Murder and Suicide

Found 17 September 1889, floating in Albert Quay, Belfast.

In a bottle, on a slip of paper:

Look out for the body of a man in the Blackstaff who committed murder and suicide, and also for the murdered man. 6 p.m. 10/8/89.

The words “murder and suicide” were written in red ink, and the handwriting was said to be “stiff and cramped”. The Blackstaff is an underground river in Belfast that was culverted and built over in the 1880s. The message was found by a man named Samuel McAfee, who passed it to the harbour police.

“Of course a hoax may be intended by some mischievous person,” said the Lancaster Gazette, “but when taken into account that a body was seen floating in the lough about a fortnight ago, the strange find may possibly bear some significance.”

[Belfast News-Letter, 18 September 1889, Lancaster Gazette, 21 September 1889]

Author: Paul Brown

Writes about football and history. Four Four Two, When Saturday Comes, The Blizzard, The Guardian etc. Latest book: The Ruhleben Football Association. Twitter: @paulbrownUK

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