Bibliography Texts

Love, Jealousy Add to Mystery
of Death on “Enchanted Isles”

Tantalizing Bits of Galapagos Drama
Told as Bodies are Found

Corrections to typographical errors are inserted at first appearance, then left as is in subsequent appearances.

Paris, Nov. 20.—(UP)—Police inquiring into the Galapagos Islands mystery of the finding of two bodies and the disappearance of two former Parisians, today traced the Austrian Baroness de Wagner§ and Alfredo [sic, Alfred] Rudolph Lorenz back to Paris. They said the baroness owned a toy shop here, and that Lorenz was butler in her household. §§

§ Eloise Wehrborn de Wagner-Bousquet

§§ Lorenz was not a butler.

The map shows Charles island and nearby isles. The heavy dotted line shows the route believed to have been taken by those who fled the island.§ They apparently headed for Wreck Point [sic, Wreck Bay], from where a boat leaves bi-monthly for civilization, were caught in the strong current designated by arrows, and cast up on Marchena island to die of thirst and starvation.

§ A more-likely route is shown in red. If they had followed the black line it would have been a relatively easy matter to reach the east coast of Isla Santa Cruz, instead of drifting farther northward to Marchena.

NEW YORK, Nov. 20.—(UP)—An absorbing mystery of love and jealousy revolving round a group of highly-civilized people who went to the “enchanted islands” in seach [sic, search] of happiness, was developed today from the finding of two bodies on the shore of barren Maichena [sic, Marchena] island, in the Galapagos group.

In tantalizing bits, features of the mystery were unfolded in dispatches from a tuna fishing clipper in the Galapagos, a radio entertainer's yacht in the South Pacific, Guayaquil Eduador [sic, Ecuador] Los Angeles and Paris.

The tuna fisher found the bodies. At first they were identified as those of a man and a woman, then as those of two men.

The latest probability seemed that they were those of:

Alfredo Rudolph Lorenz, a native German who lived in Paris for a time and then went to beautiful Florenana [sic, Floreana], or Charles island, in the Galapagos group, to live.

Captain —— [Trygve] Nuggerud, a Norwegian yachtsman who had sailed between Guayaquil and the Galapagos.§

§ Nuggerud was a resident of Isla Santa Cruz, and sailed his small boat (not a yacht) between the islands, not between the islands and Guayaquil.

It seemed impossible that the mystery would be solved for several weeks, until the Ecuadorean government was able to send a ship with police to the islands, hundreds of miles out in the Pacific on the equator.

But information so far available indicated the following cast of characters:



A negro deck hand aboard Nuggerud's yacht Dinamita.§

Baroness Eloisa Bosquet De Wagner Wehrborn, of Austria and France.

Robert Philippson, a German business man.

Arthur and Margaret [sic, Heinz and Margret] Wittmer, Germans resident on Floreana island.

§ José Pazmiño; Ecuadorian, but not negro.

Of these, the first five are missing.

Two years ago the baroness, Lorenz and Philippson went to the Galapagos Islands to augment the little colony of nature lovers. The baroness and Lorenz went as sweethearts, apparently; Philippson as a mutual friend.

Last week Rolf Blomberg, a Norwegian [sic, Swedish] newspaper man, and Prof. Martin Voegel, a German scientist, arrived from the Galapagos and reported the disappearance of the baroness and Philippson.

They told the following story to authorities, based on information given them while they were in the Galapagos:

The baroness, Lorenz and Philippson found their liking for each other increasing [decreasing?]. Lorenz was placed in charge of the cooking and menial tasks. There was a fight one day and he fled to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Wittmer for refuge. He lived there for several months, melancholy and restless. The baroness persuaded him to return.

On March 23 last, the Wittmers heard loud voices from the vicinity of the baroness-Lorenz-Philippson abode. They ran to investigate. Lorenz approached them. He said that the baroness and Philippson had gone away in an American yacht.§ Lorenz and Wittmer went to the baroness' house, to find it in great disorder. A few days later Lorenz dismantled the house, built like others on the tropical island of corrugated zinc, and sold the zinc, wood and utensils of the group.

§ This is in direct contradiction of Margret Wittmer's account, in which the Baroness came to her to announce her departure with some friends to the South Seas.

Lorenz seemed more distraught than ever. He posted a notice on the barrel which serves as post office for the island, asking for the first passing ship to take him away. Many islands have these barrels. Ships passing know of them and, in calling for water, look for outgoing mail. Some vessels have mail for the islanders.

The yacht Dinamita, with Captain Nuggerud and a negro deck hand, called and responded to Lorenz's plea to take him away.

That ends the Blomberg-Voegel story.

Last week-end the tuna fishing clipper Santo Amaro, commanded by Capt. Manuel Rodriguez, found two bodies, decomposed, on the barren Marchena island, a volcanic unit of the “enchanted islands.”

One of the bodies was under the boat on which they had reached the island—deliberately or blown there by a storm. The other was farther up the beach.

In a group of islands named Galapagos for the great tortoises—Galapagos in Spanish—which gave them their name, and which provide an unlimited means of subsistence; where sea lions may be had for food by anyone who will walk up and knock them over the head; where the “wild” animals are tame because they do not fear man, and the only really wild things are the cats, dogs, goats, donkeys and other domesticated animals which have reached there from civilization and gone native—the two who died were washed [up] on an island where there was no water. They had killed a seal and cut a piece of flesh from it.

At first the two bodies were believed to be those of a man and a woman, and it was feared that Dr. sic, Mr.] and Mrs. Wittmer had left their own island and died, because letters from Mrs. Wittmer to friends in civilization were found on the bodies.

Then it was established that the bodies were those of men, and the theory was advanced that the victims were Lorenz and Dr. Wittmer.

But Phillips Lord, an American radio entertainer en route to the South Seas in his yacht, wirelessed last night that he had dined with the Wittmers on Floreana Island only a week ago. They were eliminated.

One of the bodies seemed definitely that of Lorenz, who was reported as leaving the island with Nuggerud and the deck hand. It appeared that the other, described as of blonde type, was Nuggerud. What happened to the negro, in that event, was uncertain.

There remained the mystery of the fate of the Austrian baroness and Philippson, the German business man. Nothing has been heard of them since March 23 last.

Tragedy Hung over Isle When Miamian Visited It

Tragedy, mystery, impending disaster, communicated a weird feeling even to visitors, hung over beautiful Charles island, a tiny verdant paradise in the Pacific ocean, when he visited it with other members of an exploring party last April, Claude C. Matlack, Miami photographer, said today.

The island, which has become the center of a South Sea Island mystery as grim as any fiction from the pen of Edgar Allen Poe, at that time was inhabited by five adults and two children.

The adults were a Dr. [Friedrich] Ritter, German scientist [sic, doctor], and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur [sic, Heinz] Wittmer and Alfredo R. [Alfred Rudolph] Lorenz. The children were a year and one-half old baby [Rolf Wittmer] and a 13-year-old boy [Harry], children of Mr. And Mrs. Wittmer.§

§ Ritter's wife remained in Germany; he brought his companion Dore Strauch to Galápagos. Harry was Heinz Wittmer's son by a previous marriage.

Until March of this year there also resided on the island Baroness Eloisa Bosquet De Wagner Wehrborn and Robert Phillipson [sic, Philippson], German business man.

The baroness, Lorenz and Phillipson came to the island together, Matlack was told. Lorenz was the sweetheart of the German [sic, Austrian] noble-woman.

As time went on Phillipson supplanted Lorenz in the affections of the baroness, and the latter was relegated to huts which once housed prisoners when Ecuador …

[A few lines of text are missing here.]

… favorite in the shack which the baroness designated as her “castle.”

The Wittmers told Matlack, Thomas M. Howell, Chicago millionaire, on whose yacht the party traveled; J. P. Brickell of Canada, Mr. Howell's guest, and Capt. Charles Thompson, Miami fishing guide, that Phillipson and the baroness disappeared March 23.

They said they heard loud talking from the house occupied by the baroness and Phillipson and went to investigate.§ They met Lorenz coming from the house they said, and he told them the baroness and Phillipson had just left on an American yacht. They visited the house and found it in great disorder.

§ An unlikely story, to say the least: The Wittmer house was sufficiently removed from the Baroness's quarters that a loud conversation would not be heard. In addition, the Wittmers would not be inclined to investigate whatever was going on.

Neither the baroness or Phillipson have been heard of since. Both Wittmers claimed no yacht had called at the island for some weeks previous to the day Lorenz told them the baroness and Phillipson had left.

Matlack says Mrs. Wittmer was very anxious to get away from the island. She wept most of the time the party was there.§ Lorenz also was anxious to get away. Mr. Howell planned to take him as far as Panama, but when it was found he was suffering from tuberculosis, the plan was abandoned because the Thalia was crowded and it was feared the health of others would be endangered if Lorenz was taken as a passenger.

§ There is no evidence whatsoever that Margret Wittmer wanted to leave Floreana, and it would be quite out of character for her to weep over the incident.

It was a six-mile climb up the mountain where the Wittmers had built their home, Matlack said today. The island abounds in wild cattle, donkeys and dogs, descendants of animals brought there more than 300 years ago when the Norwegian government attempted to colonize Charles and nearby islands.§

§ Some Norwegian settlers, not the Norwegian government, attempted to colonize Floreana and other islands in the early years of the 20th century. There is no known record of any colonization attempt 300 years earlier.

Describing the party's journey down the mountainside at night, Matlack said:

“It was one of the most weird trips I have every made. The feeling of tragedy was in the air, and this was enhanced by the bright moonlight, glinting from the whitened skulls of cattle and donkeys which the baroness had fastened to the trunks of the trees which lined the path down the mountain.”