Something about your incident with the cord and the gnome has been
bothering me since I got your email a few days ago. You know that
nagging feeling you get when you make a connection to something but
don't know exactly what the connection is? That feeling you get
when you're problem solving and feel like something coherent is just
beyond your mental grasp. That if you could just see the one missing
piece, all the building blocks would fall into place? That's how I felt
after reading your letter.....................
Fisrst, the word CORD was bothering me. I felt that it meant something.
Somehow I felt that a cord was involved in and instrumental to Rose's
death. But the link escaped me, so I scurried off to my reference
We all know the story pretty much by rote. When the Condor went aground
trying to escape Yankee gunboats Rose demanded to be put ashore,
fearing re-capture and imprisonment by Yankee soldiers. A lifeboat was
lowered and several people, Rose included, got aboard. As the lifeboat
began to pull away from the grounded Condor, it was caught broadside by
a wave and overturned. All the other passengers made it back to
the boat without event. The reason Rose did not make it was simple. She
was weighted down by $2,000.oo in gold coins, which were bound in a
leather bag and tied around her neck on a CORD
. Most of the popular
stories say that Rose had the gold sewn into her dress, but that is
simply historical fiction. It paints a more dramatic picture in the
mind's eye to imagine a spy concealing contraband gold in her
clothing rather than merely tossing it around her neck on a cord.
So, while your cord mysteriously wrapping itself around a gnome named
"O'Neal" gave me kind of an eerie feeling, at least I could understood
the connection. I certainly can't explain it, but I felt better because
the nagging feeling that I was missing something went away.
But then, as Paul Harvey jovially reminds us, there's the rest of the
story. The nagging feeling came back. While the gnome named O'Neal
seemed to represent Rose at first blush, it could also be representing
someone else. What if the gnome had a dual meaning? Life is
rarely "black & white." Everything has shades of gray, infiniate
layers of meaning and is of course open to several interpretations.
What other role could the cord have played in Rose's drama? And what
possible connection could the cord have to a gnome? With that question
in mind I scurried back to my reference library.................
At first light a confederate soldier at Fort Fisher was walking the
beach alone, presumably on sentry duty. He discovered Rose's lifeless
body and the bag of gold coins tied around her neck on the cord. Not
knowing who she was, he grabbed the cord, pulled the bag of coins from
around her neck, pushed Rose back into the water and went on about his
patrol, no doubt smiling at his good fortune...........
Meanwhile the news of the capsized lifeboat and disappearance of Rose
had made it to Fort Fisher. A search party was dispatched to look for
her. When they reached the point on the beach where the sentry had been
earlier, the search party "re-discovered" Rose. The sentry heard the
commotion and returned to see what was going on. He hung back from the
crowd a little and listened. Upon learning that the body was none other
than the great confederate hero, "Rebel Rose" O'Neale Greenhow, and the
members of the search party all knew she had been carrying gold that
was intended for use by the confederate government, the sentry werighed
the consequences of what he had done and made a snap decision. He would
hide his indescretion and return the gold. Thinking quickly, he scooped
out a small hole in the sand and dropped the bag into it. Then he
partially covered the bag up, without anyone being the wiser and made
his move........"Hey, what's this?" He shouted as he bent over, grabbed
the cord and pulled the bag of gold coins from the sand, at the same
instant the members of the search party were turning to see what he had
What's the significance, you're probably asking right about now?
I won't keep you in suspense any longer. The significance is that you
found your cord was wrapped around a gnome, one of the "little people."
You see, the sentry who removed the cord from around Rose's neck and
placed it around his own was none other than the confederate soldier JJ
Prosper For Me Doctor Duvall Conner and that's a very long name for a
man of such short stature. For Doc Connor, as his friends called him,
was a little person himself, whose full height in stocking feet, barely
measured three feet eleven inches tall.
The only loose end in this story is the clock. Why was the cord also
wrapped around the clock? Perhaps it was time for this story to see the
light of day. Perhaps it means something else. If you've ever played
with numerology you'll know that numbers have significant meaning to
those who interpret such things. When you wrote your letter to me you
took photos to show the incident.
I blew up the photo and looked at the clock. At the instant you snapped
the picture it was 10:48. Numerologists often drop the zero when
interpreting their numbers. Making the significant numbers on the clock
148. Now hold that thought.
Rose died 141 years and 7 days before your incident with the cord. 141
+ 7 = 148. Just another coincidence? Or is Rose's spirit reaching out
Only you can decide.............................
So, John, that's the story. I don't believe in ghosts either, but this
makes a fascinating story, nonetheless. It's the kind of tale that you
can tell your grandchildren about around a
Before the critics jump in and gnaw and gnash their teeth and get crazy
trying to debunk this article, please allow me the opportunity to set
the record straight........
1) Ghosts and spirits. I DO NOT believe in ghosts and/or spirits. I'm
sure their is a logical explanation for how the cord got where it was,
although I don't have a clue what it might be..
2) The clock, date and numerology. I realize the numbers are off. I DID
NOT account for leap years in the date calculation. I DID NOT account
for daylight savings time in the time calculation and I DON'T KNOW if
the photo was taken a.m. or p.m.
3) The cord.. As to the cord, the source that mentions Doc Connor
says the gold was in a bag on a cord. Numerous other sources state that
the gold was sewn into little pockets in the folds of Rose's dress. I
DON'T KNOW which story is true but tend to believe the bag story. I
doubt very seriously if Doc Connor took the time to un-stich Rose's
dress to steal the coins.
4) The gnome. I am not implying that Doc was a gnome. I was merely
suggesting that the gnome represented a symbol of a man short in
This article was simply
an exercise in humor and in the spirit of
And I can never
resist telling a story and if the tale gets
streched a little bit, hey, no harm done.
And I hope
everybody had as
much fun reading this as I did writing it.