Monday, July 11, 2016

The Freaks of an Insane Man

The Detroit Free Press, June 23, 1881
Did they mean shrieks of an insane man? Who knows. Even the name Gummele is obscure though there was a Michigan Justice bearing that name as well so it seems legitimate.

Of the few other Google results his name brings up is a curious entry in The Manuscripts of the Corporation of Bridgnorth:

"20d. for bryngyng up and downe of the gummele-stalle (the cucking stoole)."

Which makes an accounting for the payments made by the English borough for services rendered and other expenses accrued in 1550. An interesting aside that has nothing to do with our story.


But if you're curious a cucking stool was a chair used for punishment of women, scolds and tradesmen in Great Britain and vicinity for hundreds of years up until the 1800s.

As for John Gummele: he was rendered lame by jumping off a train. Insanity seemed to have worsened his plight. Which led him to Woodward Avenue between Michigan and State at 1 in the morning in June of 1881 screaming bloody murder. Patrolman Whisson ran to aid the man thinking the worst. Instead he found the pitifully crazed man rendered helpless by both body and mind. Off to the county house with another subject.

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