Socorro County John Doe
Sex Male
Race Unknown
Location Socorro, New Mexico
Found August 2, 1901
Unidentified for 119 years
Postmortem interval Same day
Body condition Traumatic injuries
Age approximation 40 - 50
Height approximation N/A
Weight approximation N/A (Medium size)
Cause of death Lightning

Socorro County John Doe is a man who was killed by lightning in 1901 in Socorro County, New Mexico.

Case

At around 3:00 PM, the victim and a man named Arthur Hoss, brother of Dr. Swisher, was talking with the victim under a large cottonwood tree on the street near the doctor’s residence in Socorro, New Mexico. Suddenly, lightning struck and at the flash of it, the victim fell forward. Hoss, unaware of what just happened, got him up and asked what was wrong, he saw the victim was dead from the lightning.

The electricity had entered the top of his head, riddling his hat, and exiting through his left foot tearing the toe of the shoe to shreds. His upper face was blackened from the event, but no other marks were present. Hoss was left entirely uninjured and he said he did not even feel a shock despite being three feet away from the victim. Two to three children were playing under the tree, but they left just seconds before. The victim bore no identification and arrived at Socorro during the forenoon. He had dinner at the A.F. Katzenstein’s house and said he had nothing to eat for a long time and was looking for work. He was then buried at the Socorro Cemetery in Socorro.

A newspaper that reported on the incident commented, "Thus ends another book of life. For fifty years the child, the boy, the man had trudged along his way every step and ever hour bringing him nearer to the exact spot at the exact moment. At last the fateful instant arrived. As was in readiness. A lightning flash, and all was over. Call it accident, call it fate, call it Providence, call it what you will, the story of another life has ended and a nameless grave marks the last of its mysteries".

Characteristics

  • Light complexion.
  • Gray hair.
  • Full beard.

Sources

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