Friday, December 16, 2005

The Cannibals of Rhode Island

Roger Williams came to the American colonies in 1630. Due to his strong belief in religious freedom, he soon got in trouble with the authorities of the Massachusetts Colony and was thrown out. Although this created some hardship for Williams it was just the first step on the road to his true destiny which was to become the beloved, outspoken leader of the colony of Rhode Island by founding town of Providence. While many history books tell the story of Williams and his life not many ever mention the most fascinating aspect of his life, which was what happened to him after he died! Last take a closer look…

It all started in 1683, when he died and was laid to rest, beside his wife Mary Salyes, on their farm. A simple headstone marked the graves, and several years afterwards, local townsfolk decided to erect a memorial worthy of the deeds Williams had accomplished.

A commission was appointed to unearth the bodies of Williams and his wife so that they could be moved to the site of the memorial and given a more proper burial. As commission members and townsfolk watched the disinterment they stood by eating apples from a tree on the farm. An apple tree, interestingly enough, that was very well known for producing the most delicious tasting apples in the area. The men hired by the commission began to dig up the area of the headstone and found to all of their surprise that there was just one problem; every trace of the Williams’ bodies had disappeared.

Although it took quite a while to figure out who had robbed the graves, the thief was finally caught, sort of. It was found that the culprit was in fact the very same Apple tree that was so well known for its ‘tasty’ fruit and from which everyone in the area would eat.

It seems that the tree’s roots had grown through the coffins that contained the Williams’ remains and penetrated the areas where the couple’s chest cavities once lay. Eventually it had completely absorbed both of the bodies. Curiously, the spreading and branching root system, which were preserved an moved to he Rhode Island Historical Society, had taken on the resemblance to the unique circulatory system of a human body!

So who are the Cannibals of Rhode Island? Well just think about it, it soon became obvious that all who had chomped down on the tree’s delicious red apples had inadvertently eaten one of America’s most famous colonial figures and his wife! What a truly weird would we do inhabit! Join me next time.

I’m Average Joe

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