HEART OF HUMAN FREAK FOUND TO BE RUPTURED. ~ Henry J. Johnson, Who Died Suddenly, Swallowed Glass and Ate Nails and Tacks.

September 30, 1908

Henry J. Johnson, Who Died Sudden-
ly, Swallowed Glass and Ate
Nails and Tacks.

The inserting of steel hat pins in various portions of his body and eating broken glass while giving performances at state fairs and in museums caused the death of Henry J. Johnson of Erie, Pa. He was found dead in his room at 322 West Twelfth street yesterday. An autopsy held last night by Dr. George B. Thompson showed that death was due to rupture of the heart. It was found to be much enlarged, due probably to the nervous strain to which Johnson had subjected his system while making his performances. From newspaper clippings and cards found in his room it was learned that Johnson called himself the "Human Freak."

The man looks to be about 32 years of age, and aside from an enlarged heart, seemed to have suffered no other physical ailments. The description given of some of his performances is that he not only stuck hatpins through his arms, legs and neck, but that he chewed broken glass, bit nails in twain and swallowed tacks. No foreign substances were found in the stomach of the dead man at the inquest.

A. H. Sammitt, at whose house Johnson was found dead, stated last night that he knew little about the man. He arrived here about one week ago and stated that he came from Iola, Kas., where he had been with a country fair. He said that he was going to take a rest of three weeks before starting again on the road. His bill was paid and he kept to his room most of the time. The body was found by a maid when she went to clean the room.

Efforts will be made to locate relatives of Johnson at Erie, Pa.