Shakespeare’s Missing Head April 4, 2013Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern , trackback
We’ve already enjoyed some of the adventures of Orville W Owen in Bacon land, most particularly digging up the River Wye in search of treasure. The New York Times article that we quoted there ends with the accusation that some journalists have misquoted Orville.
Then, again, [Orville] is quoted as expressing the belief that Bacon, in a fit of temper murdered Shakespeare, cut off his head and buried it along with the manuscripts. ‘there is not an atom of truth in these statements’, said Dr Owen.
This was in 1911, yet consider this report from an American newspaper in April 1891 sent into us by Chris from Haunted Ohio Books.
A physician of Detroit, whose practice appears not to make such demands upon his time as to preclude attention to the exciting sport of cipher hunting, has discovered in the bowels of the accredited works of Lord Bacon, and the ‘so called’ Shakespearean plays the story of a murder which has up to this time escaped the official investigation of the prosecutors for the English crown. At least this doctor says he had discovered this, and, as he is respectable, sane and rich, his tale is no doubt true. The Detroit discoverer, who must under the circumstances be esteemed veracious, avows that this bad Lord Bacon not only, one fine summer day, struck off the head of his good gossip William Shakespeare, but thereupon proceeded coolly to embalm the same, inclose it in a leaded casket, together with a parchment setting forth the facts, and thereafter to bury it at a certain designated crossroads, that it might remain forever undisturbed until the cipher narration of the truth should be uncovered. All of this happened some time ago, but so well taken were the measures of concealment that the suspicions of the centuries have never been directed against the author of the crime. His own confession alone convicts now. Prosecution does not lie, but the case, however, musty, possesses certain features of interest which will be heightened when Dr Owen of Detroit proceeds to England for the purpose of digging up the leaden box, the embalmed head and the precious parchment. This the discoverer of the cipher and the crime promises at once to do. He has unearthed minute directions which satisfy his intelligence that he will have no serious trouble in securing the evidence against Francis Bacon’s moral character, but in favour of the truth of his cipher story. The exhumation of the embalmed head he intends to offer as a ‘last and final proof of the authenticity of my cipher’. It will be so accepted. The doctor has the price of ocean passage in one of his inside pockets and this is no good reason for delay. Even before the middle of May a delighted world may be staring at the embalmed head, which, by the right of discovery, out to become the sole property of Orville W. Owen and serve to double his present fortune. The English-speaking nations will await with impatience to pay admission fees to the doctor’s curio hall.
So was all this just made up? Or were these early theories that OWO chose to forget? drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com