Dec 13, 2014

He Walked Around the Horses

I'm a big fan of the paranormal, especially mysterious disappearances, people who suddenly and inexplicably vanish.

You and a friend are hiking in the woods.  He's a few paces ahead.  You see him go around a bend, but when you arrive, a second later, he's not there.

Your father walks out the front door of your house to go to the mailbox, a journey of 10 yards.  He is never seen again.

A man boards an airplane.  He is served by the flight attendant in flight.  When the plane lands, he is gone.

But the greatest of the "they never came back" stories happened on November 25th, 1809.  Benjamin Bathurst, a 25-year old British diplomat, was on the way to Vienna for  a meeting with Emperor Francis II.  He and his assistant, Krause, stopped for dinner at an inn in Perleberg, Germany.  When it was time to continue the journey, he walked around the horses to climb into his carriage.  Except he never made it to the carriage.

He was never seen again.

It was a journey of 10 feet.  He was out of Krause's sight for only a few seconds.

A few days later, his coat was discovered on a farm a mile north of Perleberg.  And his pants, in the woods near the town of Quitzow.




The gay connection:
1. Bathurst and his servant sharing a room.
2. Wherever he  went, he was naked when he arrived.

The story didn't get much press in 1809, but when it was rediscovered by Charles Fort in the 1920s, paranormal enthusiasts went wild.  It was repeated in every compendium of the unexplained.

Maybe he was abducted by aliens, or zapped into a parallel world.  Maybe he became a time traveler.  Or a vampire.

Many science fiction writers, including Poul Anderson, H. Piper Beam, Robert Heinlein, and Robert Bloch, have covered his story.

Recently debunkers have been pushing a more mundane explanation: that Bathurst was dragged back into the inn and murdered, with robbery or political assassination as the motive (it was a rough part of town, in the middle of the night).

An adaptation of H. Piper Beam's story He Walked Around the Horses will appear in February 2015, written and directed by Claude Miles, who will also play Benjamin Bathurst.  Miles has also appeared in such films as Trouser Snake (aka Penis Monster), The Last Temptation of Fluffy, Cow Tippers from Outer Space, Flying Saucers over Fetishland, and Tarzan's Teenage Daughter, so I'm going to guess that this will not be a serious production.

See also: Richard Halliburton