Photo of the Week
October 10, 2021

Well....Halloween is just around the corner and something that fits right in, an iron casket.  This casket was found at the mouth of the Chagres River by John F. Thomas and Fred Berest in June 1954.  The photos shown are taken at the Gorgas Hospital Board of Health Laboratory.  My brother found these photos and others while searching through the National Archives website.  When I first saw the photos I thought is was Sir Frances Drake's coffin.  The story goes that Drake carried his casket on board his ship, but this isn't case, but similar in idea.  In 1848, Albert Fisk submitted a patent for his invention or a Air-Tight Coffin of Cast or Raised Metal.

So here a Fisk metallic coffin was found at the mouth of the Chagres River which was heavily visited by many, especially during the California Gold Rush.  Who brought this coffin to Panama, I guess no one will ever know.  Unfortunately I can't find any documentation about this coffin and what the men in the photo below found when they opened it.

I hope someone knows the rest of the story.  I was surprised not to find an article in the Panama Canal Review magazine.  There might be one, but I couldn't find anything in the index.




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