When William Harrison disappeared from Campden, England, in 1660, his servant offered an incredible explanation: that he and his family had murdered him. The events that followed only proved the situation to be even more bizarre. In this week’s episode of the Futility Closet podcast we’ll describe “the Campden wonder,” an enigma that has eluded explanation for more than 300 years.
We’ll also consider Vladimir Putin’s dog and puzzle over a little girl’s benefactor.
John Cowper Powys once promised to visit Theodore Dreiser “as a spirit or in some other astral form” — and, according to Dreiser, did so.
Sources for our feature on the Campden Wonder:
Sir George Clark, ed., The Campden Wonder, 1959.
“The Campden Wonder,” Arminian Magazine, August 1787, 434.
“Judicial Puzzles — The Campden Wonder,” Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, July 1860, 54-64.
Andrew Lang, Historical Mysteries, 1904.
J.A. Cannon, “Campden Wonder,” in The Oxford Companion to British History, 2015.
Bruce P. Smith, “The History of Wrongful Execution,” Hastings Law Journal, June 2005.
Frances E. Chapman, “Coerced Internalized False Confessions and Police Interrogations: The Power of Coercion,” Law & Psychology Review 37 (2013), 159.
Tim Hume, “Vladimir Putin: I Didn’t Mean to Scare Angela Merkel With My Dog,” CNN, Jan. 12, 2016.
Roland Oliphant, “Vladimir Putin Denies Setting His Dog on Angela Merkel,” Telegraph, Jan. 12, 2016.
Stefan Kornelius, “Six Things You Didn’t Know About Angela Merkel,” Guardian, Sept. 10, 2013.
Wikipedia, “Spall” (retrieved Oct. 7, 2016).
Associated Press, “Boise City to Celebrate 1943 Bombing Misguided B-17 Crew Sought,” Nov. 21, 1990.
Owlcation, “The WWII Bombing of Boise City in Oklahoma,” May 9, 2016.
“World War II Air Force Bombers Blast Boise City,” Boise City News, July 5, 1943.
“County Gets Second Air Bombardment,” Boise City News, April 5, 1945.
Antony Beevor, D-Day, 2009.
This week’s lateral thinking puzzle is from Paul Sloane and Des MacHale’s 2014 book Remarkable Lateral Thinking Puzzles.
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Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode.
If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for listening!