June 7, 1908
While investigation curious noises, which came from the rear of 722 Campbell street yesterday afternoon George Brooks and James Malloy, policemen, discovered an old woman wrapped tightly in two torn and soiled sheets, lying on the floor of the room. It was from this woman, Miss Kate Thuey, that the sounds came, which had attracted the attention of neighbors for the past week.
As the police entered the room they heard the woman repeat over and over: "Crackers and water and the power of God." Too weak to rise, the woman had placed a box of crackers and a large can of water withing her reach. Crackers and water with the power of God were all that had sustained her and kept body and soul together for the past week, according to her statement.
The police aided her to her feet, and the old sheets dropped away displaying the emaciated form. In her demented condition caused from long sickness and privation, the woman tried weakly to fight the police away from her, saying that she wanted to be alone. She was too weak and her struggles so exhausted her that she fell to the floor again.
Seeing her pitiful condition, the officers called the ambulance from the Walnut street police station and she was taken to the general hospital. When the officers had placed her on the stretcher to take her to the ambulance, the demented woman pleaded urgently for her box of crackers and can of water.
The officers tried to explain that they were going to take her to a place where she could have plenty of substantial food and drink. Nothing would satisfy her, however, until the officers had brought her musty crackers and a pail stale water to her. Guarding them closely she said nothing more, even after being taken to the hospital.
When the hospital authorities questioned her she would say nothing except to repeat over and over again her raving of "crackers and water and the power of God."
The neighbors at 722 Campbell street said last night that the old woman had always kept to herself and did not care to make friends or receive help from any of them. Every morning it had been her custom to leave her dingy little room in the rear of the flat and go out, apparently to work. In the evening she would return and nothing more was seen of her until next morning.
Last Sunday evening she was seen to come home and from that time until yesterday she was lost trace of. The neighbors tried to get in her room, fearing that she had come to some harm, but the door was locked. Yesterday they heard the noises coming from her room which sounded like groans, and so they notified police.
The hospital physicians say that Miss Thuey is in a dangerous condition due to the lack of food. Whether her demented state was caused by her privation or not, they are unable to tell. Good food and absolute rest, they say, are all that can possible effect a cure in her case.