On September 3, 1873, a man named James Worson had accepted a challenge to race, in record time, from the town of Leamington to the town of Coventry, a 20-mile trek. He had been boasting of his foot skills and then was asked to prove them, so, with sporting good spirits, he set about to do just that. Two friends, Hammerson Burns and Barham Wise, followed behind in a horse-drawn gig. Burns brought along his camera. Worson was never out of their sight, and would often turn around while running to exchange some friendly words with the two riders. Running in the middle of the road, Worson suddenly appeared to stumble and pitch forward, having time enough for only one short, piercing scream. Wise later said, “It was the most ghastly sound ether of us had ever heard.” But as Worson pitched forward with that terrible cry, instead of falling to the ground as he appeared to be about to have done, he completely and totally vanished in mid-fall, before ever striking the ground. The road itself told the story and Wise took the pictures to prove it. There, in the soft dirt, were Worson’s footprints.They led down the middle of the road, looked as if the runner stumbled, and there they disappeared. A search was called and the locals scoured the area for James. The bloodhounds used in the search were strangely reluctant to approach the spot where Worson disappeared. He was never seen or heard from again.
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