Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Rehabilitation of Princess Caraboo

The sensational story of Princess Caraboo regards a young lady arriving in Almondsbury, England (just North of Bristol) in 1817, speaking a strange tongue and sporting various tattoos. When it was determined that she was a Princess of Javasu, kidnapped by pirates from her Indian Ocean home, she was taken in by the local dignitaries and feted for some 2 months as visiting royalty. Her scam was exposed in short order. There is no Island of Javasu. She was, in truth, one Mary Baker from Witheridge near Exeter, who, unable to find continued employment as a servant, had hit upon this rather novel method for achieving food and shelter. After being shipped off to the US by her duped, and now chastened, benefactors, the Worralls, Mary eventually returned to Bristol and by 1839 was more gainfully and respectably employed... selling leeches, of course.


Warren Spencer said...

Is she new? Is she old? is she false? is she true? Come read me the riddle of miss Caraboo!

This is a story that's quite dear to our hearts here at Bristol Zoo Gardens. So much so that we created a period medicinal leech exhibit where Mary Baker is offering her leeches for sale.

I admir'd thy truth - twas everything but true.
All the best. Warren

christina viering said...

Sounds very modern.