Migratory Bones, heard of Dr. Redman,*



  WE all have heard of Dr. Redman,

The man in New York who deals with dead men,

Who sits at a table,

And straightway is able

To talk with the spirits of those who have fled, man!

And gentles and ladies

Located in Hades,

Through his miraculous mediation,

Declare how they feel,

And such things reveal

As suits their genius for impartation.

'Tis not with any irreverent spirit

I give the tale, or flout it, or jeer it;


For many good folk

Not subject to joke

Declare for the fact that they both see and hear it.

It comes from New York, though,

And it might be hard work, though,

To bring belief to any point near it.

Now this Dr. Redman,

Who deals with dead men,

Once cut up a fellow whose spirit had fled, man,

Who (the fellow) perchance

Had indulged in that dance

Performed at the end of a hempen thread, man;

And the cut-up one,

(A sort of a gun!)

Like Banquo, though he was dead, wasn't done,

Insisted in very positive tones

That he'd be ground to calcined manure,

Or any other evil endure,

Before he'd give up his right to his bones!

And then, through knocks, the resolute dead man

Gave his bones a bequest to Redman.

In Hartford, Conn.,

This matter was done,

And Redman the bones highly thought on,

When, changed to New York

Was the scene of his work,

In conjunction with Dr. Orton.

Now mark the wonder that here appears:

After a season of months and years,

Comes up again the dead man,

Who in a very practical way,

Says he'll bring his bones some day,

And give them again to Redman.

When, sure enough

(Though some that are rough

Might call the narrative "devilish tough"),

One charming day

In the month of May,


As Orton and Redman walked the street

Through the severing air,

From they knew not where,

Came a positive bone, all bleached and bare.

That dropped at the doctor's wondering feet!

Then the sprightly dead man

Knocked out to Redman

The plan that lay in his ghostly head, man:

He'd carry the freight,

Unheeding its weight;

They needn't question how, or about it;

But they might be sure

The bones he'd procure

And not make any great bones about it.

From that he made it a special point

Each day for their larder to furnish a joint!

From overhead, and from all around,

Upon the floor, and upon the ground,


Down fell

Low bones, and high bones,

Jaw bones, and thigh bones,

Until the doctors, beneath their power,

Ducked like ducks in a thunder-shower!

Armfuls of bones,

Bagfuls of bones,

Cartloads of bones,

No end to the multitudinous bones,

Until, forsooth, this thought gained head, man,

That this invisible friend, the dead man,

Had chartered a band

From the shadowy land,

Who had turned to work with a busy hand,

And boned all their bones for Dr. Redman!

Now, how to account for all the mystery

Of this same weird and fantastical history?

That is the question

For people's digestion,


And calls aloud for instant untwistery!

Of this we are certain,

By this lift of the curtain,

That still they're alive for work or enjoyment,

Though I must confess

That I scarcely can guess

Why they don't choose some useful employment.

* Dr. Redman, of New York, was a noted medium, and it was said that, for a while, wherever he might be, bones would be dropped all about him, to the confusion and wonder of everybody. These bones, he said, were brought him by a spirit, whose bones were of no further use to him.