Poor Minnie Bradshaw's only wish was to escape the bricks and mortar of the asylum walls so that she wouldn't die in the poorhouse having wasted away to nothing. It's said that she was haunted by that very fear and it consumed her mind, causing the septuagenarian blue hair to steal off into the black of night to escape the living tomb.
She had gotten beyond the guards in the early morning hours and whether by choice or lack of aural vision she was struck by an interurban shortly after passing through the gates to her freedom. Mangled and dying at Red Cross hospital, she managed to mouth her name and some broken bits concerning her escape and steadfast desire to be free:
"Getting old, getting old. I could not die there after all the happy days gone by. I'm getting old and wouldn't die there. So carefully I crept out. I hardly made a sound. One step on the stairs creaked but nobody heard and I was so glad I could have cried with happiness.
"Down the stair, a mouse could not have been quieter, I went. Then I was outside and put my shoes on. Still there was the gate to pass and perhaps a guard. How I trembled at the thought of going back in there, in the poorhouse!
"But no guard, nobody, saw me and I was free. But I'm getting old. I guess I didn't see the car or hear it, for I, told you I'm getting old and I can't see and hear as well as I could long ago. Back in the old days I could see, see all the happy and beautiful things. Now I'm old. But I didn't die in the poorhouse."
And with those final words she is said to have died dramatically, a smile spreading across her face as she relaxed her body and perished.
Although the newspaper stated her age as 59 the official death certificate stated that she was believed to be 73 years old.
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This is one of the better stories I've come across in a while. Louis Turek, a former charge at Eloise, went missing from his daughter's Detroit home in June of 1937 and ended up at the Lasalle Winery on Grand River in Farmington. Concerned citizens had called the authorities after Turek stared at a mannequin policeman in front of the establishment for five hours straight. When Deputy Sheriff Joe Devriendt arrived at the scene to inquire about the staring contest Turek informed him that three doctors were behind the sign attempting to read his mind. His daughter was summoned to retrieve him and it was learned that he had walked all night to reach his destination.
from The Farmington Enterprise, July 1, 1937
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Finally, I was going through some stuff to get rid of and donate to the thrift store a month or two ago and came across this book "Five Little Peppers and How They Grow" by Margaret Sidney in a box. I had barely even looked at the book since purchasing it a few years back other than to set it aside while I picked through others. I only bought it because it was cheap and vintage looking and had no clue what it was even about. Well... I should have looked inside earlier because it's from ELOISE! It was given to Cora Johnson by Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell in 1933. How's that for irony? I'm always digging for Eloise information online and I have a book that a patient owned while in the hospital sitting 5 feet away from me.
I did a little research into all parties involved and couldn't come up with anything but maybe somebody doing research will know more about it.