New urban legend?

I read the Fortean Times a magazin from the UK that covers the strange things that happen all over the world. Every month they have a “Strange Deaths” column. This month they told a strange tail of suicide: A body identified as Nemo Cianelli was found inside a wall in a basement of a Tuscan villa that was under renovation. Along with the body was a rifle, a brick layer’s trowel, a bucket, bricks, and a suicide note. The note stated that Cianelli was terminally ill and wished to spare his family the grief. He told his friends and family he was going to America and was never heard from again. His wife died several years after his disappearance and his children had moved out of the area.

This sounds to strange to be true. First, and even the column’s author admitted this, “Nemo” is Latin for “no one.” Second, woundn’t someone notice the new brick work or even the smell of rotting flesh? Also, wouldn’t Nemo’s loved ones be just as upset by his disapperance?

What do you guys think? :confused:

Well, sure its incredibly unrealistic. Sure, I just learned that Nemo means No one, sure, rotting flesh is a bad smell. But thats not very much fun!

uhh what was the rifle for?

If he walled himself in, thats a cruel way to die. Starvation and dyhydration takes weeks or agonizinf torment. You didnt mention if he shot himself or not.

If there was enuf space to move about and shoot yourself, yes the smell would be horrendous. I imagine rats, ants and roaches would feed on the corpse which would add to the suspicious nature of the house. His “wife” couldve lived in a separate house but they still would go to his house and find his things or sell it or something. Highly dunious at best even without the cryptic name.

The article never mentioned if Nemo died of a gun shot wound or of dehydration. I would think he would have shot himself, but then this is a guy that bricked himself in a wall a la Edgar Allen Poe so its anyone’s guess.

I remember something like this from an episode of Jonathan Creek… (Except, of course, the guy had murdered the owner of the house before “disappearing”)

Found a summary of the episode, if anyone’s interested.

I notice that if you search for Nemo Cianelli on Google you get a lot of hits on Italian-language websites that seem to be taking the story seriously and going into a lot more detail than the English version does. The first link that comes up (which is in Italian) goes into so much detail about the investigation into the incident that it’s hard to believe it’s not a true story.

…except I had Google translate one of those pages and it seems there was a note left in a bottle.

So, the question is: Was this MS, Found in a Bottle. or The Tell-Tale Heart? Or was the guy just a Poe lover?

To play devil’s advocate for a moment, there are precedents to suggest that the smell from inside a sealed wall might not tip people off immediately.

In the infamous case which led to the abolition of capital punishment in Great Britain, a man was executed for the murder of his wife. They had lived in a duplex. Some time later the other resident of the duplex moved out, and ment hired to do rennovation work discovered that a wall in his apartment was stuffed with the bodies of women he had murdered.

Similarly, John Wayne Gacy seems to have gotten by with keeping bodies in his crawlspace for a long while without the neighbors taking notice.

Then there was the Dahmer case. In that instance neighbors had been much offended by the odor, but said they thought he was plucking chickens. That struck me as one of the most incredible aspects of that case; that people would think their neighbor was plucking chickens in large quantities and not complain about the stench.

Years ago I inspected a chicken rendering plant. At the end of my tour I asked the manager how long it took to get used to the smell. “Four years” he instantly replied. I thought it was odd that he had such a prompt, exact answer. He then explained that long-time employees invariably found that their capacity to smell anything had rotted away completely by the end of four years.

The Jarrott Mansion in Cahokia is said to be the oldest brick house still standing in Illinois. When it was converted into a historical museum in the late 1970s workmen found a horse’s skull inside a wall. Nobody ever did figure out what that was about, though there was suspicion that it had something to do with some kind of Native American ceremony. Of course, the skull might have been clean of flesh when it was sealed up. Then again, a friend of mine who rennovated a house in Elsah, Illinois (an old Christian Science settlement), lived in the house for years before he found the remains of a large snake in a wall.

On the other hand, I just did a quick search for “Nemo” using Google. I came up with 86 pages. Scanning the results here and there, I came up with lots of citations for Captain Nemo and Little Nemo in Slumberland, but only one real individual named Nemo–and he was a dog.

Yeah: I suspect it is a legend.

I remember reading about this on Yahoo’s Reuters feed a couple of months back. Not that that makes it legit, but it was reported by a major news organization.

I also remember the story on Yahoo’s newsfeed as well…

It would seem like a “Cask of Amontillado” in reverse, yet I recall reading a similar story. I tried, but their search capabilities are limited.