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06th Jun 2023

Unlucky man was killed by bullet shot at him 20 years earlier

Charlie Herbert

The unluckiest man ever?

This is probably one of the most unfortunate tales you’ve heard in a long time – that of a man who was killed by a bullet fired at him two decades earlier.

In 1905, Henry Ziegland, a farmer from Honey Grove, Texas, dumped his girlfriend Maysie Tichnor.

Sadly, she didn’t take the break up very well, and tragically took her own life.

This led her brother to try and get revenge on Henry. He went to his home and shot him before turning the gun on himself and taking his own life.

But the bullet didn’t actually hit Henry, only grazing him before it lodged itself into tree.

The farmer survived the attempt on his life, and went on to marry and have a child.

20 years later though, fate caught up with him.

While out in the forest chopping would, Henry couldn’t fell one particularly stubborn tree.

So, he decided to place some dynamite in the trunk and blow it up.

The story has never been confirmed – or denied (Wikimedia Commons)

After retreating 50 yards away from the tree, he lit the dynamite and the tree exploded.

Little did he know that it was the same tree which the bullet had lodged in all those years ago.

As the tree blew up, the bullet was dislodged, and was sent flying straight into Henry’s temple, killing him while his son watched.

The tragic incident made headlines across the US after it made the local press – but there are some doubts over its truth.

Whilst there’s no actual evidence to prove it happened, no one has ever denied the story or proved it didn’t happen.

The first news report of the tale appeared in Mississippi’s Jackson Evening News in 1905. It was described as “a marvellous case of punishment on earth for the sins of the flesh,” the Mirror reports.

The story then appeared eight years later in papers across the US. But in these later reports, it was recounted as if it had happened recently, with a different location of Fort Worth also mentioned.

One theory around the story’s origin is that it was thought up by a couple of teenagers as a joke to try and trick journalists.

Whether the story is rooted in fact or fiction will likely never be revealed, but there’s no doubting its tragedy.

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