|John Carter, Circa 1862|
Monday, September 26, 2011
Insanity, delusion, amnesia, guilt, and wealth
Found recently is an early image of Captain John Cater, CSA who after the Late War, prospected in the Arizona Territory, finding a vein of gold and perhaps something else. He later retired to a small house in New York State along the Hudson River, dying on 4 March 1886. He left a peculiar will behind and a quantity of documents, which were discovered over the course of years. Among many peculiarities of his life was his tomb, which was specially constructed while he was alive to be unopenable, except by a mechanism located within the tomb itself. suggesting he also had a fear of catalepsy along with the delusion of time and space travel.
He claimed to have been chased into a cave in Arizona while prospecting by marauding Apaches where he astrally projected himself to another planet he called Barsoom. There is some conjecture that Barsoom was actually Mars a half million years ago, which meant that he believed he not only projected himself over millions of miles but over hundreds of thousands of years in the past. Carter also had selective amnesia, claiming to have no memory of a time before the Civil War.
Being wealthy, he avoided being sent to a sanitarium and hid away in his cottage in a remote area until his premature death in 1886. His death certificate has disappeared as well as nearly all records of his life outside of this photograph and some military records with the Virginia cavalry. Carter obviously had an accomplice who destroyed documents, dropped off packages of documents over the years and sometimes masqueraded as Carter “Uncle Jack” after his death.
Outside of his well written delusional dreams, which were subsequently published as fiction by Edgar Rice Burroughs, a few records, and this photo, there is no proof that John Carter had even lived. His birth, baptismal, and most military records and, most curiously, his death certificate disappeared. There have been rumors that John Carter became an immortal, not just on this world, but also on several worlds over a huge span of time. That conjecture dwelled upon too deeply might just land you a billet in the Arkham Sanitarium. This image is part of an exhibit at the Rhode Island Museum of History about the history of mental treatment of delusional persons.