Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on June 6, 1976 · Page 72
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June 6, 1976

Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 72

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Charleston, West Virginia
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Sunday, June 6, 1976
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bedspread. While she was visiting the Roffs she talked about the letters that Mary had received before her death. She actually quoted passages out of them. When Mrs. Roff due up the letters, which she had kept in a strongbox all these years, she found that Lurancy had quoted from them exactly. The child could . even remember places and incidents that had occurred years bei «,,, Onffc urprp iivine in The Incredible Lurancy Venum Hpiiipianuv her own parents By Doane R. Hoag a S to le h^r visit the Roffs for WARREN COUNTY, Indiana, June f[^ Q TM eeks whic h she did. The 6, 1846-A baby girl destined to a * e «eKs ^ ^ as create one of the strangest myster- ^."^Tad described it. So was ies in the annals of medicine was %» rar j m even to the co ior of the born this week to Mrs. Asa Roll. The parents named her Mary. From the time of her birth Mary Roff was a frail child, subject to epileptic seizures, and by the time she was 18 she was so sickly doctors despaired of her life. On the 5th of July, 1865, after her family had moved to Watseka, 111., Mary suddenly developed a violent headache and went to bed. Within mm- dLiie aim wcui iu QeniS mai iiau ui,i-i«iTM j---- . utes she was dead. h the Rof f s we re living in Six years after Mary Roff was in TM*TM d Lurancy h a dn't even her grave, a family named Ven- "«TM^ num, who came from Iowa, moved .»* ^ famUies had never me t. onto a farm seven miles from Wat- was on i y 15 months old _,._ ...i «,,, Pnffc livprt Thev i-urancy w« vmj when Mary Roff had died so she had never even seen her. Yet on the 5th of July, 1877, the twelfth anniversary of Mary Roffs death, Lurancy now 13, told her parents that there had been strange people in her room during the night-and that one of them was a little girl. own room, her dons, ner iujr ? , -..« "£ , h d alled L urancy by color of her bedspread. She said her TM P eo P^ e na u {eel their name was Mary Roff, and she said name, "lo^sn^ ^ ^ bent over her. ,, The next night the people came again. Lurancy screamed for her mother. The moment Mrs. Vennum entered the r o o m , the onto a arm seven seka, where the Roffs lived. They had a seven year old daughter named Lurancy Vennum. Lurancy insisted this was not her home. She said it was a strange place that she had never seen before In complete detail she described her "real" home, even her own room, her dolls, her toys, the HCtillV r*f* tiii*»j * » w » ~ T -she had a sister, "Nervie." The frightened parents inquired around, and soon learned that there actually was a family named Roff, and that they had two children, Mary, who had died, and Nervelle, whom they always called "Nervie." The Roffs were sent for. The moment they entered the room, Lurancy flew into Mrs. R o f f s arms, then embraced "Nervie" as her long-lost sister. The R o f f s were completely dumbfounded-having never seen Lurancy before in their lives. But . « . i I _ U « . I T n t l . t t ^ f k l l * n u u i ciii.Gi*-'* v.."people disappeared. One week later, Lurancy, who had always been a strong and healthy child before, began to have - ·--- ctly like Mary Roff had i . Hn ;.viivnc cha wnllln t uunHKuei acwAiw"*- -e as rigid as death. Afterwards she would talk of having seen angels and "invisible beings" floating ' These were exact- gels ana mvisiuie ueiu .«"··"·· L,urancy ueiuic m UK.H ···--· ~ r - aDOU t the room.'These were exaci Lurancy insisted she was- their fe . d of h a n uc i n ations Mary daughter Mary, and nothing would '? TM* \ , . n L _i ,,_ ltA.Ym «M^V| thpm IV U1C MUU " l HU..M..-- aaugmei iwaij, ·»"« ··«--;o ··- R 0 ff had experienced, do but that she go home with them ^ iu _ ra ^ ,,, tllo t to live. L/ll 1»OV1 v-/»^«-- · -By the end of the year Lurancy was having ten to twelve seizures a day. During her attacks she appeared to be having conversations with her invisible visitors. Her frantic parents summoned doctors. They could do nothing. Then, on the morning of February 1, 1878 Lurancy woke up crying, "I want to go home!" , . ,, . . "But you are at home, dear! ner mother said. For three months Lurancy lived AWE: Fromearlyyouth JohnBa, ^ ^Roff._, calling herself Famous Fables By E. E. Edgar « 'regard^ fiT3deVstater Ma y Roff. Then, on May11,1878 Etel with 8 awe. She was already a she kd Mrs.. Roff thatsh_ewould brilliant star when he was taking his first steps on stage, and it was . i. .. -. i_~ .»milrl ttti»n tirnPnAV" S11C IU1U ITAI^" *«·«-" soon be leaving, for Lurancy was his first steps on stage, and it was « CO ining back." Fifteen minutes she to whom he would turn whenev- later she began to shake from head e? he needed guidance, encourage- to foot.Jhen^unjed^omard un- ment or money. o , conscious. When she came to, she ipnr nr IIIUIICY COnSClOUS. yviien ="= *.«""·- --' --Down throu'gh the years, even ODened her eyes andLooked around after he had become a star on his in bewilderment. Where_am ^ own, his attitude toward her never changed. Once, when EUiel was on she asked. Lurancy Vennum was du7ingTh"e"fnmin-g of % a ry Roff" never returned n i n , a studio executive Lurancy grew up to be a sane, ai- ._.. up to John, who was watch- - -- ine, and creid: "Tell you sister there's a fire at h e U neo. ana nau n uc«n«j «·«·· She died in California in 1944, leaving behind a mystery that doctors , __i-_i_--;«*« rt*-o otill nil5:7.1 tuff M" hnUSe v in UclHJiu a i n j u v v j John stared at the man in disbe- a nd psychologists are still puzzling Hef "I never tell my sister anything," he icily responded. , ".However, I .will-ask .her..- ,,", ,:-. · 3m CHARLESTON. Vf.VA. about today. (Copyright. Donne. Hoag 1976} . From Junk to Art By Mary Cobb Some daughters bring their dads gifts of ties or shirts, but not Anna Mae Hamrick. When she comes from Delaware to West Virginia, she brings her dad boxes of old nails, screws, bolts, springs, and pieces of scrap iron. And a shiny Rolls-Royce wouldn t please T. H. Light of Gallagher more He's still talking about the 900 pounds of metal Anna Mae once pulled home in a U-Haul It. You see, Light has an addiction- he can't lick the habit of turning bits of scrap metal or wood into unusual pieces of art. He acquired the habit back in the Depression when there was no money for craft materials. By using scraps he was able to satisfy his creative urge and turn out gifts for family and friends at the same time. His most recent work is metal sculpture. . "I brought him a metalwork Model -T from Disney.World;" .said. Mr^-Light. "I.tlrought aboutairthe scraps he has around, and I knew he could do something like that." But her husband didn't stop with metal sculptured cars--he welded football players, golfers, hunters, dogs, cleaning women, fishermen, and many others. The figures are made entirely from bits of scrap metal. Fine copper wire is used for hair; a ball bearing serves as a bowling ball, and end pieces of a hydraulic hose are fishermen's buckets. In one display, entitled "Life," a small metal man courageously pushes a huge round ball which looks like it weighs many pounds--originally it was a child's rubber ball! "I don't go by a pattern; I go by proportion," explained Light."! lay out all the pieces and then fit them together. I have things in my head a long time before I get around to making them." So perfect are his metal figures that he has had two requests from gift shops for them. "I might like to sell my work sometime. I've always thought I'd like,tovhaye a-booth -at-a cr.aft show," he said, "but I can't seem to get enough pieces ahead." "He gives them away as fast as he makes them, that's why,' explained his attractive wife. "I keep telling her it's better to give t h a n to r e c e i v e , ni smiled. Metal sculpture is just one of the outlets for Light's fertile mind A major undertaking has been the building of a scale model Shay locomotive in his basement workshop "I'm very enthusiastic about trains. I used to repair steam locomotives that hauled coal from the mines to the tipple. I love steam engines-I should have been a railroad man," said Light who ret. red in January from his job as elec n- cian for for Central Appalachian °He has been working on the Shay vested.in.aje locomotive, which is 'June 6, '1976. Sunday Gazette-Mail

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