Sunday, 13 July 2014

Dr Large. An inquest involving a reptilian encounter. 1876.

The Mercury Hobart, Tas.
22 march 1876

At an inquest held in the Wagga Wagga district on the body of a man found drowned, the following proceedings are reported by the Advertiser as having taken place:-

"The inquest was held under the shadow of a tree at the dam, many miles removed from all human habitation.

When the police man reached the solitary spot where tho body lay, with his difficult capture of five unwilling jurymen, two large 'carnivorous' or ' alligator' lizards vulgarly called 'iguanas' (to which delicate vegetable eating creatures they boar about the same affinity as a wholesome dorking does to the filthy vulture), were found gorging themselves on the 'human face divine' of the unhappy man, the circumstances of whoso untimely death the coroner and jury had met to unravel.

One of the reptiles referred to made his way off to a distance. The other scampered up a eucalyptus which shadowed the body, and under which Dr. Large at once proceeded to make a post-mortem.

Lodged in a fork some 20ft. from the ground, it was disgusting to observe the eagerness with which the reptile watched the surgical operations, and endeavoured to reach tho body whenever the doctor turned from his work for a moment for any necessary purpose.

The creature appeared quite heedless of the presence of the police, coroner, and jury, who were within a few feet of the tree, inwardly determining to 'sit on his body' when his time should come.

At length the examination over, the various features of the mutilated form of poor humanity having been replaced in their relative positions, the doctor retired. 

The instant he left tho body the reptile came down from his elevation in two acrobatic movements (which it is impossible to describe, but in the performance of which he appeared to be formed entirely of legs and tails), and with avidity resumed his disgusting banquet.

This was too much for the onlookers, and the reptile was despatched by Constable King by a leaden avenger from his revolver."

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