From 1856 to 1889 the Leatherman was a wandering vagabond that used to walk a loop from the Connecticut River to the Hudson River (New York) and back. This was a 365 mile journey and the Leatherman would make the trek year round. If you aren't from around the Northeast you really can't understand how amazing that is. The Winters are extremely harsh with ice, snow and sleet and the terrain is nothing to sneeze at either.
The Leatherman would take this journey sleeping in rock caves arriving in the same locations at the same time of day, at the same time of year. My grandfather would explain how people would leave food out on their back porches in anticipation of the Leatherman's arrival. He would only speak in grunts and gestures, mixing in a few words of broken English. Local farmer's would plant or harvest crops based on the Leatherman's presence because it was more accurate than any other indicator of timing.
The Leatherman could be identified by the stitched leather clothing that he wore. This outfit was estimated to weigh more than 60 pounds. Rumor is that he also had a strangely disfigured face caused by jaw cancer. Folklore differs on the exact identity of the Leatherman and his reason for the constant travel. Some people believe the Leatherman to be Jules Bourglay from Lyons, France, but many experts believe that he is someone completely different.
The Leatherman would abruptly leave if anyone ever asked him about his origin or why he would walk the continuous loop. If you took his picture he'd never return to your stoop. This gave rise to rumors that the he may have killed his wife and her lover and needed to constantly be on the move. Others believed that he had committed a series of crimes in Europe and it was his penance to walk the loop. A French prayer book was found on his body after his death. He also was picked up by the Connecticut Humane Society and hospitalized at a mental institution, He promptly escaped.
The creepy aspect of this story is what happened after the Leatherman's reported death. The Leatherman was buried in Sparta Cemetery in Scarborough New York. The grave needed to be moved due to its close proximity to Rte 9. When they exhumed the Leatherman's body nothing was found in the grave besides a bunch of coffin nails.
It is said that if you go to one of the Leatherman's Caves on a winter day you can still smell the smoke from his fires and the tobacco of his pipe. Another urban legend states that the Leatherman still walks his old route and if you leave out food for him at the right time of year it will be gone the next day.
Wormwood is coming out June 5th
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