The young mans eyes were wide open, and his mouth agape as he sat in the dim flickering candle lit room intently watching as the old gypsy’s dry, milky white eyes glanced over the cards laid out before her. She slowly lifted her quivering speckled hand out and pointed her crooked finger at his startled face. Her crackled mouth contorted as she hacked out a gurgling cough, and hissed in a creaking voice “Charles, you will be very famous, but you will die at the height of your fame. Your soul will then have no rest until you have returned to the place of your birth.” These words he took to heart, and this foretelling proved true.
Charles Francis Coghlan, was born to poor Irish immigrant parents in 1841 on the small eastern Canadian village of Prince Edward Island. The townsfolk of the local community took such pride in the young Charles that they collected and donated money to help ensure he received a proper education in England. While in the U.K. he studied law, and graduated with honors. However, once back in Canada he told his family of his desire to act in the theater, and not to govern in the court. His father was infuriated, and demanded that Charles give up his lofty theatrical aspirations or leave the family home and never return.
Charles made his choice, packed his bags, and walked away from his family home with stars in his eyes, and hope in his heart. His ambitions and hard work quickly turned a profit, and he was soon living his dream and enjoying a successful acting career. He dazzled audiences the world over with his sharp tongued wit, and alluring looks.
On the brisk evening of November 27th 1899 Charles was truly the ‘cock of the walk’ when he took the stage in Galveston, Texas as Hamlet. The play opened to rave reviews, and when he first entered the spotlight the audience roared with applause. He was waxing Shakespeare’s poetic masterpiece to the delight of the crowd when he suddenly grabbed at his chest, heaved out a strained breath, and dropped to the floor. The crowded theater was eerily silent as the final curtain came down on Charles Coghlan.
Within a week, his casket lay six feet deep in Galveston cemetery, only a fresh mound of tilled earth, and a withering red rose wreath to mark the life of this world renowned thespian. But, as with any great performance, an encore was in the works.
On the morning of September 8th 1900, the skies went dark, the winds roared, and the sea raged. A hurricane, the likes of which this nation had never before seen, made landfall on Galveston island. Land and buildings were washed away, and when the tide and winds subsided the survivors witnessed hundreds of caskets floating among the bodies, and debris it left in it’s wretched wake.
Upon hearing the news that Charles coffin was among those lost at sea, the Coghlan family offered up an impressive reward, to no avail. It appeared that Charles Coghlan’s remains were to remain lost at sea.
The family had given up all hope of recovery, when on a cool sunny October day in 1908, a group of fisherman just off of Prince Edward Island noticed a large burial casket covered with seaweed, and barnacles bobbing in a slow drift near the shoreline. The curious men pulled it ashore and inspected their odd bounty, only to discover a grubby silver plate affixed to the coffin that stated “Charles Francis Coghlan”.
Charles Coghlan’s body had traveled thousands of miles from Galveston cemetery to the shores of his birthplace ‘Prince Edward Island’. The old gypsy’s prophesy fulfilled.
Strange but true…