. The phenomenal creature has astonished all scientists who looked upon it. The mermaid was caught at Unshawa, in the great inland sea of Japan, and was in the museum at Tokio for two years. It is the only mermaid in this country, except one in New York aquarium, and may soon leave here, as Mr. Doyle is now negotiating with the Kensington museum of London for the sale of the curiosity.—F.e.

* * *
MERMAID FOR BREAKFAST. (October 13, 1909)

A stranger meal than any ever partaken by Frank Buckland or the most hardened and cosmopolitan traveler is described by Juan Francisco de St. Antonio in his account of his travels and adventures in the Philippine Islands, published at Manila in 1738. In this curious little work the author tells us that he once breakfasted off a mermaid, and he further gravely describes its flavor as being like fresh fat pork.

* * *
Expert Who Has Seen it Says it is a Mermaid Toad.

Newport News, Va., April 15.—Captain Buck Wyatt, who has a number of fish ponds along the beach near Bay View, captured a day or two ago one of the most peculiar marine monsters ever seen in this section. The Rev. C. B. Bryan, rector of Old St. John’s church, Hampton, who is an authority on such matters, pronounced the catch a “Mermaid Toad,” which is found only in waters south of the thirty-seventh meridian.

The fish was a complete mystery to the fishermen of this section, who had never seen one of a similar kind before. It was shaped something like a tadpole, but was four feet in length and about two feet broad. It’s mouth was shaped like that of a toad and was of the same proportion to the size of its body as is the mouth of a toad. It weighed in the neighborhood of seventy-five pounds, and when held up by the lips the whole ventral cavity could be seen. Whole fish of considerable size were in its stomach in the process of digestion. The monster had wings on both sides of its body and there were claws on its stomach resembling the hand of a ten-year-old boy—having five jointed fingers. The freak was regarded with interest and curiosity by all who had the good fortune to see it, and there is much speculation as to how a “mermaid toad” lost its bearing so far as to be caught in these waters.

* * *
Interesting News of the Shore and Sound Told Briefly—Ships That Come and Go

Mermaids those lovely sea creatures of a few centuries ago, have not entirely disappeared yet, if the story told by one of the officers of the steamer Grace Dollar, which arrived up from San Francisco this morning, be correct. This man says he saw a mermaid. He knows what mermaids look like, and who so bold as to dispute him? The good steamer Was plowing furrows in the briny and hearts aboard were happy at the approaching shore line, which spoke to them of home and beauty. As the steamer neared the Duncan rocks, which every mariner knows is a jagged, barren promontory not far from the Cape, and nearly opposite that reef of sailors’ woe, the Flattery rocks, posed near the sea-end of the rock sat a beautiful, beautiful maiden, as the man expresses it, with long golden tresses that fell in dangling tangles down to her girdle. With one hand she combed her long, yellow hair, and with the other she waived a tactful salute to the passing steamer. Her nether parts were fishy, not so the man’s story.

It was a beautiful sight—the lovely nymph, but the Kruse line sailors know a distinction between love and duty, and the steamer passed on. The late Edgar Allen Poe once saw a raven and heard him tapping on his window pane. But then every-body knows that Poe had been imbibing; but this gallant sea dog was as sober as an Abbott. It’s a wonderful tale. Maybe when the Grace Dollar passes the Duncan rocks on her way back to San Francisco the mermaid may be still there, and then again, the mirage may have cleared off by that time, and the beautiful sea-lady with it.

* * *
HENRY HUDSON’S MERMAID. (November 23, 1888)

Henry Hudson also discovered the east coast of Greenland and a mermaid. This, at least, is what he recorded of the latter incident : “One of our company, looking overboard, saw a mermaid, and, calling up some of the company to see her, one more came up, and she was then close to the ship’s side, looking earnestly at the men. Soon afterward a sea came and overturned her. Her back and breasts were like a woman’s, her body as big as one of us; her skin very white, and long black hair hanging down behind. In her going down they saw her tail, like the tail of a porpoise and speckled like mackarel. Their names that saw her were Thomas Hills and Robert Rayner.“—All the Year Round.

From— Bryan morning eagle. (Bryan, Tex.), 02 May 1906., Fair play. (Ste. Genevieve [Mo.]), 27 Nov. 1880., The Abbeville press and banner. (Abbeville. S.C.), 13 Oct. 1909., Tazewell Republican. (Tazewell. Va.). 18 April 1901., The Seattle star. (Seattle, Wash.), 30 April 1902. & Sacramento daily record-union. (Sacramento (Calif.)), 23 Nov. 1888. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



INCREDIBLE SOUND MACHINE. (September 21, 1900)

Mamoth voice machine.
It Shouts So Loudly That Every Word Can Be Heard for a Distance of Ten Miles.

The latest monster phonograph is the one at Brighton, England, that shouts so loudly every word can be heard at a distance of ten miles away. You can whisper a sentence into the machine’s small, funnel-shaped mouth-piece and it will repeat it in tones that are more deafening than the shrieks of a liner’s steam siren. Yet every word is perfectly articulated, and a short-hand writer ten miles away can take down the message as easily as if you were dictating to him in a small room. The machine is the invention of Horace L. Short, of Brighton. In appearance it is merely an ordinary phonograph, with a large trumpet measuring four feet in length. Inside this trumpet there is a small and delicate piece of mechanism that looks something like a whistle. This is the tongue of the machine.

Instead of the “records” being taken on wax in the usual manner, a sapphire needle is made to cut the dots representing the sound vibrations on a silver cylinder, and when the needle travels over the metal a second time the vibrations cause the whistle to produce a series of air waves, and the machine thus becomes a talking siren which transforms the human voice into a deafening roar.

The experiments were made near the Devil’s Dyke. Brighton, where the inventor had his workshops. The instrument was placed on the roof of the laboratory, and was made to repeat a number of sentences. At a distance of ten miles the sounds were plainly heard by a large number of people, every word being perfectly distinct, and at a second trial with a favorable wind it was found that an unknown message could be taken down in shorthand at a distance of 12 miles. Over the water the sounds will carry still further, and under favorable circumstances they might easily be heard by persons on a vessel 15 miles out at sea. Placed on a lighthouse or lightship the phonograph would give a verbal warning that would be infinitely more effective than the foghorns and detonators at present in use.

The possibilities of the machine are practically endless. It will render loud selections in the open air that can be listened to by thousands of people, or it will shout news messages that could be heard high above the roar of the traffic and the thousand noises of a big city.

From— Perrysburg journal. (Perrysburg, Wood Co., O. [Ohio]), 21 Sept. 1900. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



BEAST FROM ANOTHER AGE. (September 14, 1910)

Cryptid from another age.

ONE of the most remarkable scientific discoveries ever made has just been reported by an expedition of British scientists.

In the wilds of New Guinea, the great unexplored island just north of Australia, these scientists have run across a marvelous race of pigmies whose average height is about four feet three inches, and a monster mammal, considerably larger than an elephant, which they have named the gazeka, and which has seemingly wrought great havoc amongst the pigmies.

Just what species the gazeka belongs to has not yet been determined, but in the description given by the explorers, Dr. W. D. Matthew, of the American Museum of Natural History, sees a strong resemblance to a prehistoric monster known an the diprodont [sic], fossil remains of which have been found at different times throughout Australia. ...

[The article goes on to describe the indigenous population in dubious detail, being both offensive in language and factually inaccurate in description.]

... How these little people have been able to protect themselves against the many dangerous animals that infest the section, particularly the gigantic gazeka, which has just been discovered, is still a mystery, although they have shown remarkable ingenuity in the invention of weapons. One, for instance, is a variety of “spring gun” which might prove effective against almost any living, enemy. It is made by setting a flattened bamboo spear attached to a bent sapling which is fastened to a trigger in such a way that it is released by the passerby stumbling against an invisible string stretched across the track. The spears are poisoned, either with the famous “upas” [Antiaris] or some other similar vegetable poison, and a wound from one of them means almost instant death.

Whether such primitive defensive methods avail them against the huge gazeka is not known, but the chances are that they find safety in retreat.

According to the official reports, the gazeka is of gigantic size and fearsome aspect. It is black and white striped, has the nose of a tapir and “a face like the devil.” Among the English inhabitants of the island, the animal is known as Monckton’s gazeka, in honor of Mr. C. A. W. Monckton, a former explorer in New Guinea, who first reported its presence in the mountains. Mr. Monckton, during his, ascent ot Mount Albert Edward, in the west of British New Guinea, discovered the huge footprints and other indications of the very recent presence of some tremendous monster that had evidently been prowling on the grassy plains surrounding the lakes on the summit at an elevation of about 12,500 feet. He followed the trail all day, and came upon the monster at dusk, just as it was devastating a settlement of the pigmies. The little natives were screaming and running for their lives, although they turned every now and again to aim their poisoned arrows at the brute.

Monckton let fire as soon as he was able to get in a proper position, and the huge gazeka at once turned upon him. As it reared upon its hind legs and pawed the air it looked to the hunter as big as a house, standing fully 25 feet high. Two of Monckton’s bullets seemed to take effect, as a stream of blood flowed freely from the animal’s shoulder, but before Monckton was able to reload the animal turned and fled. By that time it was too dark to follow him, and Monckton never had another opportunity to renew his pursuit.

None of the inhabitants was brave enough to repeat Monckton’s attempt to capture the brute, and until the British expedition reached New Guinea he has prowled around with impunity, occasionally descending upon the rudimentary huts of the pigmies and destroying those who failed to fly in time. The British explorers were aware of Monckton’s experience, and in fact, it is believed that one of the principal objects of the expedition was to secure a specimen of the strange monster. It has long been known that there were many mammals in New Guinea still to be discovered, but just what they expected to find the scientists themselves could not tell.

New Guinea lies to the east of what is known as Wallace’s line, an imaginary line defined by A. R. Wallace, on one side of which only placenta animals are found, while on the other only marsupials exist. No tapirs or rhinoceroses exist to the east of Wallace’s line, which includes Australia and New Guinea, but about the period when the mastodon and the mammoth flourished in America a huge marsupial known as the diprodont is known to have existed in Australia. Fossil remains recently discovered leave no doubt as to its gigantic size, and, although there is, of course, no means of ascertaining its appearance in life, as it has been extinct for several thousands of years, the gazeka appears to bear a marked resemblance in form to this ancient monster.

That a few diprodonts could have survived to this day despite the extinction of the main part of the type, is not considered unlikely by the scientists, who point out that nature does not usually blot out a whole class of animals suddenly, but that, on the contrary, it is sometimes thousands of years before the last individual member of the type succumbs to the conditions which destroyed his fellows.

The British explorers are enduring many hard-ships in their scientific expedition. In New Guinea the temperature is never less than 114 degrees in the shade, and water is not always accessible. But if these ardent explorers really capture a living diprodont they will consider their labors well rewarded.

From— The star. (Reynoldsville, Pa.), 14 Sept. 1910. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



WEIRD WITCH TALES. (March 29, 1889)

Nightly campfire stories.


But Fortunately There Are “Doctors” Who Have Power of the Evil Creatures. A Child Under the Spell—Killing a Bad Man at Long Range.

The belief of past ages in witchcraft is still entertained by many people in this (Berks) county. Hearing of several men in the city who were said to be able to give well authenticated cases of witchcraft, or “hexing,” as it is called here, your correspondent visited one of them and was told the following story:

“Several years ago a family with whom I was well acquainted lived on Cedar street, this city, and directly opposite them on the same street lived a woman who was known to be a ‘hex’ (the Dutch for witch). There was a child born in the family of my friend. It was a beautiful child, had the sweetest disposition of any youngster I ever knew, and never cried or gave its mother any trouble at all. When the child was about three months old this old ‘hex’ came into my friend’s house, and, taking it out of the cradle, hugged and kissed it, at the same time muttering in the language in which the Bible was first written. When she left it was at once noticed that the child was as completely spotted as a leopard, and it cried continually, as though suffering great pain. It would cry at night as long as the ‘hex’ across the street remained at the window, but as soon as the witch would retire its cries would cease and it would get some rest. This state of affairs kept up for some time. The regular doctors could do nothing for the child; everybody knew the poor little thing was ‘behexed’ (bewitched), and the mother, worried nearly to death through anxiety and loss of sleep while attending the little sufferer, would not be satisfied until they sent for a witch doctor (the identical doctor still Lives in this city).


“He came in answer to their call, but previous to his arrival had sent them a note, warning them not to speak a word to him. He wrote several words in the Ethiopian language on a piece of paper, placed it in a certain place in the Bible, and after putting the book under the child’s pillow, informed the mother that if they would refuse the ‘hex’ across the way everything she asked for her baby would get well. The same day the old ‘hex’ sent over for some trifles—I think it was for a smoothing iron or a pinch of tea—but the mother refused to let her have them, and from that moment the child commenced to get better.

“The third night after the witch doctor had been there a big black cat came to the bedroom window and scratched to get in. The child’s father, knowing that the old ‘hex’ had sent the cat, picked up his boot, and, hurling it through the window, sash and all, struck the thing and knocked it to the ground. The fact is, when the boot struck the cat it struck the witch herself, for she had turned herself into a cat in order to got into the room at that child. The next morning the ‘hex’ came limping around and said she had fallen down stairs during the night, but she never bothered my friend’s child any more, and everybody knew well enough that the words the doctor had put in the Bible were too strong for the devil in the ‘hex.’ This, my dear sir, is a fact, and the child who was bewitched is now a man and has children of his own, and works on the Philadelphia and Reading railroad.“

Your correspondent felt a very preceptible chill course its way up along his backbone after listening to this recital, and the old gentle man noticing that something was wrong continued:

“You probably don’t believe in witches, but I know there are witches in this city to-day who can do just as they please with you or me. Why, they sign a contract with the devil, with a pen dipped in their own blood, and he gives them the power. I knew a man living in the neighborhood of Boyertown, in this county, who was bewitched by a man living on Tenth street, in this city, ten miles away from him. What do you think of that? The witch would come to his house in the dead hour of the night, sometimes on a horse and at other times in a big stone wagon, and no one could see him but the man he was torturing. The man’s daughter could see the window fly up when the witch came into the room, and could see and hear the window fall when he went out, but could not see the witch himself. He would sit on the poor man’s breast and hammer and pinch him dreadfully, and would keep it up nearly every night until he had him so sore that he could scarcely move around at all.


“He came to Reading one day and consulted the witch doctor, who wrote some words on a slip of paper, folded it up, and, giving the man a horse shoe nail, told him to go to a certain tree early in the morning, before sunrise, stick this nail through the paper and drive it into the side of the tree next to the sun, just far enough to hold the paper to the tree. This, he said, would hurt the witch and probably keep him away. If the witch would not stay away he was to hit the nail another tap the next morning, but was warned not to drive the nail clear through the paper or he would kill the man who was the witch. The witch continued to trouble the man, however, and when he went out to tap the nail the third morning he was so angry that, taking the ax in his hand, he struck the nail so hard that ho sent it entirely through the paper.

“Upon the instant the nail penetrated the paper he saw the form of his tormentor fall dead before him, and he went to the depot and told several parties that he had killed such and such a man in Reading that morning. They laughed at him and said he was crazy; but sure enough the witch, who was walking in his garden in this city, ten miles away, as the doctor said he would do and as the man said he had done, fell dead in his tracks just at that time. The man who killed him got well and was never troubled again.”

The names of the parties were given in both the above cases, and the old man told his story with such an air of sincerity that after leaving him I made inquiry in the localities he had mentioned and found the opinion generally prevalent that just such things had occurred. More especially was this the case in reference to the man who was said to have dropped dead in the garden; and there are not a few in this city who would swear that it is true substantially as herein given. Witch and ghost stories, implicitly believed by those who narrate them, can be gathered by the dozen in this county. They are told by the muscular farmer lover to his buxom country sweetheart; are related to the children in euphonious Pennsylvania Dutch by their parents, and are the subject of many long arguments and conversations in the couutry stores. —Reading (Pa.) Cor. Philadelphia North American.

From— Bismarck weekly tribune. (Bismarck. Dakota [N.D.]). 29 March 1889. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.




Pink elephant.

Women Fled When Hall Appeared, but Men and Boys Chased Him.


Too Much Cheap Whiskey Caused the Man to See Some Strange Things.

John M. Hall, an awning maker, who has been spending his vacation in a lodging house at Broome and Hudson streets, taking frequent dips in five-cent schooners of rye, was sleeping off a week’s liquidation to-day when a pink elephant invaded his room.

Hall did not tarry. He flung himself down the stairway. Before he reached the street the one pink elephant had grown into a herd, and all were crowding onto his heels.

Halls appearance in Broome street started a panic. He was dressed—not even in a smile. The small boys gathered around and hooted and yelled, but the women took half a glance and fled.

Across Broome street east Hall paraded. He invaded the silk district, where thousands of young women are employed. Many were in the street and many others were working at the windows. They all best a retreat in disorder and alarm.

As Hall neared Broadway the crowd about him increased. The street was choked from building to building with a howling mass of men and boys.

Policeman Billy Benkler, of the Broadway Squad, got a glimpse of the crowd and then a peep of Hall. Then he got into action. He plunged through the crowd and dragged Hall into the nearest doorway. It happened to be the engine room of No. 442 Broome street. The engineer loaned a jumper and pair of overalls and Hall was taken to the Macdougal street station.

The police gave Hall a tonic and he brushed away the pink elephant vision. He had no recollection of his stroll.

* * *
EXPENSIVE THIRST. (April 7, 1914)

“My husband sees pink elephants when he drinks.”

“Mine has a worse delusion than that. He sees green dogs. It’s expensive, too.”

“How’s that?”

“Why, he goes and buys licenses for ’em.”
* * *

Frontier barroom days had not a thing on the scene in a First ave. S. cafe Sunday night, when Joe McGinn, 42, battled the world, its brother and several pink and green elephants. Many elephants were ruthlessly slaughtered.

McGinn was being overwhelmed when he fired two shots towards the floor. Shelter was at a premium in the seconds that followed, and the chef peeked from behind the counter to see a floor almost cleared, while McGinn lurched dizzily with a smoking pistol in its center.

The only speck on the ex-barroom floor was the limp form of Pete Close, 30, miner. Blood trickled from his head.

McGinn was arrested by a flock of cops and locked up, while physicians probed Close’s head for the bullet. But they probed in vain. He had been clubbed over the head with a chair during the brawl and had lain down, aided by much moonshine. Close was given a jail berth near that of McGinn.

* * *
NOTHING SERIOUS. (March 14, 1917)

The Souse came out of the hotel elevator about 3 a.m. and looked around the hotel lobby in a scared way. Finally he located a Rummy who was sleeping in a chair.

“Say,” said the Souse, as he woke the Rummy, &lquo;I’m scared, and I can’t sleep. Every time I lie down on the bed a herd of pink elephants creep under the door and begin dancing around the room.”

“Did the pink elephants have red, white and blue hats on their heads?”

“No,” replied the Souse.

“Oh, well, I would’t worry,” assured the Rummy. “I’ve seen lots of pink elephants when I was trying to sleep, but I never get scared until they come into the room wearing red, white and blue plug hats.”

* * *
Young Mr. Marshall Is Now in Bellevue, Counting the Green Tom Cats.

There is a line in one of the sparkling odes of Horace, suggesting that when a pink elephant ascends from the foam of your cup of grape, perches himself on the rim and grins at you in a very friendly way, the white wagging his trunk, it is time to take the rest cure. “Neddie” Marshall, blithest of all multi-millionaire mining Marshalls, may or may not have read this line, but the fact remains that he is resting now in Bellevue Hospital, where he was borne from Riverside Park and Seventy-fifth street last evening following his discovery of a highly interesting troupe of pink elephants, sky-blue hippos and pale green tomcats.

The young man made the journey from the East Sixty-eight street station in an ambulance, after he had given battle to a dozen more policemen, when they refused to believe he owned Central Park and Governor’s Island.

Edward R., much better known to a multitude of friends as “Neddie” Marshall, came out of the West, three weeks ago, arriving first at the Waldorf-Astoria. From the Waldorf, he went to the Ritz-Carlton, from the Ritz to the Tourenne Hotel in Boston, then back to New York for a brief stay at the St. Regis and from the latter hostelry to Bretton Hall.

“Neddie” is a nephew of the rich E. Marshall, former president of the Phoenix National Bank. But “Neddie” did not find time, in his brief sojourn, to call on his uncle, though he did call several times at his uncle’s bank to be identified. He had many checks to cash had “Neddie,” for New York is an expensive place to breeze through at four speeds forward and no reverse.

* * *
A QUICKER DEATH COCKTAIL. (February 23, 1906)

A quicker death than in the ordinary cocktail of commerce was found in the “pink elephant cocktail,” invented by a military prisoner on Governor’s Island. His ingredients were wood alcohol, bay-rum, witch hazel, lemon juice and water. This decoction killed the inventor and wounded five of his companions.—Mobile Register.

* * *
THEN YOU’VE GOT ’EM. (January 5, 1910)

One of these nights while you lie dreaming, into your room there’ll come a-screaming, a big black wompus with greenish eyes and a plumaged devil with awful cries; and an Orrie shaped thing all covered with hair will shriek and howl while you tremble there. And a slimy snake with a glistening hide will coil and sing just by your side; and a green-eyed monkey with a pink phizog will about astride a hog, and back in the corner where you threw your coat is the warlike image of a William goat. And the face of a friend who has long been dead, will lurk in the shadows around your bed, with palid face and deathgazed eye and on his lips a cry; and then by your side he will come and stand and soothe your brow with his clammy hand. And there on the floor where you left your hat with back all arched is a Maltese cat, and a tall giraffe with bow and smile is making love to a crocodile, and a polar bear with a growl and a roar will enter your room through a tightly closed door. And you fuss and fume, but you can’t make out just what the dickens it’s all about; and you’ll tell yourself and ’twill be quite true, that you didn’t start out to see the zoo; and for your life you can’t see how you happened to reach this menagerie. Then you’ll reach for your bottle — “your dearest friend” — and hallucination will reach an end, for you’ll take a big drink and your fears are quelled, and the shadowy visions are all dispelled. But ere you repose for another snooze, take this advice.—“Cut out the booze.”—Ex.

From— The evening world. (New York, N.Y.), 30 Nov. 1906., The day book. (Chicago, Ill.), 07 April 1914., The Seattle star. (Seattle, Wash.), 27 Dec. 1920., The Butte daily post. (Butte, Mont.), 14 March 1917., The evening world. (New York, N.Y.), 29 May 1912., The Aberdeen weekly. (Aberdeen, Miss.). 23 Feb. 1906. & The Adair County news. (Columbia. Ky.). 05 Jan. 1910. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.




Giant monster in the form of a devil fish.



Yacht Is Followed Sluggishly by Creature, and Bullets Fired Make Little Impression on the Monster.

New Orleans.—The sensation in the fishing world recently was the experience four sportsmen had with a devil fish off Horn island.

During the week the big power yacht Jeanne, owned by Commodore Thomas Sully, with John P. Sullivan, Phil Werlein and Ned Rightor as guests, ran out to Horn island for a few days’ fishing. They had all the sport they wanted with mackerel and bull redfish, and early one Sunday morning started for the eastward pass of Deer island and Biloxi bay.

They had traveled possibly three or four miles from the island when, just ahead of the yacht they saw something on the surface of the sound which looked like a giant turtle. The course of the yacht was changed so as to overhaul this strange creature, and when the boat neared the fish the engines were slowed down and stopped.

The yacht came up close to the fish, which proved to be the largest devil fish ever seen in that section. During last summer a number of these monsters, sometimes called the blanket fish, have been seen, but they were not longer than five or six feet.

This monster measured in the neighborhood of 15 feet in length, and was fully seven or eight feet broad.

When the nose of the fish was alongside the step of the yacht, its tail was just opposite the foremast, a distance of over 15 feet, but, to make the measurement reasonable, the sportsmen came to the conclusion that they would give the fish 15 feet as a fair measurement.

Commodore Sully secured an improved Winchester and went on top of the pilot house to get a good shot. The fish was lying very near the surface, and did not seem to pay the slightest attention to the boat and its occupants. Two shots were fired in rapid succession, but they did not seem to bother the fish in the least.

When the shots were fired the giant sank slowly and came up again a few feet further ahead. A dozen more shots were fired from the rifle, but no impression was made. Fully half an hour the yacht lay to while its occupants tried all kinds of means to wake up the monster of the sea.

Werlein finally grabbed a long boat-hook and wanted to tie a line to the handle and harpoon the fish, but the others were not exactly certain as to the results of such an experiment, and would not listen to Werlein. Finally the yacht got under way again, and the devil fish, with a few lazy waves of its giant tentacles, dropped in behind and followed the boat for fully half a mile. Then it disappeared.

A few weeks ago W. C. C. Claiborne and several other fishermen returned with a story about three devil fish seen at the island, but their story was taken with a large grain of salt. Claiborne has a reputation for story telling, but his tale is followed up now by this experience, and the sportsmen are wondering if a big yacht, with plenty of harpoons on board might not furnish a lot of lively sport to the sportsmen.

From— Barbour County index. (Medicine Lodge, Kan.), 21 Nov. 1906. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.




Something, something.

To a silver watch which he carried in his pocket during a lightning storm the other day Napoleon Dutil, a truckman, living at Lewiston, Maine, owes his life. The electric bolt struck the watch, leaving a dent in its edge and smashing the crystal. Under the watch the flesh was badly burned in a circle.

Keys and a key chain which Mr. Dutil had in his pockets when the bolt struck him were destroyed. No one has been able to find even a link of the chain.

Dutil, his son, aged fifteen, and a son of Isaac Leclair were in a barn when the lightning struck, knocking the three from their chairs. Young Leclair’s feet were badly burned and the Dutil boy was unconscious for some time.

* * *


A very pecular accident happened recently to Eben White, a farmer living about four miles northwest of St. Johns, Mich. He had been working in the woods and lay down to sleep under a tree, and must have slept with his mouth open. A common mongrel pup and a small boy were his companions. While the old man slept the boy and the dog started a chipmunk, and proceeded to chase it. That chipmunk made tracks for safety, and seeing White’s mouth open dodged in. It was a new sensation to White to have a chipmunk trying to get down his throat alive, and he woke up in a hurry. He nearly choked to death before he pulled that chipmunk out, and then he killed the little animal and brought it into town to prove the truth of the story he tells. A doctor who examined his throat and mouth found it badly lacerated, and says he believes White’s story is true.—Chicago Herald.

* * *

NOT INJURED BY LONG FALL. (Semptember 23, 1904).

A 5-year-old boy named Durkin climbed into a new house at Naugatuck, Conn., and fell through the hole left for the chimney into the cellar, thirty feet below, escaping with the nothing more serious than a lump on his head and a few bruises.

* * *


Both of our hired men have often insisted that a live skunk could be safely carried by the tail, insisting that they had often seen it done. Since the veracity of both men happens to be absolutely unquestionable my father did not hesitate to mention this fact in his writing. He was once “called down by several naturalists, one of them being Prof. Bailey. So it happened the other morning, when I caught a skunk in a trap set for rats in front of my hen house, I at once informed father that I had a skunk for him and it was about time for him to put his theory in practice by taking his own medicine, etc. We all had our misgivings, but were also secretly delighted when he proved, in spite of his 70 years, to be game.

By means of a long pole the poor skunk was dragged about and roughly treated to make him good and mad. Then my father liberated him, bare handed from the trap, seized him by his waving plume-like tail, and jerked him quickly into the air. There was nothing doing, Prof. Bailey to the contrary notwithstanding. Whether or not the skunk could have discharged his phosphorus-sulphurous essence cannot be said; certainly he did not. After exhibiting and being cheered by the spectators (who all stood out of range) my father dropped the skunk in a barrel.

Having often watched skunks discharge their perfumery I am firmly convinced that no skunk held in mid air by the tail, could shoot. This is affirmed by a good skunk story that the hired man tells, be being an eye witness:

“One night when we were out ’coon huntin’ the dogs ran a skunk in the wall. So and so pulled him out by the tail, holding him up with one hand, while he threw rocks at him with the other. Unluckily while feeling for a stone he lowered Mr. Skunk so that he got his front feet on the Quicker’n lightning, before he thought, he got soaked fair right in his eye. He just rolled on the ground; it near blinded him.” The nature fakirs often misuse the skunk, speaking of him as though his terrible odor were always present, in being one of his external fixtures. In truth there is no neater or cleaner animal than a skunk or one with lest odor. Those who have very often dug out skunks in the winter time say that their dens even when occupied all winter by five or six skunks, is odorless, dry and clean.—Forest and Stream.

* * *

ODD PLACE FOR SERPENT. (August 10, 1902)

In Alsace recently a four-year-old child, the daughter of a workingman. became very ill one day, but speedily recovered, and for some days afterward dismayed her parents by eating a good deal more than a child of that age is wont to eat.

Instead, however, of growing fatter, the girl grew thinner, and doctors, who were summoned to attend her. were unable to explain why the food did her no good. Finally the riddle was solved, for a serpent about 20 inches in length issued one morning from the child’s mouth.

The serpent was killed and sent to the University of Strasburg, and since then the little one has enjoyed excellent health. It is supposed that the child swallowed the serpent while drinking some impure water.

From— The Falls City tribune. (Falls City, Neb.), 12 Aug. 1904., The Columbian. (Bloomsburg, Pa.), 09 Nov. 1894., The Falls City tribune. (Falls City, Neb.), 23 Sept. 1904., The Mahoning dispatch. (Canfield, Mahoning County, Ohio), 20 May 1910. & The times. (Richmond, Va.), 10 Aug. 1902. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.




A Mermaid found at last!

JACKSONVILLE, FLA., April 19.—The Evening Metropolis has the following: W. W. Stanton, mate of the schooner Addie Shaefler, now lying at the market-house dock, while fishing for bass 300 miles off St. Augustine drew in his line and found entangled therein the strangest fish, if it is a fish that has ever been caught. This strange creature is about six feet long, pure white and scaleless. The head and face are wonderfully human in shape and feature. The shoulders ark well outlined and very much resemble those of a woman and the breasts are well defined and show considerable development; while the hips and abdomen continue the human resemblance. In all there are four flippers, two of which are placed at the lower terminations of the body and give one the impression that nature made an effort to supply the strange creature with lower limbs.

Mr. Stanton confesses to quite a fright on first sight of his queer, prize, which on being drawn on board gave utterance to a low moaning cry, which might easily have been mistaken for the sobbing of a baby. It is extremely unfortunate that Mr. Stanton did not succeed in keeping the creature alive, which he thinks might have been done, as the strange object lived two days after being taken. The Addie Sheafler has been thronged all day by curious visitors, who express much wonder and astonishment at the strange object. Mr. Stanton after visiting several ports and showing his queer catch, will donate it to the Smithsonian Institute. The fish or mermaid is in a large six feet jar, in alcohol.

* * *

Marine Freak Suggests Kinship to the Mythical Nymph.

New Orleans, La., Aug. 1.—The lighthouse keeper at Pass A Lutre, the eastern extremity of the Mississippi delta, C. A. Thompson, has found the body of a fish that he believes is the missing link between the mythical mermaid and the real thing. He picked it up on a mud lump that formed in the pass.

The head had evidently been crushed by some denizen of the deep, though there was enough left to indicate that it was about two inches in diameter. The trunk of the body or torso was exactly like that of a female, even to the pelvic bones, while instead of the hip sockets the pelvic at the extermity was joined together and evidently had extended into a tail. The little skeleton is in an excellent state of preservation, and has been sent to the Louisiana Historical Society.

* * *

MERMAID IN TOKYO. (March 23, 1907)

Japanese papers received at Victoria, B. C., by the steamer Athenia, publish a report that fishermen took a live mermaid off Yacyma, Luchu islands, and the mermaid was brought to Tokio and exhibited at Yeno park.

* * *

MERMAID IN BENARES. (February 25, 1870)

A mermaid is on exhibition at Benares the holy city of Bengal. There is no disception. Anybody can go and see the prodigy on payment of a single pice—a coin so small in value that Western nations would scorn to acknowledge it. The mermaid does not come up to the old descriptions and pictures of the creature, for there is nothing of the lovely woman about it. “It exactly resembles a fish covered with scales on the lower half, and a monkey having a head and two arms with fingers and nails in the upper half.” It was found in the sea near Japan, and the present owner gave 500 rupees for it about $300 of our currency. Another one was brought over at the same time, “as big as a man.” That fetched 1,400 rupees, or $340.

* * *

A MERMAID IN THE ORKNEYS. (October 6, 1890)

An interesting spectacle has recently been seen in the Orkneys. It is probably the first of its kind ever authenticated in living memory. A correspondent writes: “What is said to be a mermaid has been seen for some weeks at stated times at Southside, Deerness. It is about six to seven feet in length, with a little black head, white neck and snow white body and two arms. In swimming it appears just like a human being. At times it will come very close inshore and appear to be sitting on a sunken rock, and will wave and work its hands. It has never been seen entirely out of water. Many persons who doubted its genuineness now suppose it to be a deformed seal.”—Table.

* * *

A GIFTED MERMAID. (December 29, 1890)

Judge Swan has received a present from a Chinese merchant of Port Townsend, says the Call, of a mermaid supposed to have been captured in the China sea. It is an ugly-looking thing and dispels the illusion of the beautiful and fascinating monster of fable. The mermaid of fiction is represented as possessing the head and bust of a lovely woman, with long flowing hair, and other characteristics of a preposessing female. Seventy-five per cent, of this remarkable creature was fish tail. So much for the poetical idea. The thing hanging in Judge Swan’s office has a hideous-looking head, little arms with webbed hands, and the remaining portion of the creature a fish.

* * *

A BOGUS MERMAID. (August 14, 1890)

BOSTON, Aug. 9.—A bogus mermaid was sold at auction at the customs warerooms here Monday. The body was apparently of wood, and the hands and claws fitted up with bears’ talons. A material that looked like seaweed clung to the head for hair. A cow’s tail was joined so cunningly to the body that a very careful inspection was needed to reveal the joint. It only brought $1.95.

From— The Lafayette advertiser. (Vermilionville [i.e. Lafayette], La.), 03 May 1890., El Paso herald. (El Paso, Tex.), 01 Aug. 1911., The Garland globe. (Garland, Utah), 23 March 1907., The Cairo evening bulletin. (Cairo, Ill.), 25 Feb. 1870., Los Angeles herald. (Los Angeles [Calif.]), 06 Oct. 1890., The Anaconda standard. (Anaconda, Mont.), 29 Dec. 1890. & Jamestown weekly alert. (Jamestown, Stutsman County, D.T. IN.D.D, 14 Aug. 1890. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



A BATTLESHIP ON WHEELS. (November 22, 1896)

A Mobile Fortress.

The Fully Equipped Miniature White Cruiser on Wheels That is Named After the President-Elect.

A strange craft is likely to invade the leading towns and cities of the United States within the next few months. The people of Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, Cincinnati, St. Louis and Pittsburg, and even San Francisco need not be at all unsurprised if they see, some fine morning, big cruiser plowing through the air, down the principal street. It will be the trolley man-of-war that furnishes this strange sight, one of the most unique objects that was ever put on wheels.

This pioneer of all land craft is not to be despised when it comes to a question of force. Dainty “barkers” peep out through the portholes, prototypes of the smiling faces that gleam from the sides of the flag-ship New York. This trolley man-of-war, or white cruiser on wheels, has been dignified with the name of the next President, Mr. McKinley. While her mission is not that of protection so far, she is quite likely to exercise a rather patriotic influence among at least the younger generation in the days that are to come.

It is designed to run on electric roads of standard charge, and as all electric roads are of that gauge, it is very likely the queer craft will have many imitations before long. She is in appearance a miniature, to great extent, of the big cruisers hat have followed Admiral Bunce’s flag for so many months. Her superstructure is painted green, her hull and sponsons white, her guns and ironwork black. She carries 100 men, officers and crew, and is 17 feet long, 9 feet wide, 12 feet high. The lines on which she was constructed were taken from the model of the battle-ship Brooklyn by Naval Architect Henry P. Lapointe.

Originally the McKinley was a flatcar, and she was extended fore and aft so that finally her length from stern to stern was 37 feet. She had a double row of portholes on each side, and as she advances toward you you see the sullen countenance of two grim six-pounders, while peeping from the tiny turret on the gun deck is a ferocious-looking 18-pounder. The quarterdeck is rather small. In fact, the officer of the day has hard work to make his rounds, owing to the confusion that numbers always occasion. Another odd feature is that Jack Tar and his officers are on the best of terms and all hands mess in the wardroom.

Here is the gallant complement of the trolley man-of-war : Captain, Major Charles K. Darling; lieutenant-commander and executive officer, Walter L. Emory ; adjutant, W. P. Hall; paymaster, E. E. Dennett; surgeon, Dr. Sawyer; equipment officer, W. W. Lapointe; navigator, H. E. Jennison; chief engineer, Kendall F. Crocker; lieutenant of marines, Walter Hardy; second lieutenant of marines, L. A. Scannell; captain first company of tars, W. K. Jewett; lieutenant, H. K. Bennett; captain and lieutenant of second company of tars, Messrs. Dillon and Page; drum major, Judge Charles H. Blood. They are all among the leading business and professional men of Fitchburg, Mass.

What would a man-of-war be without lifeboats? Though the McKinley is small, she is fully equipped, and two staunch jolly-boats bang to the davits just abaft and on either side of the bridge, while a dingy graces the stern. All are kept fully provisioned and ready for immediate use in case the anchor chains should become toggled and all hands be required to splice the main brace.

If it should become necessary at any time to castanchor the requisite apparatus is at hand and its flukes will be sure to catch in some convenient paving stone. In fact, the McKinley compares favorably with almost any war vessel except in size, construction and equipment. The hull is of the finest quality of duck. The smoke-stacks are genuine, however, and if it is desired to create a sensation red fire can be burned in them. The interior of the cruiser is by no means commodious, but atones in point of luxury for what it lacks in the matter of size.

Naturally in a boat 37 feet long, 9 feet wide and 12 feet high there are not accommodations for either officers or crew, that is, so far as the interior of the hull is concerned. So there has been a compromise on board the McKinley, and the space below decks from stem to keelson is devoted to culinary and gastronomic purposes. For the McKinley has a cook. Like the mariner of song, he is just now “the cook and the captain bold and the mate of the Nancy brig; the bos’n tight and the midshipmite, and the crew of the captain’s gig,” for the McKinley lies at anchor in the shops of the Fitchburg and Leominster Street Railway Company at Fitchburg, Mass.

This trolley man-of-war is really the pioneer in an entirely new feature of trolley, or rather electric railroad. For, though built for the dual purpose of pleasure and demonstrating the practicability of a unique idea, it has really become a valuable suggestion. It depends upon no trolley wire for its motive power, for it is equipped with two 30-horsepower electric motors and a Bemis truck. Thus, while nominally it is supposed to operate solely on electric roads, it can in reality be taken over almost any sort of a railroad of the right gauge, as it drives its own wheels.

It demonstrates the fact that it is possible to construct a car for operation on street railroads in cities that would be of infinite use in case of riot. It is not beyond the range of the ability of modern mechanics to build a car that would be bullet-proof and really constitute a traveling fort. It would be possible to carry on such a car several pieces of artillery, or, better still, equip it with the light guns that are used in the navy, the recoil of which would not be sufficient to damage the fort on wheels in any way.

Indeed, it is believed that a car constructed on the same model as the McKinley, only of course of substantial material, would form a very effective protection for a company of men whom it was necessary to move from one part of the city to another. Certainly it would be very much easier to transport guns and men in this fashion in case of riot than in the ordinary way, and it is also true that movements could be made from one point to another with far greater celerity. Therefore it is plain to be seen that the McKinley is really the representative of an idea of exceeding, practicability. It is certainly a fact that a trolley man-of-war like her, made of the real stuff and carrying her equipment—four guns in sponsons and two in the deck turret”would be a rather formidable engine of war.

The accompanying illustrations give a very excellent idea of the appearance of the McKinley, although they do not show her at her very best, because it is impossible for even the advanced art of the photographer to secure the transmission from life to paper of anything that breathes so pronounced a spirit as the McKinley. She is really much more of an affair than she looks to be, and to see her quietly gliding down the street, with colors flying, the captain on the bridge, and the dark mouths of the guns frowning silently front, sides and rear, gives one the impression that surely things are seldom what, they seem.

From— The San Francisco call. (San Francisco [Calif.]). 22 Nov. 1896. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.




A Monster Hunt.
BUZZARD DEN. (February 5, 1887)
A West Virginia Cavern Which Harbors a Fierce, Sheep-Eating Serpent.

[Milton (W. Va.) Special.]

There is a place on Big Two Mile creek, about three and a half miles east of this place, known as “The Buzzard Den.” It is a large cave in the point of a ridge which extends down between two branches to the rock gorge which incases the creek for nearly its whole length. This cave it entered by a small doorway, which extends down an inclined plane for about twenty feet, there opening into a large rugged room, which has not been explored.

On last Sunday morning as Melsear Braley, a young man of about twenty years, was passing that place en route to his brother’s, about a mile below on the creek, he heard a sheep bleating piteously as it in great distress. Upon going nearer he found the bleating proceeded from the month of the cavern. He approached nearer the place, when, upon suddenly turning the corner of a huge bowlder, he beheld a sight which sent his blood in an arctic flood up his back and standing his hair on end. Ho beheld the bead of a huge serpent protruding from the entrance of the cavern with the hind quarters of a sheep in his mouth, swallowing it gradually, while the sheep was omitting its mournful sound. Braley, being a brave young lad, thought to relieve the sheep, so hurrying up the hill above the cavern he rolled a huge bowlder down upon the monster. This maddened him to such an extent that he let the sheep go with a terrific snort, which could be heard a half mile, and rushed from the cave like a huge tree.

It was about forty feet long, with large black and yellow stripes running length-wise of its body. The head and neck were black and sleek, and the tail for several feet from the end was of a dull brown color. The sudden appearance of the monster so frightened the lad that he rushed for home at a 2:40 gait, where he soon arrived out of breath, and told his experience, whereupon his father, elder brother and brother-in-law, together with two or three neighbors who had been summoned, armed with all the fire-arms that could be had, started for the cavern prepared to make an invasion of the enemy’s country.

Upon arriving at the place nothing could be seen of the snake or the sheep, but upon approaching the mouth of the cavern a sickening stench met them, such as that coming from a maddened snake, and its fierce blowings and hissings could be heard. They could do nothing with him, so had to return to their homes. A search will be organized to hunt up the monster. No one knows where he came from, as this is his first appearance. The country for several miles around is heavily wooded, and he may have been around for some time. It is to be hoped he will soon be killed.

* * *

UNTITLED. (November 30, 1888)

The New Jersey farmers in the neighbor hood of the Great Bear Swamp, a few miles west of New Brunswick, are looking for a monster. Not that they have any particular longing for a lusus naturæ or are curious in natural history. But their hen roosts are invaded and their pigs carried off, and the story is that the depredator is a black creature—four-footed, of course—twice the size of a sheep and with crumpled horns. So Thanksgiving Day was passed by the well-armed farmers in the neighborhood of the swamp, but the monster hunt was fruitless.

* * *

From Philips County Comes a Story of the Doings of a Reptile Fifty Feet Long.

TOPEKA, KANS., May 11.—Postmaster Walker of Logan, Kans., is authority for the story that farmers of Crystal Creek, Phillips County, are greatly excited at the appearance of an enormous reptile, which they say is fifty feet long. It has a snake’s body, but two horns. Its color is green, with dirty white spots. It eats small animals, principally fowl. One farmer lost forty pigs in forty-eight hours. Another testifies that the monster killed a plow-horse, which was feeding near the creek, by a single blow of its enormous tail. It was shot at several times, but its hide was proof against bullets. When in anger it hits its head ten feet in the air end protrudes its tongue three feet or more and utters a cry like a puppy crying for its mother. It hides in a swamp. It is supposed the reptile came from the deeper water of Salmon River. Farmers have organized a party to hunt the monster down.

From— The St. Charles herald. (Hahnville. La.). 05 Feb. 1887., The evening world. (New York. N.Y.), 30 Nov. 1888. & The San Francisco call. (San Francisco [Calif.)); 12 May 1897. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



THE HAUNTED VOYAGE. (January 11, 1895)

Ghost ship.


The Skull In the Chain Locker—The Unlucky Bark In the Demarara Trade That Was Said to Be Haunted—The Story of an Exile From Salvador.

We were eating dinner one night on the old cargo ship, says a New York Sun writer, and talking of the happenings at sea and on shore that are called supernatural, when the captain said:

“One sees some things at sea not supernatural which are fit to make a nervous man see ghosts. There was that case in one of Green’s liners to the colonies, where a man was sent down to clean out the chain locker. The locker had seemed foul all the passage home, and so they hoisted out the chain and sent this fellow down with his brush and soap and bucket, with a lamp, to clean it out. I’ll wager he saw ghosts for a year after that, for when he’d got down on his knees to begin scrubbing he found himself bending over the skull of a dead man.

“It was most likely a man that had stowed away out in the colony, and had been caught under the cable when they were running it down quickly, and so had the life crushed out of him.

However, I did know of a case that seemed supernatural right enough. It was in the Demarara trade and I was acquainted with the first officer of the bark [sailing ship] where it all happened.

“In the first place, while she was out there loaded and ready to sail, the captain had trouble with one of the seamen, who out with his knife and stabbed him to death then and there. The mate afterward took her home, but on the way a passenger took to ailing in some mysterious fashion, and up and died very suddenly.

“Of course, she was a haunted ship when she arrived home, and so her owners had her name changed, and she was refitted and painted up entirely different from what she had been. Then she sailed away with a now captain, but on the way out he took to drink, and by the time she reached Demerara he was off his head and killed himself with a revolver.

“Now she was haunted, sure enough, if you could believe the mate. Mind you, after she was refitted the mate said never a word to the new captain about what had happened in her before, and even when the new captain came out from home to take charge of her, believing that the last captain was naturally a drunkard instead of one who had taken to it after he had come on this ship, the first officer never said a word, because he did not believe in ghosts or even in a future state.

“However, the first night the new captain was on board the trouble began. The captain at about 9 o’clock went to his room and retired. An hour later he was calling the mate and telling him that he had gone to sleep, and then had been awakened by a light in the room. On opening his eyes he saw a short, thick-set man with side whiskers, in the arm-chair at the desk, leaning over, with his elbows on the desk, holding his head between his hands and saying: “Oh, my poor head! Oh, my poor head!”

“That was enough for the mate. He left the vessel that night with all hands. This new captain knew nothing of the style or manner of the, one who had killed himself, and yet the picture—ghost, or what you may call it—in the chair was the image in appearance and dress of the suicide, and had complained in precisely the same words and voice of the dead man.”

This brought out the story of an exile from Salvador, whom the narrator met in Guatemala. Having got into trouble with the authorities, Senor Don Sebastian Mojarieta, saved his life by fleeing to Amapala, Honduras, as many another exile has done, and there taking a steamer north to San Jose, Guatemala. A friend of his who was involved in like manner was to have reached Amapala by a different route in time for the same steamer, and to prevent any possible delays, Mojarieta engaged staterooms and secured passes from the Amapala authorities for his friend and himself as soon as he arrived. But the steamer came without his friend, and Majorieta was obliged to sail alone.

“At the usual hour, on the first night out,” the story went on, “Mojarieta retired and went to sleep, but had no sooner dozed off than he awoke, hearing his friend’s voice, as he says, in the next stateroom, which he had supposed to be empty. Leaving his berth [bed on a ship] he went out into the passageway and opened the door to the adjoining room, and there, he says, he saw lying in the berth the body of his friend fully dressed, but with three bullet holes in the breast of his coat and one in the right cheek.

“At that Mojarieta fainted, and was found on the deck by the steward and put to bed again. Thereafter it was a most miserable passage, for the vessel touched at both the Salvador ports, and was about a week reaching San Jose. Mojarieta was sure his friend had been shot, and expected a force to come off from each of the Salvador ports to demand him. Moreover, he was haunted continually by the picture ; of his dead friend.

“Once in Guatemala he obtained employment quickly, and then began to recover something of his former spirits. He ascribed his vision to his overwrought imagination and was beginning to hope that his friend would yet appear, when a letter was received from a relative in Salvador. It not only told that the friend had been shot by the government soldiers, but described the wounds of the body after it was dead. Mojarieta declares that the description accurately portrayed the vision he had of his friend, and believes that his friend’s spirit, being unable to rest or wholly throw off its desire to take passage on the steamer, had come on board and was occupying that berth.”—New York Sun

From— The McCook tribune. (McCook, Neb.), 11 Jan. 1895. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



White deer legend.
KILLED A WHITE DEER. (December 30, 1908)
Pike County Woodsman Wondering if Bad Luck Will Come to McKean.

Milford, Pa., Dec. 30.—George C. McKean shot a white buck near his home in McKean valley, along the Shohola, in the hunting season just closed, and the old-time native hunters who cling to the superstition that killing a white deer will surely bring bad luck are wondering what will happen to him. This is the fourth white deer of which there is a record hereabouts.

First, James Van Gorden shot in the Lackawaen country the first white deer of the Pike county record. It was a large doe. The Chronicle says:

“It was his last shot. A wasting disease attacked him and not long afterward he died.”

Years after that Joseph Brink, Alamanzo Griswold and William Westfall were hunting together. In the hunt a white deer was killed. Westfall always declared that it was Joseph Brink’s shot that killed it. At any rate, Brink, who was a robust man at the time of the hunt, was dead of what the natives called hasty consumption three months later.

Alamanzo Griswold was subsequently killed by the upsetting of a wagonload of stone. The killing of the white deer seemed to have no damaging effect on Westfall, and later, having followed the trail of another white deer and shot at it several times without success, he guided a hunting party, consisting of Hornbeck Shimer, and Henry Frank of Wilkesbarre, Pa., and Lyman Bevan of Port Jervis, New York, to its retreat in the Paupac country. All three of these hunters got a shot at the white deer and killed it.

Shimer was a prosperous hotel keeper in Wilkesbarre and Frank a rich coal operator and Bevans a leading merchant in Port Jervis. Shimer lost his fortune and died a miserable death; and his grave was robbed of his body by resurrectionists. Frank became bankrupt and died of small-pox. Bevan failed in business and committed suicide. Westfall died of starvation owing to an ailment that prevented him from taking food. These misfortunes and fatalities are attributed to the killing of the white deer by the old Pike county woodsmen and they see the future holding hard fate for Geo. McKean. But the latter is not disturbed over the prospect.

* * *

Prediction Is Made That Hunter Will Meet Tragic Death.

LAKE GEORGE, N. Y., Jan. 16—Adirondack guides are predicting that dire misfortunes will befall Wesley Jordan, of Saranac lake, because in the last week of the hunting season he shot a white deer, the second ever known to have been killed in the Adirondacks. A white deer is so rare in the Adirondacks that when one does appear it is regarded with superstitious awe.

Jordan has received letters from all parts of the country warning him to prepare for trouble, but he takes no stock in the superstition and is having the deer mounted by a taxidermist. The belief that the slayer of one of these animals would meet with some great misfortune has been so general, however, that from time immemorial such white deer as have been seen from year to year have rarely been molested by the arrow of the Indian or the shot of the white man.

A few deer nearly white were killed in the Adirondacks years ago, but this is only the second, according to some of the oldest guides, that is a perfect albino.

Rodney West, the Essex county woodsman, says that if a complete albino deer is killed the rest of the deer usually leave that neighborhood and that is why an Indian will not kill a white deer.

“Six white deer,” said West the other day, “and only one of them a buck, have been seen in America since 1897, and I have had at least one good chance to get $1,000 by killing one, but I don’t want the money bad enough just yet to do that. Where a white deer chooses to haunt the others love to resort. I have seen this many times.”

The only other white deer known to have been killed in the Adirondacks appeared in Kenne valley in the autumn of 1898 and became very tame. It was a beautiful creature, having a neck and tail of pure white, while the upper part of the body and back was nearly white. The deer had white eyes, though usually the eyes of the albino are pink. The hunters decided not to molest this albino and, when the heavy snow came an attempt was made to capture it alive. The dogs chased it, however, and when exhausted it passed near a traveler, who caught it and cut its throat. The man was not aware of the agreement among the hunters to preserve the doe and he deeply regretted his act.

A white deer was seen four years ago near Cranberry lake, St. Lawrence county. It was accompanied by a fawn of the usual color, but neither was molested by the woodsmen. One winter several deer were seen near Indian river by Tippecanoe Knapp, a well known guide. The leaders were a big white buck and a white doe. A party of hunters attempted to capture the white deer alone, but the herd got away.

* * *

Cowpunchers of the West Place Great Faith In the Absorbent.

The madstone is supposed to be taken from the stomach of a white deer. It is about the size of an English walnut, and slightly porous. When a person is bitten by an animal afflicted with rabies the stone is placed on the bite. It immediately sticks, sometimes for half an hour.

One of the greatest fears of the cowpuncher is of being bitten by a skunk. In the cattle country, when the puncher is on the range and must sleep out of doors of nights, he hardly ever lies down on the ground without thinking of this danger. When he is bitten it is almost always in the face. Nine times out of ten hydrophobia symptoms develop. In most cases he is anywhere from twenty to fifty miles from a doctor, and search is made among the ranchers for a madstone. The cowpuncher is simple in his faiths, and he clings to this one. And, indeed, many marvelous tales are told of the success of this somewhat vague healer.

The writer knows of one remarkable case. A man in a New Mexico cattle town was bitten in the arm by a mad dog. The nearest doctor gave his aid, but he was not able to decrease the swelling. A madstone was sent for from a distance and applied to the bite. The curative properties of the stone lie in its power of absorption. It adhered at once to this man’s arm. Running up the elbow was a thin blue streak, tracing the course of the poison. As the stone stuck this streak gradually decreased, and was not to be seen when the inanimate little doctor fell off, after thirty minutes’ adhesion. The stone was put in water, and a blue film immediately formed on the surface. The man got well.

The value of a madstone varies with its owner. The stone just told of was held at $500.

* * *

KILLS WHITE DEER. (January 7, 1915)

One of the prizes shot during the hunting season just closed was that of a white deer, killed near Lalysmith, Sawyer county, Wis.

A man bought it for $200. It will, if properly mounted, be worth $600 to $800.

The extra value of the white deer is due to the fact that it is exceptionally rare. It is a freak animal. One was shot in Wisconsin about twenty years ago and one about eight years ago. Besides the one shot last week there is but one other white deer known to exist.

It is also stated that there is a jet black deer of huge proportion stalking through the Wisconsin woods. That sort of deer also is a freak and would be worth much if captured.

From— The evening times. (Grand Forks, N.D.), 30 Dec. 1908., The Saint Paul globe. (St. Paul, Minn.), 17 Jan. 1904., Freeland tribune. (Freeland, Pa.), 05 March 1902. & The Fulton County news. (McConnellsburg, Pa.), 07 Jan. 1915. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.




Best Fish Stories!

From the Baltimore American.

This is about the season when the industrious citizen who keeps at it through the summer, taking only a day off now and then, turns up some morning at the office with a rich, ripe tomato countenance, reaching from just north of his eyebrows down to the very edge of his collarband. Well, what luck? How many? How big were they? asks the other fellow, who knows from the infallible sign of the tomato complexion that there is a fish story pending, which cannot be suppressed even if the whole office force should sign a resolution of protest.

When the story comes it is a thriller—so thrilling that doubts naturally arise. Did you count them? Did you measure it? Did you weigh him? Did you catch them all yourself? And so, season after season, this season just the same as other seasons, the fish story is accepted with doubts, misgivings—a suspicion that is by no means carefully concealed, that the piscatorial returns have been tampered with. To brand any narrative as “a fish story” is to discredit it thoroughly and completely.

Many ingenious methods have been employed to circumvent the doubters and to clear the storied achievements of fishermen from disparaging queries and ungracious innuendoes. In recent years the camera has come into general use as the fisherman’s friend—his eye witness—his incorruptible truth-teller that reveals the facts just as they were. On the desk in the office the photograph shows up. To the right in the picture stands the angler with his rod and reel; everybody recognizes him; it is a good likeness. To the left, strung out so that each shows up in detail, are the twenty-seven big ones. In the background there is a glimpse of a boat and some water. The picture ought to be convincing ; to anybody, to everybody, but somehow it is never accepted as unimpeachable evidence. The camera, it is well known, can ; be made to prevaricate in several different ways. The suspicious queries are not put to rest; on the contrary they become more varied and more searching. Is it a trick photograph? Did you have the photographs of one fish pasted in a row twenty-seven times and then the effect copied? Did you buy the photograph and then paste in your own picture and have the fixture rephotographed?

Ingenious as it is, photographing the catch has failed to carry conviction to a cynical and unbelieving world. The fish story has not been suppressed—it will never be suppressed—but it just stays a fish story. And it is best so; if there were no imagination in a fish story it would be flat indeed.

* * *

PRIZE FISH STORY. (September 21, 1901)

The fish story record stands shattered. This is the latest, and it is vouched for in all seriousness: In 1873 a fisherman took some trout through the ice in Central Wisconsin. The largest trout was placed in a cold storage warehouse, and afterwards forgotten. Eleven years later the warehouse was burned, and, to save the ice, enough water was thrown on to fill up the water-tight cellar below. Three years later 447 trout were taken out of the cellar. In addition to the original one, identified through lack of an eye and a broken tail, which had evidently fallen into the water when the warehouse was destroyed, thawed out and spawned.

* * *

FISH STORY. (March 23, 1839)

Fish Story—The editor of the Grand Gulf Advertiser relates what he calls, for a wonder, a true fish story, which is as follows : “ A young lad named Hauler—a very appropriate name, say we—did actually, a few days back, haul from the depth of the father of rivers a mammoth catfish weighing 210 pounds. It is a little strange that, in this instance of piscatory adventure, the fish weighed 110 pounds more than the lad who caught it.”

* * *

BREWER’S FISH STORY. (October 12, 1909)

Kansas City Journal: At a dinner of the Vermont Fish and Game League in that state the other night Justice Brewer told a new Kansas fish story. He said he considered the missionary spirit in Vermont next best to that in Kansas, which is his own state. He said that they had educated fish in Kansas, and told the story of the man who, while fishing in the Arkansas river, lost his watch and a silver dollar overboard. A year afterward he caught a large catfish which weighed over 100 pounds. Inside of the fish was his watch, which the fish had kept wound, still running, the silver dollar and 6 cents for interest.

* * *

HERE’S TALLEST FISH STORY. (November 11, 1916)

Honest-Looking Man Says He Saw This, So It Must Be the Truth.

“Speakin’ of fishin’,” said the honest-looking man, “the tallest fish story I ever heard happened before my own eyes, happened partly to myself, as you might say. Yes,” he continued, as the thin chap crossed his legs and looked about absently at the walls, “me and another party took a long hike up to the lake. We hadn’t much more than cast in our lines, when. Bing! comes a whoppin’ tug at this fellow’s line. He gives a jerk, and mighty near tumbles over backward, with his line dangling from his pole without no hook. Fish had swallowed it, bit off the line. And then if there wasn’t some cussin’ ! Only hook he had, and I had only my one. He sits down, this lad, and raves. Whole day before him, and nothin’ doin’. Right at this point in the proceedings I gets a bite and hauls in a fine fish. My pal he cusses on worse ’an ever. I tell you that fish I hooked certainly must have been hungry. He had took my hook plumb down into the pit of his stomach. Nothin’ but to rip him inside out. And there what do you think was a-stickin’ to his innards? My pal’s hook! Sure as I’m sittin’ here! Well, my pal put his tackle together again, and we both enjoyed a good day’s sport. If I hadn’t seen this myself I wouldn’t believe it, but I know it happened. See!”

From— Evening star. (Washington, D.C.), 22 July 1905., The St. Mary banner. (Franklin, Parish of St. Mary, La), 21 Sept. 1901., The native American. (Washington City [i.e. Washington, D.C.]), 23 March 1839., The daily Gate City. (Keokuk, Iowa), 12 Oct. 1909. & Western Kansas world. (WaKeeney, Kan.), 11 Nov. 1916. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



WAR OF THE EAGLES. (July 15, 1910)

Friday the thriteenth!



Fierce Birds Unusually Bold as They Hunt Food For Their Young—Men, Chickens and Animals Terrorized by the Vicious Fowl.

Seattle, Wash.—Eagles, busy gathering food for their young ones and flying down from their nests in the crags of the Cascade and Olympic Mountains, are unusually daring. Instances are being reported where they have attacked men, women and children. They are also charged with carrying off lambs, pigs, dogs, cats and farmyard poultry. A month’s file of a local daily newspaper shows the following:

George Hartman, hunter, of North Yakima, Wash., attacked by maddened eagle and severely scratched and flesh torn. A stage coach driver near Hartford. Wash., attacked while sitting on his wagon and face badly torn by the big bird’s talons.

Farmers, near Brinnon declare they are losing much young stock by thieving eagles. More eagles are nesting in the foothills of the Olympics than ever before. The increased food supplies, consisting of the small farm animals is given as the cause of so many eagles.

A report from Mason county states that bald eagles are swooping down on farmyards and carrying off poutry, principally ducks and geese. A big rooster on a Mason county farm fought a fierce battle with a small eagle of some unknown species and won out, putting the marauder to flight.

News comes from Blaine that farmers observed two eagles descend from high in the air and attack and carry for over a mile two day-old lambs. The sheep in the pen were so badly frightened by the flapping of wings and bleating of the dying lambs as to break from the inclosure and run pellmell into a brook, 15 drowning.

A news story under it Enumclaw date, telling about a pair of eagles that had a nest on a high, rocky ledge near there, says, “A newly hatched eaglet fell from the nest 300 feet into the valley. Several children coming from a Sunday-school picnic passed near by and were set upon and badly frightened by the old birds. So incensed were the eagles that they followed the scared boys and girls to their homes and were only routed by the firing of a shotgun toward them as they circled over the houses.

Items were printed from various towns on the Pacific slope of the Cascade Mountains, noting the presence of many eagles and the inroads they occasionally made into the big pens of ranchers and yards of poultrymen.

Henry Greeg, dog catcher for Seattle, shot a large bald eagle when the bird was circling over the enclosure containing more than 100 captive dogs. Whether the bird intended to capture a dog for food is not known, but the dogs had observed the eagle and set up such a continuous howl as to attract the attention of the manager of the pound.

From— The Virginia enterprise. (Virginia. St. Louis County. Minn ). 15 July 1910. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.




Mermaid found and sighted off coast.


The following affidavit respecting the appearance of this doubtful monster, on the shores of Scotland, has appeared in a contemporary print:— At Campbelltown, the twenty-ninth day of October eighteen hundred and eleven years. In presence of Duncan Campbell, Esq. sheriff-substitute of Kintyre, appeared John M’Isaac, son to Lachlan M’Isaac, tenant in Corphine, aged twenty-three years, who being solemnly sworn and examined, depones, that he resides on the said farm of Corphine, which is situated on the east coast of Kintyre about four miles south from Campbelltown ; that, about three or four o’clock of the afternoon of Sunday the 13th current, having taken a walk towards the sea-side, he came to the edge of a precipice above the shore, from which he saw the appearance of something white upon a black rock at some distance from him.

Depones, that, having approached nearer to this rock, be observed this white object moving, which excited his curiosity so much that he resolved to get as near to it as possible, unperceived ; that in order to accomplish this purpose, he crept upon all fours through a field of corn, till he got among the rocks near to the white object above-mentioned, and then from rock to rock until he came within 12 or 15 paces of the rock on which it lay ; that, upon looking at this object with attention, he was impressed with great surprise and astonishment at its uncommon appearances ; that it lay flat upon the rock, seemingly upon its belly, with is head towards the sea: that the upper half of it was white, and of the shape of a human body, and the other half, towards the tail, of a bundled or reddish grey colour, apparently covered with scales, but the extremity of the tail itself was of a greenish red shining colour. Depones, that the head of this animal was covered with long hair and, as the wind blew off the land, it sometimes raised the hair over this creature’s head, and every time the gust of wind would do this, the animal would lean towards one side, and, taking up the opposite hand, would stroke the hair backwards and then, leaning upon the other side, would adjust the hair on the opposite side of its head in the same manner ; that at the same time the animal Would put back the hair on both sides of its head in this manner—it would also spread or extend its tail like a fan, to a considerable breadth, and while so extended the tail continued in tremulous motion, and when drawn together again, it remained motionless, and appeared to the deponent to be about twelve or fourteen inches broad, lying flat upon the rock.—

Depones, that the hair, which was long and, light brown in the colour, attracted his particular notice ; that the animal, upon the whole, was between 4 and 5 feet long, as near as he could judge; that it had a head, hair, arms and body, down to the middle like a human body ; only that the arms were short in proportion to the body, which appeared to be about the thickness of a young lad, and tapering gradually to the point of the tail; that at the time it was stroking its head, as abovementioned, the fingers were kept close together, so that he cannot say whether they were webbed or not, that he continued concealed looking at the animal for near two hours, the part of the rock on which it lay being dry all that time; that after the sea had so far retired, as to leave the rock dry, to the height of five feet above the surface of the water, the animal leaning first upon one hand or arm, and then upon the other, drew its body forward to the edge of the rock, and then tumbled clumsily into the sea: that the deponent immediately got upon his feet from the place of his concealment, and in about a minute thereafter, he observed the animal appearing above water, very near to the said rock, and then, for the first time, he saw its face, every feature of which he could distinctly mark, & which to him had all the appearance of the face of a human being, with very hollow eyes; and, being particularly interrogated, depones, that the cheeks were of the same colour with the rest of the face; that the neck seemed to be short, and the animal was constantly, with both hands, stroking and washing its breast, which was half immersed in the water, and of which of course, he had but an imperfect view; that, for this reason, he cannot say whether its bosom was formed like a woman’s or not.

Depones, that he saw no other, fins or feet upon the said animal but as above described.—Depones, that this animal continued above water, as aforesaid, for a few minutes, and then disappeared, and was seen no more by the deponent; that one of his reasons for lying so long concealed, as above described, was from the expectation that the ebb tide would leave the rock and flat part of the shore dry, before the animal would move from it, and that he would be able to secure it. Depones, that he has been informed that some boys, in the neighbouring farm of Ballinatune saw a creature of the above appearance in the sea, close to the shore, on the afternoon of the same Sunday. All which he depones to be truth, as be shall answer to God; and depones he cannot write.

DUN. CAMPBELL, Sheriff-Sub.

From— Java government gazette. 7 Aug. 1812. Provided by KB (Koninklijke Bibliotheek). The European Library. Conference of European National Librarians (CENL).



SUBMARINE CYCLE. (November 26, 1896)

Underwater Bicycle.

Genius Makes It Possible for a Bicyclist to Ride With Safety Under the Water

Genius has now made it possible for a bicyclist to ride under water. We have had plans for wheelmen to ride to and from the clouds and to ride underground in cycle tunnels.

There have been bicycle railways and bicycle boats, but Reuben H. Plass of 508 Lafayette avenue, Brooklyn, N. Y., an inventor, is constructing a machine which makes submarine wheeling an accomplished fact. The Practicability of the invention has been demonstrated by means of a model, and the workings of this model have been such as to attract the admiration and indorsement of every practical cyclist who has seen it. Not only do the cyclists praise it, but the submarine divers believe it is destined to be of the greatest use to them.

All men of brains agree that this is an age of progress and that the bicycle is one of the most practical instruments of advancement. This invention proves the truth of the latter belief, and it goes without saying that the former is correct. To those who are familiar with what is known as deep-sea diving the utility of the submarine bicycle is plainly apparent. Under the present circumstances it is necessary for the diver to sink directlys to the bottom before he can begin operations. With the new contrivance he can pedal about at any desired distance above the bottom and take a birdseye view as it were of the scene of operation. Thus it will be seen that the submarine bicycle, from a business standpoint, is a very excellent thing indeed.

Entirely unlike anything ever before produced in the bicycle line this machine is still in all its essential features a bicycle, with wheels, gearing, sprocket wheel and all complete. It is intended solely for submarine use. It is painted with a water-proof composition which prevents rust.

The machine itself consists of the regulation shaped bicycle frame, two wheels, the usual running gear, with some additions, and two cylinders. These cylinders are really the secret of the whole machine and its ability to travel below the ocean. They are about eight feet long and nine inches in diameter through the center. Their construction is a bit peculiar in that while they are constructed of copper they are balanced with several hundreds of pounds of lead fastened to the under side. This is done so that when beneath the surface the cylindere will maintain their proper position. The cylinders are filled with air and serve to keep the submarine bicycle at the desired depth.

It is by means of these same cylinders that the machine is raised or lowered at the will of the rider. On the forward side of each cylinder is an automatic valve which is controlled by the rider by means of a wire running from the valve to the handle bar of the machine. This valve opens into two narrow compartments running the length of the cylinder and which are kept closed by the outside pressure of the water.

When it is desired to send the machine to any depth the rider pulls the wire connecting with the valve, and the inrushing water causes the machine to gradually sink below the surface. When the desired depth has been reached the wire is released, the valve closes and the machine remains stationary, not between heaven and earth, but between the surface and the bottom of the ocean.

Connecting the two cylinders are two hollow metal rods which serve the double purpose of connecting the air-filled cylinders and acting as axles for the two wheels of the bicycle. The rims of the wheels project above and below the cylinders. These wheels have the customary spokes, interwoven as usual, but the rim is entirely different from that of the land machine.

In place of big pneumatic tires the outside of the rims of these wheels are fitted with cogs. These cogs fit into the cogs of two much smaller wheels which work on a rod running close beside the wheels, on the opposite side from the running-gear. These cog-wheels are cone-shaped and firmly fixed to the rod, at the rear end of which is a propeller.

The pedals of the submarine bicycle are fixed in exactly the same manner as an ordinary machine, the only unusual appearance being that instead of one machine there are two—one connecting with the front and the other with the rear wheel. In order to operate these two chains the sprocket wheel is double.

As the pedals are worked by the rider both wheels revolve at the same time, and, working upon the small, cone-shaped cog-wheels on the bar, cause the propeller to revolve, and so give motion to this most unique of all vehicles.

The rider sits somewhat higher on the submarine bicycle than on the ordinary machine, and the external appearance of the submarine rider is rather uncanny. As riding under water in an ordinary bicycle suit might be somewhat uncomfortable, a light form of diving suit, helmet and all, has been devised for the use of the submarine rider. The helmet is somewhat lighter than that used by the professional diver, but the arrangement is exactly the same. The rest of the suit is in no way different.

Directly beneath the seat of the submarince bicycle is an oblong metal box or chest which is divided into two equal parts. The larger division is used for the storage of compressed air, while in the lesser division is a valve chest. A small driving-rod copnects with the rear wheel of the machine, and when the rider does not care to operate the submarine bicycle in the usual manner by means of the pedals the pressure of a spring set in the forkhandle opens a valve in the compressed-air chamber and the wheels are set in motion.

Fixed in the forward part of the machine is an air gauge which has two dials, one indicating the amount of air in the cylinders and the other the pressure of the compressed air in the chest beneath the seat.

The method of steering the submarine bicycle is rather odd. There is no rudder nor any provision for one, but when beneath the surface the machine is so evenly balanced that the leaning of the rider to one side or the other causes it to change its plane, and consequently its course.

When it is desires to rise to the surface water is forced from the chambers within the cylinders and the submarine bicycle and its rider slowly rises to the domain of light and air. It is surely a novel way to seek pleasure in a bicycle beneath the water’s surface, but that it can be a genuine pleasure will become plain to any one who will take sufficient time to give the matter a little study. For instance, what would be more pleasant on a hot summer day than to go down to some resort on a submarine bicycle at whatever distance from the surface the rider may desire. Of course, there will be some difficulty at first steering a proper course, but genius always solves such problems as that, whether on land or water. It would only be a question of a short time until charts of the underwater route to adjacent summer resorts would be on sale.

Again, how pleasant it would be construct a sextuplet submarine bicycle, equip it with a good-sized storage battery, properly protected, and thus have an ample source for a brilliant electric light, that would enable three couples to go bike-riding under water, instead of taking moonlight rides on the surface. The electric light would also guard against any collision that might otherwise take place. The accompanying illustration shows the bicycle just as it will appear when ridden by is submarine diver. The illustration also shows how easy it will be with the new machine for a diver to circulate about a wreck and ascertain its exact position without having to go crawling about slimy decks and run the risk of breaking his air-tube by getting it twisted with the tangled rigging. It is a natural supposition that if society takes to the sub-marine bicycle there will be new styles in diving armor, and that this will furnish a new line of business for the surveyors who cater to the devotees of fashion.

Inventor Plass is enthusiastic over this, the latest child of his brain. “Why,” said he, “it is a wonder to me that no one ever thought of this machine before. You see, if a bicycle can go on top of the water what is there to prevent the construction of one that can be ridden under water. The principle is just the same as that of the boat. We have boats that ride on top of the water, and the United States Government has just built a boat that will travel about underneath the surface. It was the knowledge of all these plans that set me to thinking about the idea which has led to the invention of the submarine bicycle.

“While I thought first of the machine being of great use to the diver it has seemed to me, that there was no reason why it should not be popular with people generally. I don’t have any idea that it will be necessary for the rider of this wheel to wear heavy armor like the diver does. I know, of course, that it takes something pretty strong to resist the water, but it is my observation that these days, when anything new is wanted, somebody always manages to get it up. So I put this submarine bicycle into practical shape. Of course I’m proud of it, but I truly believe that it is going to become a popular and everyday method of amusement.

“I’m hurrying the construction as rapidly as possible, but have been put to unavoidable delay by the difficulty of securing some parts. They are not made by the regular bicycle manufacturers, so I have had to have them built to order. In a few weeks I hope to have the submarine bicycle ready for a test. Clad in a flannel-lined diving-suit the cold will not be felt.”

From— The San Francisco call. (San Francisco [Calif.]). 22 Nov. 1896. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.




Friday the thriteenth!
(January 2, 1920)

The head of the local museum at Port Elizabeth (South Africa) has received information from a Mr. Lepage, who was in charge railway construction in the Belgian Congo, an exciting adventure last October (says the London “Dally News.”)

While Mr. Lepage was hunting he came on an extraordinary monster which charged at him. He fired, but was forced to flee, with the monster in chase. The animal before long gave up the chase, and Mr. Lepage was then able to examine it through his binoculars. It was, he says, about 24ft in length, with a long pointed snout, adorned with tusks like horns, and short horn above the nostrils. The front feet were like those of a horse, and the hind hoofs were cloven. There was a scaly hump on the monster’s shoulder.

The animal later charged through the native village of Fungurume, destroying the huts and killing some of the native dwellers. A hunt was at once organised, but the Goverment has forbidden the molestation of the animal, on the ground that it is probably a relic of antiquity.

There is a wild, trackless region in the neighborhood, which contains many swamps and marshes, where, says the head of the musuem, it is possible that a few primeval monsters may survive.—Ceutral News.

The interest of the foregoing story, with its suggestion of Conan Doyle’s “Lost World,” is in the fact that it tends to strengthen the belief, held by many undoubted authorties, in the survival of certain monsters of the prehistoric age in the swamps of Central Africa.

The Belgian Congo borders on Rhodesia, and the labs Karl Hagenbeck, in his well-known book, “Beasts and Men.” has left on record his own conviction that in this region there still exists some kind of dinosaur, seemingly akin to the brontosaurus.“

Hagenbeck says he recieved reports on the subject from two independent sources. The beast to which he refers was described by natives as, “half elephant and half dragon.” Precisely similar reports, he points out, were received from the negroes by Menges several made decades previously, while on the walls of certain caverns in Central Africa, actual drawings of these strange creatures are to be formed.

* * *

FOREST MONSTER. (December 20, 1919)

A message from Buluwayo states that news, apparently corroborating the presence of a prehistoric monster in the forests of the Congo, comes from Elizabethville.

A Belgian prospector and hunter, Gapelle, who has returned from the interior of the Congo, states that he followed up a strange sport for twelve miles, and finally sighted a beast which was certainly of the rhinoceros order.

It had large scales reaching far down it very thick kangarro-like tail a horn on its snout, and a lump on its back.

The hunter fired shots at the head which threw up its head and disappeared into the swamp.

This beast answers the description of the brontosaurus, which was the ultimate cause of a recent accident to a party of scientists from the Smithsonian Institute. Hearing stories of the presence of such an animal in the Congo, the scientists were proceeding hither from South Africa, When a runaway truck collided with their train, injuring several of the party.

The brontosaurus belongs in the genus dinosauri of the order Saurapoda, whose fossil remains have been discovered in the Jurassis strata. They were gigantic four footed creatures, growing to at length of over 50ft. and a height of 10ft. The tail and the neck were long, and the back is believed to have been covered with scaly plates, while the nose bore one or more horns. Scientists are of the opinion that the brontosarus was herbivorous.

* * *

AN 18FT, SCALED MONSTER. (December 18, 1919)
(By a Special Representative.)

John Jordan, a big game hunter, and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, has informed the “Daily Mail” that he encountered the Brontosaurus on the Magorie River, Lake Victoria, in 1907. It had a lion-like head, and walrus fangs, was 18ft. in length, was scaled, and had leopard-like spotting. He fired and the beast escaped. The natives were well acquainted with the animal, which they called bingoeck or noquta.

From— The Sydney Morning Herald. (NSW: 1842 -1954), 2 Jan. 1920, The Gloucester Advocate. (NSW : 1905 - 1954), 20 Dec. 1919. & Geelong Advertiser. (Vic. : 1859 - 1926), 18 Dec 1919. Trove. National Library of Australia.




Friday the thriteenth!

Fort Lupton, Col., June 13.—John Leepsinger swears there is a Friday the 13th hoodoo and that said hoodoo has a large family of small hoodoos. Here’s what happened to John:

He cut himself while shaving before breakfast. Used oil to start the kitchen fire and he is now minus his eyebrows. A cup of hot coffee was spilled down his neck while he ate breakfast. He slashed his finger while repairing a harness, tied a rag on it, filled the family auto tanks with gasoline, lighted pipe and burned the finger. A poisonous bug bit him on the ear. A horse-weight dropped on his toe. He fell on a wet board and sprained his wrist. Horse drawing buggy bolted, threw him out and dislocated his shoulder. Got a splinter of metal in his eye in the blacksmith shop and will stay in bed until he is well again.

* * *

FRIDAY THE 13TH. (October 13, 1916)

It's Friday, the Thirteenth.

Don’t do anything today. For if you do, the superstitious ones say you’ll have a pack of bad luck.

Don’t start in business until tomorrow, they say. Don’t take a journey, it’s sure to come out bad, is the warning of those who believe in signs.

Also: If you’re on the police force, don’t do anything crooked today or Hoyne will grab you sure.

If you’re married, don’t go home with a strange hair on your coat, and don’t fail to bring her some candy, anyway. If you’re a public school teacher, don’t say anything in favor of the Chicago Teachers’ Federation or Jake Loeb will hit you with his majority of eleven votes. Don’t get married today, it’s unlucky—especially if you’ve already got a wife.

And now go ahead and do as you blamed please.

* * *

POOR CHARLES. (September 13, 1912)

Charles Mass, marine fireman, crossed his fingers this morning and went to bed. Today is Charles’ twenty-third birthday, and also Friday the thirteenth, and Charles wasn’t going out hunting up any hoodoos. But the hoodoo came hunting. Charles bright and early this morning. He was arrrested in his room at 669 South State street and forced to get into his thirteen garments and trot along to the South Clark street station on a charge of stealing a watch from John G. Masie of same address.

“I knew it,” said Charles, in a resigned tone. “That's why I went to bed for the day. June 13 I was arrested for beating up a man who had beaten up a friend of mine, and the judge, was peevish and sent me to the Bridewell for 23 days. What’s the use?“

From— The day book. (Chicago, III.), 13 June 1913., The day book. (Chicago, III.), 13 Oct. 1916. & The day book. (Chicago. III.). 13 Sept. 1912. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.




The mystifying snipe hunt!
A SNIPE VICTIM. (May 17, 1901)

A traveling man representing a St. Joe furniture house, visited Marshall recently, who proved to be a gentleman who had seen a great deal of the world and felt that he was much traveled. Notwithstanding the fact, that he, in his various trips, in which he had girdied the earth, had hunted the green mountain lion, the bengal tiger, etc., yet he, with some modesty, declared he had never been on a snipe hunt. Several of the young men of Marshall, who be it said to their credit are never lacking in courtesy, proposed a snipe hunt for Friday night, when they would introduce their up-to-date friend into the mysteries of hunting this much talked of bird.

Promptly at ten o’clock Friday night they started for Salt Fork, with all the needed paraphernalia for the trip. It being dark with a cold rain falling, made an ideal night for snipe. When eleven o’clock came the young man had been thoroughly drilled in all the mysteries necessary to secure success, and they left him alone on the other side of Salt Fork, where standing between two lighted lanterns he held the sack in the most approved fashion. The lanterns made things cheery for him in the silence of the night, giving him a fine opportunity of meditating upon the blessed fact that he could from this on add snipe hunting to his repertoire of gentlemanly sports and accomplishments.

After holding the sack for three hours or more in a pouring rain, he wisely decided that it must be a bad night for snipe and started for town. Not knowing the way he labored under a great disadvantage, but about this time he gladly spied an approaching vehicle coming up the road and screamed manfully for assistance. The man in the rig seemed as deaf to his desires as did the Saline county Snipe, who never made their appearance.

This up-to-date man, failing to find the bridge, actually walked through water knee deep and arrived at Ming’s Hotel at three o’clock in the morning, where he found the Marshall boys had strived some time ahead of him and were ready to receive the sack and to agree with him that it was indeed a bad night for snipe.

* * *

One of the Party Gives Interesting Account of Experience of Last Night—At Last Accounts the Novices Provided Lanterns were Still Holding Bag for the Birds.

One of the party told a representative of The Journal an interesting story of a snipe hunt which was pulled off last night. His account of the hunt was as follows:

“Two corn sacks and several lanterns formed the equipment of the party of snipe hunters who took advantage of the glorious moonlight and two inexperienced ‘yaboos’ who had never witnessed the catching of the most wonderful bird of the ollibbi character, or better known as the long-tailed snipe.

“The hunting party, composed of Messrs. Hoppen, Langford, Ritchie, Fickas, Olsen, VanHorn, Blitch and Willis, departed from the Y. M. C. A. in company with the expert bag-holders, Messrs. Fulter and Israel, at 9:30 o’clock.

“For the occasion Fuller purchased two new lanterns, to assist the snipe to enter the bag when run up by the scouting party.

“There is no place more suitably located than Bayou Texar, where the birds are plentiful, to hold a ’spizzen-whoffel’ snipe hunt.

“In order to evade the existing game laws, this method was selected: A boat was secured and after reaching a point several miles up the bayou a landing was made where the bag-holders were comfortably located holding a sack with a lantern immediately in front, where they patiently waited for the long-tailed ‘zuzzenbuffs” to be run up from the rushes, being attracted by the lights, when they would enter the bag, when ‘they’ would quickly close down the bag containing a whole, school of the beautiful birds.

“Completing these preliminaries, the bunch took to the woods to run out the birds, although changing their minds and returned to town, leaving the bag-holders to wait until they had caught enough birds or until their lanterns went out.”

* * *

A SNIPE HUNT. (March 4, 1904)

A SNIPE HUNT.—There is a young man, one of several guests of the Copeland house, who may find himself in the clutches of the game law of the territory. If this thing should happen to him it will not be because he has not been duly warned of the expiration of the laws today, or rather last night at midnight. He is from California where there are no snipe, and in consequence no laws for their protection from the ruthless hunter. The subject of snipe was casually mentioned to him a few days ago by one of the other guests of the house. After that he talked nothing but snipe; he gave his friends no rest until they organized a snipe hunt for him. Its organization was perfected yesterday evening and the party went out on the desert several miles north of the city. There were the candles and the bag, necessary accessories of a snipe hunt. The last seen of ihe snipe hunter was about 10 o’clock. He was then standing, holding the bag firmly, the flickering candles lighting up the look of determination on his face. He had not been heard from at 11 o’clock. If it can be proved that he held that bag an instant after, midnight a warrant will be sworn out today for his arrest.

* * *

BOYS TAKE SNIPE HUNT. (February 18, 1896)

Henderson, Feb. 15.—Last night “Chappie” Jonas took his friend Charles Clarke, of England, six miles below town to hold the bag and candle for snipe. Clarke had been there before and managed to turn the tables on Jonas by getting into the bus and driving back to town. At 2 o’clock this morning a searching party went back and found “Chappie” lost in the woods. They brought him back, and he will never take another “blarsted Britisher” out on a Kentucky snipe hunt.

* * *

HE HELD THE SACK. (March 23, 1909)
Interesting Snipe Hunt Stunt Enacted at Ottawa.

Ottawa, Kan., March 23.—Another young man is the wiser for having visited Ottawa. Some of the college boys introduced a visitor to the secrets of the snipe hunt.

After the basketball games at the college gymnasium four Ottawa university boys proposed to George Bond, who is canvassing the school to secure book agents, that they go snipe hunting. Mr. Bond admitted that he had never been snipe hunting but agreed to go when the boys promised to see that he got a nice college girl for the snipe roast which they would have tonight.

After the boys had explained to him all the secrets of the chase and described fully what snipes looked like and the noise they make, so that he would know them when they came, they took him about two miles south of town and left him holding the sack while they went out to round up the snipes.

Mr. Bond got to his room about 3:30 o’clock in the morning. He says that he heard the snipes “cooing” several times but none of them came close enough to be seen.
* * *

HE ENJOYED IT. (September 28, 1909)

That snipe hunt took place all right. The doctor insisted upon taking his .35 automatic Winchester and hunting knife along. They didn’t change the result in the least. The game was bagged. The party returned quite early. That is, all but one returned quite early. That one got back quite late. In fact, nobody was around when he came home, so no one knows just how late it was. The gang waited several hours and then dispersed. Perhaps it was well they did. That .35 automatic didn’t look any too good, and the doctor is noted as an athlete besides. Oh, no. He wasn’t furious. He enjoyed the sport so much that he is anxious for an opportunity to organize a snipe-hunt himself.

From— The Marshall republican. (Marshall, Saline County, Mo.), 17 May 1901. , The Pensacola journal. (Pensacola. Fla.). 06 Sept. 1911., Hopkinsville Kentuckian. (Hopkinsville, Ky.), 18 Feb. 1896., Arizona republican. (Phoenix, Ariz.), 04 March 1904., The Topeka state journal. (Topeka, Kan.), 23 March 1909. & The Billings gazette. (Billings. Mont.). 28 Sept. 1909. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.




That's a big fish story!
PRIZE FISH STORY. (August 2, 1907)

The Lawton Constitution thus relates the prize fish story of the season:

“John Town jumped on a huge cat fish in Cache creek two miles north of this city at 7’clock this morning and rode the fish out unto dry land. He saw the fish in shallow water between two deep holes. He leaped for the fish caught it by the gills and for a few minutes there was a lively tussle. The fish threw him off once but he was quick to grab his mount and was soon again upon the big fellow’s back. Town effected the capture of the fish with his hands without the aid of any fishing tackle. It weighed fifty lbs. measure five feet one inch in length and the mouth was eight inches broad. The fish's head weighed eleven and a half pounds.”
* * *

A FISH STORY. (July 23, 1896)

Several years ago we were on the Columbia River killing fish. We used a double barrel shot gun. One day about 10 o’clock we saw a monster salmon fish moving slowly down the river. An average shot would [be of] no effect, so our plan was to use a large ball, and fasten a wire to the ball the length of the barrel and then securely tie to a large cord, fasten the other end of the cord to a tree, shoot the fish in broad sides and have a man on the other side of the river to hastily grab the bullet and tie to a tree, thus having the fish swinging safely at our bidding. The plan worked efficiently and the result was that we butchered slaughtered and destroyed 2 ½ million pounds of as fine salmon as ever swam the Columbia River.—Hairiman Hornet.

The above is the Harriman Hornet’s method of catching fish as recalled mind by the wonderful fish story published is the Marion County Democrat and republished in the NEWS. For ingenuity commend us to the editor of the Hornet. There is no yarn but what he can devise something better.

* * *


“It is a well-known fact that when alarmed fish scuttle into dark places beneath the water. A friend of mine told me of an ingenious plan adopted by an old fisherman on the Blue river to take advantage of this fish custom,” said A. S. Van Valkenburgh, United States district attorney.

“The old fisherman procured a barrel, bored a number of holes in it and weighted the bottom with lead and iron. To the top were fastened two, ropes attached to a windlass on a boat. Rowing out to the middle of the Blue the barrel was sunk, resting on the bottom of the river. Then the old fisherman sent his four sons, two in each direction, to points 50 yards away, where they entered canoes and commenced to beat the water with flat paddles, raising a great hubbub. Gradually they worked down to the boat, where the old fisherman was ready to haul out the barrel. As they came close to him he quickly manned the windlass and the barrel came to the surface. By actual count there were 28 shad, 40 carp, 17 catfish and nine Jack salmon in the barrel. The catch weighed 160 pounds.”—Kansas City Star.

* * *

Stolen and Published Everywhere under a Worthing Date Line After Some of the Ear Marks Had Been Pulled Off.

Here is the story as published in the LEADER last week from the pen of Mr. Larson, and we republish it in order to show that the gentlemen who did the bold act of piracy did not improve their “find” by poor paint:

“Last week we had another dose of high water and a lot of big fish came up the canal from the Vermillion river. The boys were out in force and had lots of fun catching 50 lb. carp, and four feet pike and pickeral. We heard a rather surprising story about a monster carp dragging a calf into the canal. Melvin Sundvold reports the story as given to Henry Hanson by the man who lost, the calf. A farmer living over near the canal where it overflows when a cloud-burst comes heard a terrible racket among his cattle one night and rushed out towards the trouble. He found a lot of calves standing in water belly deep and noticed one little calf making a desperate effort to pull its tail free from something. The farmer in his bare legs was afraid of barb wire but he waded towards the calf in trouble and just as he grabbed the calf by the neck a monster fish lashed the water all over him and for an instance he was blinded. Wiping the water out of his eyes he found the calf was being dragged away towards deep water. He made a frantic effort to reach the calf before it was dragged into the canal but failed. Whether it was a big catfish or a carp or a pike the farmer was unable to say, but it was big enough, to drag the calf away by the tail and drown it. The farmer released his cattle and gave them a chance to find higher ground.”

After reading the above beautifully modest and truthful story we call the, readers attention to the equally modest double headed story as published in the Minneapolia Journal, a paper that is known the world over for its reliability and honorable methods, but the piracy of the Sioux Falls Press dropped the Journal into the Worthing headline rut which was unfortunate for the reliable and honorable methods of the journal. Here is the article, headlines and all as published in the Minneapolis Journal:

Monster Fish Invade Flooded Pasture and one makes away with a Calf — Yes, a Calf, Sundvold says.

Worthing, S. D., July 25.—During the last high water, large pike and carp made their way up a drainage canal in Grant township, this county, with the result that Henry Hanson, a farmer, lost a young calf, carried off by a giant pike. Melvin E. Sundvold tells the story as reported by Hanson.

The farmer heard a noise among his cattle one night and rushed out toward the trouble, which he found was near the canal. He found several calves standing belly deep in water, and noticed one little calf making a desperate effort to pull its tail free from something.

The farmer, with his bare legs, was afraid of barbed wire, but he waded cautiously toward the calf and, just as he caught it, a monster pike lashed the water all over him, and for a moment he was blinded. Wiping the water from his eyes, he found the calf was being dragged toward deep water. Hanson made a desperate effort to reach the animal before it was dragged into the canal, but he failed, and the calf struggled until It finally drowned.”

* * *

A FISH STORY. (June 3, 1904)

Some one at the court house is responsible for this fish story. Of course the writer knows who told the story, but as the party has heretofore borne a splendid reputation for truth and veracity, the Herald does not wish to cause a cloud of doubt to mar that reputation.

The story goes that on a fishing expedition a number of eels were caught, and they were skinned, salted and put in a bag. When home was reached those eels were still alive, and when put into a pan crawled out. Now, everybody stand on your heads.

From— The Chickasha daffy express (Chickasha, Indian Territory [Okla.)), 02 Aug. 1907., Sequachee Valley news. (Sequachee [Sequatchiel Tenn.), 23 July 1896., The Mt. Sterling advocate. (Mt. Sterling, Ky.). 08 July 1908., Dakota farmers' leader. (Canton, S.D.). 31 July 1908. & Palestine daily herald. (Palestine, Tex.), 03 June 1904. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



‘LIFE ON MARS,’ BY H.G. WELLS. (May 15, 1908)

Martian life as described by H. G. Wells.

What a Visit to Mars would Reveal—Perhaps?

When one speaks of Martians one is apt to think only of those canal builders, those beings who, if we are to accept Mr. Lowell’s remarkably well-sustained conclusions, now irrigate with melting polar snows and cultivate what were once the ocean beds of their drying planet.

But, after all, they cannot live there alone; they can be but a part of the natural history of Mars in just the same way that man is but a part of the natural history of the earth. They must have been evolved from other related types; and so we must necessarily give our attention to the general fauna and flora of this other world we are invading in imagination before we can hope to deal at all reasonably with the ruling species.

It is plausible, at any rate, to suppose that on Mars also, if there is life, green chlorophyl will lie at the base of the edifice; in other words, that there will be a vegetable kingdom. We know enough to say now that the vegetable forms with which we are familiar upon earth would not “do,” as people say, on Mars, and we can even indicate in general terms in what manner they would differ. They would not do because, firstly, the weight of things at the surface of Mars is not half what it would be upon earth; and, secondly, the general atmospheric conditions are very different. Whatever else they may be, the Martian herbs and trees must be adapted to these conditions.

The great danger for a plant in a dry air is desiccation, we may expect Martian leaves to have thick cuticles, just as the cactus has. Moreover, since moisture will come to the Martian plant, as Mr. Lowell shows, mainly from below, and not as rain from above, coming in seasonal floods from the melting of the snow-cap, the typical Martian plant will probably be tall, and have its bunches and clusters of spiky blue-green leaves upon uplifting reedy stalks.

Of course, there will be an infinite variety of species of plants upon Mars as upon the earth, but these will be the general characteristics of the vegetation. Now, this conception of the Martian vegetation as mainly of big, slender, stalky, lax-textured, flood-fed plants, with great shocks of fleshy, needle-shaped or formless leaves above, and no doubt with as various a display of flowers and fruits as our earthly flora, prepares the ground for the consideration of the Martian animals. Everyone nowadays knows how closely related is the structure of every animal to the food it consumes. Different food, different animals, has almost axiomatic value; and the very peculiar nature of the Martian flora is in itself sufficient to dispel the idea of our meeting beasts with any close analogy to terrestrial species. We shall find no flies nor sparrows, nor dogs nor cats on Mars.

Still, there is plenty of justification if an artist were to draw a sort of butterfly or moth fluttering about, or ant-like creatures scampering up and down the stems of a Martian forest jungle. Many of them, perhaps, will have sharp proboscides to pierce the tough cuticle of the plants.

But—and here is a curious difference—there are perhaps no fish or fishlike creatures on Mars at all. In the long Martian winter all the water seems to drift to the poles and freeze there as now, or freeze as ice along the watercourses; there are only-flood lakes and water-canals in spring and summer. And so forms of life that trusted to gills, or any method of under-water breathing, must have been exterminated upon Mars ages ago.

The Martian air is thinner and drier than ours, and we conclude, therefore, that there is still more need than on earth for well-protected, capacious lungs. It follows that the Martian fauna will run to large chests.

Here, then, is one indication for a picture of a Martian animal—it must be built with more lung space than the corresponding terrestrial form. And the same reason that will make the vegetation laxer and flimsier will make the forms of Martian animal kingdom laxer and flimsier, and either larger or else slenderer than earthly types.

Since the Martian vegetation has become adapted to seasoned flood conditions, there will be not only fliers and climbers, but waders—long-legged forms. Well, here we get something —fliers, climbers, and waders, with a sort of backbone. Now let us bring in another fact, the fact that the Martian year is just twice the length of ours, and alternates between hot summer sunshine—like the sunshine we experience on high mountains—and a long, frost-bitten winter. The day, too, has the length of a terrestrial day, and because of the thin air will have just the quick changes from heat to cold we find on this planet upon the higher mountains.

This means that all these birds and beasts must be adapted to great changes of temperature. To meet that they must be covered by some thick, air-holding, non-conducting covering, something analogous to fur or feathers, which they can thin out in summer and renew for the winter’s bitterness.

And now as to the ruling inhabitants who made the gigantic canal system of Mars, those creatures of human or superhuman intelligence who, unless Mr. Lowell is no more than a fantastic visionary, have taken Mars in hand to rule and order and cultivate systematieally and completely, as I believe some day man will take this earth.

How far are these ruling beings likely to resemble terrestrial humanity?

“Well, there are certain features in which they are likely to resemble us. The quasi-mammalian origins we have supposed for them imply a quasi-human appearance. They will probably have heads and eyes and back-boned bodies; and since they must have big brains because of their high intelligence, and since almost all creatures with big brains tend to have them forward in their heads near their eyes, these Martians will probably have big, shapely skulls. But their bodies will in all likelihood be larger in size than humanity, two and two-third times, perhaps, the mass of a man. That does not mean, however, that they will be two and two-thirds as tall; but allowing for the laxer texture of things on Mars, it may be that they will be half as tall again when standing up. And as likely as not they will be covered with feathers or fur.

There can be no doubt of the immense part the development of the hand has played in the education of the human intelligence. So that it would be quite natural to imagine the Martians as big-headed, deep-chested bipeds, grotesquely caricaturing humanity with arms and hands. But that is only one of several almost equally plausible possibilities. One thing we may rely upon: that the Martians must have some prehensile organ, primarily because the development of intelligence is almost unthinkable without it; and secondly, because in no other way could they get their engineering done. It is stranger to our imaginations, but no less reasonable, to suppose, instead of a hand, an elephant-like proboscis, or a group of tentacles or proboscis-like organs.

Finally, here is a thought that may be reassuring to any reader who finds these Martians alarming; if a man was transferred suddenly to the surface of Mars, he would find himself immensely exhilarated—so soon as he had got over a slight mountain sickness. He would weigh not a half what he does upon earth. He would prance and leap; he would lift twice his utmost earthly burden with ease. But if a Martian came to earth his weight would bear him down like a cope of lead. He would weigh two and two-thirds of his Martian weight, and probably he would find existence insufferable. His limbs would not support him. Perhaps he would die, self-crushed, at once.


From— The Chickasha daily express. (Chickasha, Indian Territory [Okla.]), 15 May 1908. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.




Mermaid found to be exciting subject for stories.

There is a newcomer in the “Court of Luna,” at Coney island, and it is described as a “real live mermaid of twenty years, beautiful to behold and with a longing for the companionship of fair women on earth.” But Frederic Thompson says the sea maiden must remain a captive and be content with a tank alongside the restaurant in Luna Park. Much against her will, the mermaid was removed yesterday from Barnegat and, at dusk, was slipped into the tank. Those who visit Luna to-day will have an opportunity to see her, for the “lid” will then be off the tank. Captain Silas Barton is reported to have caught this mermaid off Barnegat, N. J.

* * *

A BONA-FIDE MERMAID. (May 9, 1889)
[From the Chicago Tribune]

What the late lamented Pliny, Ælian and Pausanias described as having been seen by sailors, a Tribune reporter saw and handled yesterday—a mermaid. E. S. Skinner, whose office is at No.323 Rookery Building, received from Honolulu last week what purports to be a bona-fide mermaid. The late arrival is not what one would expect a mermaid to be after reading her numerous biographies written by poets, past and present. Candidly speaking, she is faded. Her cheeks are sunken and eyes gone. Instead of a voluptuous and symmetrical form the human portion of her body is merely a succession of badly shaped ribs, unconnected by the commonplace but highly useful vertebræ. The flesh and skin are sunken and dried. The head suggests the lower type of man, or possibly the higher form of the ape species. A soft hairy substance of an oakum hue surmounts the head. The chimpanzee-shaped mouth discloses a double row of small, pointed teeth. The piscatorial portion of the freak is in a better stage of preservation. The scales are intact, as are the after fins. The extreme ends of the tail bones are missing. To the close observer the value of the specimen, considered from a naturalist’s point of view, is destroyed by examining the abrasion in the skin near the shoulders. The interior has an appearance suggestive of inorganic rather than organic substances. Mr. Skinner, however, is loath to look upon the specimen as anything but a real, genuine, old-fashioned mermaid, slightly disfigured but still in the glass top box which he keeps in his safe.

* * *


A MERMAID IN CHARLESTON—AMUSING SCENE—The Charleston Courier contains the following:

A rather novel and sensation, which came near resulting seriously, however, occurred in connection with the heavy rains on Saturday. A report was circulated that a mermaid had been brought in by the high tides and washed ashore to the foot of Trade street, near Chisholm’s mills. A large crowd went through the rain and mud to the spot indicated only to be disappointed in not finding it.

It was afterwards reported that the marine stranger had been captured and taken to the establishment of Dr. W. G. Trott, the well-known druggist at the northwest corner of King and Broad streets, and that it had there declared the rains would continue and the winds blow until it was released and returned to its proper element. The report spread so rapidly through the whole city that in less than half an hour Dr. Trott’s doors were besieged by the crowds of freedmen and a few white visitors, determined on seeing the wonderful though apocryphal denizen of the deep. Dr. Trott, who had been made the victim of some wag, although taken by surprise, received his visitors quite cooly, and endeavored to pass it off as a joke. The crowd, however, which continued to increase, was not so easily satisfied. Some one reported that the pilot boat Wild Cat had just come in with a message from outside, stating that unless the mermaid was brought and delivered over the bar within twenty-four hours there would be dreadful doings in the city of Charleston at the expiration of that time. Some of the freedmen from the country proposed a rescue, and the crowd at last became so furious and threatening that the proprietor of the establishment was compelled to ask for a squad of policemen to protect his premises. Two policemen were according detailed for the purpose, and remained on duty guarding the establishment during Saturday afternoon and night. Yesterday morning the scene of the excitement had again become quiet, with only an occasional visitor calling in to see the mermaid.

* * *

A MODERN MERMAID. (November 15, 1865)

Our Inverary correspondent transmits the following : One morning recently, before sunrise, a laborer setting out for his work along the shore of Lochfyne, about five miles from Inverary, saw, or imagined he saw, what is seldom seen by mortal eyes. On a smooth rock by the water’s ege [sic] was reclining a creature which, in the stuggling light, he thought to be a seal. When he approached, it splashed into the water, and as he saw its head bobbing up and down, and its long grey hair floatinz on the waves, he altered his opinion, and became convinced that it was an ancient mermaid. Unromantic wretch that he was, he began to thrown stones, to avoid which the creature moved further from the shore ; but soon, for some reason not explained, changed its purpose, and made straight again for the rock, on which it landed. The man, no doubt from the very laudable desire of furnishing the British Museum with a true specimen of a mermaid (a person could hardly send such a creature to the Zoological gardens among wild beasts,) drew a huge knife from his pocket and advanced. He had hitherto kept a respectful distance. But he suddenly stopped, for, to his amassment, the creature spoke. To hear in the early dawn a peaceful autumn morning a mermaid speak !—that surely was bliss beyond compare. Not so thought the laborer ; terror added wings to his feet, and he fled, circulating over the parish that surely his end was near, for he had seen a mermaid and heard her tongue. Eventually, however, his delusion was dispelled, for the mermaid turned out to be the wife of a Glasgow professor, who had come down to spend his holidays on the shores of Lochfyne. It is superfluous to add that the lady had gone out to bathe. We understand the man is still living.—Glasgow Herald.

* * *

A TRADITION. (March 20, 1868)

In a valley near Perranzabuloe, by “the buried church of the sands,” there is a wild tradition. The wife of a yeoman named Penna, while bathing her infant daughter in a pool amid the arched rocks of Perran, suddenly saw the child, as if in a paroxysm of joy, leap from her arms and disappear in the water. The mother’s terror and agony were soon, however, removed by the babe swimming up to the surface of the water smiling, and brighter and more beautiful than before. The mother saw no difference in the child, but the old crones in the village at once dubbed it a mermaid’s changeling. Years passed away, as they are in the habit of passing, and Selina Penna grew up a beautiful woman. The squire’s nephew, urged by the praises of a malevolent man, a rejected suitor of her mother’s, saw her, fell in love with her, and seduced her. Broken-hearted at her disgrace, she died, and was buried in the churchyard on the sands. The night after a revel, the squire’s nephew (Walter Trewoofe,) straying on the sands, heard a dirge, and passing round a rock, discovered a beautiful woman seated at the mouth of a cavern. She was like his buried love, but she disappeared when he seized her by the hand. On another visit to the same cavern, the maiden, as he addressed her, turned into a mermaid, who seized him in her arms. A storm rose, the waves broke round the rock, and Walter Trewoofe found too late that the vengeance of the water spirits had overtaken him. Still the mermaid clasped him, till the sea washed them both to the highest pinnacle of the rocks, and then bore them out to the ocean. That night, during the fiercest of the storm, the water spirits were seen tossing from one to another the corpse of the seducer and destroyer of one of their race.

From— New-York tribune. (New York [N.Y.]), 07 Aug. 1908., The evening world. (New York, N.Y.), 09 May 1889., Alexandria gazette. (Alexandria, D.C.), 01 Aug. 1867., The Ashland union. (Ashland, Ashland County, Ohio), 15 Nov. 1865. & Indiana American. (Brookville, Ind.), 20 March 1868. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



THE ICE CYCLE. (April 27, 1899)

A Steampunk Ice Cycle.

Contrivance for Skimming Over Frozen Water—A New York Inventor Is Responsible for It.

This winter is not to he allowed to pass without the usual addition to the collection of wonderful machines that are intended to make use of the slippery surface of a frozen lake or river in order to enable a rider to attain railroad speed in locomotion, writes Arthur Leslie in New York Press. The only difference between this machine and those that inventive brains have produced in previous winters, is that nothing quite so ambitious and wonderful has ever been attempted.

Briefly, the invention is an eight-seated machine to travel on ice. The mechanical genius who is at present engaged in constructing it is Harry Lenz, of 113 West 124th street, New York city. How the machine will look when finished is shown in the accompanying illustration, which is drawn by our artist from a pencil diagram submitted by Mr. Lenz.

The sketch shows the machine as it will be seen on Central Park lake, New York, where Mr. Lenz will give a trial exhibition of the working of the invention as soon as it is completed. The new contrivance is built almost on the lines of an ordinary sextette. The difference, of course, is seen in the runners, which are three in number, two in the rear and one in the front. The leading runner is intended to be used by the steersman. Seated at the front of the machine the head rider will turn the wheel by simply twisting the pointed steel prow to the right or the left, in precisely the same way as the, steersman of a many seated road machine steers by turning the front wheel. The tires of the new contrivance for traveling on ice are made of solid rubber, and are provided with spikes at regular intervals. As the machine is propelled forward by means of the pedals, these spiked wheels will grip firmly the surface of the ice, and, when the runners have attained headway, they will serve to steady and act as a brake on a machine that might otherwise travel, with so much motive power as eight riders provide, at a dangerously fast pace.

There have been ice bicycles before, but a machine to travel on ice that will accommodate eight riders at one time, and which combines wheel propulsion and the gliding movement of steel runners in the manner provided by the invention of this Lenz machine, is the crowning novelty of them all. Mr. Lenz proposes at the trial exhibition to have the eight seats of the machine occupied by a bevy of girl riders. He rightly judges that they will enhance the attractions of the occasion. He states that he will carefully train the girls beforehand, so as to prevent the possibility of any accident occurring to mar the success of the trial. After a careful study of the accompanying illustration the reader will probably arrive at the conclusion that such a machine as that shown, propelled in the manner indicated, will be granted the right of way on any body of frozen water in the country.

From— The Dupuyer acantha. (Dupuyer, Mont), 27 April 1899. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



JERSEY SEES A DEVIL. (August 5, 1899)

The Jersey Devil of cryptozoology.

Leeds’ Monster Reappears Among the Pines.


A Strange Combination of Serpentine Body, Horse Head, Cloven Hoofs and Forked Tail — Banished For Many Years.

Leeds' devil has reappeared in New Jersey for the first time since it warned the pioneers of the approach of the civil war. Back in the middle colonial days, says the New York Herald, there lived in Burlington, on the Delaware, the pioneer Quaker settlement of the county, a woman known as “Mother Leeds,” accused of amateur witchcraft, and witchcraft was at its height thereabouts at that time. In 1733 Mother Leeds gave birth to a male child, whose father was later said to have been none other than the prince of darkness.

The child was normal at birth, but before the termination of the tempestuous night of its arrival horrified several old crones gathered about the bedside of Mother Leeds by assuming an elongated, serpentlike body, cloven hoofs, the head of a horse, the wings of a bat and the forked tail of a dragon. The coloring of the horrible creature turned to a dusky brown, and after bepummeling its mother and her terrified companions it flew up the chimney, uttering loud, raucous cries.

Circling about from village to village during this eventful night, the fiend devoured several babies, assaulted women and made for the forest. For some years afterward belated travelers, while crossing the pines, heard and saw it. The pine folks, whose experiences were even more terrible, attributed to it supernatural powers such as possessed by the black witches of English folklore.

It turned the milk sour, lamed horses in their stalls, dried up the cows, made sear the Indian corn growing in the fields. Accompanied, as it usually was, by the howling of dogs and the hooting of owls, there could be no surer forerunner of disaster. Where the pines line the seashore it flitted from one desolate, grass grown dune to another, watchful upon those wild nights when merchant ships, driving their prows into the sand, burst asunder and distributed their freight of costly goods and human souls upon the relentless waves.

Upon such occasions Leeds’ devil was seen in the companionship of a beautiful, golden haired woman in white, or yet of some fierce eyed, cutlass bearing, disembodied spirit of a pirate who two centuries ago had barn wrecked upon the shore of Cape May county as, plying from the Spanish main, his galleon had gone to destruction. Again this same son of satan shared his haunts with a headless seaman whom the Barnegat people say Captain Kidd decapitated and whose stiffened trunk that very pirate king left standing as a sentinel of his buried ill gotten gold.

At other times Leeds’ devil, like a bird of prey, hovered over a silent, star bespangled pond in some silent recess of the cedar swamps, blasting with its foul breath the lives of hundreds of fishes, found floating, next day upon the surface, tainted and unfit for food. Again the dreaded fiend half ran, half flew through the shadowy vistas of the pines, while before it to their coverts hurried panther and deer, rabbits, squirrels and wild song birds.

The habitat of Leeds’ devil included the entire pine forest which extends from Freehold, in Monmouth county, through Burlington, Ocean and Atlantic to the upper part of Cape May county, preferring the lonely roads through the cedar swamp region, but frequently it made nocturnal onslaughts upon the frontier villages, playing havoc with the stock and farm crops as it went. One tradition has it that it was particularly active during the Revolutionary period, but one more distinct is that it was banished for a century and did not reappear until about 60 years ago.

From— Akron daily Democrat. (Akron, Ohio), 05 Aug. 1899. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



THE WITCH’S CURSE. (September 11, 1901)

Witchcraft the supernatural


The Imprecations and Prophecy of the the Condemned Woman on the Seafold Recalled by a Strange Blemish on Col. Buck’s Tombstone.

Close by the country road on the outskirts of the sleepy old seaport town of Bucksport, on the Penobscot, down in Maine, is a small family cemetery. Within the inclosure, with its high iron fence, in the quiet and almost gloomy shade, sleep the Bucks, the blueblooded and aristocratic clan which first settled the town and bequeathed it their name—and a legend. Of the many moss grown tablets and monuments the largest and most conspicuous is a tall granite shaft in plain sight of the highway. On one side is the inscription:

The Founder of Bucksport.
A. D. 1762.
Born in Havenhill, Mass., 1718.
Died March 18, 1796.

On the other side is the single word “Buck,” and also something not wrought by the marble worker. On the smooth surface of the pedestal is a curious outline, irregular and describing that which can easily be imagined to be the form of a foot of normal size. Some people say that it is a foot, but those are of the superstitious town folk who believe the legend which has been choice stock in Bucksport for many years.

They that delight in perpetuating this story say that Colonel Jonathan Buck was a very stern and harsh man and the leading spirit of his day and generation. His word was law in the community. He was the highest in civil authority and his decision as immovable as the granite hills that loom up in the haze of the northern horizon.

He was most Puritanical, and to him witchcraft was the incarnation of blasphemy. Thus, so the story goes, when a certain woman was accused of witchcraft, at the first clamorings of the populace Colonel Buck ordered her to be imprisoned, and later, after a mere form of a hearing, she was sentenced to be executed as a witch. She pleaded to Buck for her life, but as to a heart of stone.

The day of the execution came and the condemned woman went to the gallows cursing her judge with such terrible imprecations that the people shuddered, but the magistrate stood unmoved and made a sign to the officers to hasten the arrangements. All was ready and the hangman was about to perform his grewsome duty when the woman turned to Colonel Buck and raising one hand to heaven as if to direct her last words on earth pronounced this astounding prophecy:

“Jonathan Buck, listen to these words, the last my tongue shall utter. It is the spirit of the only true and living God which bids me speak them to you. You will soon die. Over your grave they will erect a stone, that all may know where your bones are crumbling into dust. But listen ! Upon that stone the imprint of my feet will appear, and for all time, long after your accursed race has perished from the face of the earth, will the people from far and near know that you murdered a woman. Remember well, Jonathan Buck, remember well!”

Then she turned to her executioners and another act, one of the forever ineffaceable blots, was made a part of American colonial history.

The “witch’s curse,” as it was called, and to this day, was almost forgotten until many years afterward, when the monument was erected to the memory of Bucksport’s founder. It had been in position hardly a month when a faint outline was discovered upon it. This gradually grew more and more distinct until some one made the startling discovery that it was the outline of a foot which some supernatural draftsman had traced on the granite. The old legend was revived and the Buck cemetery was for years the Mecca of the superstitious and curious for miles around.

The “witch’s curse,” had been fulfilled, they said. An attempt was made to remove the stain, but all efforts tended only to bring the outline out in bolder relief. The stain or whatever it was seemed to penetrate to the very center of the stone.

The hinges of the big gate have creaked for the last time to admit a Buck. The last of the race has been laid to rest beneath the oaks and maples, and the setting sun throws the shadow of the once mighty colonel Jonathan Buck’s monument athwart the double row of mossy mounds, as if still exerting his authority, and the same rays light that mysterious tracing held up to the view of all that pass and repass along the dusty turnpike.

The imprint of the foot is a fact, and is there today as plain as ever. The legend of the “witch’s curse” may or may not be a fact. The fanciful defend the legend, but the practical point out the apparent discrepancy between the dates of the era of witchcraft persecution and the regime of Colonel Buck. They say that the stain is simply an accidental fault in the granite, and that the legend was made to fit the foot and not the foot the legend. But the foot it there.—Philadelphia Inquirer.

From— Barre evening telegram. (Barre, Vt.), 11 Sept. 1901. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.




Snow Snake!

Grangeville, Idaho.—Friday, while at Adams camp, 35 miles east of Grangeville, in the Bitter Root forest reserve, Robert S’mons, a well-known Buffalo Hump mining man, killed a “snow” snake nearly six feet long, skinned it and brought the skin to Grangeville. The “snow” snake, so-called because of its coloring, which is almost a perfect white, is peculiar to the Bitter Root mountains, and but few have ever been killed even there. The reptiles seldom attain a greater length than four feet, and are never seen after the snow disappears. They feed on squirrels and rabbits, and the one killed by Mr. Simons was stalking a cottontail when discovered.

* * *

SNOW SNAKE IN A QUIET CITY. (February 14, 1899)

This usually quiet city was stirred to its depths one morning this week by the announcement that a huge “snow snake” some 10 feet in length, after devouring a dog, had been killed and was on exhibition at the residence of a gentleman near the extreme southern limits of the city. G. W. Harris was the first to “bite” and hurried to inspect it, doubtless thinking it the product of some blind pig and hoping thereby to obtain some clue to a jug. The news spread and several wise traveling men and a large number of our “up to snuff” young men started forth to view it, one of our draymen making a nice little sum in conveying them to the serpent’s lair. It was the best sell of the season, but on account of the respectable family connections of the young men we suppress their names.

* * *

A VERMONT VERDANT. (June 7, 1890)
He Joins a Party in Colorado In a Snow Snake Hunt.

MANITOU, Colo., June 6.—He was from Vermont and had not been long in Manitou before he succeeded in making many friends and acquaintances, most of whom regarded him as a first rate fellow in every respect. But there may be a few, who may be termed a mellow minority, who, by a different algebraic system, were well nigh sure that he was a tenderfoot. Yesterday the question was put to a test and settled for all time.

“Say, Robinson,” began one of an invading party of six. “You are somewhat of a sport, ain’t you? but I'll wager the drinks you never caught a snow snake in your life.”

“Snow snakes! Never so much as heard of them.”

“Then you ought to make one of our party. We are going up the peak this evening to hunt up a few. You see the reptiles only come out at night, so we tackle the sport after dark.”

Robinson expressed his approval and soon a thing resembling a barrel with both ends knocked out was secured and a gauzy substance extended across one of the extremities. A coal oil lamp was also brought into requisition and the joyous party set out after the novel sport. On the way up the hill the method of securing the reptiles was explained to Robinson.

“You see this machine? Well, it is laid on the ground, so, the open end towards the top of the hill. At the other end we have the lamp, which sheds a soft light through the gauze, and it is thereby that the snakes are enchanted and immediately make for the barrel.”

Robinson took in the modus operandi without a murmur, and gleefully thought of the glowing account he would send his Vermont pals of his snake hunting exploits. As he was not experienced in the matter of hunting out the snakes, he readily agreed to take up his post at the barrel holding the candle, while the rest of the party went up the hill and drove the animals downwards. Well, this was where the jokers got in their work, as sliding around the knob of the hill, they mounted their horses and rode headlong homeward. There was lots of fun at the Cliff house for everybody except poor Robinson, who, after standing sentinel with his barrel and candle for some three hours, concluded that snow snake hunting was not so much of a sport as he anticipated. He accordingly looked around for his trusty steed, and finding that it too had gone back on him, finally concluded to face the occasion like a man. He was very tired when he reached the hotel, and still more weary when his tormentors had completed a lively discussion about gauzy barrels and candles and such.

* * *

THOSE SNOW SNAKES. (April 8, 1907)

M. McLeod, otherwise known as “Snow Snake Mac,” went to Neche today for the purpose of selling a few of the Northwestern Casket company’s products. When asked his euphoneous title, he would venture no information, but kind friends explained that once upon a time he, together with “Oom Paul Berrisford, the biscuit man, did with malice aforethought, waft into the brain of a poor Iowa farmer tales of how snow snakes sixty feet in length annually encroach upon the herds near St. John, N. D., coming down from the Turtle mountains in coveys and returning not before they had eaten a few dozen sheep, cows, etc. They had the Iowa immigrant scared so badly that they sold him a half dozen caskets and several boxes of National biscuits before letting him off.

* * *

SNOW SNAKES IN IDAHO. (February 22, 1918)

John Heath, who is with the 20th Engineers, in the forestry department, writes from Washington, D. C. that his company had all been given new overalls. A number of the Idaho boys, following the traditions of the lumberjacks, cut them off almost up to their knees. The inspecting officer asked the reason why they did this and John said that in the winter time in Idaho when the snow gets deep it is necessary to wear their overalls short to keep the snow snakes from eating them off. He also stated that President Wilson hadn7rsquo;t called upon him yet but if he didn’t come pretty soon he was going over and pay his respects.

From— East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, Umatilla Co., Or.), 22 March 1911., Twice-a-week plain dealer. (Cresco, Howard County, Iowa), 14 Feb. 1899., The Helena independent. (Helena, Mont.), 07 June 1890., The evening times. (Grand Forks, N.D.), 08 April 1907. & The Kendrick gazette. (Kendrick, Idaho), 22 Feb. 1918. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



A WHALE OF A TALE. (January 9, 1904 & May 1, 1915)

Whatever right.
MONSTERS IN BATTLE. (January 9, 1904)

Thrilling Spectacle Witnessed on the Coast of Alaska.

How a Thresher Shark and a Swordfish Killed a Whale In Bloody Combat—A Mighty Struggle.

One of the rarest spectacles ever beheld by a human being was witnessed to the waters of the Alaskan coast by, Dr. L. W. Fox of Philadelphia, who recently returned from the Klondike. He saw a thresher shark and a swordfish attack a whale and kill the huge cetacean. Not Dr. Fox alone, but a ship load of passengers, saw the combat.

“The fight took place on a Saturday afternoon, Aug. 29, shortly before we entered Juneau,” said Dr. Fox. “We were on the steamer Cottage City, Captain Wallace.

“At 2 o’clock we were leaving Admiralty island. The sheltered sound at this point is the play and feeding grounds for countless whales, and on this memorable afternoon we had been running through a school scattered off either hand, blowing and diving and sleeping on the surface.

“This in itself was a wonderful spectacle, and I was watching it with keen delight when I was startled by an exclamation from my wife.

“ I followed the direction of her outstretched arm, and as I looked a huge black form rose swiftly through the water and then fell back with as tremendous splash. It was it whale, and as it spouted and took fresh air a long, black, shiny, snaky something hurled itself over the huge form and, poising an instant, descended with a flash and a crack like that from a hull hide whip.

“Some one on board shouted that a thresher was attacking a whale. The ship’s speed was slackened, and as the eager passengers crowded to the rail it gave a list to port. Man has never witnessed a fearful conflict than that which occurred the next half hour.

“The thresher is a most peculiar fish. While it is in shape something like a shark, its main weapon of offense instead of its mouth is its tail, the tips or which are as hard as bone.

“Before the startled whale could get into motion the long, black, flail-like tall we had seen poise and strike repeated the blow three or four times in quick succession.

“Then the whale dove, and it was plainly his intention to sweep the enemy from his hold by a rush. But neither fish remained under water long. With a leap like that of a monster brook trout the whale cleared the surface and for an instant formed a huge arch.

“Notwithstanding that up to this time we had noticed only the whale and the thresher shark. It quickly herein apparent that a third combatant was in the field. This combatant we soon learned was a swordfish, the thresher’s inevitable hunting companion.

“The swordfish grows to it length of twelve and fifteen feet, with a sword three or four feet long, but small as he is in comparison to the whale he is capable of doing terrible execution with his weapon.

“When the combat had continued for fifteen minutes the shark accomplished what appeared to be his objective point. He obtained a grip with his teeth upon the whale’s jaw and as he clung there delivered blow after blow, upon his monster enemy’s side.

“And so the fight raged. The whale, driven from the depths by the swordfish, would leap clear of the water an then, falling back, would dash back and forth until finally the water was dyed red all about.

“At each convulsive leap towards the end of the fight the whale seemed to grow weaker, while the threaser and the swordfish maintained their strength. There was only one way for the battle to terminate, and so in the end the whale lay still upon the surface.”
* * *

“FACTS” ABOUT THE WHALE. (May 1, 1915)
Are Put on Record, but It is Not Compulsory That One Believe Them.

The whale, like the orator, makes the most noise when nearest the surface of things. When he goes deep you never hear him. Whales spend their time in ocean travel and taking the air. There was once a whale named George Washington. His father had caught a favorite human being and had put him in the refrigerator to keep, when George happened along and swallowed him. George’s father, missing Jonah, which was the name of the dainty, suspected George, and took him out into back ocean current. George thereupon began to weep salt tears, but, with prodigious courage, for a whale said:

“Father, I cannot tell you a tale. I swallowed Jonah with my little swallower.”

Whales are used to lubricate sewing machines, to decorate museums of unnatural history and to reduce to a pulp a woman’s waist line.—Life.

From— Rock Island Argus. (Rock Island, Ill.), 09 Jan. 1904. & Hopkinsville Kentuckian. (Hopkinsville, Ky.), 01 May 1915. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.




Whatever right.
NO USE FOR LEGS. (July 14, 1900)
Aversion to Physical Locomotion Will in Time Make Them Superfluous.

Prof. Yung, of the University of Guef, Switzerland, entertains great fears concerning the future of our lower limbs. This sage is of the opinion, says the New York Herald, that within the next thousand years human beings will have forgotten how to use their legs, and that these limbs, if evolution will not do away with them, will serve as mere ornaments to the rest of the body. Prof. Yung states that at the present age human beings show a decided aversion to personal or physical locomotion, and this is more manifest every time a new automatic traveling instrument is invented and rendered practical. Steam, electricity, cable power and the different velocipede machines all bear an influence over us and create a dislike for walking, and the future generations will likely have the convenience of steerable airships at their windows and electric automobiles at their doors, and these conveyances will be so cheap that almost everyone can own them, and this means the doom of our legs!

The latter will be regarded as superfluous appendages, no use will be made of them, and who knows but that they may disappear altogether? But so much more will our arms develop in length and strength. These are the cruel laws of evolution, and it will be due to their pranks that future generations will again resemble the apes. There will come another epoch of short legs and long arms.

* * *

SHOWER OF RATS. (August 10, 1902)

News comes from Algiers of an extraordinary phenomenon which recently took place in the suburbs of Bougie. Soon after a cyclone passed through the town thousands of huge rats fell in a shower to the ground, to the horror of the Kabyles, who at sight of them fled in all directions, since they were convinced that the animals had come down from heaven. Many of the rats in falling became impaled on the large pointed stakes which act as palisades in various parts of the town, but the majority reached the ground uninjured and lost no time in scurrying to the open country.

* * *


Rene Bache, the author, was talking, according to the Los Angeles Times, about nature fakers. “I know a nature faker,” said Mr. Bache, “who claims that a hen of his last month hatched, from a setting of 17 eggs, 17 chicks, that had, in lieu of feathers, fur. He claimed that these fur-coated chicks were proof of nature’s adaptation of all animals to their environment, the 17 eggs having been of the cold storage variety.”

* * *


Upton, near Peterborough, one of the smallest parishes in England, numbering only fourteen houses, possesses a mysterious tombstone of black, marble, which emits a damp ooze in patches when it is about to rain. It is regarded in the village as an infallible barometer.
* * *


It may all sound like a fairy tale or an echo of the nature faker discussions, but the fact is that Mrs. Rachel Carter of 1834 McHenry street, Southwest Baltimore, is the proud possessor of five eight-day-old green kittens, not yellow, nor brown, nor tortoise shell—these kittens are really green, of such a shade as the inside of a half ripe cantaloupe or the plumage of many canary birds when, instead of yellow, their coats take on a delicate tint of green.

That the cats are purely a freak of nature seems certain, as the mother of the litter of five kittens is coal black, and there is nothing apparently in the environment to account scientifically for the variation from type. The kittens have black hair on their backs, extending down the sides, while underneath the green hair begins to extend over the whole under surface, exactly as many animals possess white hair shading from a coat of black—Detroit Free Press.

From— Pullman herald. (Pullman, W.T. [Wash.)), 14 July 1900., The times. (Richmond, Va.), 10 Aug. 1902., News and citizen. (Morrisville, Vt. ;), 09 April 1913. & The Pacific commercial advertiser. (Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands), 14July 1907. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.




Mermaid found kicking and breathing.
THE REAL MERMAID. (June 9, 1917)

Fishing at Little Aden, which is just opposite Aden, some fishermen found entangled in their net two monsters, which they at first thought were porpoises or sharks. On bringing them to the surface they fought with great fury, and badly damaged the net, and gave vent to half-human cries of rage and fear. After a hard struggle the fishermen knocked them on the head and got them on board. They were sold in Aden to an Indian tailor, who has a little shop just opposite the landing jetty. The tailor had them roughly stuffed and preserved, and hung them up in the back part of his shop, and charged 4 annas (4d.) each to visitors who wished to see them.

Major-General Sir George Younghusband, when he was recently Resident at Aden, in 1913, saw them. They were, male and female, with unmistakably human heads, faces, arms; whilst below they were formed like fishes, with a forked tail. The female’s breasts were, however, under the armpits. They were exactly in the lines of pictured mermaids, except that instead of being perfectly beautiful they were monstrously ugly. The male’s face was perfectly awful, probably the expression of hate and fear when he died. The female was not much better, and not at all the sort of lady one would sit about with on barren rocks. They had short hair, and the chin ran away into the neck; it was not so pronounced as in most humans. They had no gills, and therefore could not stop long under water. The arms and hands were particularly human, hut on a smaller scale than would have been proportionate with a human.

As they hung on the wall, with tail touching the ground, they were very much taller than a man. They had no scales, but their skin looked like parchment, and was that color. The genital parts were exactly human. The Arabs, who know every inch of the Arabian coast, always maintained that there were such creatures inhabiting these seas, and we need not go back to the stories of “The Arabian Nights” for confirmation.

* * *

MERMEN AND MERMAID. (May 16, 1908).

It would seem (says the Sketch) that we must add yet another to the living races of mankind, and that those who go down to the sea in ships and traffic in distant waters may yet make discoveries that will create a sensation in the western world. It is well-known to students of the human body that man was at one time amphibious. It is said that traces of gills still exist in us, but it is left for the explorers of Nullepart Island to come upon a race of amphibians who, to all outward seeming, are men and women, although their bonds and feet terminate in claws, and they have remarkably ugly projecting front teeth, together with moustaches that recall the domestic cat. As far as can be gathered from those who have examined these forgotten products of a lost civilisation, they are equally happy in the water and on the land. They live upon fish, which they catch and eat raw. Their attitude towards strangers would seem to be not altogether aggressive, for they have submitted to the photographer, and have allowed their curious oral development to be studied by the officers of the ship that cast its anchor on the Island of Nullepart.

* * *

THE MERMAID OR SIREN. (May 15, 1886)

The existence of this animal, half woman and half fish, has long been talked of, believed and disbelieved, according to circumstances. Homer is the first who speaks of such wonders, which he styles Sirens ; but we do not find that he gives any description of their shape. However, Horace tells us in his art of poetry, that they are “Above, a lovely maid, a fish, below.” The sirens are said to have been three sisters, whose voices were so delightfully harmonious and enticing that no resistance could bo made against their powerful charms, but ’twas death to hear the voices ; for they led the navigators and their ships to certain destruction among the rooks that bordered the dangerous coasts which they inhabited near the shores of Italy. Belief in the existence of mermaids has been current at different periods ; indeed, some years ago, several persons made depositions before a magistrate: that they had seen mermaids come out of the sea and sport on the rocks, but that they sprang into their element before they could be secured. A creature said to be a mermaid, was exhibited in London about the year 1828, but it was afterward discovered to be the body of a monkey artfully attached to the dried tail of a salmon. KANGAROO SHOOTER.

From— The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 9 Jun 1917., Worker (Brisbane, Qid. : 1890 - 1955), 16 May 1908. & Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907), 15 May 1886. Trove. National Library of Australia.



THE ORIGINAL ‘SKY BUS.’ (September 22, 1900)

Steampunk marvel of amazing innovation.

The latest form of flying machine to present itself for popular acceptance is that shown in this illustration. It is the invention of a young Englishman Mr. G. L. O. Davidson. It is one thing, of course, to design a hypothetical “filer,” and quite another to make it work. Therefore, some fatal defects may yet be detected in this invention.

The theory of propulsion is different from that ordinarily put forth, as this machine does not gain its impetus from a rearward thrust, like a steamship or the propeller pushed aerial navigators, but depends upon two vast umbrellalike structures on each side, which “grip” the air and lift as they are revolved by the engines situated low down in the body of the car. The speed imparted will increase so long as the angle of the “lift” is kept forward of the vertical, the designer claims, and this angle, although it may be altered at will, is maintained automatically.

The car is fitted with saloons and other accommodations for passengers, and, according to the inventor “If properly constructed cannot be overturned, and will be the safest, swiftest and most pleasant means of traveling the world has yet experienced.” But he admits there is that annoying “if.”

From— Deseret evening news. (Great Salt Lake City [Utah]), 22 Sept. 1900. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.




Giant monster snake seen.



Prominent Citizens Declare They Have Seen Snake Between Twenty and Twenty-five Feet in Length—Leaves Track Larger Than Auto Wheel—Other News.

Special to Times-Republican.
Webster City, June 11.—Randall, a small town south of this city, and the farm community east is terribly wrought up over the alleged presence of a monstrous snake seen a half mile east of the town. The serpent is between twenty-five and thirty feet in length and its trail across a newly plowed field is larger than the track left by the largest automobile wheel. Measurement of the trail shows It to be about eight inches in width. The presence of this huge snake is well authenticated and people in the community where it has been seen are going armed and are keeping a close watch. It is hoped the monster can be killed within a few days.

H. G. Pederson, a farmer residing east of Randall, has seen the trail of the serpent a good many times, but never knew what it was. The other clay, however, while M. L. Henderson was at his farm plowing in the field with his hired man, George Anfinson the snake was seen. Henderson was plowing in one field and Anfinson on another, near the H. G. Pederson house. Anfinson saw the snake crossing the newly plowed ground. He could hardly believe his eyes. The serpent’s size made at attack upon Anfiinson’s part out of the question. He went over to the hillside where Henderson was at work and told him what he had seen. Henderson sent for a gun and dog. While these were being brought, the men noted a herd of cattle, grazing under a large tree some distance away and in the direction in which the snake had gone, become frightened at something, stampede, and run in every direction. When the dog arrived he was put upon the snake’s trail. He followed it to the tree where the catte became frightened and thence on down to the Shunk river, where it disappeared. Following the trail back, the men found that the snake had been lying in a clump of bushes, frequented by Mr. Pederson’s chickens, this probably being its feeding ground. The hunt, of course, had to be abandoned.

Later, however, in the same afternoon, while back at his plowing, Anfinson again saw the snake. The community is wrought up to a high state of excitement over the matter. M. L. Henderson is one of Randall’s most influential and well-to-do business men, and Anfinson, too, is widely known as a man of the best standing. The standing of these men and the positions they occupy in the community is sufficient authentication for the story. A party will be organized to hunt the monster to death.

From— Evening times-Republican. (Marshalltown, Iowa), 11 June 1909. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



A MYSTERIOUS DREAM. (July 17, 1887)

A mysterious dream.
A Warning Dream.

The following story is told as true by Mrs. Lucy H. Hooper in the Philadelphia Telegraph: Since we are on the subject of the supernatural, I will here record the very singular adventure of a lady who is a resident of the interior of Pennsylvania. She was travelling in Europe, and while staying in London she dreamed one night that she was visiting prominent points of interest in that city in regular tourist fashion. But where-ever she went she was met by a peculiar looking man who invariably asked her the same question, “Are you ready?” Go where she would, and do as she liked, in every scene in her dream she met the same man, and he always asked her his ever-recurring question. She was considerably impressed by this dream, and remarked to the lady to whom she related it that she never should forget the face of the man that had so persistently appeared before her.

Time went on, she returned to the United States, and went to pay a visit to one of the large cities, stopping at the most noted hotel of the place. She was lodged on one of the upper floors, and went down stairs to breakfast the morning after her arrival. At the conclusion of her repast she went to the elevator and entered it, with the purpose of returning to her room. She was the only person in the elevator, and the man in charge of it, before starting it, turned to her with the question: “Are you ready?” Struck by these words she looked at the man, and instantly recognized the hero of her singular dream. She was siezed at once with a vague and causeless terror, and cried: “Let me out—you must Jet me out!” The elevator being already in motion, no release was possible till she had reached the first door. She hurried out of it and closed the door, the man started it to descend, and instantly the elevator and its unfortunte guide fell with a crash to the cellar. The poor man was instantly killed, and the strange dream had probably saved the dreamer from a similar fate.

From— Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]), 17 July 1887. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.




A bonfide Jackalope.

A specimen of the horned rabbit was killed by a local sportsman last Monday while out hunting not far from town. The horn grew in the center of the forehead and was about one inch in length, with a hard, sharp point. This is the first specimen of the kind killed in these parts. The horn is in our possession and can be “shown” to those from Missouri. We were informed by an old resident that rabbits of this species were common several years ago and were tree rabbits. That when hard pressed by dogs they would run at a rapid rate until they found a tree of soft wood, when they would leap high in the air and stick their horn in the tree and hang far above reach of the dog. After the dog left, the rabbit would work the horn loose and drop to the ground in safety.—Vian (I.T.) Sentinel.

* * *

HORNED RABBITS. (April 25, 1912)

Charlie Browne Horton, Kansas, who has always been skeptical as to horned rabbits, has been shown at last. And incidentally it remained for him to discover how there happens to be horned rabbits in Kansas. Marion T. Jones of Baker brought the head of a horned rabbit to Browne’s office the other day. He had seen statements in the paper that there was no such thing, and brought the head along so that he could show the editor that editors don’t know everything. He shot the rabbit on an island in the Missouri river, up near Rulo, Neb. The head had five little horns, prongs or growths, of some sort on it — two on the top, two at the side and one under the jaw. Otherwise it looked like any other rabbit. Jones accounts for this kind of rabbits by telling that years ago a wagon circus broke down up north of Falls City and that a bunch of horned rabbits brought over from Germany escaped. These have mingled with the native rabbits until the horned rabbit of to-day is the result.

* * *

From the Topeka Capital.

Frank Van Wye. carrier on Route 2, brought in a peculiar sight Wednesday morning in the way of a horned rabbit that had been shot the day before by Mrs. Lew Turner. It was a cottontail, seemingly of considerable age, having twelve well developed horns measuring from an inch to two inches in length.—Woodson County Advocate.

Let us reflect a moment, good people. Let us imagine Kansas two million years hence. A new prehistoric animal has been discovered. Scientists will give it a Latin name and announce to the world that this creature, though small, evidently was very dangerous to mankind, being built for fleetness and equipped with twelve horns, a wound from any one of which sent its victims to a speedy death. The horned rabbit of to-day may bring signal recognition to some deductive scientist of the far away to-morrow.
* * *

Rare Species to Be Mounted and Given Museum

ENID, Okla. Jan. 2.—Local hunters are oiling their guns in preparation for a big rabbit hunt following the shooting of a rabbit on whose head was a pair of well-defined horns. A few days previous another rabbit had been shot by a couple of out-of town hunters who claimed that their trophy also had real horns, altho not quite so well defined as in the case of the second rabbit.

Four local rabbit fanciers were hunting the “cottontail” about nine miles northwest of Enid. Suddenly an unusually large rabbit ran out of a bush in front and sat up on its haunches directly in their path about fifty yards ahead. One of the men shot it.

Upon examination they found that it possessed pair of real horns, located just back of the ears and about the size of a man’s finger.

According to scientists such species of rabbit do exist, but they are very rare. This is the first time, as far as can be learned, that any have been been in this section. The hunters who killed the horned rabbit are going to have the head mounted and will then probably present it to some museum.

From— The Cairo bulletin. (Cairo. III.). 10 Feb. 1905., The Farmington times. (Farmington, St. Francois County, Mo.), 25 April 1912., The New York herald. (New York, N.Y.), 04 June 1921., & The Seattle star. (Seattle, Wash.), 02 Jan. 1922. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.




The Curious Case of Milking Fish.
FISH MILK COWS DRY. (April 25, 1908)

West Virginia Farmer Says He Has Made a Remarkable Discovery

GRAFTON. April 25.—A farmer living near Rowlesburg, on the Cheat river, whose veracity has never been challenged heretofore, is authority for the statement that the fish in the river have been milking his cows dry.

For the last week, he says, his cows returned from the pasture dry. He suspected a neighbor of milking them in the pasture and yesterday afternon hid himself behind some bushes on the bank of the river. About 3 o’clock when the sun was hottest the cows wandered into the stream to drink, standing with their udders just touching the water. The farmers says he was astonished to see that the large fish were hanging to the udders of almost every cow, and when he drove the animals out they had been milked dry.

The farmer is now perfecting plans to attach fish hooks to the udders of the cows and go into the fish business as a side line.

* * *

A HIGHLAND FISH STORY. (August 24, 1906)

This fish story comes from Highland already, although the new road is not yet built, says the Voice of the Road. Geo. Yant, the engineer, vouches for it. A farmer near the town has a prize cow that has always been kept in the best condition. Yet for a time when she came home from the pasture at night not a drop of milk could be gotten from her. This went on for several days and baffled every effort of the farmer to find a reason. This much was observed, though, that she went into a large pond of water every day and stood awhile. It was then observed no milk could be gotten when she came out. The farmer scratched his head a moment. Next morning when that cow went to the pasture there was fixed to her a net and over the udder fish hooks of various sizes were attached. When she came out of the pond that evening she had about 50 pounds of fish hanging to her—suckers. At milking time she gave the usual amount of milk.—Brown County World.

* * *

THE FOUR BEST FISH STORIES. (October 12, 1921)

The four best fish stories of the year rise at one cast. A Michigan dairyman finds that big fish milk his cows as the bossies stand in the lake in the heat of the day. It must be assumed that these lactophile fish are suckers.

The other three tales are native to California waters. While a camper was cooking his dinner, by one of our famous trout streams, a rainbow [trout] leaped at a fly close to the bank and, failing to observe the well-known mixim bout looking landed on the bank and was promptly transferred to the pan. It is only in California that one can expect an epicureau dinner to jump out of the water into a hot frying pan.

The same camper landed a 13-inch Dolly Varden, which, as it flopped on the bank, disgorged a six-inch rainbow [trout]. This was two birds with one stone, the biter bit, and an illustration of the law of the fish world, as it is of the human—eat and be eaten.

This camper completed his trio of trout experiences when, standing barefoot in shallow water at the edge of a deep hole. he felt jaws clamp on his toes. Looking down in the midst of his startled jump he saw a seven-pound Dolly Varden let go his toes and turn down into the deep water. There the big trout seized his bait. The rattled angler struck too quickly whereupon the Dolly followed the bait up and once more made for the gleaning toes. Balked there, it again turned to the bait and was landed. The Dolly Varden trout is commonly known as a hog to anglers in the waters where it occurs. It appears that it also deserves to be called an alligator. These tales should hold the fishermen for a while—San Francisco Chronicle.

From— The daily telegram. (Clarksburg, W. Va.), 25 April 1908., The Falls City tribune. (Falls City, Neb.), 24 Aug. 1906. & Grainger County news. (Rutledge, Tenn.), 12 Oct. 1921. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.





Lieut. Petroff, of the Russian Govt. Exploring Ship, Sends a Letter from the Arctic Giving
Strange Tales of a New and Warm and Fertile Land in the Dreary, Frozen North

Location of lost continent believed to be in the Arctic..

COMMANDER WILKITZKY, of the Russian flagship Taimyr, who is now on his way back to civilization after an extended trip of exploration through the Arctic region, has just cabled the announcement that he has discovered a new continent in the frozen North. He took possession of the land in the name of the Czar and christened it “Nicholas II. Land.”

Further details of the discovery are awaited with keen interest, for the question of what, if any, land remained to be discovered in the Arctic regions has long been a subject of debate with explorers, map makers, meteorologists and other scientists.

Commander Wilkitzky’s cable dispatch gives only the bare fact of his important discovery, but interesting details concerning it are contained in a letter sent by one of his aides. Lieutenant V. Petroff, to a brother in America. This letter was entrusted by Lieutenant Petroff to a hunter bound back to Russia two months before the expedition reached a place where it was possible to send a cable dispatch. As the hunter chanced to travel back to civilization by a shorter route than the one the expedition took, he was able to post his letter so that it reached New York several days before the Commander’s cablegram.

After admonishing his brother not to make his letter public until the expedition’s success has been officially announced by the commanding officer, Lieutenant Petroff, says:

“We have just discovered a continent most paradoxical in its nature. Situated in latitude 81 degrees North and in longitude 103 degrees East, this is a land of geographical puzzles. When we first saw its rocky shores with ghastly cliffs, which possessed an ominous lustre, we all felt somehow uneasy. There was something haunting and strange in the mere shadowy outlines of tbe forbidding shore, and the closer we sailed the stronger grew this peculiar feeling. The frozen peaks seemed to emanate an uncanny odor.

We sailed for days along the coast of the new land. While everything along the southeastern shore gave the impression of a land covered with everlasting snow and ice, yet, as we went farther toward the north, the climate became more moderate and we saw traces of plant and animal life.

polar sea leopard “All our theories of scant vegetation in the Arctic regions went to pieces when we met a party of five Yakut hunters who were on their way back to Siberia. Sheitan, the leader of the party, proved to be a man of experience and considerable intellect who also spoke fluent Russian, At first he was taciturn and suspicious of us, but when he learned that we were only scientists he became quite friendly, especially to me, and told me that there was a spot on the desolate continent which was inhabited not only by various strange animals, but by what he superstitiously termed ‘ghosts.’ He showed me a fur that he had made of white foxes and another of the plumes of what he called, ‘Arctic ostriches’ which he had shot in that region.

“Sheitan showed us shells of transparent crystal-like appearance which he said were the egg-shells of peculiar birds found on this new continent. They were as thick as the shells of an oyster and as large as swans’ eggs. These birds, he said, had no feathers, but long snow-white hair. According to his description the birds had feet like the ostrichs and very small wings which they flapped in the air when they ran. With the exception of an Arctic eagle, which he described as of an abnormally large size, he could not tell us anything further of animal life of the continent.

However, he said there were deep valleys and high mountains, some of which smoked like huge chimneys, while others had wells of boiling water. Around that region he had seen trees, flowers and high grass growing as they do in southern climes. This is what he told me of his last journey:

“‘We had seen the smoking mountains from a distance on two previous occasions. But we had never dared to approach them, for there is an old story that smoking mountains are the abodes of evil spirits. We heard a hollow rumbling from the direction of the peaks, as if the armies Of inferno were engaged in a fierce battle. We prayed and turned around. When we saw them for the third time, we did not hear any roar, and after many hours of meditation we decided to explore them.

“‘Our way was very difficult, as we had to skirt yawning precipices, climb steep rocks covered with ice and cross rivers of steaming water. But when we arrived at the summit of one of the peaks we beheld on the other side a wide green valley hundreds of miles in extent. It looked like a fairyland to us after so many weeks of snow and ice. There were huge trees with queer-shaped leaves and many were in bloom. The air was warm and balmy. Small rivulets of warm water ran down from the steaming mountains where snow-clad peaks stretched high above the clouds. In spite of the enternal Winter that prevailed outside, there seemed to be everlasting Summer in the valley itself. Many of the trees had fruit and nuts that tasted delicious, and deer were feeding here and there. None of the animals in that wonderful land of eternal green seemed to be afraid of man. We patted the various birds while they were sitting in their nests and staring at us with their big, calm eyes.

“‘As it was evident that there was no fear of wild animals or lack of food, we decided to remain. We had plenty of ammunition for hunting, and there was an abundance of delicious fish in the rivers and eggs, fruit and berries would supply the rest of our meals richly. But this was the Summer, when the sun never set nor rose.

“‘We decided to risk it, however, and began to build a small log cabin and gather fuel. We built a stove of rock for cooking our meals. Then provisions of birds, dried fish and venison were accumulated systematically. We were ready with all our preparations before the seasonal sunset, which meant the turning point of our life. Every moment we expected snow and a lowering of the temperature to zero and below.

“‘Who can describe our great surprise when we found that the cold of the Winter that raged everywhere around was unknown here? Life in that magic valley went on the same as during the Summer. The chief difference was in the foliage, which became a pale yellow instead of dark green. The blossoms of the Winter flowers Were mostly gray or white, and the grass had a corresponding colorless appearance. But, nevertheless, everything continued to grow just the same. The weather slightly cooler, but there was never a sign of frost or snow such as was visible on the mountains. The ghastly glow of the aurora borealis was so brillant that one could see everything clearly for a long distance. This new light was sufficient for life.

“‘We would have remained longer in this strange garden of the north if something had not happened that filled us with horror. One night when we had gone to sleep in our beds of dried grass and leaves we were awakened by a voice that roared like thunder. We jumped up in a fright and looked around but there was nothing out of the ordinary to be seen, and after a few minutes the noise ceased. But as soon as we had gone to bed again the same voice came groaning louder than ever.

crab-eating bear “‘Little by little we began to see what looked like monsterous phantoms, flitting about among the trees along the mountain’s sides. It seemed to be these strange creatures that made that terrifying noise.

“‘We were very uneasy for many days and nights until we discovered that the shadowy shapes which were everywhere in the woods never did any harm either to the animals or to us. Gradually we became accustomed to their noisy visitations and paid them no heed.

“‘When the first rays of the rising sun came a great change fell on the valley. The trees began to turn green and the flowers turned from a monotonous white to their former brilliant colors. And the dismal phantoms seemed to have vanished without leaving any trace that they had been there. Under the cheering influence of the Summer sun we began to think that perhaps our eyes had deceived us and that what we had thought phantoms were only clouds of steam from the mountains to which the ghastly glow of the aurora borealis gave a supernatural aspect. And their groaning—might it not have been the rumble of the smoking mountains which had so alarmed us before entering the valley? Soon after this we left the beautiful country and have never been able to locate it again.’

“This remarkable story told me by a nomadic Yakut of Siberia gives an idea of the strange character of the newly discovered continent.

“That the continent contains a broad valley which is heated by the volcanic energy of the earth and protected by high rocky mountains from the cold Winds is plausible. Factors now unknown to us may be the means of maintaining a highly developed animal and vegetable life throughout the dark Winter without any direct influence of the sun and in a region which is completely surrounded by ice and snow. At any rate I believe that our location of this new continent will prove one of the most important scientific discoveries of the century.”

From— The times dispatch. (Richmond, Va.), 09 Nov. 1913. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



Mermaid found to be an extreme curiosity.


News has reached Kirkwall that the “mermaid” has again made her appearance at Deerness, Orkney. The creature has arrived at the same place now many years in succession, where it remains all summer, disappearing in the winter and returning again with fine weather. Last year a large sum of money was offered for its capture, and sportsmen tired to kill it. As it struck out to sea immediately it was fired at and was never again seen till now, it was thought it had been wounded or killed. Naturalists who have got a full description of the “mermaid” think it is an ocean seal, but the people of Deerness, who have watched it closely for years, say it has few if any of the seal’s habits, and maintain it swims like a human being. At the present time it may be observed daily, being very partial to bright sunshine, but it rarely appears on dull days.—Scotsman.
* * *

SEEING THE MERMAID! (October 23, 1856)

SEEING THE MERMAID! —A reliable Eastham correspondent states that a week or two ago, as Mr. H. S. Dill and Mr. Ben Higgins, were going off the flats on the flood tide in their large boats, blue-fishing, when about three quarters of the way down the flats they discovered a fish of a very singular appearance on the bottom in about five feet of water. The fish started when they were about fifteen yards from it ; when about fifty yards from them, it protruded its head out of the water—to use the expression of Mr. Higgins, “he did not believe anything would look so much like a woman.” It looked straight at them, and had scales on its face like the back of an alligator. The features of the face were made for beauty, but the cerebellum was what Fowler calls a Judas Jr., firmness terribly developed, with the other qualites wanting.

If there ever was a mermaid, they say they have seen one. It appeared to be about fifteen feet long, of a very whitish color, except the tail, that was nearly black. When it moved it went face downward, but turned over (the side coming out of the water,) when it put its head out, which made it exactly face towards them ; it put its head out twice, and they had a perfect view of it, and no living person can convince them but that they have seen a mermaid.—Yarmouth Register.
* * *

THE MERMAID. (September 2, 1842)

We called yeaterday the Pacific Hotel, and saw the long expected and much talked of Mermaid, in possession of Mr. Griffin, an English gentleman now on his way to London. It is certainly a queer fish and has staggered our incredulity beyond measure. It is impossible that it should be other than it appears, viz: an animal with the upper portion of the body resembling the human species, and the lower portion that of a fish. We understand that several professors of Natural History in the city have seen it, and declare that they dare not say that it has ever lived as at present, every outward appearance indicating that fact. Chambers, Linnæus and other naturalists have decided in favor of the existence of this animal, as also the poet Southey, Sir John Sinclair and others. Many apparently well attested and authentic accounts of their capture have been published, which really go far towards rescuing this animal from the charge of being fabulous.

We are glad to perceive that an opportunity is now so near at hand to place this matter in a tangible shape. Our only regret is, that the national pride of Mr. Griffin has determined him, in the face of large pecuniary inducements to have it exhibited publicly in England before submitting it to general examination in America. —N. Y. Courier & Enquirer.

From— Capital journal. (Salem, Or.), 15 July 1893., The Pacific commercial advertiser. (Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands), 23 Oct. 1856. & Carroll free press. (Carrollton, [Ohio)), 02 Sept. 1842. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



THE MOTOR-MONOCYCLE. (July 15, 1905)
The Motor-Monocycle a revolution in steampunk.

A motor monocycle of strange design and for which great things are claimed has been invented by Oswald Jensen of New York. In appearance this traveling machine is unlike any other vehicle in use to-day. Within a huge wheel with pneumatic tire is suspended a seat on which the driver rides. The machine is not a loop-the-loop affair, as one viewing the pictures of it might suppose, the rider being always in an upright position.

The advantages claimed for this queer motor carriage by its inventor are many. It offers not only a new and easy method of rapid, speeding overland, but it opens avenues of travel that are closed to all other styles of vehicles in its ability of move over rough, sandy and rocky country. “It bounds over rocks and other obstacles,” declares its inventor, “with as much ease as a horse trained to jump.”

It requires neither road nor rail, but travels cross-country over fields and meadows, climbing hills and bounding over ditches and other irregularities of the land formerly considered insurmountable barriers even to the most reckless chauffeur. And it has the speed capacity of an express train—a mile a minute.

In addition to the one large wheel upon which it travels the monocycle has two auxiliary wheels, which can be extended to the ground or drawn within the large wheel, as may be desired.

The main wheel is nine feet in diameter and consists of a light steel rim five inches wide fitted with a pneumatic tire.

The rider sits within this wheel upon a movable seat, which, in being operated toward either side, causes the wheel to be steered and balanced.

The upright position of the motor and rider is maintained by means of eight small wheels which, travel upon tracks fixed upon the inner side of the main rim. While these wheels render the position of the motor frame and seat independent of the rotary motion of the rim, the seat also retains a vertical position independent of the frame. To produce this effect the seat is suspended between two standards, which in turn slide laterally across the motor casing.

When traveling at leisure along country roads the rider extends the auxiliary wheels toward the rear on each side of the main wheel, thus converting the machine into a tricycle; but when it is desired to attain high speed, or to cross uneven country, he draws them within the large wheel and rides upon a single tire.

The auxiliary wheels can also be extended so as to form three wheels abreast, in which position they are mainly intended to serve as stays to hold the vehicle in an upright position when at rest.

An interesting feature of travel by this unique machine is the sensation of rising at each alteration of the speed caused by the peculiar method whereby traction is produced. When the power is applied the rider rises within the wheel, and, as the speed increases, he gradually sinks back into his former position, from which he is again elevated when he applies the brake; but whatever speed may attain or however abruptly progress may be checked the, rider is not carried too far from his normal position, his rise being checked, by automatic brake and power releases.

When in motion the monocycle is balance and steered with a lever on the right, which in being operated moves the seat laterally of the frame, resulting in an unequal distribution of weight; which causes the wheel to swerve in one direction or the other, changing its course or maintaining its equilibrium as may be desired.

When at rest, or when traveling steadily over even ground, the motor occupies a position in the lower portion of the frame; but when the power is applied the motor moves forward and upward in proportion to the resistance encountered. The seat also rises, but in a lesser degree, and it holds its vertical position by swinging in the standards.

The tractive effect, being thus secured by the rising movement of the weight within, enables the wheel to travel over any surface however smooth without slipping and to climb grades which no other machine can overcome.

Since by the great diameter of the main wheel the monocycle is useful for traveling through rough country, ordinary obstacles presenting but slight obstruction to its passage, its inventor claims that it will prove of service for military purposes, and also to those who for business or other reasons are compelled to pass through desolate territory. Its inventor has great expectations of the monocycle as a racing machine. Its small width (being in all but thirty-four inches when the auxiliary wheels are retracted) causes it, with the assistance of the rotative movement of the rim, to glide along rapidly, attaining a speed of a mile per minute without being subjected to severe atmospheric resistance.

The monocycle differs from other motor-driven vehicles in that it does not draw upon the ground to produce the tractive effect, but, tumbles forward with continuous falling motion, applying new surfaces of the tire to new surfaces of the ground without relying upon the stability of the latter for maintenance of motion.

It thus has the distinction of being the only machine which successfully travels on loose sand, and, therefore, the first practical substitute for the ancient ship of the desert—the camel.

Its adaptability for traveling over ice and snow might also render Mr. Jansen’s invention a valuable auxiliary for the Arctic explorer.

From— The Cook County herald. (Grand Marais, Minn.), 15 July 1905. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



MONSTER HUNT THWARTED BY S.P.C.A. (Mar. 15, 1922 & Apr. 7, 1922)
The Patagonian monster hunt.


NEW YORK, March 14.—(By NEA Service.)—Somewhere in the dismal swamps of Patagonia, South America, a lonesome plesiosaurus is suffering the bitter tragedy of living 20,000,000 years late.

The proud, 15-foot neck of the gigantic marine reptile must be bowed in shame, for American experts have denied it admission to the best scientific circles.

In other words, the American Museum of Natural History has been informed that a plesiosaurus of the Mezosoic order is now living in Patagonia and the officials have refused to extend the cheery welcome until better credentials are presented.

Professor Clementi O'Neilli of the Buenos Ayres Zoological Garden is setting out with a large expedition to capture the animal alive or dead. Its presence in Large Esgue was reported by Martin Sheffield, an Englishman, prospecting in the Andes.

Scientists of Northwestern and Chicago universities also are planning expeditions.


Dr. Frederic A. Lucas, director of the American Museum of Natural History, points out that the plesiosaurus lived about 20,000,000 years ago and ceased to exist when changing environment made such marine life impossibie.

H. G. Wells places the period in which the marine monster thrived between 260 and 26 millions of years ago, and says that “the abrupt ending of the marine reptile is beyond all question the must striking revolution in the whole history of the earth before the coming of man. If it is probably connected with the close of a vast period of equable warm conditions and the onset of a new austere age in which the winters were bitterer and the summers brief but hot.”


“Reported presence of these monsters, which lived millions of years ago, is always to be doubted,” says Dr. Lucas. “Only a short time ago there was the report of live mammoths in Alaska. This was proved false. Two years ago it was widely circulated that a brontosaurus, a monster 70 feet long and weighing 76,000 pounds, was living in the Belgian Congo. Investigators could not find it. The possible explanation for this report from Patagonia is that if—with a big IF—there are soft-shelled turtles in that vicinity, one was mistaken for a plesiosaurus. These turtles with their long, slim necks, swimming on the surface with the tops of their round backs exposed, would present such an appearance. Conditions which made life possible for the pesiosanrius do not continue. Fossil remains show they were plentiful in England and Germany; remains also have been found in Kansas.

* * *

Orders Forbidding Capture of Beast Perturbs Director of Zoo

Buenos Aires, April 7.—Prof. Clement Onelli, director of the Buenos Aires Zoo, who organized the expedition which left for Patagonia March 23 in search of the reported plesiosaurian monster, was disturbed yesterday by dispatches from Trelew, the principal town of the Province of Chubult, saying Governor Franzoni, of the province, had given orders forbidding the capture of the beast.

The dispatches said the Governor acted on instructions received from the Minister of the Interior in Buenos Aires, who had decided to prohibit the hunt at the behest of Dr. Albaraccin, president of the Argentine Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Nothing has been heard from the expedition since it plunged into the wilderness after arriving at Bariloche Pass, in the edge of the Andes Mountains. Yesterday—s dispatches said Governor Franzoni had given instructionss to protest against the order “in the name of science.”

Prof. Onelli called upon Minister of the Interior Gomez yesterday afternoon to protest gainst the order ‘in the name of science.’

From— East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, Umatilla Co., Or.), 15 March 1922. & Evening public ledger. (Philadelphia [Pa.]), 07 April 1922. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



THE DEVIL AND THE DRINK. (January 27, 1906)
The Devil and his ways.


There is so much more of truth than poetry in the following “old legend” which the writer recently ran across, that it will bear repetition even though every reader has perused it a dozen times ’ere this. As illustrating the power of liquor and its tendency to lead to perdition, it is doubtful indeed if a more apt illustration was ever given.

As the legend runs, a man sold his soul to the devil. The conditions were: “For a certain number of years this man was to have all his desires gratified, at the expiration of which time his soul was to be forfeited.”

When the time agreed upon had expired this man was unwilling to fulfill his part of the contract, and asked the devil upon what terms he could be released. The replay was: “If you will curse your God, I will release you.”

“No,” said the man, “I cannot curse the being whose nature is love. Give me something less fearfully wicked.”

“Then kill your father,“ replied the devil, “you go free.”

“No,” answered the man, “that is too horrible to think of. I will not commit so great a crime. Are there no other conditions?”

“One more,” replied the devil, “you must get drunk.”

“That is a very easy thing to do,” the man answered, “and I accept your proposition. I cannot kill may father, I will not curse my God, but I can get drunk, and when I become sober all will be well.”

Accordingly he got drunk, and when in this condition chanced to meet his father, who upbraided him, which so excited the ire of the drunken and half-crazed man that he slew his father, cursed God, then fell down dead and the devil had him without fail.

Only a legend, this particular case. But how true to the fact regarding the liquor curse.

From— The Logan Republican. (Logan, Utah), 27 Jan. 1906. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.




Hoop snakes, glass snakes and blue racers, oh my!



The Terrible Blue Racer and the Thousands of Victims He Didn’t Get—The Hoop Snake That All Knew of, but Few Ever Saw—Peculiarities of Glass Snakes.

The blue racer was an ophidian calculated to cause the hair of the small boy to stand on end like the quills of the fretful porcupine. Nothing could exceed the fiendish malignity of this snake, whose powers of locomotion were incredibly swift and whose appetite for boy was forever on edge. And it was only by relieving himself of all impediments, such as the bucket containing his small store of berries or his fishing tackle and can of bait, that a boy was able to avoid capture. It was the current belief that when the blue racer came up with his prey be swiftly infolded the unlucky wight in his deadly coils, crushed the life out of him and then devoured him at his leisure. So far as history goes and the mortuary records show no boy was ever cut off in the bloom of his youth by a blue racer, but disasters of this kind were only avoided by the remarkable fleetness of foot displayed on such occasions.

His terror gave him supernatural strength and added wings to his feet, and the blue racer was incontinently left in the shade. The blue racer, according to a cloud of youthful witnesses who have testified thereto, was a snake ranging from 11 to 16 feet long, the average length being about 15 feet. Its aspect was threatening in the extreme, and its eyes gleamed with a baleful and hungry light. As it reared its ugly head four or five feet above the surface in search of the trembling youngsters his underside was seen to be of a bright blue color, and from this fact and his swift movements be received his apt and distinguishing name. Blue racers are as scarce as hens’ teeth now.

But the most deadly, the most grewsome and the most appalling snake known to boyhood was the fearful hoop snake, now happily extinct. This scourge of the forest was the bete noire of the urchin, who was continually in mortal terror of encountering it as he wandered through the pleasant woods or angled in the waters of his favorite stream. The hoop snake roamed the darksome shades of the forest like an avenging Nemesis, and, like the blue racer, was always on the lookout for boys. The hoop snake differed uniquely from all other ophidia. When in motion, it was the habit of this snake to insert the end of its tail in its month, and, bending its body into a perfect circle, it would roll silently and with incredible swiftness through the woods. The tail terminated in a horny spike, harder than steel, in which was concealed a sting of the most venomous description, and woe betide the object that came within striking distance of this fearful weapon. The virus in the tail was for more toxic than the venom of the rattlesnake or the tooth of the copperhead and was synonymous with instant death.

Fortunately no boy was ever stung by one of these snakes. His caution, his prudence and proverbial good luck always enabled him to circumvent the machinations of the enemy, but it required ceaseless vigilance on his part. Indeed, but few boys ever saw one of these reptiles, although we were well aware of their existence. But at rare intervals some youth favored with exceptional eyesight and a vivid imagination would get a glimpse of a hoop snake rolling its way along a distant path.

Another curious snake that used to interest youthful students of herpetology was the glass snake. As far as its habits were known, the glass snake seemed to exist for the sole purpose of affording fun for the boys, who, when they encountered one of them, hit it across the back with a stick, whereupon his snakeship broke into a thousand pieces, more or less, according to the mathematical proficiency of the boy, and his brittle anatomy new in all directions. Yet this singular proceeding, while it interested the youthful experimenters greatly, never discommoded the snake, or only temporarily, for as soon as left to itself the parts all united and the snake was whole as before. This invariably happened, but although boys have watched for hours to see the mysterious process the reptile never “got together” until they had departed. Glass snakes are not nearly so common now, nor are they so brittle as they used to be.

One fact in serpent history, however, remains the same in spite of the dicta of scientists, as any boy of today can tell. The tail of a snake will wiggle after it is killed until the sun goes down. There isn’t a boy in the whole country but knows this to be a rock ribbed fact in natural history. Learned men tell us that this notion, as they please to call it, is a relic of a far distant time when our ancestors worshiped the sun, which at one time was depicted with serpent attributes.—Chicago Tribune.

From— The North Platte semi-weekly tribune. (North Platte, Neb.), 03 Aug. 1897. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



THE STORY OF FISH; IT IS FUNNY. (August 25, 1916)

A true honest-to-goodness fish story.

Just why so many exaggerated fish stories are told, no one seems to positively know. Many of them are told, and it is not always the case that they are not, in part, at least, true, but they sound so big and out of tune with fishing episodes that they are usually unbelieved and looked upon as mere “fish stories.” It has grown to be an adage that a “fish story” is an untruth. The exaggerated fish story is accounted for by some in the fact that the fisherman operates in a realm of fascination and delight which leads him to such a degree of ecstasy that in relating his experiences he rather inadvertantly tells the big yarn, and then refuses to withdraw or qualify it.

Well, the fish story makes pretty good reading, anyway, even though the average reader always considers it an exaggeration of a greater or lesser degree. The following story was recently published in a Cheyenne paper:

Brush creek, twenty-five miles northwest of Cheyenne and the smallest trout stream in the world, has produced another honest-to-goodness fish story. Superintendent Ira B. Fee of the Cheyenne schools, having long heard of the remarkable catches made in the stream, went there yesterday. He found a trickle of water about the magnitude of that from an old-fashioned pump. Sticking from the stream was a fin that suggested a shark. Fee gingerly dropped his hook into the trickle and let it float toward the fish, which, alarmed by the slight splash, started to turn around. The stream was too narrow, however, to permit the maneuver and the fish jammed its head against one bank and its tail against the other. At that instant the current carried Fee's hook against the trout's side and the educator gave an excited heave. The hook entered the trout’s skin and Fee dragged a three-pounder to the bank.

Brush creek is the stream in which George S. Walker, now manager of the Western Typewriter Sales company in Denver, make a remarkable catch a few years ago. Walker hooked a trout so big that when he dragged it to the bank the water in the little pool in which it had lain subsided so far that seven other trout were left stranded. Walker did a Brodie on top of the flapping fish and captured all before the pool refilled. The eight fish weighed thirteen pounds.

From— The Ogden standard. (Ogden City, Utah), 25 Aug. 1916. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



THE END OF THE WORLD IS NEAR. (Nov. 9, 1919 & May 12, 1921)

The end of the world.


ON December 17 An unusual grouping of planets occurs in the heavens. On this much all astronomer agree—that there will be an unusual and over-balanced collection of powerful planetary bodies grouped on one side of the sun.

Professor Albert F. Porta asserts with great conviction that this unusual planetary situation will pull forth from the sun the mightiest sun-spot or explosion of gases ever known to man, and that our unfortunate planet, the earth, as an innocent bystander, will receive the full force of this solar cataclysm. Staggering under this blow, Professor Porta predicts a disturbance on the earth without precedent or parallel, with hurricanes, lightning, colossal rains, gigantic lava eruptions, great earthquakes, floods, and fearful cold.

Professor Ports—s predictions have attracted a good deal of attention and have brought many anxious inquiries to the Government astronomers in Washington and to the scientists in various State and college observatories. While all astronomers agree with Professor Porta as to the unusual planetary situation in the heavens next month, they do not admit that the consequences will be as he predicts.

Professor Porta's Distressing Prediction

OWING to a strange grouping of six mighty planets such as has not been seen a score of centuries, the United States next December will be swept by the most terrific weather cataclysm experienced since human history began. It will be caused by the hugest sun-spot on record—a sun-spot that will be visible to the naked eye. Since men first began to make record of events, no sun-spot has been large enough to be seen without the aid of instruments. This one will be.

The sun-spot that will appear December 17, 1919, will be a vast wound in the side of the sun. It will be a gigantic explosition of flaming gases, leaping hundreds of thousands of miles out into space. It will have a crater large enough to engulf the earth, much as Vesuvius might engulf a football. Such a sun-spot will be rich enough in electro-magnetic energy to fling the atmosphere of our planet into a disturbance without precedence or parallel. There will be hurricanes, lightning, colossal rains. It will be weeks before the earth will regain its normal conditions. There will also be gigantic lava eruptions, great earthquakes, to say nothing of floods and fearful cold.

I make this startling prophecy with no desire to be merely sensational or alarming. It is simply because my study of the planets has revealed certain results with mathematical certainty.

On December 17, 1919—no less than seven planets will pull jointly on the sun. These will include all the mightiest planets, those with the most powerful pull. Six of them—Mercury, Mars, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune—will be in conjunction; grouped together in the greatest “league of planets” ever known in the annals of astronomy. They will be massed in the narrow limit of 36 degrees on the same side of the sun! Directly opposite, coming into opposition with this gigantic league will be the huge planet Uranus. The magnetic currents between Uranus and the six planets will pierce the sun like a mighty spear.

Our earth is outside the league, at an angle of nearly 90 degrees—in perfect position to receive almost the full force of the monster electrical disturbance as it leaps into activity on what, to us, will be the eastern horizon of the sun’s disc. Be warned in advance. Tremendous things are going to happen from December 17 to 20, 1919, and afterward!
* * *


Detroit—The world is traveling on its way to destruction at the rate of 600,000 miles a day, so the Rev. George T. Gullen of the West Grand Boulevard M. E. church believes. That was a sure thing, he declared, and further he said there are at least eight other ways in which the old world may come to its end before the fatal ending of the “death journey.”

First, he declared, the axis of the earth might decide to shift about a few degrees, with the result that the oceans would sweep over the dry lands and destroy all life before an ark could be built. If that fails to occur there might be a failure of internal fires and the crust of the earth would absorb all the water and the air. The death of our planet might, on the other hand, be brought about by the heat of the sun dying out and leaving the earth a mass of ice. There was just a possibility that we might all be asphyxiated by the earth passing through the tail of a comet: or this planet might collide with another world wandering through space.

And the end might be brought about by the slowing down or the speeding up of the rate of the earth's rotation on its own axis. The rotation at present is just sufficient to counteract the centripetal force of the sun and if it were slowed down the earth would fly into the sun, starting at the rate of 1,100 miles an hour and be consumed. If the rate of rotation were accelerated the earth would fly out into space into temperature of 400 degrees below zero and the oceans would be frozen to their utmost depths.

Other ways by which Mr. Gullen could see the world come to its end were the closing up of all volcanoes and other vents for gases, the inevitable result of which would be a terrific explosion that would shatter the world or bring part of the atmosphere to such a heat that the oxygen and nitrogen would unite and cause a combustion of the atmosphere.

That such disasters were not imposible was shown, he said, by the spectroscope, by means of which man could read the life history of the planets. He added:

“The spectroscope shows that one planet is in a state of white heat, that another showing yellow is on the down grade, that Mars is dying, that the moon is dead, while Jupiter is Just getting ready for sentient life. This world is on its way to death, for it is traveling straight toward Hercules 600,000 miles a day, and while the distance is immense it is not infinite.” Science tells us the end is coming, the preacher went on more reassuringly, but it does not believe the end is near. It estimates that God took ninety million years to make the world habitable by man and that man’s life on it is perhaps 100,000 years.

His comparatively optimistic comment at the finish was:

“Why could God spend all that time in making a world if it is to be destroyed so soon? God wastes neither space, material nor time. He Is too busy. He is continually making new worlds, but He does not destroy them almost as soon as they are made.”

From— The Washington times. (Washington [D.C.]), 09 Nov. 1919. & The Jasper news.(Jasper, Mo.), 12 May 1921. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



MERMAIDS AT SEA. (July 3, 1873)

Mermaid found at sea.

Mermaids—Their Appearance at Sea

In 1737, according to a Scottish magazine, the crew of a ship newly arrived in the Thames river from the East Indies, reported that in the island of Mauritius they had partaken of a mermaid, the flesh of which was a great deal like veal. The mermaid weighed three or four hundred weight—rather a buxom specimen ! The heal was particularly large, and so were the features, which differed but little from those of a man or woman. The story tells of two of them, one with a beard, four or five inches long, the other much more feminine. “When they are first taken,” the narrator proceeds to say, “which is often on the ground, they cry and grieve with great sensibility.“

About the same time a story cane from Vigo, in Spain; to the effect that some fishermen on that coast had caught a sort of a Merman, five feet and a half from head to foot. The head was like that of a goat, with a long beard and mustache, a black skin, somewhat hairy, a very long neck, short arms, hands longer and larger than they ought to be in proportion, and long fingers, with nails like claws; webbed toes, and a fin at the lower part of the back.

The magazines for 1775 gave an account of a mermaid which was captured in the Levant and brought to London. One of the learned periodicals gravely told its readers that the mermaid had the complexion and features of a European, like these of a young woman ; that the eyes were light blue, the nose small and elegantly formed, the mouth small, the lips thin, “but the edges of them round like those of a codfish ;” that the teeth were small, regular, and white ; that the neck was well rounded, and that the ears were like those of the eel, “but placed like those of the human species, with gills for respiration, which appear like curls.” There was no hair on the head, but “rolls, which, at a distance, might be taken for curls.” There was a fin rising pyramidally from the temples, “forming a foretop, like that of a lady’s head-dress.“ The bust was nearly like that of a young damsel, a proper orthodox mermaiden, but, alas ! all below the waist was exactly like a fish. Three sets of fins below the waist, one above the other, enabled her to swim. Finally, “It is said to have an enchanting voice, which it never exerts except before a storm.” The writer in the Annual Register probably did not see this mermaid, which the Gentleman’s Magazine described as being only three feet high. It was afterward proved to be a cheat, made from the skull of the angle shark.

A Welsh farmer named Reynolds, living at Pen-y-hold in 1782, saw a something which he appears to have believed to be a mermaid ; he told the story to Dr. George Phillips, who told it to Mrs. Moore, who told it to a young lady pupil of hers, who wrote out an account of it for Mrs. Morgan, who inserted it in her “Tour to Milford Haven.” How much the story gained on its travels—like the Three Black Crows, or the parlor game of Russian Scandal—we are left to find out for ourselves ; but its ultimate form was nearly as follows :

One morning, just outside the cliff, Reynolds saw what seemed to him to be a person bathing in the sea, with the upper part of the body out of the water. On nearer view, it looked like the upper part of a person in a tub, a youth, say, of sixteen or eighteen years of age, with nice white skin ; a sort of brownish body and a tail were under the water. The head and body were human in form, but the arms and hands thick in proportion to length, while the nose, running up high between the eyes, terminated rather sharply. The mysterious being looked attentively at Reynolds, and at the cliffs, and at the birds flying in the air, with a wild gaze, but uttered no cry. Reynolds went to bring some companions to see the merman or mermaid, but when he returned it had disappeared. If we like to suppose that Reynolds had seen some kind of seal, and that the narration had grown to something else by repeating from mouth to mouth, perhaps we shall not be very far wrong. —All the Year Round.

From— Beaufort Republican. volume (None), 03 July 1873. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



Fantastic steampunk flying machine

A Machine that Seems to Fly Like a Bird.

Berlin. Feb. 27.—Herr Arthur Stentzel, of Altona, believes he has solved the problem of aerial navigation. It has long been the ann of the flying machine enthusiast to construct something that would practically be the prototype of a bird. Therein, it has been firmly believed, lies the secret of locomotion through the air. It Is on this principle that Herr Stentzel has constructed his machine. Its two great sections resemble the wings of a gigantic bird. With them the inventor declares that he can move through the air for four or five minutes and alight without injury.

At first the Stentzel machine gives the impression that it is like that which made Prof. Lillienthal famous. But the beauty of this machine is, according to the best of authority, that it can really fly, and this, too, without breaking the bones of the adventurous mortal who trusts himself to it.

The wings of the Stentzel machine have a spread of about seven yards, and their surface is eight and two-fifths yards, all told. They move through an angle of seventy degrees, and are curved according to a parabola in a proportion of one to twelve. Compressed carbonic acid gas is employed as a motive agent, and the machine is driven by an engine also of Herr Stentzel’s invention. The speed of the engine can be readily controlled so that the machine can fly at varying velocities Herr Stentzel’s theory, upon which his machine is really based, is practically that of Nadar, who insisted that a body to be able to fly must be heavier than air. This fact, he said, was proved by the undoubted truth that everything that could fly—as, for instance, a bird—was heavier than the air itself.

He also declared that an apparatus directed by a man only would never fly successfully, because it would prove too weak withstand the heavy air current. A man is only able to generate one-half atmospheric horse power, and he can never be able to generate two atmospheric horse power, which Prof. Lillienthal proved was necessary to lift a man weighing 150 pounds. Herr Stentzel found, when he came to consider carefully the weight of each substance that went to make up the total of his machine, that the aggregate weight of them all would sum up 300 pounds. This was the basis on which the new invention was built.

To secure what is equivalent to one horse-power it is necessary that a pressure of five atmospheres be obtained: and the greater the horse-power, the more capable is the machine of continued locomotion in the air. This is the point, and here, Herr Stentzel says, lies the solution of the prohiem. Can he develop the necessary horse-power, and will his machine respond to the mechanical stimulus is thus receives?

The inventor mourns, as inventors usually do, the lack of necessary capital to carry on his experiments.

“After the beginning always comes continuation,” continued Herr Stentzel. “I am sure that there is no limit to the possibilities of my machine. It is just like a growing plant. First you see the shoot above the ground, and then it gradually grows and waxes strong, and presently it begins to extend and branch out and leaves form, and after a while it becomes something of which nature herself is proud.

“The question is now as to the development of power. It takes a lifting power of seventy-five pounds to enable a machine to fly free in the air. Now what I have to do is to regulate and adjust the different elements of power that they will all act in harmony, and enable me to take my machine and fly, not for five minutes, nor for ten minutes, but for as many hours as I like.

“It has been my aim to imitate, as near as possible, the bird. You see, I have the wings. Look at them closely. Did you ever see the wing of the bird spread out flat on a smooth surface? Then you have seen a tiny counterpart of the wings of my machine. The wings counterfeited, it remains for me to furnish a substitute for the life, for the power in the bird which drives the wings. I believe that in my motor I have found it.”

From— The morning times. (Washington. D.C.). 28 Feb. 1897. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



Drawing from photograph of alleged living dinosaur.



Duke of Westminster to Hunt Antediluvian Monster—Said to Have Been Seen Alive in the Arctic Circle.

The young duke of Westminster, of ample fortune and venturesome disposition, in the spirit of his fellow countryman of old, Sir George, is preparing to give battle to a monster creature which is reported on reliable authority to have been seen roaming in the inaccessible regions of the arctic circle. He is coming to America soon to prepare to trail this antediluvian creature to its lair, there to attack it and either capture it alive or kill it and bring back its carcass as proof of his prowess and courage. On his way to America, the duke stopped in Paris, and there laid plans for the expedition up to the McQuesten river in the Yukon in search of this monster, which scientists have named the Keratosaurus, and which certain parties, including a Jesuit father located in the far north, are said to have seen and photographed, besides taking measurements of its footprints.

There seems to be much mystery and many rumors concerning the monster, but report has it that a miner of the Yukon, Tom Leemore, who with George Dupuy and James Butler and the Jesuit father, saw the Keratosaurus in its rage and photographed it in its rampage when it flicked an avalanche of great rocks down around their heads.

Who has seen the photographs of the Patridge creek monster? Not the Dawson authorities, who refused to lend 100 mules and 50 armed men to go hunt it. Not the editor of the Daily Nugget, who dubbed George Dupuy “a rival of Edgar Poe.” The miner Leemore, who remained at Armstrong creek, pigheadedly confined them to Father Lavagneux alone, “to interest some rich and serious French or English sport,” and now that George Dupuy is back in Paris with the duke of Westminster behind him, one of the most extraordinary photographs on earth is in the young duke’s pocket, while Dupuy has in his pocket a liberal contract to idemnify all those concerned and fit an expedition that must include a 4-000-ton tramp steamer—to bring straight to London the live monster weighing 80 tons and more!

The duke of Westminster has also in his pocket a letter from the Jesuit missionary to George Dupuy, after his return to Paris, in which he says:

“And now would you believe that I and ten of my Indians again saw, on Christmas afternoon, Leemore’s terrible monster?

“It passed like a hurricane across the frozen river, smashing, dashing, crashing immense blocks of broken ice into the air behind it. All its long bristles were covered with hoar-frost and its red eyes flamed in the twilight.

“The monster held in its mouth a cariboo that weighed at least 700 pounds, while it careered along at 200 miles per hour! At the corner of the cut-off it disappeared.

“In company with Chief Stineshane and two of his sons, I took prints of its tracks, exactly as you, Butler, Leemoore and I did that last day in the moose leak.”

The positive good faith of George Dupuy is beyond doubt in Paris, where he is so well known. His place as a writer and sporting explorer is quite fixed. When the New York-to-Paris automobile race was being organized his mere word convinced Parisians of the impossibility of crossing the Bering strait upon the ice—which doesn’t exist. Three times in the last eight years Dupuy has made long visits to the Klondike, always as a sport with money, and it was during this trip that he saw the Keratosaurus, and it is the result of these facts that is leading up to the duke of Westminster’s “American Vacation.”

From— Cameron County press. (Emporium, Cameron County, Pa.), 18 June 1908. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



A BEWITCHED WOMAN. (December 9, 1836)
Beware of witches when telling a campfire story.


Talking about witch stories we have seen nothing to equal the folowing, condensed from the Mechanicsburg, Journal :

Several weeks ago, a Mrs. Nesbit, living with her husband, in Warrington township, York county, on the farm of Wm. Ross, Esq., discovered in an old hut adjoining the house, and also in their house, the face of a human being, with large eyes, like balls of fire, moving around from room to room. Shortly after, she was stricken with rheutuatism, so badly that she could not rest in any position. Suddenly the rheumatism left, and nightly the strange image visited her in bed, and she could then discover in it a naked human being with the same eyes. The form would snatch her with the bed clothes and throw her on the floor, causing her to faint or go into convulsions.

These strange actions became noised abroad, and one night recently almost the entire neighborhood gathered to witness the apparition. The house was crowded, many persons being unable to get in. The lights were all put out and the woman retired to rest, with her child in the cradle beside her. About ten o’ clock the ghost made its appearance. Although the lady said she could see a human form, those in the room could only see two large balls of fire approaching the bed where the lady was. The lady fainted, and several gentlemen going to her assistance, the balls of fire moved away from her and grasped the child in the cradle, but it was also released by the persons standing by, and the balls disappeared, leaving all very much frightened.

There is living in the neighborhood an old gentleman named Dr. Gensler, who is famous in his neighborhood for his many cures in witchcraft. He pronounced the lady bewitched and gave her the following directions to be implicitly followed : That the next night at a certain hour she was to take a sickle, heat it red hot and pass it several times down over her arm as close as possible without burning herself while he was going over a formula. The directions were followed to the letter and a cure effected. She was also instructed, should any person ask for anything, nothing of any description should be given.

The day following, as expected by the doctor, a woman appeared with her arm burned the entire length and asked for lard to grease her burn, but it was refused. A pin was then asked for, but she was ordered away and told that nothing would be given her, which had the effect of starting her off. The lady was then interrogated and said that several weeks ago this same woman came to her house in the evening and requested a night’s lodging, but it was refused her. She then remarked to Mrs. Nesbitt, “how would you like it if you would not be allowed to rest?” Mrs. N. replied she did not know and shortly after that she was afflicted as above stated.

From— The Jeffersonian. (Stroudsburg, Pa.), 09 Dec. 1875. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



THE FEROCIOUS HODAG. (June 07, 1900)

A Fierce Animal Discovered in Beltrami County.

Wellington Schroeder returned yesterday from the northern part of the county with a story that beats sea-serpents all to smash. He personally met a wild beast which the settlers call a “hodag.” This is an animal which is nearly extinct, and the only one of its kind known to be in captivity is at Rhinelander, Wis.

The hodag is a meat eater, and subsists on moose and kindred game which it rushes upon and rips with its horns. It has four of these, one on the snout and three upon its back. It has a tough hide covered with brownish hair. Wellington met this creature Sunday in the woods near the mouth of Black Duck river, 30 miles beyond Tenstrike.

Wellington had no weapon larger than a knife, and if he had had a cannon he would not have dared to use it, he says. He made for a large tree, and found to his satisfaction that the hodag wore feet too large for scaling purposes.

The man sat on a branch and studied natural history and the animal sawed the tree and studied man for over half an hour, than vanished. It is said that this brute is the terror of the neighborhood and has killed a number of cattle for the lumbermen. If any circus wants him, Mr. Schroeder will give up his claim by right of discovery.

N. B. It may be well to add that he is not a drinking man.

From— The Bemidji pioneer. (Bemidji, Bettrami County, Minn.). 07 June 1900. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



WAS IT A FISH? A BEAR? OR A BUNYIP?! (September 12, 1914)

Something awesome hopefully

Or Maybe It Was a New Species of Inland Sea Monster.


It Couldn't Have Bean a Dream, the Angler Admits That, Nor a Bear, Nor a Shark, Though It Did Look Like a Dog, but Anyhow and Luckily It Got Away.

In camp on Red Eagle lake in the Glacier National park, devoured by mosquitoes as big as cultures, as fierce as tigers and as numerous as drops of water in the Pacific Ocean!

This is a bad beginning for a fish story. The language seems to suggest that the narrator has already become unreliable. As a matter of fact, phrases which are strictly accurate may be palpably misleading.

The language of hyperbole is needed to present an adequate picture. Perhaps the mosquitoes are not quite so big or fierce or numerous as stated, but they seem to be.

But to the fish story. And the language of vivid metaphor shall be laid aside. What follows is fact — unadorned, unexaggerated fact. I could not have dreamed it. I cannot even now that I have begun to put pen to paper hope to tell it in such a way as to bring the scene with realizing earnestness before the eye of my brother anglers.

It was evening. I was on the lake alone in my little canvas boat. The fishing had been good. I was returning to camp satisfied. The sack of fish, my fishing kit, discarded tackle, the net, etc., lying at the bottom of the boat, it seemed safer to leave the rod to poke out over the stern, the flies trailing the water—out of mischief, as I thought, where they could not get tangled with any of the truck.

So I rowed along gently, happy in the slaughter I had accomplished and wishing my friends had been with me to do their share. And the rod shot over the stern of the boat before my very eyes!

I had the presence of mind not to make a forward dart and grab for it as it disappeared. Such a violent movement would undoubtedly have collapsed my collapsible boat. I sat in speechless amazement, too startled for thought.

And then close by a mighty splashing and plunging. I turned and saw on the top of the water something swimming, a red brown head and shoulders. I was frightened. It was so huge.

I thought of a bear, of a shark, and stories of sea monsters flashed through my mind. The thing was swimming slowly. What I could see of it looked for all the world like the head of a magnificent St. Bernard dog I used to own.

Then I came to myself. I realized that this was a fish of a species not known to me and of an incredible, unheard of size. He had taken my fly, had hooked himself on to the rod which he had dragged overboard and was swimming slowly because he was drawing it along the bottom of the lake.

I chased him. He dived, came up again with a splashing like that of an elephant in a pond and smashed down again. Almost I could keep up with him, so slowly did he swim and so much time did he waste in his frantic efforts to get free.

If I had been able to row properly, facing in a direction opposite to the one in which I was moving. I believe I could have overtaken him. But I needed to keep my eye on him, and so had to backwater with the oars, losing power at every stroke. I was thinking slowly. I was still too stunned to think normally. I was puzzled by the fact that such a monster did not break my frail tackle in a moment. There was no resistance so long as the forty yards of line continued to unwind or the rod to move easily through the water.

As often as he swung over and dropped down on the six foot leader it simply yielded beneath him. Five times he rose, and the fifth time I was quite near him. He seemed to be anything from four feet to six feet long. I have at home a muskellunge which I caught five years ago in the St. Lawrence river. He weighed thirty-two pounds and measures forty-seven inches. This fellow was much bigger and more terrifying. And I have no other means of guessing at his size and weight.

Then with the sixth leap and dive something gave, and the monster was seen no more. I rowed slowly back to camp actually unnerved by the adventure. Literally—and he who will may laugh at me—I felt afraid to be alone in the falling evening light, alone on a piece of water inhabited by such creatures as the one who had pursued me and whom I had pursued.

I was glad to hear the friendly hail of my guide from the landing place of logs which we had constructed, to see the glare of the campfire and to sniff the smell of supper. Then I reeknned up my loss—a rod. $35; a reel, $17.50m and a four dollar line—nearly $60 worth of property at the bottom of Red Eagle lake!—Rev C. F. Aked, D D., LL D., in New York American

From— The Ocala evening star. (Ocala, Fle.), 12 Sept. 1914. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



DR. SNAKES AND HUNTING WITH CRABS. (Sept. 3, 1907 & Oct. 17, 1907)

Something awesome hopefully

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 3.—J. P. Melvin, of Redding, California, adds the following chapter to the “Nature Faker” incident:

“I have no disposition to enter the lists with President Roosevelt on natural history, because that is something I know very little about. But the recent declaration of the great English naturalist, the Rev. Theodore Wood, to the effect that some birds bind the broken or injured legs of their kind seems to give weight of authority against our wise president, who lately denied that allegation with some vehemence.

“When I was a boy, living back in Maryland, the case of a common black snake which had been cut in three pieces by a man in my father’s sawmill and afterward spliced and put together by a ‘doctor’ snake, came under my observation.

“I remember the remarkable occurrence very well. I saw the snake cut in the manner described and some hours later returning to the spot where the pieces lay. I observed the effort at mending and putting them together. A ‘doctor’ snake was doing the work, having already incased the joints in green brier leaves, which adhered to the wounds as if stuck by glue.

“Such an instance as I have disclosed could be verified by many persons in the south, where the ‘doctor’ snake is often heard of.”
* * *


“Did you ever go rabbit hunting with crabs?” inquired the man who had just come home from a vacation spent on the eastern end of Long Island. Without waiting for the negative response which he apparently expected, he proceeded to explain.

“I have hunted rabbits in the usual ways of course,” he said, “but none of them compares at all for sport with this method of my own invention. First, I procure a strong net, a number of short tallow candles and a supply of hard-shell crabs. These last must be just out of the water and very lively.

“I hunt around until I find a rabbit burrow with two entrances, and over one of these openings I fasten the net securely. Then all that remains to be done is to prepare my crabs for their part of the work.

“Lighting a candle, I hold it, wick down, for a few moments, over the back of a crab, until the drops of melted tallow have formed a little pool upon his hard shell. Into this I stick the candle, right side up, and in a minute the grease hardens and holds it firm and upright.

“When I have several crabs fixed up in this way, I send them, in single file, into the open end of the burrow. You can perhaps imagine the sensations of the rabbit when he sees this weird torchlight procession making way down his private hall. I fancy I can.

“Anyhow, I know what he does when he sees it. He makes tracks just as fast as he can for his door, where, of course, he finds himself stopped by the net.

“It’s a great scheme; nothing can beat it, and you can recommend it to all your sporting friends.“

From— The Evening statesman. (Walla Walla, Wash.), 03 Sept. 1907. & The Hawaiian star. (Honolulu [Oahu]), 17 Oct. 1907. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



REAL MERMAID IS CAPTURED. (November 8, 1912)

Mermaid found albeit dead.
Real Mermaid is Captured

Dies from Injury and Body
Is Stuffed and Placed in Case

New York Telegram: Among the 2300 and odd persons on board the White Star line steamship Olympic when she arrived from Southampton there was none more interesting than William Legg, engineer’s storekeeper of the mammoth vessel, who has followed the sea for more than thirty years. That Mr. Legg had with him on board the Olympic, safetly guarded under a glass case, a real, bona fide mermaid, was only the least of the interesting things about the man.

While he was lighthouse keeper at the Steep Island lighthouse, off the Chinese coast, about 150 miles from Shanghai, Mr. Legg picked up on the afternoon of September 2, 1902, a living mermaid. The mermaid had been flung on the rocks and was still alive when picked up by Mr. Legg. The body below the waist was that of a fish, with a fin on the back and one on the stomach and a double finned tall. The body was of a dark greenish blue, without scales, while the head and shoulders were of the regulation human flesh. The mermaid was about 20 inches long and emitted a whining sound before it died, death being caused by a laceration in the throat, where it had been flung on a sharp rocky projection.

“As you can see by the stuffed body,” said Mr. Legg today. “the mermaid had a perfect human face, slightly Chinese in cast. her hair was brown, as some of the hair still shows, although most of it has turned white by the action of the acids used in preserving the body. The Chinese fishermen told me that they had very often seen these mermaids, which they call ‘witches,’ and have heard them making their peculiar whining noise on the shores at night. These mermaids do not live in the water, but between the crevices of the rocks on the Chiese coast, going into deep water only for an occasional swim.”

Head Size of Baby’s

The body of the mermaid as it reclined under the glass case in Mr. Legg’s room on the Olympic showed a perfect human head, with hair probably four inches long, part of it white acid part brown. It has regular teeth and nose, but the size of the head is not larger than that of a new born baby. There are no evidences of scales on the body. A remarkable thing about the mermaid is the perfect shape of the hands and arms, and the muscles of the arms where they had been perserved by the perserving fluid were plainly visible.

“Those who may doubt the truth of Mr. Legg’s statement will doubtless change their mind when they know that he is an intensely religious man, God fearing and devoting his life to the betterment of the sailor. Stripped to the waist, Mr. Legg presents a wonderful appearance. Tattooed on his chest are scriptural texts, and across his stomach is tattooed the most wonderful picture of the Lord’s Last Supper in colors. Mr. Legg is unable to say from what painting the picture tattooed on himself was taken, but it is a most wonderful work of art. When he turns around there is found tattooed on his back, between his shoulder blades, the Lord’s Prayer, and underneath that the hymn, “Nearer, My God, to Thee.”

Read Song From Back

“It was from my back, as I worked in the hold of this steamship that the engineers who sang “Nearer My God, to Thee,” upon the sinking Titanic learned the hymn. The unfortunate fellows worked with me on the Olympic, and other White Star vessels, and they could plainly read as they worked the inscription on my back.“

Mr. Legg has lectured on the subject of his mermaid in England, giving all of the proceeds of his lectures to the Seamen’s missions in England. He thinks of quitting the sea and of exhibiting himself and the mermaid for the benefit of the various religious bodies connected with the sea-farers’ lives in Great Britain.

“Until I found this mermaid I had heard the peculiar moans and whinings on the rocky shores of the Chinese sea often, but had never believed it possible that these sounds came from real mermaids. The place where I picked up this strange being lies between the Bonham and Ting Tong Lighthouses. I have never found another after this one, although I have heard of many cases where the natives have come across the mermaids.“

Mr. Legg does not profess to explain the presence of these mermaids in the Chinese waters, but he declares that the one he has is absolute proof that they do exist.

From— Honolulu star-bulletin. (Honolulu [Oahu, Hawaii), 08 Nov. 1912. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.




Railroad across the Atlantic. The Chairman of the Tower Bridge Committee, London, is said to have once received a letter from a Belfast genius, with a proposal which completely puts in the shade any possible imaginable way of bridging or tunneling the English Channel. He declared that he had invented nothing less than a submersion railway and locomotive engine to cross the Atlantic. Much details as the provision of air for the passengers and coal for the engine appear to have been too trivial for him to condescend to consider, but doubtless in due course these trifles will he provided for. A very similar absurdity is the proposal of a French physician to form a syndicate—but what can that blessed business, a syndicate, not do—for the purpose of constructing a submarine railway along the bottom of the channel, the cars to be provided with air tubes reaching to the surface.

A more genuine engineering proposal is that for the postal tubes between France and England. Each tube is projected to have a diameter of three feet, to be suspended by steel cables at a height of 120 feet above the water. The cables are to be fixed to pillars reaching from the bottom to tho required height, erected at intervals of 800 yards apart. Miniature trains, each with a suitable load of mail matter, will run through the tubes. A bigger development of this postal tube is the idea of a Spaninrd to transmit letters in pneumatic tubes laid from South America to Europe, by which a letter deposited in the tube at Rio Janiero would arrive in Europe the same day.

From— The Forest Republican. (Tionesta, Pa.), 19 Aug. 1896. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.




The Elephant Bird. St. Augustine, July.—An egg of the giant bird, epyornis [the elephant bird], found floating in St. Augustine Bay, southwest of Madagascar, has given rise to supposition that living specimens of this creature, which hitherto it was thought became extinct in Pleiocene times, may yet be found in the interior of the island, and a party of Germans, headed by Gottleib Adolf Krause, have undertaken, an expedition with the object of tracing it to its home or solving the problem of existence.

The first acquaintance with the bird was made through Captain Abordie, the master of a French sailing vessel, who in 1850 was surprised to find the natives using as a vessel a fragment of a huge egg shell. He purchased the piece, and upon offering a reward for a whole egg received in a few days from the natives one which had been found in the dry bed of a river. Since then a number of eggs, together with some bones, have been recovered from the alluvial deposits of the island. These eggs, which are now in the possession of several museums, measured over a foot in length, the largest one being 14x9 inches in diameter. They are seven times larger than an ostrich egg, 184 time larger than a hen’s egg and 20,308 times larger than a wren’s egg. One of them would supply a square meal for a well-patronized country boarding-house, or, it is estimated, for sixty persons.

From— The Brownsville daily herald. (Brownsville, Tex.), 04 Aug. 1902. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.




Ghost of Heiser's Hill. Globe-Democrat: “Did you ever hear tell of the ghost of Heiser’s hill?”

The question was asked by a gray-haired guard to whom a Globe-Democrat correspondent was talking about the ghostly inhabitants of the park. He had already told the newspaper man of the peacock lady, the spectral bootman and the ghostly lion-tamer.

In answer to his question the newspaper man said he had not, and asked to hear the story. “No? Why I thought every one had heard about him. Heiser’s Hill is on the west side of the park near Ninetieth street, and old man Heiser lived there in a shanty long before the park was thought of. They say he was a miser, and had a big hoard of buried gold somewhere near his cabin. However that may be, and I never heard that any one ever found any of it. Old Heiser lived entirely alone, never did a day’s work, yet always seemed to have money enough to buy groceries. One night he took poison, and besides, cut his throat from ear to ear with a razor. Several days after a horrid odor called the attention of some passers-by, and they went to the cabin door which they found unlocked, and after knocking sometime in vain they found the old man’s corpse in the first stages of decomposition with the worms crawling in and out of his nose and mouth.

In his hand, still held tight with a death grip, was a lock of golden wavy hair, and an old fashioned silk mitten lay on the floor beside him. The mitten was made for a very small hand, and did not seem to have been worn much. No one at the time could explain where these things came from, but I’ll tell you a story about them I’ve heard presently. Be that as it may, they were all the same; and what was still more strange, they were stolen the day they were found. Old Heiser was taken away and buried, but for some reason he can’t rest in his grave. Nearly every night he can be seen up around the place where he used to live, hunting about for something he hasn’t found yet, and don’t seem likely to. Whether it is his buried gold, or the the little mitten and lock of blonde hair, is more than any one can say. I have seen him often myself, but not of late, as I am not assigned to that part of the park. But other men tell me he is still to be seen hunting for something every night.

“Now and then a green man [newly recruited officer] is put on the Heiser Hill beat; and it is twenty to one he comes in before long looking pale, and reports sick. The old men, like myself, are used to Heiser, and some say he’s good company, but I’d rather be alone for my part. Several years ago, while I was on the Heiser Hill beat, a woman asked me to point out to her the location of the old Heiser shanty. She was about seventy years old, I should say, and well dressed, and seemed to be an out and out lady. She was tall, and, in spite of her age, walked with a great deal of style. When I showed her the spot she sat down on a settee close by, and asked me to tell her all I knew about the old man. After telling her, she was very still for a time, then I could see tears rolling out of her eyes. I asked her if she knew anything about the old man, and she said yes. She had known him many years ago when he was young; that he had accidentally committed manslaughter and fled from his country, which was Germany, to escape the consequences. She had heard of the ghost and come to see the spot. This was all I ever heard of the matter. I suppose she was the woman who once owned the mitten and the lock of hair. However, she did not say so, and she never came back to the park again as I am aware of.”

From— Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]), 17 July 1887. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



THE BELLED BUZZARD DEAD? (October 13, 1920 & September 21, 1922)

The harbinger of doomed the South's own Belled Buzzard!

Bird, Marked in War of 1812, Present at
Every Big Engagement Since Then.

The famous “belled buzzard,” known to be more than one hundred years old, is believed to be dead. A few days ago it was seen on the farm of W. H. Leach, near the mouth of Second creek, West Virginia. It looked to be greatly emaciated and ready to give up its widely-known career.

This buzzard has a small sleigh bell tied around its neck, which was said to have been placed there daring the war of 1812. The bird had wars as its hobby, and is said to have been present at every battle of size north of the equator. It has been seen as far south as Peru, although its summers were generally spent in the mountains of West Virginia. During the Mexican trouble, several years ago, it spent two consecutive summers on the border.

Members of the Leach family saw the bird flying low, with a number of other buzzards accompanying it. It was noticed that the bird had got its beak fastened behind the leather strap which supported the bell, and seemed unable to release itself. An attempt was made to release the buzzard’s head, but it became frightened and flew away. It is felt certain that the bird has since died.
* * *


Marlington, W. Va.—The far-famed “belled” buzzard has been seen again. Superstitious residents fear a disaster is imminent, in which there will be a great loss of life. They point to past occasions when the buzzard made its appearance, which were followed by calamities. Local history has it that the buzzard was captured and belled by pioneer residents shortly after the War of 1812. Residents are afraid to shoot it.

From— Warren sheaf. (Warren. Marshall County, Minn.), 13 Oct. 1920. & The Jasper news. (Jasper, Mo.), 21 Sept. 1922. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.




A very truthful fish story indeed from a truthful fisherman.

Years ago Judge McCarty told me a fish story. It happened in midwinter, and no one could contradict him; And it had to do with the Fish Lake country, and no one had time to go there and verify.

On each succeeding June he has been given an opportunity to withdraw his statement—or at least to modify; but he stood firm. He declared the fish were so thick in the stream emptying into Fish lake that one had to get out of the wagon and chase them away from the ford [part of the stream shallow enough to walk across], so the hoofs and wheels would not kill them. It would be contempt of court for a tenderfoot to honestly express his opinion of that story.

But the other day Fred Chambers, state game warden, came along with the beating of it. I told him what Judge McCarty had told me about the fish at the ford.

“It’s true,“ said Chambers. “Absolutely true. Why, when I was down there last year we drove up to the bank of the river and I got out to shoo the fish away from the ford, so we wouldn’t mash them, and one of the biggest trout poked his head out of the water, and he said to me: ‘Go on there, or I’ll swallow you—you big Weber county wallyhoo.’”

And neither Fred nor I know what is a wallyhoo.

From— Goodwin's weekly : a thinking paper for thinking people. (Salt Lake City. Utah). 28 June 1913. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



TALKING TO ANIMALS, &C. (December 02, 1911 & August 08, 1907)

something random.

Charles Kellogg of California, who, if not a nature-faker, is one of the most remarkable human beings of all time, arrived at Cambridge, Mass., recently from Paris to confer with Professors from Harvard’s department of science, confident that he could convince them of his ability to converse with animals. Mr. Kellogg has Just returned from Europe, where he gave demonstrations of his unique power before professors of the universities of Parts and Berlin. According to Mr. Kellogg, he has accomplished in reality during a life spent in the wilds of the Sierra Nevada mountains in California what the genius of Kipling makes Mowgli accomplish during a childhood passed in the tropical Jungles, but Kellogg has for friends only the animals of the temperate American west. He knows not the languages of the tropical monkey, though he has often talked “bear” with the grizzlies of the Sierra Nevadas. Crickets, squirrels, lizards and rattlesnakes are some of the other animals whose languages Mr. Kellogg speaks fluently. Says Mr. Kellogg:

It was by years of constant observation and associating of sounds with actions that I mastered the animal languages I am familiar with. I began on domestic chickens and gradually extended my study to include such wild animals and reptiles as the bear, the lizard and the rattlesnake. Using a system of hieroglyphics modeled upon the modern Chinese system. I have compiled a dictionary of the language of the ordinary brown or hearth cricket, which has the most highly developed language of any of the animals I am familiar with, though I have reason to suspect the monkeys are superior in this respect. From my dictionary I find there are 27 elemental words or sounds, and 65 other words made up of various combinations of the original 27, a cumulative system not unlike that of the Germans. The number of words or sounds in other animal languages I am familiar with varies from 12 to 95.”

Although Mr. Kellogg admits that his ability to interpret the enunciations of animals is the result of long and arduous study, he insists that his ability to make himself understood, to imitate the sounds of these animals, is God-given. He says he can without the least difficulty reproduce any sound that comes from an animal’s throat. He has a peculiarly constructed palate, no tonsils, and the cord connecting the teeth with the lower lip is entirely missing, but he has been assured by the most noted specialist that there is nothing abnormal about his throat and vocal cords. They are at a loss to account for his strange gift.

* * *


From the Chicago Tribune.

For several days Malta, the cat, had been carrying away scraps of dry bread from her plate and, knowing that she would scorn to eat it herself, I watched one morning to see what she did with it. She took the bread to a spot under the currant bushes, broke it up with her teeth and paws, scattered it on the ground, crept under a bush and waited. Presently the gentle waving of her tail and the greenish light in her eyes showed that she saw what she was waiting for. There was a sudden spring, the agonized cry of a bird, and Malta, growling, disappeared under the barn, holding in her teeth a sparrow, which, attracted by the crumbs, had fallen a victim to her crafty trick.

From— The St. Mary banner. (Franklin, Parish of St. Mary, La.), 02 Dec. 1911. & Monroe City Democrat. (Monroe City, Mo.), 08 Aug. 1907. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



A GENUINE MERMAID. (January 12, 1860)

Mermaid found and on its way from Japan to the United States.
A Veritable Mermaid on its Way to the United States.

Francis Hall, late Mayor of Elmira, is now traveling in China and Japan.—While he was waiting at Hong Kong for the vessel to sail on which he had taken passage for Shanghae, he embraced the opportunity of writing a letter, from which we are permitted to take the following description of a mermaid, which he had just seen. We had supposed the animal was a “myth” and had no existance outside of Barnum’s Museum. Mr. Hall says it is a verity:

“HONG KONG, Sept. 26, 1859.
“I had an opportunity, by our delay, of seeing a mermaid, direct from Japan. There is something exceedingly curious and interesting about this nondescript animal. I never saw Barnum’s Fejee mermaid, which it is said came from Holland, to which place it had been imported from Japan. Hildreth, in his history of Japan, speaks of the mermaid as one of the Japanese manufactures, giving Japan as the origin of Barnum’s mermaid.—The mermaid which I saw last week was brought quite recently from Japan by Mr. King, of Hong Kong, in whose possession I saw it. It was in a glass case, that enabled me to see it with the greatest clearness, though I could not handle it. This mermaid is eighteen or twenty inches long. The fish part of the body is about the proportion of a trout that would measure that length. It has a dorsal, lateral, and ventral fin—two of the latter; and the tail is of size and shape like any of our common well known fish. Joining to the fish body, a little back of where the gills are usually situated, is the animal portion of the body, being relativeley one third the whole length.

“This animal third consists of a head, in shape, size, formation of eyes and nose, number, form and position of the teeth, like a monkey’s; of a long, slender neck; of a chest, having a sternum and several distinct pairs of ribs. It has long, ape-like arms, terminating in five fingers, of which the middle one is the longest and largest. On head and body, above the fishy portion, are here and there spots of fur remaining, like the fur of a monkey in length and texture, of a brown color. The closest scrutiny that can be given to reveal any traces of the union of the animal and fishy parts. Physiologists tell us that such a union is impossible; and of the medical and other experts who have examined this monster, some, baffled to discover by eyesight any deception, simply rest on this deception, and others admit that nothing but a dissection can really settle whether this be a most ingenious fraud or a lusus naturæ. For my own part, I must confess I can see no trick, though it may be one. it is a perfect staggerer. I should have said, in addition, that this mermaid is shortly to go to the United States. The Japanese say that it came from a lake in the interior. This is new as to their locality. During my stay in Japan I shall make this a subject of special inquiry, and precure one or more specimens, if possible to do so.

From— East Saginaw courier. (East Saginaw, Mich.), 12 Jan. 1860. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.




An early armored vehicle worthy of steampunk praise.
Major Davidson Thinks Mounting Cannon on Self-Driven Carriages the Next Step.

Dr. Maxim discovered that a machine gun could be made to act automatically. That is, that the recoil of the weapon could be used to repeat the fire indefinitely. Some Frenchmen then went to work and designed a device by means of which a carriage could be made to progress with speed and smoothness without horses. Maj. Royal P. Davidson of the Illinois national guard, commandant at Northwestern military academy, has put two and two together and decided that a cannon could be mounted on an automobile carriage and made to do effective service.

Maj. Davidson has progressed so far with his idea, says the New York Journal, that he has mentally fashioned two armored gun carriages which may in time revolutionize methods in handling small machine guns and heavier field artillery. That the idea will work satisfactorily over smooth streets in cities and be a valuable adjunct in suppressing riots is beyond doubt; whether it will work as well across country and taking in all kinds of ground remains to be demonstrated.

So many things must be thought of in designing such a carriage that Maj. Davidson frankly says he is by no means out of the woods. The carriage must be light, so that with the piece mounted and four men aboard the motive power can be generated in the machine. Electricity as a motor was abandoned by Maj. Davidson almost as soon as suggested. The motor to be used will be gasoline, compressed air or naphtha [flammable liquid mixture]. The success of the latter with water craft has recently inspired the young inventor with the belief that it is suitable to his purposes.

The main difficulty will be to secure a power strong enough to move the heavy armored vehicle over all kinds of bad ground. The automobile carriages in use operated by electricity have power only sufficient to run the carriages with from four to eight persons as a load. Compressed air has almost no limit in power but is somewhat limited in speed. Speed is an essential in handling a battery.

It is the purpose of Maj. Davidson to go overland to New York in case he receives a gun properly mounted in time. He expects to train a company of his cadets from the Northwestern military academy to handle the gun and carriage. He says he will need at least two such guns before he can give the matter a fair test. These he will take across the country to New York.

From— The Washington bee. volume (Washington. D.C.). 03 June 1899. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



EARLY BIGFOOT SIGHTING. (January 28, 1902)

Bigfoot sighted in Idaho.

[ Residents of Chesterfield Excited Over
Appearance of Eight-Foot Hairy Man. ]


Started to Attack Party Which Managed to Escape In Wagons—Twenty Men Sent in Pursuit.

SALT LAKE, Jan. 27.—According to the Pocatello (Idaho) correspondent of the Deseret News, a terrible monster has made its appearance in the Saw-tooth mountain district, and the presence of the thing has terrorized the inhabitants of a whole town. The Saw-tooth mountains are said to be the home of various types of monsters, but this latest discovery is described as the most terrible of all.

The monster is human, eight feet to height and covered with long hair, and the residents of the little town of Chesterfield, Bannock county, are greatly excited over his appearance. He was first seen on January 14, when he appeared among a party of young people skating on the Portneuf river. The creature, flourishing a great club and uttering blood-curdling yells, started to attack the skaters, but the latter managed to reach their wagons and drove at breakneck speed from the river. Those who saw the monster say it is eight feet high and of a terrorising appearance, with the form of a giant and the actions of a wild beast. A party of armed citizens that returned from the river found the creature’s tracks in the snow. Measurements allowed the tracks to be 22 inches long and seven inches broad. People living in the neighborhood have sent 20 armed men to effect the capture of the monster, pending which the community is terrorstricken.

The district in which the human monster has made its appearance is that in which bald-faced bears are said to live. These animals are reported to be very ferocious, and it is related that they follow the tracks of man or domestic beast until they run down their prey.

From— The morning Astorian. (Astoria, Or.), 28 Jan. 1902. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

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HOW THE DEVIL LOST. (September 5, 1857)

The devil at last lost. We heard a few days ago an old story told that was as good as new, and here is the substance of it. It should be dedicated to ‘delinquent subscribers’ We have a good many ‘friends’ who, we hope, will read it with tears in their eyes:

A young man who ardently desired wealth, was visited by his Satanic majesty, who tempted him to promise his soul for eternity, if he could be supplied on this earth with all the money he could use. The bargain was concluded—the devil was to supply the money, and was at last to have the soul, unless the young man could spend more money than the devil could furnish. Years past away, the young man married, was extravagant in his living, palaces, speculated widely, lots and gave away fortunes, and yet his coffers were always full.

He turned politician, and bribed his way to power and fame without reducing his pile of gold.— He became a filibuster, and fitted out ships and armies, but his banker honored all his drafts. He went to St. Paul to live and paid the unusual rates of interest for all money be could borrow, but though the devil made a wry face when he came to pay the bills, yet they were all paid. One expedient after another failed, the devil counted the time, only two years, that he must wait for the soul, and mocked the efforts of the despairing man.

One more trial was resolved upon, the man started a newspaper. The devil growled at the bills at the end of the first quarter, was savage in six months, melancholy in nine, and ‘broke,‘ ‘dead broke,’ at the end of a year. So the newspaper went down but the soul was saved. [Mineral point Democrat.

From— Southern sentinel. (Plaquemine, Parish of Iberville [La.), 05 Sept. 1857. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



THE TERROR OF ICE WORMS. (September 8, 1881)

The terror of the ice worm.

The Ice Worm and its Ravages—Why Servant Girls Should be Careful—Explanation of High Prices.

The ice dealers all over the country are threatened with ruin. The gaunt form of the wolf is at their door, and it is only at question of time how long they will be able to hold out against the ravages of a new-discovered insect which eats ice with as much facility and enjoyment as a boy does candy. This is startling on its face, and at once accounts for the high prices householders have been paying this summer for the congealed article, although it was a well-known fact that a rather fair crop was gathered last winter. The ice men have had a knowledge of the presence of this new enemy among them since April, 1878, when a steamer of the Red Star line happened to strike an iceberg in mid-ocean, and some of these newfangled worms or ice chewers, clung to it and were carried to this country, where they have rapidly multiplied.

A well-known scientist, Dr. Otto Hechelmeyer, says that these worms were clasified by scientific men under the name—the worms, not the men—of nematoxis eocena. When a worm with such a name as this gets after a block of ice, there is no hope for it, of course. Prof Pintori, of the Smithsonian institution, has been looking into the history of this terrible worm, and he has discovered that it is the caterpillar of an insect which he calls the vespa eocena, but which he allows plain, unlearned people to call the ice wasp. It seems that these ice worms abound up in the Arctic regions, where they are busily engaged in clearing a passage to the north pole, and the professor thinks that in the course of from two hundred and thirty to two hundred and fifty years more they will have so thoroughly gnawed away the ice in that region that a trip to the pole will become simply a pleasant summer excursion. The formation of iceberge has hitherto been something of a puzzle to most people who could not understand why these great frozen monsters should break away from their native moorings and go cruisiog around the ocean until they get down south and are thawed out of existence. But Prsf. Pintori and Dr. Hechelmeyer make this us plain as mud. The deadly nematoris eocena sets his jaws at work upon the Arctic glaciers and cuts off these big icebergs just as readily as a butcher cuts off the head of a hog. The destroyer’s work does not end here. He follows the fated iceberg and, bit by bit, gnaws off the bottom of it until it becomes top-heavy and lurches over; then he whittles down the top until it rights itself again, and so systematically and relentlessly pursues this course that the poor, harressed berge eventually succumbs to the appetite of the gorged monster, and entirely disappears within its capacious maw.

The nematoxis eocena, or ice fiend, is a peculiar worm, about six inches in length. It is almost transparent and can conceal itself in a block of ice readily. Careless housemaids are apt not to notice its presence when cleaning the morning lump preparatory to placing it in the cooler or refrigerator. It is through the ravages of these worms that the ice melts so quickly, and persons are apt to ascribe it to a defective manufacture of the ice-chest or to careless wrapping of the frigid lump.

Several of these ice wasps have been secured at the house of one of the largest companies in this city, and they were sent to Dr. W. S. Ruschenberger, of the Academy of Natural Sciences, with a request that he furnish a statement of their habits and suggest a method for getting rid of them. Their bite is said to be poisonous, and when in the transition state from worm to insect they are to be feared. Unless some means are taken to rid the country of these terrible nuisances, the ice crop may go short this season, or be totally destroyed next winter.

Prof. Pintori suggests a plan to get rid of these pests. He says the wasps do not get in their work until after the ice crop is harvested and stored away, and they cannot stand the smell of burning charcoal. He therefore recommends that, after an ice house has been filled, it be surrounded by a ring of charcoal fires, which must be kept continuously burning until the next crop of ice is ready to be harvested.

For refrigerators and ice-boxes the professor has another plan. The ice wasps are particularly fond of molasses and if they find any of this saccharine material in their way, they will stop for a little taste of it before proceeding to business. He therefore recommends that the ton of the box or refrigerator be smeared with molasses. The unsuspecting insect will alight to taste and get his feet smeared with the syrupy substance. It then resorts to the ice, but before it has time to bore a hole in which to deposit its eggs, its sticky feet freeze fast. Is is thus rendered helpless, and the ice is saved.—Philadelphia Record.

From— The Canton advocate. (Canton, D.T. [S.D.)), 08 Sept. 1881. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



A FISHY STORY. (April 21, 1922)

A momentous fish story.

Heroes of This Remarkable Fish Yarn Furnish Something New in Piscatorial Stories.

One feels almost like apologizing for telling a fish story that isn't a bit like any other fish story ever told since the days of Jonah, but there is one good excuse for the uniqueness of this fish story. It is gospel truth, says: George Brown, according to the New York Sun. The scene of it is Elizabethtown, a village completely surrounded by Adirondack’s.

The streams and ponds around Elizabethtown have been famous in their day for speckled trout and more recently for pickerel, perch, black bass and bull pout.

Let the humble bull pout [brown bullhead catfish] be the hero of this yarn, the “Sacramento cat,” as he has been named in California, the sluggish browser of weedy ponds, that will live wherever a frog can and bite anything from an angleworm to a piece of a tin dinner pall. And the bull pouts tenacity of life may be credited with a good share of the uniqueness of this unprecedented fish story.

In the days when the thing happened the young fellows of Elizabethtown used to go fishing for bull pout Saturday nights in Lincoln pond or in the “marsh” not far away. And on Saturday night Carl E. Daniel and his cousin, the late Arthur H. Norton, went out and brought home a fine mess after midnight.

Carl was tired and he just dumped his bull pouts with the grass in which he had carried them home into a dishpan. Then it occurred to him to put the dishpan in the kitchen sink and turn on the faucet a little, and he did so before going to bed.

That’s where the story begins. The rest of it happened while Carl was asleep. You see, the grass overflowed with the water from the dishpan and clogged the drain of the sink. And then the sink filled up and overflowed. And then the whole of the ground floor of Carl’s home, “Colonial Cottage,” became a pond. And when Carl got up on Sunday morning and went into the kitchen he found all his mess of bull pouts swimming around over the floor as happy as if they were back in Lincoln pond.

That’s the story, and if you doubt that it happened in just that way you can ask carl, who is now head of the Elizabethtown Hardware company, Inc.

From— Pullman herald. (Pullman, W.T. (Wash.]), 21 April 1922. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



SOME PECULIAR NOTES. (August 17, 1907 & February 16, 1908)

Washington Monument with cat falling off it.

Speaking of nature fakirs, I would like to say that all remarkable stories told of animals are not fakes. I know of an old mother bear who went to a farmhouse, stole a pan of rice pudding, carried it to her hungry cubs in the woods, then returned to the farmhouse and got five saucers and a like number of spoons—one each for her four cubs and herself.

While she was gone for the saucers and spoons the hungry cubs devoured the pudding; which so infuriated the mother bear that she grabbed the empty pudding dish and nearly beat the lives out of the poor cubs.

If President Roosevelt doesn’t want to believe this, he needn’t.—J. S. H., in Boston Globe.

* * *


The Story of a Stuffed Cat In the Smithsonian Institution.

In the Smithsonian institution at Washington is a case containing a stuffed cat. A card attached to the case, setting forth the reasons why this particular feline is known to fame, gives official sanction to a tale that is in every respect as remarkable as any emanating from the nature fakirs. The story of the cat is as follows:

Many years ago, while the Washington monument was still in an unfinished condition, an adventurous and patriotic cat ascended the interior of the shaft by means of the ropes and scaffolding. When the workmen arrived at the upper landing the next morning and began to prepare for the day’s work the cat took fright and springing to the outer edge, took the leap of over 500 feet to the hard earth below.

In the descent, which was watched closely by the workmen, the cat spread herself out like a flying squirrel, fell slowly and alighted, as cats always do, on all fours. After turning over on the soil a few times as if dazed she prepared to leave the grounds. She had proceeded almost beyond the shadow of the monument when a stray terrier pounced upon and killed her.

One of the workmen rescued the remains of the cat and turned them over to the Smithsonian institution, which caused the skin to be mounted and placed under the glass case.—Youth’s Companion.

From— Scott County kicker. (Benton, Mo.), 17 Aug. 1907. & Bismarck daily tribune. (Bismarck. Dakota (N.D.]). 16 Feb. 1908. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.




Real mermaid found to be of great scientific interest.

A Remarkable Formation of Stalactite and Stalagmite


[ Where Swarm Numbers of Mermen and Mermaids ]

A Party of Well-Known Citizens While on a Cruise Make a Discovery of Great Scientific Value—The Capture

(Joe Mulhatton, the veracious traveler of wide renown, is in the city and has unearthed a remarkable story of adventure and the capture of a mermaid. The following contains the full details of an unusual, and of course true story, as graphically communicated to The Herald by the above-named gentleman.)

The Cleopatra causeway, almost half way along the coast between Redondo and Santa Monica has always been recognized as a wild, picturesque section and a great natural curiosity. It is only recently, however, that any of the bold navigators of the numerous pleasure boats that pass near that part of the coast have attempted sailing their frail craft among the hidden rocks and bold promontories that nature has there hewed out. It remained, for Col. Tom Lewis, the assistant postmaster of this city, and Mr. Van Dusen his chief, to explore the place and immediate waters, and in doing this they with others who were with them met with a most remarkable adventure.

Mr. Lewis invited a number of well known gentlemen to accompany him upon the first pleasure cruise of his new yacht, the Blue Grass Belle, which came off the ways in San Francisco the week before last. Those accepting the invitation were: Col. Bob Northam, Postmaster Van Dusen, Jim Meredith, Capt. H. Z. Osborne of the Express, Col. Bob Kerns, Col. Blanton Duncan, Col. George Miles, Capt. John Morris, Judge George Wooley, and J. F. Cosby the Figueroa street millionaire.

On Friday last the Blue Grass Belle with the above named gentlemen aboard after a splendid sail under a free wind reached the neighborhood of the causeway at about 4 o clock in the afternoon. It was full tide and the handsome boat had but little difficuity, with skilled hands aboard, in threading her way among the rocks and reefs and finally the anchor was heaved among the columns of the Cleopatra causeway itself. As the Blue Grass Belle was lying there rocking upon the swelling waters in the shaded cave, with the pillars of stalactite and stalagmite and other beautiful formations about them. Colonel Lewis, who is an expert swimmer, suggested a plunge into the cool, clear brine, and exploring some of the chambers and caves which opened into the large one in which they then were.

Captain Osborne responded and the two dived and then swam towards an opening beyond which is the Spirit cave. Judge of their astonishment when once inside to discover that it was peopled by beings closely resembling the mermen and mermaids that by many are supposed to be purely mythical, the steep banks and projecting crags being crowded with these interesting creatures. As the two swimmers approached, the mermen and maidens plunged into the water, seemingly in abject terror at the intrusion and sight of beings so alike themselves.

One of the strange creatures was not to disappear, however. After a short, sharp struggle Tom Lewis and Captain Osborne captured a female. With some difficulty she was taken out of Spirit cave and into residence, where she is the star attraction of the neighborhood and where she will be visited by many hundreds of people anxious to see this, the first mermaid captured on the California coast.

In order that there might be no doubt as to the truthfulness of the foregoing, the following well-known citizens have appeared before Col. James Buck, the Holienbeck notary public, and testified as follows:

“know all men by these presents that we, Col Tom Lewis, Capt. H. Z. Osborne. H. V. Van Dusen, of the city and county of Los Angeles, did capture and bring to the said city of Los Angeles, on Saturday, June 8. A. D. 1895, one certain amphibious creature commonly known as a mermaid, and that the same is now in an aquarium standing in the grounds of one Tom Lewis, on Figueroa street, in the said city of Los Angeles.

Sworn and subscribed to this 15th day of June. A. D. l895.


Notary public in and for Los Angeles county, California.

Great excitement was reported last night as prevailing on fashionable Figueroa street over this addition to its population. The residence of Col. Lewis is beginning to be the Mecca for curiosity seekers. The discovery and capture is of the greatest scientific interest.

From— The herald. (Los Angeles [Calif.]), 16 June 1895. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.




Steampunk innovation for battleship.


Former Newspaperman Turns Inventor With Scheme To Put Propellers in Front Instead Behind Steamers.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va., Sept. 21.—Will the steamships of the future be pulled, instead of pushed along as at present?

This question has been answered in the affirmative by A. H. Gilmore, the former business manager of the first morning paper ever published in Newport News. Mr. Gilmore has just made application to the patent office at Washington for patents on a remarkable invention which he believes will revolutionize navigation by steam power.

The invention is regarded as a freak by the mechanics and ship-builders here before whom he has exhibited it. The inventor proposes to place the propeller, wheels or screws, at the bow instead of the stern end of the vessel. He claims that the device will produce double the present speed at about one-half the cost.

“I firmly believe,” he said today, “that I have solved the problem of rapid transit by water. The principle of my invention is very simple. A cart can be drawn much more easily than it can be pushed. Now that’s exactly what I propose to do to the steamboat. Don’t push it; pull it. It will go much faster at less expense.

The propellers are placed at the front end of the boat. Of course, they are differently constructed from those now in use at the stern. I am afraid to describe them before I receive my patents. I can say, however, that the boat will be drawn along by suction. On a large vessel the device will extend fifteen or twenty feet in front of the bow and will create a vacuum which the boat must naturally follow.

“I believe the invention, attached to a warship like the Maryland, now being built at the shipyard, would give her an average speed of thirty or thirty-five knots instead of the twenty knots which she will make. I have tried it on a small boat here in Newport News, and the success of the dial has convinced me that it is entirely practicable. I have had several offers for it, but will not sell. I hope to be able to exhibit the device at the St. Louis fair next year.”

From— The Hawaiian star. (Honolulu [Oahu]), 08 Oct. 1903. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



LAKE TAHOE MONSTER. (November 21, 1897)

The lake serpent, or lake monster of Lake Tahoe is an interesting note in the history of cryptozoology.


[ The following is related by a well-known citizen of San Francisco, manager of the Park band. It is presented unaccompanied by affidavits, and may be accepted as truth by anybody who chooses to believe it. ]

The story of a sea serpent comes from so many sources and from people of undoubted veracity that it cannot be doubted that there is living in the Atlantic Ocean a serpent of monstrous size, but it remains for California, with its remains of gigantic monsters scattered all over its surface and where animal life attained its greatest perfection, to have a serpent now living within its borders much larger than any described by so many witnesses.

It was my fortune to be one of the earliest settlers on the west shore of Lake Tahoe—from June, 1861, to 1869. I located a meadow and was engaged in cutting wild hay for the market on the Placerville road. In the fall of 1865, in the month of November, I took my gun and, accompanied by a very intelligent setter dog, started out for a hunt for grouse along the shore and in the creek bottoms emptying into the lake.

My attention was called to a very curious state of things happening around me. First, a flock of quail and other birds were flying out of the canyon, uttering cries of alarm; next came some rabbits and coyotes, and soon three deer came running at full speed; last of all, an old bear with one cub came along. All passed close to me, not seeming to notice me, and all staining at their best.

The horrid lake monster of Lake Tahoe. All this did not occupy much time, and I began to wonder what was up. My dog kept looking up the canyon and was evidently alarmed, and I began to feel shaky myself. All at once the dog set up a howl and started for home, eight miles away, running as fast as dog could run, and going under the cabin staid there two days and nights and no amount of coaxing could get him to come out sooner, and never after would the dog go in the direction of the lake. I began to feel that some unknown danger was near, and looking about me, saw a spruce tree with very thick limbs, standing near a very large pine. I climbed un about sixty feet from the ground and began to look up the canyon. I had not long to wait. I heard a sound as if the dead limbs of trees, willows and alders that grew in the canyon were being broken and crushed. Soon the monster appeared, slowly making his way in the direction where I was hidden in the tree-top, and passed on to the lake within fifty feet of where I was, and as his snakeship got by, and I partly recovered from my fright, I began to look him over and to estimate his immense size. After his head had passed my tree about seventy feet, he halted and reared his head in the air fifty feet or more, and I was thankful that the large pine hid me from his sight, and I dared to breathe again as he lowered his head to the ground and moved on.

His monstrous head was about fourteen feet wide, and the large eyes seemed to be about eight inches in diameter, and shining jet black, and seemed to project more than half this size from the head. The neck was about ten feet, and the body in the largest portion must have been twenty feet in diameter. I had a chance to measure his length, for when he halted his tail reached a fallen tree, and I afterward measured the distance from the tree, where I was hidden to the fallen tree and it measured 510 feet, and as seventy or eighty feet had passed me, it made his length about 600 feet. The skin was black on the back, turning to a reddish yellow on the side and belly, and must have been very hard and tough, as small trees two and three inches in diameter were crushed and broken without any effect on his tough hide. Even bowlders of 500 or 600 pounds weight lying on the surface of the ground were pushed out of the way. His snakeship slowly made his way to the lake, glided in and swam toward the foot.

This serpent has been seen by several of the old settlers at the lake since that time, but it was generally agreed that it would be useless to tell the world the story, knowing that it would not be believed. I will give a few names of the early settlers that have seen his snakeship at different times since I first saw him. Wiliam Pomin, now living in San Francisco; John McKinney, Ben McCoy and Bill McMasters, all at that time living on Sugar Pine Point; Homer Burton, now living in Sacramento; Captain Howland of the old steamer Governor Blaisdell, Tony and Burk, fishermen living near Friday’s station; Rube Saxton, now at the lake, and several others could be named.

I know many will doubt this story, but sooner or later his snakeship will be seen by so many that all doubt will be removed. I was induced to write this description by reading an article in THE CALL of last Sunday, stating that there was a living mastodon in Alaska and that it had been seen by the natives. Believing that I have seen a more wonderful sight and, as in time my story is sure to be verified, venture to give this to the public. I. C. COGGIN.

From— The San Francisco call. (San Francisco (Calif.]). 21 Nov. 1897. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



A WITCH STORY. (January 26, 1901)

A witching tale by light of the campfire.

This weird story brings to my mind one my step-mother used often to tell. It happened before she married my father, and she herself was present at the scene. The narration never lost interest to me, as I knew the people whom it concerned. After hearing it, I would creep to bed, my excited imagination easily conjuring each gust of the wind, rustling through the trees, to be some old witch on her broomstick, who might come down the chimney and ride me away.

Old Mr. Rainey, who lived in the Bethesda congregation, believed himself bewitched. He was, for many years, a weakly, sickly man, and all his ailments were, by the whole community, attributed to the power of old Balsey Fox, a noted witch, who lived in the “Black Jacks.” The only way to remove the spell was, by some means to obtain the benediction of “God bless you” from the old sorceress. To do this, some scheme must be fallen upon to entrap her into it unawares, as, of course, she would not voluntarily abjure her dominion over him.

A plan was conceived of inviting all the women of the neighborhood, within a circuit to include old Mrs. Fox, to meet at his residence on a certain day, the object of which was generally known. A large concourse assembled—men as well as women—but the witch, alas! was not among them; and without her presence the rest could avail nothing for the intention had been that each woman of the assembly should lay their hands on the sick man and say “God bless you.” It had been thought the hag would be ashamed and afraid not to do as the rest; and on the pronouncing the holy name her reign would be ended. Old Mrs. Fox did not come, and what was to be done? Among those whom friendship and curiosity had brought to the scene, was Colonel Edward Lacey. He declared that the witch should come; and off he cantered on his spirited bay. In due time, expectation was fulfilled, for up rode the gallant colonel, with the old woman behind him‐a lean, withered beldame; but wonder of wonders! Although she was only an old hag’s weight—96 pounds‐the large blooded animal they had ridden was reeking with sweat—in a perfect lather—and the horse blowing as if he were bellowsed. Men and women gathered round the panting steed in utter amazement. But the witch had come. There was nothing longer to hinder their proceeding with the good work. All the females collected in the hall where the afflicted man was lying. One by one, in regular turn, with solemnity, they advanced to old Mr. Rainey's bedside and pronounced the desired benison, “God bless you, Mr. Rainey.” Old Mrs. Fox’s turn was the last. All eyes turned toward her. She went forward, however, nothing hesitating, but the listening ears caught the words, “My God bless you, Mr. Rainey.” The devil was her deity, and the cunning witch had banned instead of blessed the sufferer. She outwitted them, and the pious effort was of no effect.

Perhaps some, in this enlightened age of spirit-rappings, may feel desirous of making a jest of our old superstitions, and say they are sure not one particle of it possesses them. I believe it an often infirmity of human nature, and hold with Dr. Brazier, of the Methodist church, when at the age of 96, of whom I once asked the question, “if he was superstitious?” “Yes,” he replied, “and I believe all men are, if they would tell the truth. I don’t like to see a rabbit run across my path.”

“Pshaw!” said old Colonel Ben Saxon, secretary of state, who was sitting by, “I don’t regard it a picayune; I always make a cross mark and spit on it.”

Once afterward, in conversation with the late Chancellor Harper, in regard to the persecutions for witchcraft in Scotland and New England, I asked him what he believed. His reply was like that of a Roman augur, indirect. His words, though, impressed me. They were, “We have the highest evidence of human testimony to believe in witchcraft, for many individuals have confessed, just before being launched into eternity, they were suffering the just penalty of their crimes, for they were guilty of witchcraft.”

From— Yorkville enquirer. volume (None), 26 Jan. 1901. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



THE “SNIPE HUNT” TRIAL. (September 2, 1896)

Small town snipe hunt trial.

A Brighter Polish Put on a Polished New Yorker.

New York is a great place in which to acquire refinement in that peculiar branch of American education so aptly described as being “up to snuff”

The fine polish, however, is sometimes put on in Arizona, so a M. Stiner, son of a New York custom house broker will testify.

Mr. Stiner arrived at Globe a week ago last Wednesday at noon says the Star. In two hours he was acquainted with half the male residents of the camp and was describing the wonders of the metropolis.

It became apparent that while he knew many things, there were some things of which he was densely ignorant, snipe hunting, for instance. Two of Mr. Stiner’s lately formed acquaintances accordingly arranged a snipe-hunt for the night. The expedition was quietly announced throughout the camp and when about nine o’ clock Mr. Stiner and his two friends ascended a mountainian side north of town, the population of Globe was standing in the principal streets watching them. Half way up the mountain side the hunters stopped, and lighted two candles placed them six feet apart. Mr. Stiner was stationed between them holding a pillow case open while the two friends went off in different directions to drive in the snipe. They met at a salooon and between drinks went from time to time to watch Mr. Stiner standing patiently between the blinking candles, peering out into darkness for the expected snipe.

Mr. Stiner stood there patiently for three hours when the joke took another turn. The jokers had grown weary of his monotonous patience.

A specially appointed constable went up and arrested him for violating the game law, telling him that in Arizona the snipe season didn’t open until September 2.

Mr. Stiner was pained and surprised. He was taken to town and arraigned before a mock justice of the peace, who held him under $1,000 bond to appear for trial at 10 o’ clock the next morining. The bond was furnished after considerable delay and Mr. Stiner upon recomendation of friends employed Col. Crandell to defend him. P. T. Robertson representing the dignity of Arizona. A jury of twelve wass impaneled and the trail proceeded under a tree in a corral. A mass of evidence was introduced among which was the pilow case marked “Exhibit A” and the candles, “Exhibit B.” The story was told and a dozen citizens testified to Mr. Stiner’s open and flagrant violation of the law. One witness upon whom the territory relied to prove that a snipe had actually been caught by Mr. Stiner admitted under cross examination that he had not seen the snipe and had been unable to find any feathers.

Whereupon the district attorney moved to amend the complaint so that Mr. Stiner would stand charged, not with a violation of the game law, but with an intent to violate it.

The evidence was concluded and the jury retired returning half an hour later with a verdict of guilty.

Mr. Stiner was asked if he had any thing to day before sentence was passed upon. He arose and in a broken voice said he regretted the unfortunate occurrence not so much on account of the impending punishment as because he had unwittingly placed himself in the attitude of a law breaker within less than a dozen hours after his arrival in Arizona. He was always been a law abiding citizen and had never before violated any national, state or municipal regulation.

The court delivered a long address in which it expressed regret that it must carry out the stern decree of an inexorable law of which ignorance could not be pled as an excuse for its violation. Then he fined Mr. Stiner $50. At the request of the defendant’s counsel and with the consent of the district attorney the fine was afterward reduced to beer for the court, counsel, jurors, witnesses and spectators. Adjournment was taken to a saloon and one round of drinks cost Mr. Stiner $6.50 In the joyfulness and simplicity of his soul he thanked everybody, the court for its consideration, the district attorney for the elimination of personal malice and bitterness from his conduct of the prosecution, and his own attorney for his masterful and half successful defense.

Mr. Stiner didn’t know it was a joke until the following Saturday night. His ill humor was an offset to all the good humor which had abounded in Globe during the three preceding days.

From— Tombstone prospector. (Tombstone, Ariz.), 02 Sept. 1896. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



CAPTURED IN MID-AIR. (November 8, 1912)

Big fish story from a little town.
Here Is a Fish Story That Has the Real Flavor.

Bird on the Wing Rewarded Efforts of Club Commodore, Whose Veracity May Not Be Called In Question.

Sitting on the float of the Palisade Boat club in Yonkers, several members and friends were relating vacation adventures of this season. Fish, snakes and other reptiles had been favored in their innings. Bear, deer, birds, canoe upsets and rescues from drowning also had received veracious attention, when former Commodore William J. Lord of the Yonkers Yacht club moved his chair to the edge of the group.

“Friends and fellow citizens,” said “I don’t expect any of you to tell, but it doesn’t make much difference to me, for the narrative is true. Most of you know,” the former commodore went on, “that I put in three weeks at Watkins Glen, on Seneca lake. One evening, shortly after sunset, I took a pole and line and went down to the water. The hook was baited with a salmon fly, and I thought some kind of fish would strike at it. I was disappointed. After making probably 100 or more casts at different points in the lake, I was getting discouraged. Just as I had resolved to go back to the hotel. I made another cast. I watched to see and hear the faint splash in the water. It did not come. The fly did not touch the lake. And not a tree or other obstacle for it to strike was within 500 yards. I was amazed.

“Suddenly the line straightened. Next came a series of jerks, short and long pulls. The line sawed up and down and from side to side. I had a bite in mid-air. But no fish of my experience ever behaved in this fashion after taking a hook. For possibly two minutes the tugging continued, when the pole was twitched out of my hands and I saw it go sailing inland at a height of perhaps 30 feet. I followed the fishing tackle. Soon it caught in a clump of bushes and there the outfit remained. Seizing the pole at the butt, I began to wind up the line on the reel. Nothing else moved for some seconds, but when it became taut there was a commotion among the leaves. Then I found that I had safely secured my catch. My prisoner was a cheiropter of good size. The fishline was twisted about a twig and held the captive fast. And there it was hanging. It had swallowed the fly and also the hook, it had mistaken for the real thing while in the air.”

“Commodore,” said a young lady, meaking the abysmal silence of the listening group, “what is a cheiropter?”

“A cheiropter,” the commodore replied, “is a bat—a bat that eats insects.“

From— Iowa state bystander. (Des Moines, Iowa), 08 Nov. 1912. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



SOME EXAGGERATED FACTS. (March 20, 1913 & December 18, 1913)

Giant corn from Kansas.
Tall Story of Tall Corn

Among the Kansas agricultural exhibits at the Philadelphia centennial was some corn on the stalks grown in the Neosho river bottoms. It was twenty feet high and the ears looked as long as stove wood.

An old lady from Vermont gazed at it and declared that the stalks were spliced. Then she took another look and changed her mind. “But,” she said, “it didn't grow that big in one year. It must have grown for two seasons.”

The man in charge of the Kansas exhibit was somewhat of a prevaricator himself. “Lady,” said he in great sole emnity, “we are almost ashamed to exhibit this corn. This has been a hot dry year in Kansas, and we have not been able to raise very large corn. But we felt that it wouldn’t do to have a Kansas exhibit without corn, so we brought this little stuff along. In a really good year the corn rows so high in Kansas that eagles build their nests in the tassels; knowing full well that they are out of range of the farmers’ guns.”—Kansas City Journal.

* * *
A Tall Story.

The long leggedest man we know is our friend H. Bingham Palmer. He can take steps above five feet long, in spite of which he is devoted to horse-back riding.

Recently he came into the office to chat awhile, and we noticed that he limped.

“Corn?” was asked sympathetically.

“Nope—accident,” he answered, as answers one who doesn’t care to talk about something. That aroused our curosity, and we couldn't help showing it, probably, for he sighed and confessed:

“I was ridin’ through the park Monday, and I was just ridin’ along and ridin’ along and not thinkin’ of anything in particular, and my foot slipped out of the stirrup.”


“Well, the darn horse stepped on it!” —Cleveland Plain Dealer.

From— The Ward County independent. (Minot, Ward County, N.D.), 20 March 1913. & Bryan daily eagle and pilot. (Bryan, Tex.), 18 Dec. 1913. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.




Memaid found to be very clever.
[“Cris” in Puck.]

The mermaid is a young lady who lives in the sea. Why she lives in the sea in preference to dry land, is not so clear, unless it saves rent.

A Mermaid is very careful of her costume, which consists chiefly of her hair, and never goes out without her umbrella to protect it in case of rain.

At home, these people have convenences and comforts not possessed by ordinary mortals, conspicuous among which are their excellent water privilages. They have water up and down stairs, and in the basement, and washrooms in every corner of the house. They are brought up to go in swimming whenever they please. Sometimes a resplendant creature will sit at the piano and sing, ‘Mother may I go out to swim?’ and then climb upon the mantle piece and take a plunge before the old lady can say, ‘Yes, my darling daughter,’ &c.

I do not know what they do for a livelihood, unless they take in washing, but it cannot be denied that they get along swimmingly.

They are never troubled with the dust, which is another advantage of being a Mermaid; and they are never obliged to water the flowers, except in the very dryest season.

They are very neighborly, and it is seldom you will see the pump-handle chained down to keep others from using the water.

The old lady Mermaid is careful of her children’s health, and may often be heard to say : ‘Mary Ann, you and Becky Jane fetch Gailia Hamilton Fish right in the house this instant. The fust thing you know you'll get your feet wet, and then you’ll be howlin’ around with the croup!’

There is a great deal of unwritten history connected with the Mermaid which ought to he supplied. Like other maids, they sometimes betray unsuspecting young men. One of them fell in love with Leander, if you remember; and one day, when he was taking a swim, she approached him, and, without an introduction, she insisted upon him accompanying her home. She was very beautiful, and Leander did not make a great kick against going.

According to Mr. Hood, who was a gentleman whose word could not be questioned, she bundled him up in her embrace and took him along.

It was a bad move for Leander. He wasn't used to the climate into which he was being hurried, and he lasted about as long as it would take you to say ‘Grannywillyourdogbitenochildno’ without any punctuation marks or any thing else to delay you.

There was no coroner on hand to hold an inquest on the drowned boy ; but had there been, a clear case could have been made out against the love-sick Mermaid. Could have been made out, mark you. There is no telling what the jury would have returned. It is more than likely, however, that the verdict would have been : ‘We, the,’ &c., find that the deceased came to his death by being kicked in the stomach by a mule, not knowing that the same was loaded.’

It was a peculiarly sad case. Leander had left a young bride on shore, who was waiting his return with warm kisses on her lips and hot biscuits on the stove.

P. S.—If you do not think of it before, please stop the press to say that Mermaids do not chew gum.

From— The Democratic press (Ravenna, O. [Ohio]), 04 Oct. 1877. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



THE STEAM MAN. (February 12, 1868)

An Extraordinary Invention—Steam Man.

The following story of a remarkable mechanical invention is told by the Newark (N.J.) Advertiser :

Zadock Deddrick, a Newark machinist, has invented a man ; one that, moved by, steam, will perform some of, the most important functions of humanity ; that will standing upright, walk or run as he is bid, in any direction and at almost any rate of speed, drawing after him a load whose weight would tax the strength of three stout draught horses.

The history of this curious invention is as follows :

Six years ago, Mr. Deddrick, the inventer, who is at at present but twenty-two years of age, conceived the novel idea of constructing a man that should receive its vitality from a perpetual motion machine. The idea was based on the well-known mechanical principle that if a heavy weight be placed at top of an upright, slightly, inclined from a vertical, gravitation will tend to produced a horizontal as well as vertical motion. The project was not successful. However, by observing carefully the cause of the failure, perserving and perfecting the man form, and by substituting steam in place of the perpetual motion machine, the present success was obtained.

“The man stands seven feet and nine inches high, the other dimensions of the body being correctly proportioned, making him a second Daniel Lambert, by which name he is facetiously spoken of among the workmen. He weighs 500 pounds. Steam is generated in the body or trunk, which is nothing but a three-horse engine, like those used in our steam fire engines. The legs which support it are complicated and wonderful. The steps are taken very naturally and quite easily. As the body is thrown forward upon the advanced foot, the other is lifted from the ground by a spring and thrown forward by the steam. Each step or pace advances the body two feet, and every revolution of the engine produces four paces.

As the engine is capable of making more than 1,000 revolutions in a minute, it would get over the ground, on this calculation, at the rate of a little more than a mile a minute. As this would be working the legs faster than would be safe on uneven ground or on Broad street cobblestones, it is proposed to run the engine at the rate of 500 revolutions per minute, which would walk the man at the modest speed of half a mile a minute.

“The fellow is attached to a common rockaway carriage, the shafts of which serve to support him in a verticle position. These shafts are two bars of iron, fastened in the usual manner to the front of the carriage, and are curved so as to be joined to a circular sustaining bar, which passes around the waist like a girth, and in which the man moves so as to face in any direction. Besides these motions, machinery has been arranged by which the figure can be thrown backward or forward from a vertical nearly forty-five degrees. This is done in order to enable it to ascend or descend all grades. To the soles of the feet spikes or cords are fixed, which effectually prevent slipping. The whole affair is so firmly sustained by the shafts and so excellent a foot-hold, that men are unable to push it over, or in any other way throw it down. In order to enable it to stop quickly, it is provided with two appliances, one of which will, as before stated, throw it backward from the vertical, while the other bends the knees in a direction opposite to the natural position.

“An upright post, which is arranged in front of the dash-board, and within easy reach of the front seats, sustains two miniature pilot wheels, by the turning of which these various motions and revolutions are directed. It is expected that a sufficiently large amount of coal can be stowed away under that back seat of the carriage to work the engine for a day, and water in a tank under the seat to last half a day.

“In order to prevent the ‘giant’ from frightening horses by appearance, Mr. Deddrick intends to clothe it, and give it, as nearly as possible, a likeness to the rest of humanity, The boiler and such parts as are unnecessarily heated, will be encased in felt or woolen under-garments. Pantaloons, coat and vest, of the latest styles, are provided. Whenever the fires need coaling, which is every two or three hours, the driver stops the machine, descends from his seat, unbuttons ‘Daniel’s’ vest, opens a door, shoves in the fuel, buttons up the vest, and drives on. On the back, between the shoulders, the steam-cocks and gauges are placed. As there would cause the coat to sit awkwardly, a knapsack has been provided that completely covers them. A blanket neatly rolled up and placed on top of the knapsack, perfects the delusion. The face is moulded into a cheerful countenance of white enamel, which contrast well with the dark hair and moustache. A sheet-iron hat with a gauge top acts as a smoke-stack.

“The cost of this ‘first man’ is $2,000 though the makers, Messrs, Deddrick & Grass, expect to manufacture succeeding one, warranted to run a year without repairs, for $300. The same parties expect to construct on the same principle, horses, which will do the duty of ten or twelve ordinary animals of the same species. These, it is confidently believed, can be used before carriages, street cars and ploughs. The man now constructed can make his way, without difficulty, over any irregular surface whose ruts and stones are not more than nine inches below or above the level of the road.”

From— The Newberry herald. (Newberry, S.C.), 12 Feb. 1868. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



“JERSEY DEVIL” DEAD. (October 31, 1909)

Jersey Devil discovered dead.
Body of Strange Animal Has Been Found in the Woods.

[With An Egregious Number of Typos Corrected by Your Friend at Lumberwoods]

If anybody ever doubted that a “Jersey devil” left its strange and puzzling hoofprints in the snow of this and adjoining states last winter, proof was produced here today that the scare was never due to highballs. There is on exhibit in this city the carcass of the queerest animal ever seen about here, a beast not on on the schedule of any natural history ever read by any one of this section.

The animal’s body, still in good condition, as though it had been dead only a short while, was found by Moris Cabinsky, of this city, and Charles Maisbury, of Kinkora, in the woods near Kinkora Tuesday, and was brought to this city, where hundreds have seen and marveled. Photograps have been made of the beast, and Prof. Henry Morse, curator of the State Museum, will be asked to give the animal a name, and place it where it belongs—if he is able to do so.

The boys thought at first they had come upon the carcass of a big wild-cat, but it looked as queer to them that they decided to carry it into town. The body of the animal is about 20 inches long, and thin. The spinal column extends 6 inches behind the junction with the hind legs, like the tall kangaroo, but this again is tipped with 9 inches of tail like a squirrel’s, but of reddish-brown fur. The strangest feature of all and that which would seem to convict it of last winter’s famous hoofprints, is found in the fore legs and feet. The legs are 15 inches long, consisting of four joints, and socketed to these are the feet which take the form of a broad, flat bone with a distinct heel. The foot bones are 2 1-2 inches long, and over an inch broad in a solid piece.

If the animal traveled by leaps, bending the two forefeet down together he would land after each long spring with the feet forming the puzzling effect of hoofprints as seen in the snow last winter. The rear feet would explain the finding of “cat” prints near the hoof marks what loots like the framework of a pair of short wings rises from the animal’s back, just above its short hind legs.

The big mouth is set with sharp teeth three-quarters of an inch long, while the head is adorned with long, lance-like ears and whiskers, 4 inches long.—Burlington (N. J.) Dispatch to New York World.

From— Daily press. (Newport News, Va.), 31 Oct. 1909. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



THE TALL GHOST. (June 28, 1907)


The Crowd of Phantoms That Dazed Three Young Woman.

An experience wherein phantoms presented themselves to view in prodigious numbers simultaneously is related by a young lady whose name, at her request, is withheld, the narrative being indorsed by her sister, who was with her at the time. She writes:

“One autumn night my sister and myself, with our maid, were returning from evening service in the village church. There was a thick fog. The moon was full, but it made a sort of steam in the fog instead of shining brightly. Suddenly I saw a man at my sister’s side, who had come there without making a sound. I pulled her sleeve, whispering, ‘Let the man pass.’ As I spoke the man disappeared.

“In another moment we were all bewildered at the sight around us. It was as if we were in a crowded street, innumerable figures surrounding us. Men, women and children were moving briskly about, some singly, others in groups, but all without a sound. Some seemed to rise out of the grass on either side of us and to come out on the other side. The women were dressed in bygone fashion, with high bonnets and shawls and large flounces on their dresses.

“There was one very tall man who took great strides, though perfectly motionless. We approached our own gate, where we should turn in, and then we had a long driveway to walk up before we could reach the house. I think that by the time we had reached the gate all the figures had disappeared except this one tall man. He had quite a different look from any of the others—more horrible altogether. As we entered our gate, to our intense relief, he passed by along the road and vanished. Of course we were all very frightened. The maid and my sister were crying aloud.”

In a case like this, where the same spectral phenomena are witnessed by several persons, the value of the testimony obviously is multiplied a hundredfold, for, while one individual may be a victim of a hallucination, such an illusion can hardly be shared by many. What, then, is to be said in answer to such evidence, furnished by deponents of unimpeachable character and reputation for truthfulness? To suppose that they are combining in the manufacture of a lie is scarcely reasonable. —Joseph M. Rogers in Lippincott’s.

From— The Worthington advance. (Worthington. Minn.). 28 June 1907. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.




Leprechaun in America.
The Fairies In Ireland.

There are many sorts of fairies in Ireland. The trooping clans, the friendliest, wear green jackets, and the solitary fairies wear red. According to McAnally, a peasant once witnessed a battle between them, and when the trooping fairies began to win be was so overjoyed “to see the green above the red” that he gave a loud hurrah. Immediately all vanished from view, and he found himself thrown headlong in the ditch. In Mr. Pests’ classification the weird but not unkindly morrows, or sea fairies, come nest, then the fairy doctors and witches, who inhabit puddings and pots, bewitch butter, steal milk and the like; the banshees, not always harbingers of death; the leprecaun, or fairy shoemakers, “the only industrious persons among them,” for they dance their shoes away in a single night; the pookas, first cousins of the Scotch brownies, who for their sins are obliged to help the housewife with nightly elfin labors; the giants, the ghosts and the satanic: race of demon cats, and last, the “kings, queens, princesses, earls and robbers.”—Sarah H. Cleghorn in Atlantic.


[The following is an exert from William T. Cox’s Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods (1910).]

(Simiidiabolus hibernicus horribillis.)

During the early days of Upper Canada, before it became the Providence of Ontario, there were brought into a logging camp on the Madawaska River several young leprocauns from the north of Ireland. This animal was even then rare and has since become extinct in its native land. It is said that during the last famine hungry Irishmen killed and ate the few remaining specimens of this queer beast.

On its native bogs the leprocaun was a harmless creature, celebrated for its playfulness and laughable antics. It would hop across the bogs, turn somersaults, and leap over hillocks with wondrous agility. A favorite trick was to bore into a pile of drying peat and then, with a sudden spring, send the clods of peat high in the air till the commotion looked like a young cyclone. These antics were all right enough in Ireland, but when the animal was brought to Canada its disposition changed at once. The pets on the Madawaska escape into nearby tamarack swamps, increasing and spreading until an occasional one was seen on the upper Ottawa and even over in northern Michigan. Sneaking through the tamarack and cedar , or leaping across the muskegs after whatever appealed to it as food, the leprocaun became a creature to be feared and avoided. Teamsters toting supplies across swamp roads have been attacked by the animal, which would bound clear over the load, snapping its teeth at the driver and reaching for him with its villainous claws. Hasty flight to thick timber, leaving the team to its fate, was the only choice of the driver, who thanked his stars that in running through tangled tamarack even the leprocaun is no match for a frightened man.

“The Fairies In Ireland.” From— The Bemidji daily pioneer. (Bemidji, Minn.), 05 Jan. 1911. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



A 141 POUND FISH STORY. (May 31, 1912)

A 141 Pound Fish Story



Selects a Hot Day When They Seek Shelter of Ledges,
Then He Slips Up on Them and Gets Fingers in Their Gills.

Topeka, Kansas.—Many Kansas streams fell so low during the dry spell of the summer that catching fish by hand was one of the favorite occupations in many towns for those who had nothing else to do. Thousands of large fish were caught in that way, but the record catch was made by Grant Cunstable, a trapper and fisherman, who lives near Bennington on the Solomon river. His catch was a catfish that weighed 141 pounds, duly sworn to and acknowledged. When the fish was brought to Bennington by Cunstable to be weighed, some of the younger element in the town began to brag about the catch, saying that it was the biggest fish ever caught in Kansas, but Cunstable silenced them.

“Why,” he said, “you kids ain't never seen no fish. Lou Geisert caught a catfish here In ’73 that weighed 211 pounds. He was the pappy of all the catfish in the Solomon an’ he jest naturally looked like a whale.”

The Solomon always has been noted for its large catfish and the Solomon Valley resident would turn up his nose at a mountain trout any time for a steak off a Solomon river catfish of 40 to 60 pounds weight. In dry weather most of the tributaries of the Solomon dry up and the Solomon becomes so low that it is only a succession of pools separated by sandbars through which the water oozes slowly. Some of these pools are deep, and it is in these pools that the big fish are found. Under such circumstances the true professional fisherman scorns to use a net or trotline. He just wades in the pools and catches the big fish with his hands.

“When you find a fish,” explained Cunstable, “you work your hands up along his sides, slowly. This sort o’ tickles ’em, and if your ears is good you can hear ’em purr jest like a cat when you rub his fur. You jest keep moving your hands along and ticklin’ until you slip your fingers in his gills and h’ist him out on the bank. Sometimes there’s two together in the spawnin’ season, and you want to be careful that you don’t make a mistake and ram your fist down the throat of one of ’em, because if you do he’ll clamp his jaws down and peel all the skin off the back of your hand. But they sure like to be tickled, just like a hog when you scratch his back.

“Now, that little feller I caught was layin’ low under a big log and jest as quick as I touched him he sort o’ squinched up and quiggled but when I kind o’ scraped his hide a little with my finger nails he laid still and purred. Never hear ’em purr? Son, you ain’t done much cat fishin’, have you?

“Well, as I was saying, he just, purred and me a scratchin’ slowly along until my fingers reached his gills. They was flapping back am forth just like an elephant’s ears when the flies is bad. I gets a good footing an’, jest like that, I slips my hand in under his gills and heaves But say, that feller was a bull. He jest naturally thrun me off my feet and we rolled over and over in the water, him a flappin’ his tail and me a sputterin’ water like a busted hose. He finned me a couple o’ times, but gradually I works him up close to a sandbar, and jest while he was trying to get his second wind I makes a run and slides him clear out on the sand. He never made no effort to git back into the water again, but jest lay there rollln’ his eyes at me, sort o’ sorrowful like.

“When we weighed him he tipped off 141 pounds and his head alone weighed 46.”

From— The Mahoning dispatch. (Canfield. Mahoning County. Ohio), 31 May 1912. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



SOME GOOD LIES. (March 30, 1911 & February 15, 1917)

A pair of Liars

Farmer's Rather Humorous Explanation for
Telling Exceedingly “Tall” Story.

Irving Batcheller once told a story of a farmer on the Connecticut hills.
“Pretty steep land for planting, isn’t it?” a visitor asked the tiller of the soil.
“Pretty steep,” the farmer assented.
“I suppose it’s quite difficult to plant your corn?“
“Quite difficult,” came the echo.
The visitor was interested, and would not be put off with short replies.
“Eh—how do you manage to plant on this hill?” he persisted.
The farmer gazed at him pityingy.
“We have to shoot it all into the earth with shotguns, stranger,” he assured his guest.
The visitor gasped. “Really?” he ejaculated. “Really now? Is that actually true?”
The farmer sighed and turned upon his guest a look of withering scorn.
“No, that isn't true,” he answered. “I'm trying to make conversation.”

* * *


Couldn't Afford to Sacrifice Reputation
for Veracity by Backing Up His Guest’s “Tall” Story.

A well-known diplomat told at a dinner in Washington a significant parable.
“They who expect the men in athority to do a great deal for them—they who expect the impossible—should remember the grizzly-bear story.
“A famous grizzly-bear hunter gave a dinner, and one of the guests told of a bear hunt that he had once shared in with his host. It had been a remarkable hunt. The bear had been killed under almost incredible difficulties. Although his auditors looked skeptical, the narrator did not spare them any of those difficulties. He counted on the host, you see, for corroboration.
“Then, when he had finished his strange but perfectly true tale, he said:
“‘There, that’s the story, and, gentlemen, our host will corroborate every word I say.’
“‘No, George,’ he said, ‘I don’t remember anything of this sort at all’
“Maddened by this tableau, the guest, at the end of the dinner, took his host aside and hissed:
“ ‘Why didn’t you back me up in that bear story? You know every word of it was true.
“‘Yes,’ said the famous hunter; ‘yes, it was all true, but I saw that everybody round the table thought you were lying. If, then, I had supported you, the only result would have been they would have set me down for a liar, too.’ ”

From— The Pickens sentine-journal. (Pickens. S.C.). 30 March 1911. & The Wahpeton times. (Wahpeton, Richland County, Dakota [N.D.]), 15 Feb. 1917. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



MERMAID ON EXHIBITION. (October 21, 1882)

Mermaid found and exhibited at the fair
The “The Real Mermaid” and Its Exhibitors.


Correspondence of THE EVENING STAR.

ROCKVILLE, MD., Oct 20th, 1882.

County fairs are marvellous in many ways. Here all manner of wonderful things can be seen, gathered from the highest mountains to the inner-most recesses and depths of the sea. Gen. Sherman had a chance to-day to see for the first time a real mermaid, at least the party of fakirs [fakers] that had it on exhibition said it was real.

The mermaid was in a large tank arranged on a high platform. In front of the platform was a large canvass, on which was painted a handsome mermaid. All mermaids are pictured as handsome. They are generally brunettes and very captivating. The picture was very attractive, and in case the passers by did not notice it, their attention was called to it by the shouts of the fakir-blowers, who yelled to the crowd to “step up and see the greatest wonder of the world.”

The two fakirs that did the noise business were dressed in suits of blue cloth with brass buttons, the suit being a kind of a cross that worn by naval officers and Pullman palace car conductors. The man that lectured on the mermaid was rigged up in a full sailor suit. His lecture was as novel as his “wonder.” It went like this:

“Step up ’ere everyone and see the mermaid and listen to the story of the man that captured her. It is the only real mermaid ever placed on exhibition. Captured by me in the Caribbean sea, near the land of Menditty, where there is neither house, town nor city; where the men are five feet eleving inches from head to foot and five feet eleving inches from foot to head, a total height of sixteen feet eleving inches. It's a wonder, and it will cost you but ten cents or three for a quarter, one for yourself, your son and daughter. It remains on exhibition out nine days more, when it gets shipped to Persia, where it is to be exhibited to the Queen of Sheba. Pass along up here and see the wonder—a real mermaid. Those who are not satisfied will be given back their money and a copy, of the photograph of the man that captured the only real mermaid now on exhibition.”

Those who could not resist the eloquence of the man who had been in the land of Menditty, paid their ten cents and saw a paper mache mermaid about two feet long resting quietly in a small box on the platform. The fakirs spoke about their exhibition as “The annex of the Navy department.” The men did a good business, and took in the ten cent pieces at a lively rate. When the fair closed for the day, the sailor put the only real mermaid in a bag and carried it away under his arm.

From— Evening star. (Washington, D.C.), 21 Oct. 1882. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



THAT MYSTERIOUS LIGHT (November 19, 1896)

Killer Rabbit. I warned you!
Was It an Air-Ship or a WIll-o’-the-Wisp?

Stories That are Floating Around Concerning the Supposed Floating Visitor.

Regarding the aerial visitor that passed over Sacramento Tuesday evening, and which was described at the time as being a pure white light of about double the power of an electric arc light, many queer stories are told.

Whether the light was a meteor, or attached to a ballooon, or whether it was a genuine flying machine. Is not positively known, though ninety-nine out of 100 men in the city regard the matter in the light of a huge hoax. The stories told by some of the parties who saw the light follow, and the reader can pay his money and take his choice:

R. L. Lowry, who was formerly in the employ of the street railway company in this city, but who has been absent for some time and only recently returned, says he was near East Park and saw the apparatus when it was not more than fifty feet from the ground. He declared that the machine was cigar-shaped and was operated by four men who sat aside the cigar and moved as though they were working their passage on a bicycle. He stated that the machine was fitted with wing-like propellers after the fashion of those of an ocean steamer.

T. P. De Long, whose residence is not mentioned in the city directory, said he saw the light and heard voices, but couldn’t hear what was said.

Daniel Curl, a horse-trainer, is authority for the statement that he not only saw the light, but heard someone suggest that “they go up higher.”

F. E. Briggs, a motorman on a G-street car, said he saw the light and called attention to it. His passengers requested him to stop, which he did. He heard singing which appeared to come from the direction of the light, and seemed to be wafted down in gusts.

M. F. Shelley, a motorman on a J-street car, saw the light and heard a voice shouting orders.

C. H. Lusk, Secretary of the street-car company, noticed the light. He said it had an up-and-down and side-to-side motion.

G. C. Snider, foreman of the street-car barn, saw the light, and gave it as his opinion that it was an aerial machine of some kind. Frank A. Ross, Assistant Manager of the street railway company, said he had talked with many persons concerning the matter, and, having seen the light, is fully assured that it was some kind of a flying machine.

Thomas Allen stated very seriously that a flying machine, the invention of a citizen of Sacramento, actually did ascend from the vicinity of Oak Park, and that four men, among whom was Nat Liebling, ascended with it. The machine, he related, was fastened to the earth with a cable, which broke and let the aerial wonder float away. It would not, owing to a defect in the steering apparatus, be guided, and sailed around at random. First it made for Suisun, but after having accomplished half the journey veered around, once more passed over the city, and is now at a point near Arcade Station, ten miles miles northeast of this city.

It puzzles one to understand how the machine could have started from Oak Park, which is southeast of the city, and passed over from the northeast to the southwest, and it is also puzzling to know how Nat Liebling could have taken such a wild, wild ride, when he was seen near the Postoffice only two hours later.

There are other puzzling things also, but the average citizen will choose what he wishes, and the burning question still is, “What was it?”

From— The record-union. (Sacramento, Calif.), 19 Nov. 1896. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.




Killer Rabbit. I warned you!
Ferocious Rabbits.

A correspondent of the Washington Post tells of a rabbit which killed a hound with one blow of its claws. A rabbit is more dangerous than is really thought. Last winter on Pocosin Creek John Hobbs, while hunting rabbits, had his dog run one into a hollow log. As he stopped to peep into the log the rabbit leaped out full against Mr. Hobbs, breaking his nose and knocking him upon his dog with such force as to crush that animal to death. The rabbit escaped. We don't know as to the truth of the story in the Washington Post, but Mr. Hobbs is a living but disfigured witness of the tragedy on Pocosin Creek. Princeton (W. Va.) Journal.

From— The Falls City tribune. (Falls City, Neb.), 12 Aug. 1904. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.




Ghost on the Train “By the bye,” said I, “there seems to be quite an epidemic railway ghosts, judging from the papers. No wonder, I should think, considering the number of men killed on the railways,” “Yes,” said Hodgson, “I have noticed these railway ghosts. One quite recently was very well authenticated. The story is to the effect that an engine driver was driving his train along a certain railroad. He heard the voice of his father distinctly warning him to stop. He heard the voice so plainly that he felt there must be some danger ahead. He stopped his engine, got out and walked for half a mile, when he came upon a bridge which bad been burned down. But for the warning he would been driven right into the River. The voice of his father saved him and his train. The stoker, who was in the cabin along with the driver, confirms the story as to the driver stopping the engine, declaring that he had heard the voice of his father, and of the finding of the burned bridge.”—W. T. Stead in Borderland.

From— The Dalles times-mountaineer. (The Dalles, Or.), 06 Oct. 1894. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



GREAT LEAPING HODAGS! (March 21, 1922)

Vicious Hopping Horned Hodag Hunted
in Van Cortlandt Wilds

Twenty Zoologists Beat Swamps for Quill-Snouted Barbed-Tailed
‘Monster’ That Chases Small Boys and Is Kin to Famous South American Iguana

Twenty amateur zoologists, under the leadership of Professor MacNeil Weber, formerly of the University of Minnesota, who lives at 2925 Creston Avenue, the Bronx, beat the woods of Van Cortlandt Park all day Sunday in an effort to capture a horned hodag, of which Professor Weber declares but few specimens survive, and which, being a hybrid of unclassified origin, does not appear in scientific works on zoology.

According to the hodag enthusiasts, there is only one authentic specimen in America. It was killed by a lumberjack in the employ of the Shevlin Lumber Company twenty years ago and is one of the prized possessions of the Northwestern Lumbermen’s Association. Late in the autumn of 1920 and again in the spring of 1921 boy scouts encamped in dense woods of the park reported having been pursued by a creature apparently about four feet long with four horns on its snout and a succession of spines extending down its back to and over a portion of the tail. Latter reports of the presence or such a creature were received from other sources, all of them agreeing in general description.

Professor Weber describes the hodag as having a scaly body, somewhat resembling in shape that of a large lizard. In general aspect it presents certain characteristics of the South American iguana, but differs from the latter in that the iguana is a slow-moving creature, usually to be found lying on tree branches a short distance from the earth. The hodag is declared to be of an aggressive nature, inclined to attack rather than to retreat when disturbed. The Van Cortlandt hodag is reported to have been found invariably in the lower and more swampy regions of the park, and search for it has been directed especially to swampy thickets abounding in the park region.

The hodag, according to best descriptions, is hairy of underbody instead of fish-skinned, like the iguana. It is incapable of great speed because of its short front legs, but using its long hind legs for propulsion it is enabled to spring considerable distances, some say as far as twenty feet. Although no sign of the strange animal was met with during Sunday’s expedition the searchers will try again next Sunday. It is hoped to add the hodag to Professor Hornaday’s collection of other odd animals in the Bronx Park Zoo.

From— New-York tribune. (New York [N.Y.)), 21 March 1922. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



WONDERFUL FISH STORIES. (November 30, 1918)

Live mermaid found in Lewis and Clark County
(Written Friday, after Thanksgiving)

There are some pretty large cat fish in the Mississipi river and its tributaries and I am inclined to think that persons who have fished for Mississippi mud cats, have not always stuck to the truth in describing their catch, and it is perfectly natural for one big fish story to call for a bigger one and with willing listeners its not long coming.

“One day as I was rowing up the creek in my canoe (a small tributary of the Mississippi) on my way home after having a poor day's catch) ”said an old-time river fisherman, “all of a sudden the water began to bubble and foam and I slowed down to see what was the trouble, and almost before I could say Jack Robinson a monstrous catfish shot out of the water at a terriffic force and fell in my boat. It's flopping up and down almost wrecked my rather frail craft and observing my danger I began beating the fish over the head with my oar and continued doing so until it was sufficiently stunned to warrant no further trouble and then began to pull for home, but as I did so a vicious aligator shot his head out of the water and with its big red eyes looked daggers at me. That cat tipped the beam [weighed in] at 250 pounds, which gave me one of the finest catches I had enjoyed for a long, long time.” My friend told the above story just as earnestly as if he had not had a full gallon of John Barleycorn in the boat with him that morning when he left for his fishing field.

“Once when some boys were in the river swimming a huge catfish tried to swallow the foot and leg of a half grown boy, but before it could do so and get away a man hunting for ducks observed the phenomena and shot Mr. Fish through the head and not only saved the life of the boy, but caught the fish and it was large enough to supply the community with a first class “fish fry.” The old hunter, who told the above fish story was not a professional prevaricator, but I always wondered how he missed the boy when he shot the fish, his explanation, however, was that it was an act of providence that saved the life of the boy, but as I grow older I am more inclined to the belief that providence was not present at the time unless it was in the bottle of bourbon that he carried in his hip pocket.

An old fisherman and his son went down to examine a trot line they had stretched across a stream, which flowed into the river and on reaching their destiny they soon discovered they had a monster catch, which they soon learned was a monster river cat, which the father said weighed one thousand pounds. For a man and a twelve year old boy to land a cat fish that large was some job, but after an hour’s hard labor they did so and while Dad reset the trot line the boy was put to hold the fish lest he flip and flop and get back into the water, and safety first being his motto, he tied a rope in the gills of the fish and then looped it around the boy’s waist. “I was no sooner out in the water than that fish seemed to get the devil into it and jumped and skipped like a chicken with its head cut off and my boy began to cry for help because the fish got nearer the water every time it flopped over. It was some ways back and before I got started I heard the fish and the boy splash into the water. My boy was game, and having learned to swim like a fish he kept his head above the water though the big cat was darting here and there like a dog with hydrophobia. With the end of the line tied around the boy’s waist and the other in the gills of the fish the boy served as a bob cork to hold the fish in tow. I went to the boy’s rescue as rapidly as I could and I reached him none too early as the big fish was about to take him under. I succeeded after a hard struggle in pulling my boy into the boat and then a battle royal followed in our endeavor to reland our big fish, which we did after an hour’s fight. We were unable to pull the fish on land but we got him near the shore and tied the rope to a tree and then I sent my boy home for help and a wagon, which left me to watch the fish. I had not stood on watch long before it seemed to me some fifty or more cats equally as large as the one I had roped came to the rescue of my catch. They attacked the rope and fight them off as hard as I could they would return and try to break that rope. I never went out without my gun, but I was so busy fighting I forgot my gun, but when I did think of it I used it with telling effect and when my boy returned with help I had ten monster cat fish each weighing one thousand pounds, which we loaded on our wagon and triumphantly drove home.”

When someone who heard him tell the story said, “Well that may be true, but I do not believe it,” the old fisherman replied: “Who the hell asked you or anyone else to believe it?” I too had my doubts and asked him how he could put ten thousand pounds of fish on so small a wagon; he shrugged his shoulders and replied: “I have often put more than that on it.” All the old man said must have been absolutely true because the boy stood by and nodded his head affirmatively while the father told it “fur de gospel truf.”

From— Cayton's weekly. (Seattle, Wash.), 30 Nov. 1918. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



A VINEGAR MINING COMPANY. (Feburary 29, 1892)


He Has Struck a Big Flow of Vinegar In Beaverhead County.

Col. John Doyle was down in Beaverhead county the other day on a prospecting trip. On his return to Butte a Standard reporter asked him what luck he had, and this is the story he told:

“Yes, it is true,” said he, “that I have struck a big flow of vinegar in one of the prospect holes, and I consider it the greatest find ever made in the state. Some are inclined to regard such a discovery as remarkable but it really is not when it is remembered that in Colorado a spring of delicious vegetable soup has been found, and in Iowa a mine of a fair quality of soap. Nothing is remarkable for Montana. The Indians have known the existence of the vinegar stream for years, and have used it as a beverage, and it has often been spoken of by them but never believed until I accidentally discovered it about a week ago. An soon as the facts were demonstrated I had no trouble in organizing the “Beaverhead Vinegar Mining company” and stock the claim for $1,000.000. The stock was all subscribed for at the first meeting, and there is none of it for sale. The well is at present down thirty-five feet and flows four inches of vinegar, equal in quality and flavor to the best product from apples. All of it in at present going to waste, but the company in making active preparations to put it up in barrels. If the flow continues it is our intention to put, in a bottling and pickling plant in the spring. The entire surrounding country has been taken up and will be turned into cucumber ranches next summer, and the vinegar will be used for irrigating purposes. You will readily see into tho scheme, which is to pickle the cucumbers right on the vine. The company will also go into the stock raising business end feed the product of our mine to the animals, and thus raise pickled tripe and pigs’ feet right on the hoof. It in bound to be a great thing, and there will be more than millions in it. We also expect to inaugurate a new method of making sauerkraut, by irrigating cabbage patches with vinegar.

A strange but actual fact connected with the merits of our discovery is that it is a remarkable hair invigorator, and I believe it wold grow a crop of hair on a billiard ball. We intend to bottle wine and put it on the market for that purpose. Work on the mine is still going on, and if our least expectations are realized, pipe lines will be built to the leading cities of the state to supply the demand. It has been suggested that the product could be used for drinking and domestic purposes in Butte, and be a great improvement on the water supplied us in summer. The vinegar mining industry is yet in its infancy, and the possibilitiea that will grow out of it are yet beyond imagination.”

The officers of the Beaverhead Vinegar Mining company are: President, Col. John Doyle; vice-president, Angus Mcqueen; treasurer, Tom Butterfield; directors, Tom Gilechrist, of Helena, Hugh J. Muldoon and Ernest Lange, of Butte.

From— The Helena independent. (Helena, Mont.), 29 Feb. 1892. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



OF MERMAID AND MERMAN. (Feburary 29, 1892)

Live mermaid found in Lewis and Clark County
Joe Mulhattan’s Wonderful Discovery
in the Vicinity of the Broadwater.

He Tells of the Finding of a Subterranean Lake
and a Peculiar Race.

Two Captures Made Which Will be Exhibited at Parchen’s
and the Hotel Helena—The Affidavit.

The original Joe Mulhattan, who is visiting a sister residing at Woodside, in Missoula county, has been spending a few days in Helena. Friday he made one of a party that went out to the Broadwater. After looking over the grounds uniting the natatorium and hotel, the day being pleasant, the visitors concluded to take a tramp over the surrounding hills, About six miles from the cave the party ran across a cave which they named the “Spirit Cave,” says Mulhatton. “In it,” he continued, “we discovered in a subterranean lake a race of human beings, with scales and tails. They are amphibious and subsist on eyeless fish, bats and mushrooms, which abound in great profusion in this wonderful cavern, which is undoubtedly the largest and most beautiful in all America. Its avenues, which branch off in various directions, will measure, in all probability, twenty miles.

“Well known and responsible citizens of Helena who were with me can vouch for the veracity of these statements. We succeeded in capturing one of the females. She is a genuine mermaid, beyond all question. About fifty others that wore playing with her on the banks of the subterranean lake plunged into its deep waters as the exploring party approached them. The cries and struggles of the captive mermaid were indeed terrible; it required all the efforts of her captors to hold her, such a Herculean task being rendered the more difficult on account of her slippery scales. She finally went into hysterics and fainted as she fell into the arms of one of the party. It was deemed best to leave her at Kessler’s place, where Mr. Kessler has a few unused beer tanks, in one of which they placed the mermaid, Drs. Cole and Carmicehal will bring her to Helena. She will be placed in a tank now building for her in the rear of Parchen’s drug store.

“She is a very beautiful creature with pearly teeth. Her hair is raven-black and falls in great profusion and luxuriousness about four feet down her back. She is a fine specimen physically, stands about five feet ten inches, and weighs one hundred and seventy pounds. She can articulate and apparently talk with great vehemence, like all other females. A doctor who was in the party, captured one of the males of this singular race of amphibious human beings, after a desperate struggle. The doctor will have a large glass tank built for the merman, which he will place in the rotunda of the Helena hotel, where thousands of tourists and the scientific world generally can have the opportunity of gazing upon this, the greatest of all modern discoveries, in a living and progressive age.

“The merman is a very handsome fellow. His beard is raven-black and reaches down his breast of shining scales about three feet. His hair is of the same color and about the same length as his whiskers. His moustache is about six inches on either side and is very luxuriant. He weighs two hundred and thirty-seven pounds. I forgot to mention that these amphibious people have long appendages or tails closely resembling those of the alligator. The tail of this mermaid measures three feet and nine inches. The tail of the merman is three feet and eleven inches, and covered with scales.”

Mr. Mulhattan’s story was such a remarkable one that no one in THE INDEPENDENT office would credit it, especially as none of the parties whom he named as being of the party could be found, either to substantiate or deny it. “I had an idea you would not credit it,” he said, “so I have secured the following affidavit:”

"TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: Before me, a notary public, in and for the county of Lewis and Clarke, state of Montana, appeared Dr. C. K. Cole, Attorney-General Haskell, Judge Armitage and Jerome Norris, who hereby testify on oath that a race of amphibious human beings, with scales and tails was discovered in a subterranean lake near the Broadwater hotel, Feb. 26, 1892.

“Subscribed and sworn to before me this 27th day of February 2892 [1892?].

“Notary Public, Helena, Montana,”

It was quite late last evening when Mr. Mulhattan called: too late to interview Mr. Parchen or Mr. Kessler, and neither could be raised by telephone. An effort will be made to-day to get at the merits of the story.

From— The Helena independent. (Helena, Mont.), 29 Feb. 1892. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.




Edison's Steampunk Ghost-Talker. Do the dead live in a world beyond the grave? If so, is it possible for those in the spirit world to communicate with those left behind them on this earth? Just as communication between distant points on our earth is a matter of delicately constructed instruments, so also communication from the spirit world to our own earth must be accomplished through scientifically constructed instruments of even greater ingenuity and much more minute delicacy than the telegraph, the telephone or the wireless apparatus.

This is the belief of Thomas A. Edison, the foremost inventor of modern times, who has recently stated that the problem of receiving messages from the dead is a problem of pure science, and that he is endeavoring to perfect an apparatus which will make it possible to record messages from the spirit world if there are any spirits and if they desire to communicate with us. It is Mr. Edison's belief that only through some specially constructed scientific instrument will a message ever come from the realms of the departed, and that it will be from some spirit of a dead scientist—some wireless expert or telegraph expert or physicist—that the first messages will come.

The present method of receiving pretended messages from the dead through so-called spiritualistic “mediums” Mr. Edison regards as absurd. Some of these mediums are barefaced frauds, of course, but he thinks that many of them are self-hypnotized enthusiasts who really believe that they are in touch with the spirit world. The appliances of the “mediums” are clumsy, unscientific and worthless. No message from spirit land can ever come through such childish paraphernalia, he asserts. If Mr. Marconi or Mr. Edison himself were ship-wrecked on a desert island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean it would be futile to try to establish wireless connection with some schoolboy outfit in a backyard in San Francisco. But it might be possible, with great patience and skill to attract the attention of one of the great, high-power, delicately constructed wireless stations of the navy.

And so it is with a disembodied spirit in the world beyond the grave who might be seeking to attract the attention of mankind on earth. He would have to overcome tremendous difficulties, no doubt, and would be utterly helpless in trying to apply his scientific knowledge through any of the clumsy, puerile equipment of the enthusiastic but ignorant spiritualistic “medium.” But he might be able to make use of waves of ether or other forces in the universe if Mr. Edison succeeds in setting up an instrument which would register calls from such a source. And this is the task which Mr. Edison has now set his genius to work at.

Already science has undertaken tasks of incredible delicacy which are in some respects not unlike the problem which Mr. Edison has before him. The heat of a candle has been measured miles away. The heat of the most distant stars has been recorded. Not only this, but “young stars” are now distinguished from “old stars” by instruments of marvelous delicacy. Everybody knows that the slightest earth tremor on the other side of our globe is recorded by the curious little instrument called the seismograph. In the Massachusetts Institute of Techonology laboratory is a little machine in which it is possible to weigh the earth, and just as the war was coming to an end an American scientist developed an instrument which would give notice of the approach of a man in the darkest night —an instrument so delicate that the moment a soldier stuck his head above a trench hundreds of feet away across No Man&squo;s Land the heat radiated from his face gave a signal instantly.

But, of course, these various instruments are of no value to a person who does not understand them or who has not been trained in the use of them. If the average lawyer, doctor or clergyman or business man stepped into a telegraph office while the operator was absent it would be impossible for him to make use or the instruments to send a message over the wire. And similarly Mr. Edison believes that it is highly unlikely that anybody not technically trained will be able to make use of the forces of nature and the instruments for controlling them after he has passed into the world beyond the grave.

If there is to be any communication from the dead it must be assumed the departed still retain at least the faculty of memory in the next world. If there are spirits and they have memory and wish to communicate with those left behind, it will be a valuable thing for those who pass into the next world to carry with them full knowledge of the instrument which Mr. Edison hopes to perfect. Thus a distinguished scientist like Mr. Edison himself, upon reaching his spirit abode, would be perfectly familiar with the qualities of the instrument and would know what forces were necessary to set in motion to operate the recording apparatus of the machine.

The wonderful new invention—as yet unnamed—which enables us to see in the dark, to detect by their bodily heat alone the presence of bodies or objects which are entirely invisible to the naked eyes, was developed by Samuel O. Hoffman, formerly of the Science and Research Division of the United States Army. It rendered effective service during the closing weeks of the great war, and if it had been perfected earlier it would undoubtedly have played a leading part in the defeat of Germany. A means of locating troops, trenches, artillery, etc., available to one side alone, would have given that side a preponderant advantage in the war.

As has long been known, every object emits a large quantity of radiation, only a small part of which affects the eye. This radiation is the ordinary dark heat, such as is felt on bringing the cold hand an inch or so in front of the face. While of the same general nature as light, it has quite different properties. Hardly any substances are transparent to it, rock salt being the only one easily obtainable. Glass is particularly opaque, so that ordinary optical instruments are useless. However, sharp images can be easily formed by using concave mirrors of ordinary dimensions, as the actual wave-length of this radiation is sufficiently small (1/2500 inch) to obviate trouble from diffraction.

The apparatus consists of a concave mirror mounted on a tripod. This mirror concentrates the object's infrared radiation on the blackened surface of a thermopile, consisting of minute wires of bismuth and silver soldered together. This blackened junction becomes slightly heated as the radiation is concentrated on it. The resulting electrical current, flowing through a galvanometer mounted on another tripod, indicates the presence of “something warm.”

Mr. Edison is not yet ready to divulge the details of his invention or reveal the exact principles involved in its operation. He has, however, said enough to lead to the belief that he plans to accomplish this modern miracle by means of a wonderful “spirit wireless”—an adaptation to communication between the world of the living and the world of the dead of the wireless telegraphy now in use on this earth.

Support of this view is given by Mr. Edison’s expectation that the first spirits to avail themselves of the means of communication he will offer them will be men and women who, during their earthly careers as telegraphers or scientists, became [xxx] in the use of delicate instruments and powerful electrical currents. It is also significant that he refers to the invention on which he is at work as an “apparatous”—the same term which would be used to describe a wireless telegraph outfit with its batteries, transmitters, receivers and lofty aerial towers.

Such a “spirit wireless” as Mr. Edison is now perfecting at his laboratories in Orange, N. J., will mark a new epoch in the history of mankind. Its establishment will settle for all time the question of the soul’s immortality. If it proves that the dead do live on in a world beyond the grave and are able to communicate with us when supplied with suitable means, the “spirit wireless” will do away with the ouija boards, the slates, cabinets and trances of the mediums, and all the other crude, unsatisfactory methods now employed in the effort to pierce the veil of death.

Will the earth soon be dotted with “spirit wireless” stations where the dead may get in touch with us as readily as our living friends do over the telephone? Will the new invention, perhaps, enable us not only to hear the voices of the spirits, but to catch fleeting glimpses of their wraith-like forms?

These are questions which Mr. Edison may be answering any day now to the world’s everlasting sat satisfaction.

It any one can solve this ages-old problem and give scientific confirmation to man’s belief in immortality, surely it is Thomas A. Edison. In all his career he has seldom if ever attacked a problem that has proved too much for his genius. Although seventy-three years old he is still active in mind and body and able to work more hours at a stretch than most men in the prime of life.

How better could he crown his proud record of service to humanity than by perfecting a method by which the spirits of the dead can transmit whatever messages they may have for the living friends they have left behind?

From— Richmond times-dispatch. (Richmond, Va.), 24 Oct 1920. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.




Elephant stampedes at Republican convention.
Practical Joker Turns Animal Loose
in Iowa Republican Meeting and Causes a Panic.

Fairfield, Ia.—The Republican convention in session here the other day broke up with a stampede when a large elephant, weighing several tons and trumpeting furiously, suddenly squeezed through the wide double doorway and began stalking down the convention hall toward the presiding officer.

The elephant was the property of a visiting showman and had been dressed up with a large “G. O. P.” banner across its back and brought to the convention hall by a practical joker. But this fact did not impress itself all at once on the delegates.

Immediately there was a panic. Men rushed madly for the windows and leaped for their lives. Several were seriously injured and among them James Billings, a stanch Republican of this section. Mr. Billings was in the rear of the hail when the elephant entered and was first brought to a realization of the monster’s presence by feeling the hot breath of the breath on the back of his neck. Frightened half out of his wits, he made a mad rush for the window with the elephant following slowly in the wake. At the window he stopped not a second but literally rolled himself out. He landed on his side on the hard concrete walk below and suffered the fracture of his right arm. He was generally bruised shout on body.

Other delegates were forced to the came manner of egress. Within five minutes the convention hall will cleared of the delegates and the elephant left in complete possession. Some of the more hardy did not remain behind, thinking to conquer the invader in some manner, but these, too, were sent flying from the window when the elephant, lifting up its trunk, sent a column of water playing in their direction. They were drenched as well as frightened when they landed on the concrete walk below.

From— The Farmville herald. (Farmville, Va.), 23 Nov. 1906. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

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THE PHANTOM LADY. (December 25, 1910)

The White Lady is always a campfire favorite.

But Mr. O’Donnell has himself seen phantasms of some of his friends. Of one such personal experience he gives the following particulars:

“One New Year’s Eve, a few years ago, I was at a small country station in the Midlands, waiting for the Birmingham train. As the weather was very cold and wet there were few travelers, and the platform, gloomy and streaming with water, presented a singularly forlorn and forbidding appearance. Having been confined indoors all day I was glad to snatch any opportunity for stretching my limbs, and was pacing up and down in the rain when I narrowly avoided collision with a very elegantly—though unseasonably—dressed lady. Apart from being pretty, she had a decidedly intellectual face, and I was so struck with her that I admit I wheeled round with the intention of passing her again, when, to my astonishment, there was no one to be seen, and on my inquiring both of the stationmaster and solitary porter who the lady was, it was positively asserted that no such person had entered the station.

“Some months later, when taking tea at a club in Knightsbridge, I was introduced to the Lady —, whom I immediately recognized as the lady I had seen on New Year's Eve. I mentioned the incident to her and she laughingly told me she had never been in such a place.”

From— The Washington herald. (Washington, D.C.), 25 Dec. 1910. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.




Tall tales of texas snakes.
Some Climb Trees and Rob the Nests of Birds.

How a Yellow Racer and a Hoopsnake Had Lots of Fun
Together—The Opossum Snake Feigns Death When It Is Touched.

“There is a species of whipsnake in the Lone Star state, the male of which is jet black and the female pea green,” said a former resident of Texas. “They are long, slim reptiles, and they climb trees and rob birds’ nests with remarkable celerity.

“The yellow racer of Texas is another interesting snake. When he crawls his movements are from side to side, but when he races he undulates, with his head several inches in the air, and he can get over the ground almost as fast as a jack rabbit. You will often see a yellow racer chasing a red-bellied hoopsnake, and vice versa. Sometimes you will see them racing side by side neither seeming to try to outspeed the other, and both getting over the ground for the fun of the thing. The most amusing snake race I ever saw out there was between a hoopsnake and a racer. There was a big bulge in the hoopsnake's body, evidently caused by a large toad in his stomach, and he wabbled so that every little while he would lose his balance and tumble side-ways. The racer also had a large lump in his body, but it didn't bother him much in traveling, and he stopped and waited whenever the hoopsnake tipped over. The hoopsnake would look up and start in again, and he and the racer covered more than two miles in that way, going ahead of the horse I was riding.

“While trying to net pigeons one season I saw a yellow racer crawling toward the stool pigeon. For the moment I was more concerned about a hawk that had been circling overhead for some time, and I didn’t pay much attention to the snake. At length the hawk dived at the stool pigeon and knocked the breath out of it. Without waiting for the hawk to snatch the stool pigeon the racer wound himself around the hawk’s neck and breast. Suddenly a hoopsnake rolled past me at top speed and brought up near the stool pigeon, as if he was going to help the racer strangle the hawk. The hawk arose before the hoopsnake got a chance to tackle it. It hadn't ascended more than two hundred feet when the racer tied its wings tight to its body, and the hawk dropped like a wad of mud, thirty feet or so from the stool pigeon. The hoopsnake had been glaring at the hawk as if he was disappointed, but the instant it landed he rolled right at it and commenced to thump it on the head with his horn. The hawk screamed and struggled violently, and the racer tightened his coils around its wings and prevented it from rising. It couldn’t fight with its claws, and the hoopsnake continued to hammer it on the head, and the racer to squeeze it, as if it had been a put-up job between the snakes beforehand to tackle the hawk in that way. The hoopsnake pounded until he had battered its head all out of shape with his sharp horn. In a little while the hawk ceased to stir, and the racer unwound himself, and the hoopsnake stopped hammering. Both reptiles gazed at the dead bird for a moment, and then the hoopsnake hooked his tail into his lip, and the two went away together.

“The opossum snake of Texas feigns death if you tap it on the back with a switch, and sometimes when you make a quick strike at it and don’t touch it. The natives assert that a badly scared opossum snake will remain quiescent until sunset, no matter how early in the day you scare it, and then it will glide off at great speed. I once frightened an opossum snake by switching the ground near it. The snake made believe it was lifeless, and I hid in a clump of bushes and watched it. It couldn't possibly have seen me, and for an hour and forty minutes it remained perfectly motionless. It lacked two hours and twenty minutes of sundown, but I had concluded to stay there and see whether the snake would clear out. I lost the chance, however, for within a few minutes a pair of turkey buzzards lit on the snake together. It began to squirm and flop and beat the grass, but it had waited a little too long, for the buzzards pulled it in two speedily, each sailing away with a writhing half.

“At another time I watched an opossum snake for hours, and was paid for it a little after sunset by seeing a monster owl pounce upon it, tie it into knots and sail off with it.”

From— Freeland tribune. (Freeland, Pa.), 06 May 1895. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



SPEAKING OF FISH STORIES. (December 2, 1906)

Fantastic Fish Story. During a recent Boston engagement Miss Eva Tanguay had occasion to meet at the house of a mutual friend a certain professor who holds a chair at Harvard. Miss Eva, who is somewhat of a wag, [a person prone to mischievous humor] and who might be called in the vernacular of the green room a “kidder,” told the professor of a wonderful gold fish which she had removed from its acquarium every day, each time increasing its atmospheric sojourn in such a gradual scale that at length the subject was trained to live in the air altogether.

The professor of science looked perplexed. “The carassius auratus,” said he thoughtfully, “living out of water! Why, my dear Miss Tanguay, that is impossible, because—”

“Now, professor,” interrupted the mischievious Eva, in all seriousness, “If I should bring the dear little fellow over to your laboratory in Cambridge would you believe It then?” The scientist laughed, and, of course, accepted the challenge.

A short time after this conversation Miss Tanguay and the professor came face to face on Tremont street. “How about that aerial goldfish story?” asked the scholar, with a chuckle, confident that the other was cornered.

“Oh, professor,” lamented the artful Tanguay. There was pathos in her voice, but her eyes sparkled with merriment. “A most sad end,” she sobbed, “has come to my little fish. I was crossing the Charles river on my way to your laboratory when the goldfish fell from my bag into the water and was drowned!”

From— The Washington times. (Washington [D.C.]), 02 Dec. 1906. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



SLEPT ON BEAR’S BACK (June 22, 1907)

Child slept all night with bear.
Minnesota Boy Unhurt After Night In Bruin’s Den.


Lumberjack’s Remarkable Tale Puts Him In Line For Admission to the Nature Fakirs’ Association — Hopes Roosevelt Won't Learn His Name.

Withholding his name lest he be classed by President Roosevelt as a “nature fakir” along with C. D. G. Roberts and others, a Minnesota lumberjack relates a bear story which makes the Rev. Dr. William J. Long’s animal tales sound like axiomatic truth.

In the wilds of Minnesota, a dozen miles front Grand Rapids, dwells a homesteader named Hans Larsen. While clearing the land for cultivation he has also been rearing a family of seven children. Among the number is a three-year-old boy, who is known as Kid.

The kid left home March 10 and went into the winds. It was three or four hours before his mother missed him, and it was three hours later when the neighbors were informed and the search began. A logging contractor also was notified and he assembled his crew of fifty men. The remaining part of the story is best told by the anonymous lumberjack, who found the boy the following day at noon:

“When the old man sent the hurry-up call for us to drop drivin’ and hike over to the Norsk’s, who lost his kid, we broke for the little farm mighty quick. We knew the woods were full of wolves, and if they didn't get the kid the night was due to be colder’n — and he'd freeze to death before the frost fell. We just stopped at the wannegan long enough to fill our lunch sacks with grub and get plenty of matches, and then we put right into the woods a-flyin’.

“We, made torches of birch bark, besides havin’ all the lanterns there was on the drive, and the ole man spread the whole fifty of us out, and we fine tooth combed that country all night. But we couldn't find hide nor hair of the kid, and when mornin’ come I says to myself, ‘That kid's a goner sure,’ and about everybody else thought the same way ’cept the ole man, and he never would give in if he died.

“After we had lunch we went at it again. Along about noon I found the kid sleepin’ in a hollow log. Would not have seen him if it had not been for his little cap that had fallen on the ground. He was in a bear den, I took him out of the log, and the first thing he said was that he was hungry. I gave him all the lunch I had left, and he devoured it.

“I tried to get the story of his experience from him. After I raised the long yell and was waitin’ for the boys to come in he did make out to tell me that he played about in the woods until he got tired and then tried to go home, but couldn't get there. Then It got dark; then he caught on to a big black ‘doggie and two little doggies’ layin’ down, and he laid down with them and slept warm all night, and he was so tired when mornin’ came that he couldn’t keep up with the ‘doggies.’ They ran away and left him.

“Then he tried to get home, but couldn’t make it and found the hollow log and crawled in, cryin’ for his mother. Jehosephat! If that kid didn’t sleep with that she bear and her cubs and never got a scratch! But how a she bear with cubs, the most dangerous creature that walks, ever allowed him to do it I can't get through my head.”

From— The Fairmont West Virginian. (Fairmont, W. Va.), 22 June 1907. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



A REAL ONE. (August 12, 1882)

Mermaid found in Nortmoutiers.

In 1761 two girls on the island of Noirmoutiers came upon a strange form in a grotto. When discovered it was leaning upon its hands, surveying its face in the water. One of the girls, nothing daunted, struck a knife into the creature, which, wounded, groaned audibly. It had the breast of a full-chested woman. The chin was adorned with a beard formed of shells, and over the whole body there were tufts of similar shells—probably goose barnacles. The tail was that of a fish, and on it there was an excrescence that was neither a foot nor a fin, but which no doubt served some useful purpose.


Numbers of baby mermaids have been caught. One seen sporting with its mother on the coast of New Spain was taken alive and kept in a tub of water for several days, when it died for want of proper nourishment. This specimen, when examined by the Royal Academy of Science at Paris, was pronounced very childlike in the upper part of the body ; but the fingers were webbed, and “the hair on its head was rather coarse and more weedy than that of an infant.” Of other merchildren interesting accounts have been preserved. Of two taken on the shore of the Isle of Man one died of the injuries it had received, but the other lived and seemed quite contented in, a tub of water. Its skin was of pale-brown color, the scales were tinged with violet, and the hair, or what was taken for hair, was of a greenish cast. Its mouth was very small and delicately shaped, and although, it had no teeth, it fed with avidity on shell fish, and drank freely of milk and water, which it sucked through a quill, showing that it had learned to feed from a bottle.

From— Sacramento daily record-union. (Sacramento [Calif.]), 12 Aug. 1882. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



SOUNDS FROM STARS. (May 26, 1904)

Steampunk Star Wizard.

New York Scientist Claims to Have Discovered an Instrument for Capturing the Music of the Spheres.

New York Special.

Sweet sounds from the stars, melodies from the spheres, angel voices from unseen realms of everlasting joy or wails of lost souls in unending torment, crashes of worlds in the making or unmaking, vibrant forces of nature audibly at work—which or what is Prof. Albert G. Albertson able to convey to the mundane sense of hearing by his latest discovery-invention? The professor inclines to the belief, one gathers from talking to him, that the mysterious sounds come from the stars, which word in this article means both suns and their satellite planets.

The instrument invented by Prof. Albertson resembles in some respects a combination phonograph, telephone and telescope.

“It is necessary to bear in mind,” said “The Star Wizard,” as he is called, “that light rays falling on a polished steel plate produce a tone. This is inaudible, however, unless the plate is connected with an electric circuit, also containing a microphone or a telephone earpiece. A number of small steel cylinders, varying in length and perfectly polished inside, are used instead of a plate or hollow steel shell. The cylinders are arranged within the box in such manner as to vibrate freely. The entire box is made part of an electric circuit from the battery, and in this circuit is contained also the microphone and telephone earpiece.

“A revolving disk is in front of the cylinders, and this is so perforated that a ray of light when passing through the small holes will be thrown in different directions. Behind the revolving disk there is a glass prism and a tube containing a lens, which may be directed toward any star. It is necessary to place the instrument upon some soft foundation like a sofa pillow, and cover it with a dark cloth so as to exclude all other kinds of light except that from the star. Only the tube and earpiece remain exposed.” When the instrument is played upon by the sun, the sounds are overpowering, says the inventor. “A million weird and inexplicable noises, due to reflected light from the earth and other planets, spoil the music entirely,” he declares. The different sounds that emanate from the various stars form the very basis of the professor’s great theory of interstellar communication.

These sounds reflect, he believes, different conditions, and are keynotes to the state of affairs on the stars from which the sound comes. In a talk with a Cincinnati Enquirer correspondent lie said:

“It is when the instrument is directed toward Sirius or the planets revolving about the star that the weirdest effects are obtained. If the sounds speak true, despair must be the keynote of that region. Hideous noises, frightful beyond description, pour forth. Nothing earthly can be compared to these fearful sounds. They remind one of spirits in agony, shrieking over the loss of eternal happiness. The hideous, nerve-racking sounds can only be compared to the ravings of the wildest inmates of a madhouse.

“Beautiful Arcturus gives forth the most confusing noises. When the instrument is directed toward this magnificent star of the first magnitude sounds of startling contrast are audible. Now it reminds one of an ear-deafening hurricane, then the roars of a thousand Niagaras beat upon the ear drums. After this tumult, absolute stillness will prevail for a few seconds, then something like a melodious, yet soft, and low whispering will play upon the instrument. This star is in direct apposition to Sirius, and might be the home of perfect love and contentment. The melodies which pour forth from this star remind one of the gentle whisperings of thousands of pairs of lovers on the shores of a moonlit sea. Then, cheerful and zentle laughter, exquisite and soft singing burst forth, and lingering sounds resembling the subdued smacks of fervent kisses relieve the whispering.“

From— Williston graphic. (Williston, Williams County, N.D.), 26 May 1904. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.




SOME startling revelations have been brought before the public by a writer in a London daily apropos of a well-known species of unnatural history, the laundri. One might safely classify it as a domestic animal. While there is no proof that this particular species exists to the United States, still there have been many opinions advanced which show traces of it have been discovered. Here are some of the animal’s habits:

This animal is responsible for an appalling amount of destruction. It delights to attack linen in particular, and the loss to the community through the laundri’s depredations is incalculable.

The size of the animal varies. Some are huge, and the student should note that as they grow, they increase the number of their hands. This is important, because the hands cause the damage. All of the animals make fierce charges, particularly since the war, which seems to have made them bolder. Directly any linen gets into their clutches they attack it with great energy, and it perishes unless rescued quickly.

Precisely why the laundri should cause so much wanton destruction has never been discovered. The laundri is to be found in large numbers in thickly populated centers, where it has much scope for the carrying on of its nefarious activities. It is a naturally cruel animal, which places its victims in hot water and shakes and rubs them until there is little life left in them.

Then, gloating the laundri keeps them captive for quite long periods.

From— East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, Umatilla Co., Or.), 06 Dec. 1919. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



A FIRESIDE TALE (December 25, 1910)

A friend of the author, an artist, gives a case of the spirit of a murdered priest which haunted an old house in Birkenhead. She narrates the occurrence—the absolute truth of which she can vouch for, “as can my aunts and sisters, and as could my grandpartents, if they were alive”—in these words:

“The house was a very high one. It had both attics and cellars, and in one of the attics there was a blood stain, due, so I was told, to a murder of a particularly horrible nature, that had once been perpetrated there, and on account of which the house was reputed to be haunted. Rumor said that in bygone days the house had been inhabited by priests, and that it was one of them who had been killed, his body being taken away in a barrel! in spite, however, of the blood stain and the grim tales in connection with it, my sisters and I, at the commencement of our tenancy of the house, used to play in the attic and nothing happened.

“But at last there came a night when we awoke to the fact that there was a ghastly amount of truth in what we had heard. Some time after we had all gone to bed we were all aroused (even my practical old grandfather) by three loud knocks on one of the doors, which each of us fancied was our own. Then there was silence, and then, from the very top of the house, where the the attic was situated, a barrel was rolled down the stairs!—bump! bump! bump!

“When it reached each separate landing, there was a short interval, as if the barrel was settling itself before beginning its next journey, and then again, bump! bump! fainter and fainter, until it reached the cellar, when the sounds ceased.”

From— The Washington herald. (Washington, D.C.), 25 Dec. 1910. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



SOME RARE SPECIMENS. (December 15, 1909)

Rare Specimens. The inventive genius of the pseudo-scientists has risen to frenzied heights in supplying the Smithsonian institution with creatures never found on land or sea. They have originated the Kirkak-Dik, the exact nature of which is veiled in some obscurity [Ed. Note: possibly the Kirk's dik-dik]: the Krumbo bird, which has a pair of loral plumes and is glossy green above with metallic reflections, and the guyastucus, which is white, spotted plentifully with green. In addition there are two or three fowl which Major Means, who is now on a Journey to the glaciers of Kenia, has not yet rounded up—the Pambafu bird [Ed. Note: pumbafu is idiot in Swahili], the Wood Buffin, otherwise known as the Salkelahoplensis Africanus, whose habitat is the forest about the old Arab fort Kismayu, and the Bartakansius Africanus, peculiar to one part of the country and never seen away from its home.

It is suggested here that a safe plan prior to the acceptance in the United States of any rumor of anything novel and unknown in the way of beast or bird, would be a search for an affidative attached to the pelt.

From— The Calumet news. (Calumet. Mich.), 15 Dec. 1909. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



THE FREEZING MACHINE. (October 10, 1851)

Steampunk Freezing Machine. The Scientific American gives an interesting account of the method of producing ice and snow by machinery. Steam is actually converted into snow by aid of steam, and solid blocks of ice are produced in a few moments.

It is said that the process is exhibited in one of the refreshment rooms of the World’s Fair, where crowds are refreshed with ices made by steam. One hundred quarts of desert ices are produced in fifteen or sixteen minutes, and sixty different kinds can be made by one machine. This is much better than the tedious process by which our ices are prepared for the table; and what is of great importance for us to know, the machine can be mode to suit the convenience of small families. Rooms are said to be delightfully cooled by converting steam into snow. Mr. Masters, of the Royal Polytechnic Institution, Englane, is the patentee. We may be sure that our ingenious countrymen will soon introduce this new invention into this country. In our sultry climate it will be a most valuable acquisition.

From— The Portsmouth inquirer. (Portsmouth. O. [Ohio]), 10 Oct. 1851. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



RATHER “TALL” STORY. (December 1, 1916)

Greastest cold. Two travelers just back from their holiday trip were disputing as to which had experienced the greatest cold. Said one:

“In the part of Ireland where I was the ground is frozen so hard that when they want to bury a man they just sharpen his feet and drive him in with a pile hammer.”

The other replied:

“Yes, I know that place. Didn't stay there long; found it not bracing enough for me. Went on to a small town farther north. The hotel where I was staying caught fire. No fire escapes or ladders in that primitive settlement. Staircase burned away. Luckily kept my presence of mind. Emptied my bath out of the window and slid down the icicle.”

From—Essex County herald. (Guildhall, Vt.), 01 Dec. 1916. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.




Holy Mackerel a fish story “Speaking about showers of fish,” said the solemn-looking nature faker from his seat on the starchbox, ”reminds me of the time we were marooned on an island in the blue Pacific. For two hours there was a shower of fresh mackerel and, strange to say, they all dropped into a salt lake on the mountainside. That brined them.“

“Whew!” the old codgers chorused in unison.

“But that’s not the strangest part if the story. Ten days later a cyclone came along, picked up the brined mackerel and dropped them into a hot spring. That boiled them; and, gentlemen, they were the finest boiled mackerel you ever tasted. I thought about sending some home to the folks, but”—

There was a sudden interruption and six strong men took the nature faker outside and ducked him in the horse trough.—Chicago Daily News.

The Rude Girl.

“I wish sometimes that I could fly
And soar through the air.”
So quoth the callow dude.
Then said the maiden rude:
‘Of flying fish I've often heard.
But flying lobsters, on my word,
Are rare, oh, very rare.”
—Chicago Daily News.

From— The Columbus commercial. (Columbus. Miss.). 17 May 1908. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.




The “belled buzzard” fable is giving a welcome punch to news stories throughout the state founded upon a report coming from Marlington. The mysterious bird prophet of evil has been seen hovering over some of the farms adjacent to Marlington if credence can be given to the word of a couple of farmers living there. Harvest usually keeps farmers so busy this season of year that there is little time left for telling of tall tales, but a rainy day is conducive to yarn spinning, and there has been a lot of rain lately.

Just why a bell on a buzzard should invest the bird with supernatural distinction has never been explained, but, according to the tale, a couple of idle union soldiers caught the buzzard sometime during the Civil-War, and put the bell upon it, and since then the buzzard only appears at long intervals to spell disaster soon to fall. The story is peculiarly, a native fairy story, other countries have ghosts, banshees, and blood curdling happenings of mystery, but to the southern states belongs the “belled buzzard” and to them alone. Melville Davisson Post, built a story about the belled buzzard that would be difficult to equal in its hair raising suggestion, and its brooding, gripping development. The superstition provided Post with a theme that inspired the writer of weird stories to one of his best efforts.

The buzzard is a grewsome bird, even the ordinary everyday variety; it would be hard to conceive any other live object to which superstition might more readily attach; some fertile mind has some time appreciated this, and the “belled buzzard” has been the result. The buzzard is one haunting note of melancholy ever present in the landscape of the south. To the stranger this scavenger bird is a loathsome touch that might well be exterminated, but the law protects it since it is the “garbage man” of a territory where decay is rapidly induced by heat, and where it performs an indespensable duty in ridding the country of matter that would breed disease is left to lie exposed.

It is quite probable that the current “belled buzzard” is the product of some rainy afternoon in the hay mow, or some young farmer boy’s idea of a huge joke which might have involved the real belling of a buzzard. As for calamities and disasters; this mundane sphere has always had such visitations and always will, whether there is a belled buzzard around to proclaim their arrival; or not.

From— The Fairmont West Virginian. (Fairmont, W. Va.), 11 July 1922. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.




Mermaid found in the Bering Sea. Any fond gentleman have a mermaid?

You lovers who have dreamed of the melodious Lorelei in the storied Rhine; you passionate adventurers who have longed to be Ulysses, lashed to the mast, with a penknife to cut the lashings; you bathhouse Tritons who have longed for sea-maidens who didn't wear high heels on beaches, because fishtails and bathing shoes don't gee; you Polyphemuses and you Glaucuses to whose fond fancy Galatea, porpoise-drawn, alone will suffice—for all of you the blissful news is here.

The mermaid is real. There are sirens in the sea more genuine than any song by romancing Homer, more quick with life than the noticeably healthy imitations you have been enraptured with on the operatic stage.

Be satisfied with that. Read no further. Stick to the good old tales of the shellbacks who have been wooed by sirens in shoals, and would have brought ’em along home for marriage and divorce if only some trick of balky fate hadn't ravished them from eager sailor arms.

The rest of this tale is for the girls you have been so ready to forsake? It'll comfort them more than it can please you, because, while the realty is genuine, it is very different from your poetic dreams.

The mermaid proves a creature far indeed from the ideal sea-maiden the romancers have pictured her, as far from the fatal fascinations of her reputation as her abode is from the languorous tropics to which the myth of natural history has assigned her. She doesn't haunt the soft Aegean or comb her streaming locks on sunny Grecian shores. It's the Bering sea for hers; and if any one goes a-wooing sirens, he can omit the tortoise-shell comb and the white bristle brush from the toilet set he's taking along. They may prove baldheaded. The mermaid as she has appeared in the flesh wouldn't arouse the jealousy of a two-weeks’ bride.

The zoologists of France are just now trailing along with their microscopes and measuring tapes in the wake of the crowds of ordinary humans who are flocking to Dijon, in France, to gaze on a natural-born siren, who, that or which has been placed on public view. She—or is she It?—was found in a cave on Bering sea. She—might as well give her the benefit of the doubt—was, alas! extremely dead when found. But she is all there except her hair, the skull being covered with a bare yellowish skin. Nobody can tell yet whether she was born that way or whether a rival snatched her tresses from her to make an extra rat; fashions are a bit behind-hand near the north pole.

As far down as her waist the siren at Dijon is a woman, with a woman's breasts and with arms and hands altogether human, except that the fingers end in great claws. Her teeth, instead of being pearly jewels of beauty set in coral, are as pedalled a cat's—very useful in the assimilation of porgies and whitefish, but scarcely an asset for a Venus.

Below the waist she is plain fish; of enormous proportions as to the tall, as might be expected of any fish equipped with an upper body the size, of a woman. If there is beauty to her at all, it is to be found in the fish half, which is all elegance and grace from the piscatorial point of view, where the human features above are those of a freak or monstrosity.

French scientists, for the time being, seem to have taken the specimen seriously and are giving her an honest consideration. The local public is divided as to her genuineness, although with the majority seeing is believing. In the past mermaid fakes have been worked in the United States as well as in Europe, with appeals to, the credulity of all classes of people. A few years ago the mermaid was a common sideshow attraction with the small circus—not a very difficult illusion to produce under conditions of flickering artificial light and a stream of spectators hustled along so fast that they had only a hurried glimpse of the blonde lady from Fourth avenue, New York, wearing a scaly tail more or less neatly attached to her at the hips.

In an eastern “medical” museum there was shown for many years the mummy of a little mermaid which in most particulars, corresponded to the formation of the siren now on view at Dijon. But it stayed in the museum window so long and it dried out so completely that, after a while, passersby had no difficulty in discerning where and how the fishtail had been joined to the body of a malformed and very small infant.

The siren from Bering sea, should she by any wonderful chance prove to be the real thing, would leave the human belles of the seashore forever free from mermaid rivalry. The only word that can describe the appearance of such a libel on womanhood is “hideous.”

Anatomists have never been able to imagine how the mermaid could exist, for the whole economy of one structure negatives that of the other.

Yet a modification of the siren of tradition might possibly live under a modification of the conditions that have been attributed to her. Replace the human legs from the thighs downward with two tails and leave the creature only slightly amphibious—no more than the capacity for extended submersion that belongs to Indian pearl divers—and it is possible to conceive of the womanfish not only surviving to maturity in the shelter of ocean caves, but of reproducing her kind after the manner of the human mother.

Science has found many a truth—fancifully distorted, it must be admitted—in the myths and legends which were long regarded as wanton insults to the average intelligence.

From— The Hawaiian star. (Honolulu LOahul), 30 Sept. 1911. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



ONE FOR THE CAMPFIRE. (December 25, 1910)

Ghost that haunt houses and elsewhere are generally phantasms not of the living but of the dead. Of such a spectral visitor the author tells this story:

Campfire story “One of the best friends I every had was ‘K.’ who was a fellow-student with me when I was reading in Dublin. K., who came of a very distinguished military family, and was the nephew of the Baroness B., used often to chat with me about the possibilities of the future life.

“ ‘Look here,’ he said to me one night. ‘I’ll make you a promise. If anything happens to me within the next few years I’ll appear to you.’

“I laughingly told him I should be very pleased to see his ghost, and that I would do all that I could to make it feel thoroughly at home. Some months later he went to South Africa, where he eventually joined one of the mounted police forces. One evening, when I was sitting alone in my room in D, I suddenly felt very cold and on glancing toward the window saw a figure standing in the recess.

“Though the figure was misty, luminous, and not at all clearly defined. I had no difficulty in recognizing it as the phantasm of ‘K.’ who had certainly not been in my thoughts for a long time. He appeared to be wearing a khaki uniform, which was very much torn and bloodstained. His face was deathly white and shockingly mutilated, and his eyes, which were wide open and glassy, were fixed on me with a blank stare.

“It was a horrid spectacle, and I was so shocked that I fell back in my chair, feeling sick and faint. I do not think the manifestation lasted more than a minute at the most. A few days later I read in the paper that Maj. Wilson's party had been ambushed and cut to pieces on the Shangani River, and among the names of the victims was that of ‘K.’ ”

From— The Washington herald. (Washington, D.C.), 25 Dec. 1910. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



FISH HOUNDS. (January 2, 1892)

Valuable Dogs are Especially Trained to Catch Fish.

Two dogs, male and female, were seen by the policeman at the foot of Third street about dark last night looking attentively over the edge of the dock. Suddenly one was seen to plunge into the river, while the other stood on the dock a few moments, showing every sign of delight, and then it, too, was seen to plunge into the water. The policeman, thinking that perhaps the dog-owners had fallen overboard and that the dogs had plunged in to rescue them, hastened to the scene. No man was there, but in the month of each dog a large water rat was struggling for liberty, while the dogs fiercely tried to shake the life out of them.

The policeman carried the dogs, after getting them from the water, and brought them to the central station, at which soon after the owner, who lives at Grosse Pointe, called for them. They were a species known as fish hounds and had been brought from the south. They resembled the Mexican in color and in having no hair save a tuft on the forehead, but in size they were as large as foxhounds. Their owner, a fisher-man, living at Grosse Pointe, catches his fish with a seine, and the fish are afterward placed in a staked inclosure. When fish are wanted the dogs are so trained that they plunge in and bring the desired one to their master. They are held at a good stiff price, as the owner finds them a source of great profit.—Cleveland Press.

From— The Ohio Democrat. (Logan, O. [Ohio]], 02 Jan. 1892. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



COSMIC LIGHTNING. (January 27, 1920)

light bulb

NOW comes a modern Ajax in the person of 19-year-old Alfred M. Hubbard and claims he has “tied his wires to the tail of the cosmic lightnings” and that his laboratory lamps are illuminated from the vast reservoirs of universal energy tapped by a device like none other ever built on earth.

Hubbard calls his invention an “atmospheric power generator” and he holds that it will junk every known electrical generator and render obsolete the whole complicated fabric of wires that net the earth. With a machine that will fit in a lower bureau drawer and require no attention from one year to the next and no fuel. Hubbard says he can furnish an entire house with heat and light and power.

The Rev. Father William E. Smith, for 50 years a professor of physics in Jesuit colleges, has made a thorough investigation of the Hubbard invention and has examined every part of it. Prof. Smith declares that it is revolutionary and today as a practical device producing electricity without motion, heat or chemical reaction.

“It is not a fake or a fraud, and neither is it a perpetual motion machine,” declares Prof. Smith. “To call it an ‘atmospheric power generator’ is in error. It produces, I believe, only power stored within it at the time of building, but this power comes from a heretofore unsuspected source and will make the device operate for an almost indefinite time.”

From— The Fairmont West Virginian. (Fairmont, W. Va.), 27 Jan. 1920. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



A FISH STORY. (November 9, 1911)

The Man Who Told It Said It Was Simply a True Narrative.

A man who formerly was a waiter on a big transatlantic liner told this story the other day:

“On a certain trip over I had at my table an irascible old gentleman who was a fresh air fiend. No matter what the weather he always insisted on having the porthole over the table open. It was no use to argue with him, but one day when the seas were very high and the ship pitching and rolling I ventured to remonstrate. He was up in arms in a minute. ‘You are paid to obey orders,’ he said tartly. ‘Open that port,’ I did. The soup course was served in safety. Then I asked him if he would have fish. ‘Of course I will’ he snapped. ‘And I'll have it in a hurry. Don't keep me waiting all day.’

“Just at that moment an unusually big sea rolled by—that is, part of it did. A goodly portion came through the porthole, soaking the old man and depositing on the table in front of him a live fish. No waiter on board of our ship had ever served an order so quickly before. But I didn't get any credit for it. The queer thing about that story,” he added. “is that it isn't a fish story at all. I never told it yet to any one who believed it, but it is absolutely true.”—New York Press.

From— Heppner gazette. (Heppner, Morrow County, Or.), 09 Nov. 1911. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.



MAINE'S SPECTER MOOSE. (December 06, 1900)

Big moose of Lobster Lake.
An Unmatched Giant of the Woods
That Makes Its Appearance at Rare Intervals.

The enormous moose that has been the wonder of the sportsmen in northern Maine since 1891 has again been seen, and this time under rather different circumstances from ever before. A bicyclist came close to the monster in the road between Sherman and Macwahoc, and was obliged to abandon his wheel and climb a tree for safety. So he had a near view of the animal, reports the New York Sun.

Every story that comes from the north woods concerning this moose makes him a little bigger than before. It is generally believed that no moose ever killed in Maine, or, so far as is known, anywhere else, has approached in stature or weight, much less in spread of antlers, this specter moose of Lobster lake. He is called the specter moose because of the weird appearance he presents at night, his color being a dirty gray.

It was in 1891 that this moose was first seen in Maine. by Clarence Duffy, of Oldtown, a guide who was cruising around Lobster lake. Duffy did not get near enough to the monster for a shot, but he could see him plainly. Everybody laughed at his story. Not many months after that John Ross, a Bangor lumberman, was at Lobster lake, and one day, while crossing between Big Lobster and Little Lobster takes in company with the foreman of W. L. Maxfield's camps, he saw the big moose. When he told his story of the monarch of the woods people began to believe that there was something up there worth shooting at.

For some years hunters searched the woods in vain for the big fellow. Not until 1895 was the monster seen again. In that year Granville Gray, a Bangor taxidermist, got sight of the moose, at some little distance, and since then he has had a second view. In 1899 Gilman Brown, of West Newbury, Mass., got nearer to the monster than any of the others and actually had a shot at him. He declared that the moose stood fully 15 feet high, and had antler's from ten to twelve feet across. He was so close to the animal that he could count 22 points on one side of his antlers, and he thinks there were more. This is a greater number of points than has ever been known on any other moose. His shots did not bring the moose down.

This year the first sight of the big moose fell to George Kneeland, of Sherman, who is taking charge of his brother's lumber camp on Gulliver brook. In telling of his experience Kneeland said:

“On my way back from Macwahoc, coming to a long piece of rising ground. I dismounted from my bicycle and walked. I had got to the top of the hill and was just about to remount, when I saw what I took to be a horse standing in the road some distance ahead. Wondering what a horse could be doing there, I stopped and gave him a good look, when I found to my surprise that it was not a horse, but a moose, and an immense one, too. I waited a bit to see what he was going, to do, but I hadn't long to wait, for be lowered his head and came straight for me with the speed of a locomotive. I got to a good, stout tree as quick as I could, and climbed high, where I would be out of reach of the moose's antlers and be able to see what was going on.

“Meanwhile the moose came tearing down the road, and his antlers reached clear across the road at that place, brushing the branches on either side. I should think they would measure 11 feet, all right enough. He made straight for the bicycle, and, planting his forward paws either side of it, stopped to examine the wheel, smelling of it to his satisfaction, then raised his head, gave a tremendous snort and raced off into the woods, breaking down the small growth of saplings as though they were rushes. The wind was blowing toward me, and that is probably the reason he did not discover me. I waited ten minutes in the tree, and then, finding that he had really gone. I slid down and mounted my wheel, and the way I streaked it for home was a caution.”

The average weight of moose shot in Maine is from 800 to 900 pounds, with antlers spreading from 4 to 4 ½ feet, and rarely having more than 8 to 12 points on a side, while the bell, as the appendage under the animal's neck is called, is generally eight to nine inches long. All who have seen the big moose of Lobster lake aver that he must weigh at least 2,500 pounds, that his antlers spread not less than ten feet, while the bell is declared to be not less than 18 inches long. It is supposed that this monster wandered into M