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Sea Serpent Monomania

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Sea Serpent Monomania

Post by Karen on Sun 1 May 2011 - 12:55


At Bow street, George Drevor, a captain in the merchant service, was charged on remand before Mr. Flowers with having sent letters threatening the life of Mr. H.C. Rothery, wreck commissioner. Mr. Poland appeared to prosecute. The prisoner's certificate was suspended in 1879, after an investigation into the loss of the vessel Norfolk, on the Boa Vesta, one of the Cape de Verde Islands. In one of his letters the prisoner called the wreck commissioner a "modern Jesuit," and said that desperate remedies were required for desperate wrongs. He asked for "recompense, employment, or an asylum," and said that if he did not get what he asked for he would "charge his blood with that of another on the nation who had so cruelly wronged him." When arrested the prisoner told Inspector Swanson that he might go into Court and shoot the wreck commissioner on the bench. His reason for writing the letters was partly, he said, the insults he had received from Mr. Rothery because "he was doing the Almighty's work in making his wonders known." He believes he has captured a specimen of the sea serpent, and showed the inspector a serpent in a bottle of spirits. It was "about 4ft. or 5ft. long, and of somewhat peculiar formation." The prisoner said one of his officers had caught it while it was in the act of swallowing a fish off the coast of South Africa. Pamphlets were produced by Mr. Poland which showed that the prisoner believed he had discovered the sea serpent. In one of these the prisoner wrote, "I sincerely believe that God, for some wise purpose, has been pleased to reveal the greatest wonder of animated nature to me." The doctor of the House of Detention said that the prisoner was suffering from monomania on the subject of the sea serpent. The prisoner made a long statement, in which he said his log book, which would show it was not his fault that the vessel was lost, was placed in Mr. Rothery's hands, and he could not get it back. He had sent the threatening letter to compel them to come forward, and to call public attention to gross wrongs that existed in his profession. He was committed for trial.

Source: Colonist, Volume XXV, Issue 2911, 20 July 1881, Page 3

Karen Trenouth
Author of: "Epiphany of the Whitechapel Murders"
Author of: "Jack the Ripper: The Satanic Team"

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