1955, August 15~19: Deer’s Tears

On August 28, 1955, William Rice, a reporter, described a very bizarre occurrence that took place in the home of Rose Adonelfi in the Coney Island neighborhood of New York City, New York, USA. According to Rice, on Monday, August 15, a stuffed deer's head hanging on Mrs. Rose Adonelfi's wall began to cry.

"Dry those tears." [Larger version here]

        The mounted head was that of a "nine point buck" that her son Basil had shot in October 1954 in Canada. The stuffed head continued to shed tears for four days with no obvious explanation, and stopped as suddenly as it had started. A "torrent of visitors" had been visiting Adonelfi's home to see the crying head for themselves.

        When questioned, the taxidermist -- Milton J. Hoffman -- could only state that he prepared the head like he had done all the rest in his twenty years of practice, with glass eyes and a plaster stuffing. There was no reason anything in its makeup should have produced the effect of tears. Some of the visitors to Adonelfi's home had tasted the tears and stated that they were salty, "like human tears."

        Rice's article on the matter was accompanied by a picture that showed a woman, identified as 'Linda Lombroso', wiping tears from the stuffed head's eyes; the article does not explain if she was related to the house, or if she was just a visitor.

One Shot Wonder

        This is one of those truly odd reports I wish I had more information on! There are plenty of ways to fake tears on inanimate objects, as countless pretend miracles in churches have shown, so it's perfectly possible the tears were staged... but to what reason? Unfortunately, there is only one report about this matter that I can find, William Rice's article in the Daily News of New York City for August 28, 1955, titled "Crying Spree of Coney Deer Deep Mystery". It may be a 'deep mystery'; but the bigger mystery to me is that I can find no earlier mention of this incident, even though it apparently occurred between August 15 and August 18.

        When nothing popped up in any other newspaper either before or after Rice's article, I took the time to look through every page of the Daily News between August 15 and August 28, to see if the same newspaper had mentioned anything about the incident earlier; and it hadn't. It would seem, then, that if a 'torrent of visitors' -- Rice's words -- had been visiting the house, they must have heard of the deer's tears by word of mouth only, and that Rice only heard about it after the animal's eyes had dried.

        Mr. Rice could have -- of course -- made up the story, but for two details that would be problematic if he had. First, he reported the actual address of Mrs. Adonelfi's home in his article; given the likelyhood of another torrent of visitors heading to the reported address after the fact, it would have quickly gone sour for Rice if he had invented the details. Second, the photograph that accompanies the article, and names the woman shown; I suspect 'Linda Lombroso' would also receive increased interest after the article, and if she were not what was said, this too would go sour.

        So for now, we only have what Rice's article tells us of this incident, and it really isn't enough. Rice's article was apparently sent to the American magazine on strange topics, FATE, by a reader; the basic details of the event appeared there in a news-clipping section of the January 1956 edition, which is where I first ran across this matter.