Saluda River Petrified Man
From Kook Science
The Saluda River Petrified Man was a cement statue that was exhibited as petrified remains after their alleged discovery by W. M. Buff near the Saluda River, five miles north of Columbia, South Carolina during November 1895. It was described in Buff's advertisements as being 5 ft. 9 in. (1.75 m.) in height with a weight of 313 lbs. (142 kg.), and was proposed to have been British solder who died during the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783). It was exhibited at the first South Carolina State Fair in 1896 and toured throughout the Carolinas until around 1899, at which time one William C. Dreher wrote a regionally-publicised pamphlet, issued through the Berlin Anthropological Society, in which he declared he had studied samples and found the supposed petrified man was "made out of lime and clay silicate, poured into a mould."[D]
In early 1902, it was reported that the statue had re-appeared in Atlanta, Georgia, being held at the local railway depot after having been shipped there from Newborn, South Carolina in September 1901. Again, one year later, in 1903, the Pristine Petrified Phenomenon was reported as having been discovered in Henderson County, North Carolina, and many asserted it was simply the second-go-around of the Saluda River man.
- "A Petrified Man. One Was Found Sunday in Saluda River.", Watchman and Southron (Sumter, SC): 6, 13 Nov. 1895, https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/668561157
- "A Petrified Man.", The Intelligencer (Anderson, SC): 2, 13 Nov. 1895, https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/76769371/
Touring Circuit (1896-1898)
- "The Petrified Man.", Gaffney Ledger (Gaffney, SC): 8, 2 Apr. 1896, https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/78117106/, "[...] is on exhibition at the Three C's hotel [in Yorkville, South Carolina, and] will be on exhibition in Gaffney on next Monday and Tuesday, the 6th and 7th of April."
- "See the Petrified Man.", Greenwood Daily Journal (Greenwood, SC): 3, 16 Apr. 1896, https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/71663907/, "[...] on exhibition in the vacant store room next door to the ladies' store on next Monday and Tuesday, April 20th and 21st."
- "A petrified man", Morganton Herald (Morganton, NC): 3, 14 May 1896, https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/63249422, "[...] has been on exhibition in Morganton this week and large crowds have gone to see the body."
- "A unique exhibition", Greensboro Patriot (Greensboro, NC): 3, 20 May 1896, https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/62491218/, "[...] at Bogart's opera house next Monday and Tuesday, May 25 and 26. It is the petrified body of a white man, found in the Saluda river, near Columbia, S.C., last November."
- "The Petrified Man.", Edgefield Advertiser (Edgefield, SC): 4, 3 Mar. 1897, https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/72198211/, "[...] on exhibition in Edgefield, March 8th and 13th. Open from 9 a.m., to 10 p.m."
- "The Petrified Man! South Carolina's Greatest Curiosity.", Fayetteville Observer (Fayetteville, NC): 1, 28 Sep. 1896, https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/62844778, "[...] on exhibition in the People's Bank Building, Fayetteville, N.C., October 3d, 4th and 5th, beginning the first Monday. Admission only 10c. Exhibited under the auspices of Mt. Tabor Lutheran Church, Brooklyn, S.C."
- "The Petrified Man! South Carolina's Greatest Curiosity.", Goldsboro Daily Argus (Goldsboro, NC): 1, 20 Oct. 1898, https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/76418921/?, "[...] on exhibition in this city at L. D. Gulley's Store, Opposite Goldsboro tobacco warehouse, Thursday and Friday, Oct. 20--21, Admission, 10 cents."
A German Debunking (1899)
- "Everybody remembers 'the petrified man' who - or which - was exhibited in North Carolina about two years ago.", The People's Paper (Charlotte, NC): 2, https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/66185114/, "The story was that the body had been found in Saluda river, in Lexington county, S.C., and great interest was attached to the object. Well, it was a fraud. The Columbia State tells the story: Mr. Wm. C. Dreher, of Lexington county, S. C., has been residing in Germany for a year or more, and was naturally interested in the petrified man. He secured — how is not told — fragments of him, and submitted them to 'the German spirit of scientific investigation.' The result is shown in a leaflet issued by the Berlin Anthropological Society, which finds that the petrified man is made out of lime and clay silicate, poured into a mould. He is, in a word a Portland cement gentleman. Thus is another idol shattered. — Observer."
- "The Petrified Man a Fraud.", Goldsboro Headlight (Goldsboro, NC): 2, 19 Jan. 1899, https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/62760807/
Resurfacing in Atlanta, Georgia (1902)
- "A Funny Story.", The Manning Times (Manning, SC): 1, 12 Mar. 1902, https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/82720703/, "The Atlanta Journal says quite a sensation was sprung on the citizens of Athens Wednesday morning when the rumor became general that the body of a dead man was at the warehouse of the Georgia railroad depot and had been there since last September. Early in the morning crowds were at the depot to verify the story. The box was received by the authorities in September and was from Newborn, S.C., and consigned to W. T. Hoffman. After being in the depot all this while it was opened up by depot officers Thursday and they were astonished to find the body of a petrified man. The box was a plain, oblong one, somewhat casket shaped. The man is five feet nine inches and weighs 240 pounds. It is claimed the body was in Saluda river, South Carolina. In the breast are two bullet holes and the man had been scalped, presumably by the Indians. The teeth are plugged with gold and finger and toe nails are perfect. The hands are crossed across the breast — just as the body was buried. It is claimed that the man had been on exhibition in Charleston and Chicago."