Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Vanishing Prisoner


            There was a bizarre incident at the Prussian prison of Weischselmunde (near Danzig) circa 1815, involving the disappearance of a man named Diderici. He had worked as a valet for an important man in the city. After his employer died suddenly of a stroke, Diderici had dressed up in his master’s clothes and a white wig and attempted to withdraw a large sum of cash from the family’s bank while impersonating the dead man. He was caught almost immediately and sentenced to 10 year imprisonment.
            One afternoon he was walking in chains in the walled prison’s exercise yard, with other prisoners walking directly ahead and behind him when, as described by the other prisoners, he “began to fade.” According to testimony taken of both guards and convicts within seconds Diderici became intangible, then invisible. His iron chains clanking to the ground.
Prison at Weischselmunde
 Officials suspected that the guards had been bribed in some way to let Diderici escape, but when the inquiry into the disappearance only yielded 28 identical stories, the authorities had no choice but to label the incident as a bizarre “act of God” and closed the case. Diderici, who had somehow made reality every prisoner’s dream, was never heard from again.