Monday, December 13, 2010

1956 :: George Sessions Perry Disappears


Southwestern Historical Quarterly. Vol. CVI, No. 1. July 2002. A Brief Peace: The Postwar Years of George Sessions Perry by Garna L. Christian. Whatever childhood or wartime demons hovered over George Sessions Perry as he disembarked from the European front of World War II, the fates appeared to favor his every turn. . . . A scant decade later, this fortuitous future lay submerged with Perry in an ice-bound Connecticut river, claiming the life of one of the most widely read writers in America. . . . Perry disappeared from his Guilford farmhouse between noon and three-thirty on the afternoon of December 13, 1956, when Claire left for a dental appointment. Since he apparently wore only a light coat and a pair of pants against the winter chill, his wife surmised that he had gone out to look for his missing spaniel, "Mister Mutt." After the dog returned alone, a fruitless search by police, firemen, and even a helicopter crew cast gloom on the prospects of recovery. An outpouring of messages of advice and hope included an offer from Post publishers to involve the governor in the search. The local police chief, a friend of the Perrys, recalled George recently "look[ing] remote" and having said, "The best thing I can do in this depressed state is either to jump into the river and swim to the North Pole or run into the woods until I drop." Two months to the day of his disappearance, a bridge inspector found Perry's nude body wedged against an abutment in the East River, several miles from his home. A coroner judged his death "consistent with suicide."

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