Arizona Republican. July 03, 1891
Phoenix, Ariz. 1890-1930,

A HORRIBLE DEATH
An Irishman Swims in
Pagosa Springs.
The Terrible Effect it Had
on Him-
The Flesh Falls from His Bones
and He Dies In Great
Agony.
Pagosa Springs, Colo., July 2.—One of the most horrible incidents which has ever occurred in the West happened here at the great hot spring last Sunday. This spring is about thirty yards in diameter, being a large pool of sulpho-alkaline water. In the center of the pool no bottom has ever been found although a line has been let down for 300 feet weighted with a cannon ball. One of tho peculiarities of the spring is that whatever is thrown into the center of the boiling mass gradually disappears and is never seen again.
Last Sunday a lot of cowboys, freighters and prospectors assembled at the springs and were filled with whisky. Charles Johnson, a freighter who came here from Missouri, offered to bet that he could swim across the pool. The party was too drunk to realize the awful danger and the bet was quickly covered. Twenty dollars on each side was put up and Johnson stripped for the attempt. A boat was procured and Johnson stood up in the stern ready to make his jump when he lost' his balance and fell into the boiling water, he rose to the surface and was grasped by his companions, but the hot alkaline solution caused his skin to peel and he slipped from their hands. The second time he came to the surface he was caught by the hair and arms. The hair came out but he was drawn to the shore in a horrible condition. The flesh dropped from his legs and lower portion of his body exposing his bones and intestines. He died in great agony within five minutes of the time he struck the water.
The corrosive action of the water was so great that it was almost impossible to handle the body and within two hours alter the death the flesh had fallen from the bones from the shoulders down, leaving the upper part of the body, the arms and the head in a most revolting condition.
This is the second human being who is known to have been in the pool. The first was a negro soldier who jumped in for a swim in 1878. He immediately disappeared and the body, was never recovered.

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