Death By Coffin

I found this story in the Leicester Chronicle, 30 August, 1856.

“On Sunday night last a man, who resided in Twenty-ninth-street, was killed in a most singular manner. The following are the peculiar circumstances, so far as our reporter has been enabled to learn – for, in consequence of the opinion entertained concerning his relatives by the deceased, who was a man of considerable wealth and respectability, they have made a great effort to keep the particulars from the public ear.

“It appears that nearly a year ago the deceased, who was 53 years of age, became strongly impressed with an idea that when he should die, the parsimonious disposition of his relatives would lead them to put him in a cheap coffin, while he had a strong desire to be put in one of polished rosewood, lined with white satin, and trimmed with silver.

“Soon after this strange idea got possession of his mind, he discovered no elegant coffin in one of the principal warehouses which suited him. He purchased it for 75 dollars; had it sent to his residence at nightfall, and stowed it away in a small closet adjoining his bedroom, where it remained until the time of the accident.

“How it occurred is not known to a certainty, for the first intimation the family had of the lamentable occurrence was from a servant, who, on going to call him to breakfast, found the door wide open and the deceased lying upon the floor dead, with his coffin at his side. She screamed, which soon brought the family, and on raising the body, the skull was found crushed in upon the brain.

“When discovered, to all appearance, he had been dead several hours. On examining the closet, a bottle containing a quantity of sherry wine was found, and, as Saturday night was excessively warm, he is supposed to have gone to the closet in order to procure the wine to use with some ice water he had on a small table by his bedside. It is thought that he must have sought for it in the dark, and by some mistake upset the coffin, which stood nearly upright. Becoming sensible that it was falling, he probably made an effort to get away, when he fell, and the outer edge struck his head with sufficient force to fracture his skull and cause almost immediate death.”

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One Response to Death By Coffin

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