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VMs: Re: Kelley's end
Rene Zandbergen wrote:
> The bit I don't like is that he tried to escape
> from a tower on two occasions, and on both occasions
> the rope broke and he fell down and broke one of
> his legs. It gives a strong suspicion that two
> different versions of the same 'hearsay' story
> have merged into one. But maybe I am too skeptical.
I don't think you are. The problem is that most of what
is circulated about Kelley's post-Dee time in Bohemia
comes from 19th c. popular accounts (especially by
Josef Svatek) which although based on archival sources,
may include some "glue" narratives invented by
the author. Moreover, Otakar Zachar, the early 20th c. Czech
researcher of the history of alchemy, states in one of
his articles that the stories about Kelley, Sendivogius, Seton
and Scotto were all intermixed. Sadly, he referes to his
forthcoming monograph on Sendivogius, which was "at the printer's"
in 1912, but was never published - and the manuscript is
not among his surviving papers.
What makes me suspicious about the "broken rope" element in
the story is that the punishment of "the tower" - which
was rather standard imprisonment - did not mean putting the poor
guy up on the top - but down in the basement of the tower.
The top was too valuable as a defence watch-point to place
all sorts of criminals there. Of course one could get out
from the basement, then climb up to the nearest window
and only then climb down the tower to break free...
> At least it gives his death date at 1597 which,
> as I understand from Rafal, is now the more accepted
Yes, and Ivan Svitak even suggests that he actually survived
that, too - and possibly went to Russia (with Arthur Dee).
It is worth keeping in mind that he was barely 42 then
so breaking a leg (even if true) was not necessarily
a mortal stroke.