Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Man Who Ate Paste

From: Find-a-Grave user, NevadaBob
A lot of my readers are familiar with the small town of Goldfield, Nevada for the simple reason that it boasts an allegedly haunted hotel...and that Zak and the Ghost Adventures Crew investigated there with quite interesting results.  However, I found something even CREEPIER than a haunted hotel...

...I found out what happens when you eat too much paste.

I think as elementary school children, we all knew that one kid who ate the paste.  Maybe curiosity got the better of us, and we too imbibed.  And while it was pretty gross, and probably pretty weird, it wasn't dangerous was it?

It was for one man, an unknown homeless man who found himself starving on the streets of Goldfield Nevada in 1908.  Goldfield was a relatively new town, having just been laid out six years previously after pioneers from nearby Tonopah discovered gold deposits in the area.  Over the next decade or so, the town proved extremely prosperous, but not for the gentleman in question.  Finding himself without a place to stay, or enough money in his pocket for a meal, it is said that this unknown stranger fished a rather large tub of discarded library paste out of the trash, and started to chow down on what he assumed was a simple paste of flour and water.

Unfortunately, at the time, library paste contained another ingredient, "alum," which was a chemical compound made out of sulfates and water designed to enhance the adhesive qualities of the paste.  Although generally harmless, and even used a means of inducing vomiting, apparently alum is toxic if large doses are consumed.  Which makes one wonder...just how big a tub was this guy EATING?

In all fairness, it is noted that this individual had a heart condition, which was simply worsened by the consumption of the alum, but I'm still not sold.  Intestinal blockage might have been a little more believable for me, but not alum poisoning.

In any event, the unknown man died on July 14, and was buried in the Goldfield Pioneer Cemetery.  His final resting spot is a large rock painted white with red lettering.  His identity remains a mystery, but his legend will live on in infamy among thousands of Pinterest subscribers!

Goldfield Pioneer Cemetery

There's actually an interesting bit of history about the cemetery where Mr. Paste Eater lies for eternity. The original cemetery was established in 1905, right in town.  It was the final resting spot of around 70 of Goldfield's earliest pioneers.  However, as the town grew, the idea of a downtown cemetery didn't sit well with the people.  The Las Vegas and Tonopah Railroad Company came through town and decided that it was demoralizing for their passengers to step off their trains and the first thing they see be a cemetery.  Similarly, it was considered bad taste for visitors of the Goldfield Hotel, which opened in 1908, to look out the window and directly into the town's burial ground.

Therefore, a group of men known as "official ghouls" worked under the cover of darkness to move the bodies to a more suitable location, outside of town.  82 additional burials would be added to the original 70 pioneers, including a murder suspect who hanged himself and another man who was shot.

Goldfield Pioneer Cemetery Photos

Goldfield Historical Society


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