The strange case of Rudolph Fentz seemed to have been put to bed when a folklore researcher named Chris Aubeck provided evidence that the story was nothing more than fiction.
That all seemed to change in 2007 when a 1951 newspaper report came to surface…
In 1950 a strange looking man in Victorian clothing suddenly appeared from nowhere in the middle of Times Square.
He stood out like a sore thumb and onlookers reported him looking very worried and bewildered. Within minutes he was hit by a passing car and killed on impact – it was as if he had no idea what a car was!
When his body arrived at the local morgue they searched his pockets and found the following items…
- A beer token that had an imprint of a saloon on it that was not from the area
- A receipt for a horse care service that was not listed anywhere in the area
- Just under $100 in banknotes from a bygone era
- Business cards that contained his name along with a business address on Fifth Avenue
- A letter with his address on it that was dated on June 1876 ( the letter had been sent from Philadelphia )
All of these objects were considered very old but not one of them showed any signs of age – they were certainly NOT fakes.
The Missing Persons Department
This was obviously a case for the Missing Persons Department of NYPD and they took it upon themselves to figure this mystery out.
At first they checked out the info on the business cards and managed to locate it on Fifth Avenue. When they got hold of the owner he claimed that he had never heard of a Rudolph Fentz.
They then went through address books and fingerprint records and found nothing on the stranger – there were no reports of anyone missing that fitted his description.
The investigation faltered until one day an officer stumbled upon a record of a Rudolph Fentz Jr. in a telephone book of 1939. Could this be the lead they were looking for?
They paid a visit to the building where Fentz Jr. had lived and some residents claimed to have known him quite well. They informed the authorities that he was a man of approximately 60 years in age and he had retired to an unknown location back in the 40’s.
After more diligent searching they managed to locate Fentz Jr’s widow in Florida. When they interviewed her they found out that her late husband’s father had disappeared in in 1876 aged 29.
Nobody knew what had happened to him – he simply disappeared one night.
Chris Aubeck – Fact or Fiction?
In 2000 a folklore expert named Chris Aubeck decided to head his own investigation into the Rudolph Fentz mystery.
He wasn’t able to find the original source of the story but he did conclude that it was nothing more than folklore and fiction mixed together.
He had discovered that a 1952 Robert Heinlein science fiction anthology, entitled Tomorrow, The Stars had contained a story identical to the one surrounding Rudolph Fentz.
The author had passed away and there seemed to be a bit of difficulty locating the book itself but people now believed that Rudolph Fentz was a fictional character…
A Twist in The Tale…
In 2007 a researcher working for the then Berlin News Archive managed to get hold of a article dated to 1951. This article reported the appearance and demise of Rudolph Fentz in detail.
The article was actually published several months before Robert Heinlein’s science fiction anthology was even penned.
This led to a newer breed of researcher uncovering proof that Rudolph Fentz did actually exist and he did disappear at the age of 29 in 1876…
What are your thoughts on the strange case of Rudolph Fentz? Was he a fictional character or was he the real-life inspiration for a 1950’s science fiction anthology? Please leave your opinions in the comment section below.