Yesterday afternoon Deputy - Sheriff Johnson, of Esmeralda County, arrived in this city en route for Stockton, having in charge a demented man named Henry L. Carlton, a teamster. Mr. Johnson gave the reporter a detailed account of one of the strangest cases of mental aberration on record. It appears that about four months ago, Carlton came across the following in a newspaper : —lt is said that a gentlemen in Paris has offered 20,000 francs to anyone who will draw the annexed figure with a pen or pencil without lifting either from the paper, or interfering with any portion of a line previously made ;
Carlton was told that the whole thing was a hoax, and that the feat was as impossible of accomplishment as the solution of perpetual motion. Carlton paid no attention to the opinions of any one regarding the matter, but said he would never rest until he had accomplished the solution of the puzzle. He lived at Wilson s ranch, about twelve miles from Candelaria, and would spend hours working at the puzzle, going over the lines again and ao-ain, and often remaining up until 4 o’clock in the morning at his thankless task. His friends made every .effort to induce him to abandon his enervating work, but of no avail. His loss of sleep made him weak and haggard, and lie lost flesh rapidly. About two weeks ago he began to talk incoherently, and sometimes pausing in his work he wouldmakethelmes with a stickupon the ground. It was quite evident that his reason was slowly giving way under the terrible strain. * iis brother finally concluded to take him off on a hunting expedition in order to divert his mind. He was in the mountains several days and seemed to forget all about the puzzle. One night his friends were Ivin" by the camp fire when suddely Carlton, 0 starting from his sleep, shouted, “I’ve got it, boys; give me some paper and a pencil quick. ” Catching up a stick, he traced the lines upon the ground, and one of the party —Henry Lambert, a farm hand and Wilson’s ranch—positively asserts that he actually solved the puzzle in tracing the lines ; but the man s brother and another who watched the tracing, scoff at the idea. After tracing the lines Carlton shouted and danced like a madman, claiming that be was entitled to the 20,000 francs. He had to be held by main force, and the party sadly retraced thcir steps to Wilson’s ranch. Dr. M'Mecan decided that the man was crazy and the required certificate was given. The officer and his man stopped at the Ormsby House yesterday, and an Appeal reporter visited the lunatic. He seems a man of usual intelligence, but constantly, claims that he has won the 20,000 francs and will sue for the amount. The reporter asked him he could show him how to trace the lines. He shook his lica-d and said ? “ I don’t know you, sir. If I should show you how, lyou would swindle me out of the reward. ” He afterwards said that the officer had offered him a thousand dollars to show him how it was done, but guessed he was too sharp for that. He seems quite rational on all other subjects, and when his mind is diverted from the puzzle chats quite When the officer wishes to leave him alone, he giycs lum a pencil and a piece of paper, and he is sure to find him working when he comes back. Last night the unfortunate man left for Stockton accompanied by the officer, ibis puzzle is one of those things which have no solution, and was started by some thoughtless paragrapher merely as a joke. If this ever meets his eye, he will realise to what extent his joke was carried and how seriously it resulted.—“ Carson (New) Appeal,” December 17.
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PUZZLE-CRAZED., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 76, 20 March 1880
PUZZLE-CRAZED. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 76, 20 March 1880
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