Choked by a bil­liard ball

BBC History Magazine - - History Now / Background­er -

AnGran­tham Jour­nal/ 11 Novem­ber 1893

in­quest was held in Lon­don for the death of a young man, Wal­ter Cowle, who had pre­vi­ously been em­ployed as an en­ve­lope-cut­ter. On a re­cent night out in Soho, Cowle had vis­ited the Carlisle Arms Tav­ern, on Bate­man Street, to meet with friends.

Some way into the evening the con­ver­sa­tion turned to tricks and feats each could per­form, and, per­haps on a dare, Cowle claimed he had the abil­ity to place a large bil­liard ball in his mouth and close his teeth. His friends were ea­ger to see this trick per­formed, and so the land­lord was re­quested to pro­duce one – which he did af­ter sev­eral as­sur­ances that Cowle would not ac­tu­ally put the ball in his mouth, but would use sleight of hand to amuse and trick the gath­ered com­pany.

Un­for­tu­nately some­thing went wrong, and Cowle at­tempted to swal­low the ball, im­me­di­ately chok­ing. There was lit­tle the col­lected crowd could do. They held him up­side down, slapped his back, and tried to re­move the ball from his mouth, but noth­ing worked and Cowle was soon pro­nounced dead. A good friend of Cowle’s in­sisted he had seen Cowle do the trick many times, and it had never gone wrong be­fore. News story sourced from per­ar­c­ and re­dis­cov­ered by

Fern reg­u­larly ap­pears on BBC Ra­dio 3’s Free Think­ingT

Fern Riddell.R british­newspa-british­newspa

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.