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Huntsville Independent (AL)
Huntsville Independent (AL)
Contributed by klstacy_home

Description: John Snyder Fated To A Perpetual Tramp

Date: September 16 1886

Newspaper published in: Huntsville, AL

Source: Madison County, AL Library

Page/Column: Page 1, Column 9

John Snyder Fated by Nervous Disease
To a Perpetual and Continuous Tramp
CHICAGO, Sept. 12.—A special to the Times from Marion, Ind., says: One of the strangest penalties that eccentric fate has ever indicted on a member of the human family is shown in the case of John Snyder, who resides at Mile Grove, a small station thirty miles east of here. His peculiar destiny is that he must not stop walking until he walks into the grave.
Snyder's strange affliction dates back to a little over two years ago. At that time he became the victim of some sort of nervous complaint, from which he found relief in a measure by walking until completely exhausted. His strange malady became more and more aggravated, and he would get up in the middle of the night and walk five, ten and fifteen miles before sufficiently exhausted to sleep. Then he would walk twenty-four hours on a stretch. It is asserted on unquestioned authority that the entire time in the last year that he has been off his feet would not aggregate over three or four hours. Eating and sleeping, in daylight and darkness, he keeps up his tireless and perpetual tramp, tramp, tramp. Around his house is a beaten path nearly a foot deep, worn by months of incessant walking. He goes at a steady gait of a little over three miles an hour, seventy-four miles every twenty-four hours, 518 miles each week, 2,220 miles a month and 27,000 miles a year. In the last two years he has walked far enough to twice encircle the globe. Two years ago he was believed to be insane and was sent to the asylum at Indianapolis. After a short confinement it was shown that he was not a subject for mental treatment and was released. A distinguished authority on nervous diseases gave it as his opinion at the time that if Snyder was to be bound hand and foot he would become a raving maniac and die in a few hours. He has walked ever since and cannot stop. If he halts for a few seconds his legs become cramped and exhibit convulsive tendencies, and there is no rest or relief but to continue his tramp.
A strange feature is related in connection with Snyder’s pedestrian tendencies: A few months ago he was put to sleep in a recumbent position by the use of opiates. On waking he was so surcharged with the demon of disquiet that he sprang up and ran for five hours at the rate of about twelve miles an hour, when he again lapsed into his accustomed gait, which he has since maintained without interruption. Snyder is about sixty years old and has a large family. In other respects, his health is good, and aside from a haggard and haunted expression, there is nothing unusual in his appearance. His step lacks spring and sprightliness, and gives the impression of sore feet and an almost intolerable weariness. All belief that his mild rage is an assumed one has long since been dissipated. His case is a remarkable one and is apparently beyond the ken of physicians or scientists.

Submitted: 12/24/19

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