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Ble registrert: 11 Jan 2005 08:54:43
|Skrevet: 28 Mar 2018 23:18:05 Tittel: Oslo - Boston, student Otto Haldor Larsen, selvmord 1922
|Boston Herald, Massachusetts. Monday 20 March 1922, p 1 and 3:
TECH MAN, MISSING SINCE SUICIDE PARTY, TAKES POISON ALSO.
Found in Rear of Art Museum – Grips Vial That Figured in Girl’s Tragedy.
WROTE STRANGE NOTE TO MEDICAL EXAMINER.
Gave Divorcee Acid at Her Request, to End Unhappy Life – Fled to Avoid “Non Understanding” Police.
Otto Haldor Larsen, the Technology senior, missing since early Thursday morning, when he rushed from the apartment at 282 Newbury street, where Pauline Virginia Clark, divorcee and adventuress, had just killed herself by drinking poison, was found dead by the bridle path behind the Boston Art Museum at 8:30 A. M. yesterday.
One hand was in his pocket, clutching the same half-emptied vial of hydrocyanic acid which had figured on the girl’s tragedy, and on his person were letters addressed to Medical Examiner George B. Magrath and to the editor of a Boston newspaper, telling of his love for Miss Clark and of the circumstances surrounding her death. Interwoven in his half-mystical half-demented story, which showed plainly the tremendous strain under which he was suffering, were hysterical complaints at the sensational way in which certain newspapers had treated an affair which was evidently sacred to him.
In his communication to Dr. Magrath, Larsen states, in an utterly matter of fact way, that he gave her a solution of cyanide of potassium, at her request, to enable her to and her unhappy life, and adds that when he first met her, six weeks ago, she was already so depressed that he wondered how she had been able to resist the temptation to find out what death in reality is. His disappearance he explains by his anxiety “to avoid questioning by non-understanding policemen.”
Finding of the Body of Larsen
The first intimation that the police received that their country-wide search for Larsen was at an end came when Henry Haskell of 115 Hemenway street telephoned headquarters that while out walking with his dog in the Fenway an excited woman had called to him that there was a dead man lying on the grass between the foot path and the bridle path immediately behind the Art Museum, and on investigation he had found the body.
Ambulances from station 16 and station 10 were both ordered to the scene and the latter, arriving first, took the body, which was still warm, to the City Hospital in the hope that it might be resuscitated. A cursory examination by physicians, however, showed that death had occurred at least a half-hour before and the letters and other effects in his pockets proved beyond doubt that it was Larsen.
As the southern Mortuary, to which the body was transferred, is in Medical Examiner Watters’s district, he was immediately notified. Dr. Magrath was also informed about the tragedy, and when he arrived it was announced that as Larsen had been first found in his district and as he had been in charge of the Clark case from the beginning, he would, at Dr. Watters’s request, assume charge. Later in the day the body was transferred to the North Grove street mortuary.
Fingers Cut by Glass
In the pockets of Larsen’s belter leather coat were found a book, some personal papers, the letters and the poison vial which had broken in his last convulsive grasp, and had cut his fingers badly. The documents and the lining of his coat were covered with blood.
The suicide of the young Norwegian student and his detailed revelations regarding Miss Clark’s death comes as a dramatic second and final act in one of the mysterious and highly colored tragedies that has happened in Boston for years.
The letters were written on Hotel Essex stationery, but after a personal investigation by Superintendent of Police Crowley yesterday afternoon no evidence was found that he had stayed there during the three last days which elapsed between Miss Clark’s suicide and his own. The authorities believe that he stayed with a friend who lives near the Fenway.
The communication to Dr. Magrath, with all its original misspellings, is as follows:
“In order that the disgraceful comment of certain Boston newspapers upon the death of Miss Clark may be given a chance to come to a completion I take the liberty in this way to tell what I know about the tragedy:
“I met Miss Clark about six week ago at her apartment on Newbury street. She was already at that time depressed and told me incidents from her life of such character that I at times wondered how he had resisted the temptation death in reality is.
“In spite of “Boston Telegram’s” ill written comment–by the way, I believe that paper perfectly insatiable where scandals are concerned–Miss Clark is not a “Society Bell” of the pleasure seeking type. Her charming parties were given to kill the moroseness her life had precipitated in her. Defiant of society, to strong to ask for help or sympathy, she had long ago decided upon how the end should be when her many devoted friends no longer could divorce her from the misery of her own thoughts.
Asked Him to Get Her Poison
“Knowing me to be a chemist she asked me to get her some poison. I agreed, extracting from her the promise that she would not use it until her Mother came back. She gave her promiss, and I prepared for her a solution of potassium cyanide, partly neutralized with acid, although I did not anticipate to what end. Neither Mr. --------- nor any of the other gentlemen in the party had any part in Miss Clark’s suicide. Nor had the young lady from Worchester.
“What happened Wednesday afternoon and night I will shortly describe:
“I called Miss Clark on the ‘phone about six o. c., where I met two gentlemen, Mr --- and Mr. ---, neither of whom I had met before. Present was also Miss Clark’s lady friend from Worcester. The two gentlemen left shortly after my arrival to procure a pint of whiskey with which they reappeared about eight o. c. At ten o. c. Mr. --- went to the auto-show and came back about eleven thirty. Shortly before that Miss Clark had telephoned Mr. ---, who came to the apartment shortly after. – All this time music had been played. I was not feeling very well, not having had dinner and therefore asked the ladies permission to go for dinner. Miss Clark however personally made up some sandwiches and partook herself in the meal.
“Around one thirty M. – reclined on a couch. Mr. --- was conversing with Miss Clark and I with the lady from Worcester.
Tried to Regain Poison
“I had a suspicion that Miss Clark had told her friends about the poison, and also that she contemplated to break her promiss. I took the phial, but Miss Clark saw it and tried to regain it. I gave it willingly back to her after having made her reaffirm her promiss not to use it until her mother came back. Few minutes later while I was in the hall I heard Mr. --- cry out for me. Rushing into the parlor I found Miss Clark lying in a chair. I tried to make her throw up the poison, but neither mine nor Mr. ---‘s efforts succeeded. It was then I, knowing the effects of the poison, notified by telephone physicians and then left the apartment, unnecessary to say in order to avoid questioning by non-understanding policemen. I preferred to wait until my testimony would be of value, then give it and take the rest of the cyanide, as I intended to do already before I had the privilege of meeting Miss Clark, whom I truly estimate to be one of the world’s finest women.
“Hoping this will clear up the mystery I am yours sincerely
“(Sgd.) O. HALDOR LARSEN
“After having read the ‘Sunday American’ of March 19, I find it necessary to add that I have never quarreled with my friend Mr. --- . I knew him able and myself unable to marry Miss Clark, and therefore never knowingly appeared to be his rival.
“Sir! I wish it would be possible to stop the scandal-mongery of the newspapers”
In his other letter, evidently written under extreme mental stress, Larsen replies specifically to certain questions which were asked by an afternoon paper, not The Traveler, which he mentions in the note to the medical examiner. In making it public Dr. Magrath added the following written comment:
“The original of this letter was enclosed in an envelope addressed to the ‘The Boston Herald – Boston.’. From my enquiry into the matter, it is obvious that the writer did not have in mind The Boston Herald, to which the envelope was addressed, not The Boston Traveler, to which the body of the letter was directed.
“(Signed) George Burgess Magrath, M.D., Medical Examiner.”
The letter follows:
“Sir! Your insatiable desire for scandals will cause you incessant grief whenever you meet discreet people. Let me advise you to use cyanide of potassium when your inferiority becomes too conscious in your mind (if you have one).
“Your paper have amused me tonight: how brutal the police has been to keep truth from your columns for one whole day! Delicacy cannot possibly agree with your kind of democracy – can it?
“But after all I cannot forgive you: the English (Shakespeare will forgive me for calling it so!) of those columns! Take my advise, Mr. editor: Discharge the man or men that wrote about the latest ‘Back Bay scandal.’ Neither to you, not to the public can they give anything but an after-dinner digesting-agent. And for that purpose cyanide of potassium is better and sweater than the venom of your columns.
(Sgd.) “O. Haldor Larsen.”
“P. S. – This may be forgiven just for once? I really must answer that four questions you think so important to solve the ‘mystery’ of Miss Clark’s death. (I refer to your Saturday evening edition.)
“1. I took the phial with poison, with poison, because after Miss Clark’s death it was my property and I could use it.
“2. There were no poisonous tablets in the apartment and on my part no excitement.
“3. He hid – let that suffice to avoid the too vulgar stare of your favourite reporters – after having called doctors? (Sir, only your paper could ask that question.) Let us say: because the young lady might have a chance to live.
“4. As far as a man not profoundly medically educated can know, I knew the girl to be dead when I left the apartment.
(Sgd.) “O. Haldor Larsen.”
Son of Wealthy Family
Larsen was 30 years old, the son of wealthy and influential people who are prominent in Christiania, Norway. His father is a merchant and exporter, and has served in the past as Belgian consul-general, and the young man himself was a graduate of the national university. Coming to this country something more than three years ago, he immediately made good at Technology, where he matriculated in the chemistry course.
About six weeks ago, at the time he first met Miss Clark, he suddenly grew moody and morose, and since then has dropped out of his accustomed haunts and has rather shunned his friends. To one, he confided that while he knew all the details of Miss Clark’s past, he felt that she had acted as she did out of defiance of convention rather than through any innate evil, and had made up his mind to help her.
He was regarded by those of his classmates who knew him as an artistic, rather morbid man, who at heart was fonder of books and pictures than of science. He was also known as a mystic and a spiritualist and they are convinced that he had no fear of death and drank the poison in the full belief that he was destined to meet Miss Clark in the other world.
Dr. Magrath said last night that Larsen had been undecided between suicide by poison or drowning, and had contemplated both together. The fact that he drank the hydrocyanic acid in close proximity to Muddy river bears out the idea that if the poison by any change had failed He would had attempted the other method.
Mr. Haskell said last evening that when he found the body it was reclining naturally by the side of the road, as if Larsen had fallen back asleep. One hand was resting on the ground at his side and the other was in his pocket, where he had evidently hurriedly replaced the bottle, after swallowing the deadly fluid. His wrist was cold, Mr. Haskell stated, but when he put his hand under his coat to feel the heart action the body was quite warm.
Boston Herald. Friday 7 April 1922, p 17, column 3:
LARSEN’S ASHES ON WAY HOME
Body Cremated After Back Bay Poison Deaths Are Declared to Be Suicides
JUDGE BOLSTER FILES HIS REPORT
The Clarke-Larsen double tragedy which stirred Boston a few weeks ago, came almost to a close last night when the ashes of Otto Haldor Larsen, Technology senior, left Boston on the midnight train for New York in the custody of Emil Anderson, who is connected with the office of Obert Sletten, Norwegian vice-consul here.
The urn will leave New York at noon today on a boat which will convey the remains of the youth to his parents in Norway.
Officially Declared Suicide
Following the report yesterday of Chief Justice Wilfred Bolster of the municipal court, on the deaths of Pauline Virginia Clarke and Larsen, which he declared were suicides by the self-administration of hydrocyanic acid, and in which he absolves “any person now living,” Medical Examiner George B. Magrath released the body of Larsen to an undertaker, who removed it to Forest Hills cemetery, where it was cremated.
Larsen’s body has been resting on a slab at the North Grove street morgue near that of the young woman wo, at her apartment at 282 Newbury street on the night of March 15, gave the gay party which had a dramatic ending when she drank her death potion from a phial provided by Larsen.
The inquest was brief. Ten witnesses were examined by Judge Bolster in the presence of Dist.-Atty. Thomas C. O’Brian and Police Inspector James A. Dennessy, chief of the homicide branch of the bureau of criminal investigation. At the conclusion of the hearing, Judge Bolster made his report to the district attorney.
Text of the Report
The report is as follows:
“I find that Pauline V. Clarke came to death March 16, 1922, in consequence of poisoning by hydrocyanic acid, self-administered with suicidal intent. Neither the thorough investigation by the medical examiner, comprehensively reported, nor the investigation by the police authorities, nor any evidence disclosed in examination at the inquest, participated in by the district attorney in person, disclosed a particle of evidence tending to show incitement to suicide by participation in said act by any person now alive.
“In a proceeding designed only to ascertain whether the machinery of the criminal law should be set in motion, I deem it unnecessary to report in detail with reference to the acts of the only person at whom suspicion is directed, that person being now dead. (See inquest report No. 34, Otto Haldor Larsen.)
“Under the conditions, it is my opinion that the whole sorry affair should be covered by the charity of silence.”
The report on the death of Larsen reads:
“On the 19th day of March Otto Haldor Larsen came to his death in consequence of poisoning by hydrocyanic acid, self-administered with suicidal intent, and that no unlawful act of any person contributed thereto.”
|Boston Herald, Massachusetts. Monday 20 March 1922, p 3.
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