Freaks of an Insane Man—A Gymnast Bent on Suicide—Terrible Scene in a Prison Cell
HARRISBURG, April 8
Thomas Hanlon, one of the celebrated Hanlon brothers, gymnast performers, reached here yesterday morning from Indiana, accompanied by three small boys of English birth. It will be remembered that this Hanlon recently fell from a trapeze, at Cincinnati, a distance of some fifty feet, and it is supposed that he became partially Insane. Yesterday evening he notified the proprietor of the hotel that he was obliged to leave for New York, because all the people here were laughing at him.
About two o’clock this morning the three lads were found by the police at the New York Depot, bewailing the absence of their master, who at a later hour was arrested at the Market House for drunkenness, and taken to the lock up, but the Mayor, on examination, found he was insane, and sent him back to the hotel. In the meantime a dispatch was read from his brother Richard, in Indiana, asking why he had left the troupe. The Mayor telegraphed his condition, and was answered that some one would be sent to take charge of him.
This morning, after breakfast, he walked out to the river bank. It soon became evident that Hanlon intended to murder the boys and throw himself into the river. When the police arrived he resisted arrest but after some strife he was again caged in the lock-up, and the Mayor shortly afterwards sent him over to the county jail for greater security. Son after entering the prison Hanlon became violent in his behavior. He asked for a knife, which was refused him.
Mr. Simmons, the jailor, brought him his dinner on a pewter platter, which he seized, broke in two pieces and attempted to cut his throat with the rough edges. Fearing that he would hang himself on some iron hooks in the ceiling, the jailor removed him to another cell, where he beat a fellow prisoner. He was again removed this time to a cell lined with boards and containing no furniture.
On the floor where iron heating pipes, with a large brass nut projecting at a jointure. When left alone in this cell he attempted to commit suicide, by a method of which none but a gymnast would think. He sprang into the air, about five feet, and, turning came down with his head upon the brass projection. He repeated his terrible feat several times, and when assistance arrived the floor was covered with blood.
Six strong men were unable to hold him; he threw them off with the greatest ease, drove them out of his cell and cut one over the eye and broke another’s nose. When his cell was cleared he repeated his horrible performance. His scalp was cut in a number of places and hung over his forehead and face. Hanlon’s strength now began to wane from great loss of blood, and the physicians who arrived administered chloroform, he still showing violence. He was bound down to a bunk in an insensible condition, hand-cuffed and his wounds were dressed. The boys are kindly cared for.