Friday, September 24, 2010

Coroner's Court: Death by Needle?

A puzzling story from the January 17 Ypsilanti Record raises more questions than it answers. How did Ann Fowler really die?

Miss Ann Fowler, an Ann Arbor woman, died suddenly Friday afternoon. Following her death an autopsy was held and it was discovered that her death was caused by a four-inch needle which had penetrated the brain at the base.
It was revealed by a friend that Miss Fowler was in the habit of leaving needles in her pillow and it is believed that in this way the needle entered the skull while she was asleep. The absence of pain was attributed to the fact that the needle avoided all nerves.

Probably the least likely cause of death I've read about to date. Red flags all around. Let's ask a few questions here:

1. What kind of needle was it? I don't know of any four-inch needles. Quilting needle?

2. Who in the Sam Hill would keep needles stored in their pillow? If she is a seamstress, she surely has some random bit of cloth, much less a needle book, to stick her needles in.

3. How likely is it that a needle in one's pillow would enter one of the very few exposed areas in one's skull, a ball of solid bone?

4. Why did they say she didn't feel pain because there are no nerves in that area? So far as I know the head and neck contain many nerves and is a relatively sensitive area.

5. Is there any discreet censorship going on here?

6. Why do they mention no relatives?

Ann Fowler doesn't appear readily in the federal census or an online cemetery guide. Who are you, Ann Fowler? Why did you die as you did? What are your thoughts, reader-jury?


Joe said...

What year was the article wrote?

Dusty D said...

Sorry, Joe, that was a silly omission: was an article in the January 24, 1924 Ypsilanti Record.

BF said...

Curious indeed.

And now to pick nits... what *date* was it written? You've given us two. :-)

Dusty D said...

Gack--middle-aged brain error, sorry. On re-checking it appeared in the Jan. 24, 1924 paper. Dunno why I wrote the 17th; must have been looking on wrong page.

Can't find her in old censuses, but in one old city directory Ms. Fowler is listed as a secretary.