Killed in a mock duel

An inquest was held yesterday at Manchester respecting the death of Thomas William Whalley, aged 19, who was killed in an amateur dramatic performance at the Cathedral Schools on Tuesday night.

The deceased took the part of Mercutio in “Romeo and Juliet”. In the duel between Mercutio and Tybalt, Mr Holmes, who represented Romeo, rushed on to separate the combatants.

Mr Thompson, who impersonated Tybalt, made a lunge, as required by the part, beneath Romeo’s arm, and unhappily his sword penetrated the chest of the deceased, who staggered and fell. He became unconscious and died soon afterwards.

Mr Thompson and the deceased were on the best of terms. The Coroner said it was a dangerous thing that in a mock duel people should use swords so sharp as these particular ones were. All who took part in the performance were guilty of negligence in allowing the use of such weapons.

A verdict of accidental death was returned.
The Northern Daily Mail, April 2, 1891.

The Devil a landowner

A correspondent at Helsingfors writes:- The following singular case is troubling the heads of the Finnish lawyers at present.

A man died a week or two ago in Pielisjarvi, in the interior of the country, who was said to have led a bad and ungodly life.

He had always been known to be well off, but nobody knew how he had gained his possessions.

There were many strange stories afloat, but one which was more credited than all the rest was to the effect that Huolarinen, as was his name, had, in his early days, been on an intimate footing with “Wihtahausu” (the “Evil One”), with whom he had several transactions of a commercial character. When Huolarinen’s will was opened it was found that he had bequeathed all his landed property and possessions to the devil.

The family naturally protest against the will, and the question now arises how this ticklish matter is to be settled.

Everybody seems anxious not to offend any of the parties concerned. There can be no doubt that the devil is thus a landowner, by legal right, in Finland.

The Sheffield Evening Telegraph, August 1, 1888.

A headless ghost

Superstition rarely stands in the way of the extension of postal accommodation or convenience; but a case of the kind which recently occurred in the west of Ireland is mentioned by the Postmaster-General in his report issued yesterday.

Application was made for the erection of a wall letter-box, and authority had been granted for setting it up; but when arrangements came to be made for providing for the collection of letters, no one could be found to undertake the duty, in consequence of a general belief among the poorer people in the neighbourhood that, at that particular spot, “a ghost went out nightly on parade.”

The ghost was stated to be a large white turkey without a head.

The Edinburgh Evening News, September 8, 1876.