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The Story of the Lunar Rogue

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It was November 16, 1814 and Henry More Smith was paying the price for his repeated attempts to escape. As the door of his dungeon slammed shut behind Sheriff Bates, Henry’s situation was bleak. Weighted down with 46 pounds of chains and shackles, Henry was left alone in a dark, unheated and completely bare cell. The sheriff records that at this point Henry became troublesome and noisy. One can assume that under the circumstances a saint would have become troublesome and noisy, and the Lunar Rogue was no saint!

Over the next weeks, the Sheriff became convinced that Henry was showing signs of insanity. Day and Night, Henry’s mad ravings echoed through the jail. Quoting scripture and railing at his captors, Henry would keep up until he was hoarse, fall silent for a while, and then start over again.

On December 16th, it was discovered that Henry had apparently kept busy during his month of raving. He had broken his iron neck collar, pulled the staple, which secured his chains, out of the timber and then replaced it so cleanly that it couldn’t be detected. Sheriff Bates, by now convinced that the cell was secure in itself and that Henry was mad, ordered lighter chains for the prisoner and provided a straw mattress. By mid January it was so cold the Sheriff feared Henry might freeze to death before they got a chance to hang him and thus provided a blanket. Henry was, thereafter, checked frequently to be sure he hadn’t succumbed to the cold but astonishingly, the Sheriff’s records show that Henry’s bare hands and feet, as well as his chains, were always found to be warm.