Tuesday, 10 November 2009

The Broken Plate Club

1895

In a little village in the Department of the Nord (France) there exists a curious brotherhood. It is called the 'Broken Plate Club.' This is its history.

A few years ago some merchants and manufacturers were dining together when a plate rolled from the table, and, falling into the fireplace, broke. As it happened, the number of fragments exactly corresponded with that of the guests. The coincidence was regards as a good augury, and then and there a society was formed which imposed upon its members the bonds of brotherhood.

Each man as he left carried away with him his fragment of the plate. According to the rules, no new member was to be introduced, and at each death the bit of porcelain which was in the possession of the deceased is restored to the president, who glues the fragments together. The last surviving member of the club is charged with the duty of cementing his piece to the rest, and when the plate has thus been re-formed is to be buried.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Unique Freak of Nature

1896

A remarkable medical story has been telegraphed by a Vienna correspondent who chronicles the results of an operation reported from the Czech University in Prague. Professor Maydl recently opened the abdominal cavity of a young man, aged 19, a scholar at the Technical College in Braun, who had suffered since his childhood from a growth extending from the backbone downwards.

The Professor found between the spine and intestines the undeveloped form of a child, without a head, but with discernible extremities covered with fat and grown over with hair. According to the suggestion of the professor the growth is a twin child, which for some reason or other grew into the lower part of the body of the child that was actually born. The theory requires confirmation. The lad operated upon is now quite well and out of danger.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Treasure of the Deep

1894

Advice has been received at Plymouth of the arrival at Galveston (Texas) of the Norwegian barque Elsa Anderson, having in tow the hull of an English-built brig which is supposed to have been burned at sea more than 50 years ago, and which appeared on the surface of the ocean after a submarine disturbance off the Faroe Islands.

The hull of this strange derelict was covered with sea shells, but the hold and underdecks contained very little water. In the captain's berth were found several iron-bound chest, the contents of which had been reduced to pulp, excepting a leather bag, which required an axe to open it. In it were guineas bearing date 1809 and worth over £1,000. There were also several watches and a stomacher of pearls blackened and rendered valueless by the action of the water. Three skeletons were also found, one of a man nearly 7ft. high.

Joy causes Death

1903

The joy at seeing her husband, who had been absent from home, has been the cause of the death of a young wife named Veyre living at Thonon, on the Lake of Geneva. M. Veyrem, who is in the employment of the Sultan of Morocco as an engineer, recently learned the news of the birth of a son, and hurried home to see his heir.

His wife, who was only twenty years of age and had been married eighteen months, was waiting with her baby at the station as the trained steamed in. The husband ran towards his wife, who, pushing the baby in front, fell into the arms of her husband - dead. The post mortem proved that Mme, Veyre had died from excess of emotion.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Extraordinary Death of a Child

1897

A two-year-old child has just died in the Children's Hospital from a cause which is believed to be absolutely unique. It was the offspring of people living in Queen's Park, Harrow Road, and showed every sign of health until it was six weeks old. Then it began to manifest symptoms of pain and was taken to a doctor who, however, was unable to find any cause for the brain trouble to which the symptoms pointed. Other doctors who were consulted were also puzzled and eventually the child was taken to the Children's Hospital. The physicians, however, were hopelessly baffled, and all they could do was to soothe the child's pain.

After death, an examination revealed a beetle in the region of the brain directly above the cribriform plate, in a cavity which it had made. The medical men are convinced that the insect must have entered the child's nostril (probably while it was asleep) and that is then made its way through one of the small holes which pierce the cibriform plate of the ethnoid bone, whis in a young child is cartlaginous. There must, they think, have been some disease of the bone which enable the insect to pass through . . .

The Story of a Cork Leg

1899

A story at once recalling the famous song about the steam arm and a ghastly tale by Edgar Allan Poe is told of John Stanton, who recently died in New York.

Stanton had lost one of his legs, and in its place he wore an artificial limb, which was placed in the coffin with him. At the wake, while the ceremonies were in full swing, someone shook the coffin, thereby releasing the spring in the limb, and the corpse's leg arose erect in the air.

The drunken mourners were thoroughly frightened and stampeded. Some jumped from the windows.The stairs were blocked by the others in their efforts to flee, many persons being crushed, and it became necessary to summon the police before order could be restored . . .

Welcome to the News Crypt

Here you will find strange and curious snippets of news from long ago. Some are macabre. Others will leave you puzzled about what constituted news at the time. Read on and enjoy! Comments are positively encouraged.