Anyone who has a car has had a moment when they’re driving along and bam, you almost hit someone. It causes your heart to skip a beat, it makes you have a panic attack, and it can be an overall scary situation for all of those involved. The majority of us are lucky enough to miss the person in front of the car, although some people aren’t as lucky. On the 15th of June, 1951, a taxi driver wasn’t lucky. This is where the mystery that is Rudolph Fentz begins; when that taxi driver hit the man at full speed, resulting in a death.

The body of this man was sent to the morgue along with his personal belongings. However, his personal belongings weren’t quite what you’d expect a man of that time to have on his person. In fact, none of the items which he had on himself belonged in 1951. Not at all. What he had included:

– A copper token which could be used to purchase a beer at a local saloon, worth 5 cents, and the saloon was one which was very well-known to virtually all residents.
– A receipt for a stable in which a horse would be cared for and a carriage would be washed. The stable, however, was located on “Lexington Avenue”, a street which wasn’t listed in any known address books.
– Roughly $70 in old banknotes.
– Multiple business cards entitled with the name “Rudolph Fentz”, and an address located on “Fifth Avenue.”
– A latter which had been sent to the same address on Fifth Avenue in Philadelphia, which had been sent in June of 1876.
– A 3rd place medal for a 3-legged race.

None of the items which he had on him showed any indication of them aging; proving that they were rather recent.

After the incident, the NYPD done all that they could to locate the man’s family (as they would in any incident of this kind), which proved to be incredibly difficult for several reasons. Neither his name or his phone number were listed, locally or nationally. After contacting the address on the man’s business cards, they got in touch with a business which had never even heard of the name “Rudolph Fentz”. His fingerprints weren’t registered either, so the NYPD were at a dead end. The strangest aspect of this case is the fact that no one had reported the man missing.

The officer in charge of this missing persons case, Captain Rihm, continued the search to find any information about the man. Anything at all. Alas, Rihm successfully found details regarding a “Rudolph Fentz Jr.” although upon further investigating, found that he had died 5 years prior. Rihm tracked down his widow and requested to discuss his case with her. This provided Rihm with a turn in the case which he didn’t expect. In fact, I don’t think anyone expect this. Rudolph Fentz Jr’s father, Rudolph Fentz Sr, had gone missing back in 1876 at the young age of 29. He left one evening to go on a stroll, and was never to be seen again.

Confused by this newly found information, Captain Rihm found the original reports detailing the missing case on Rudolph Fentz Sr. As determined as he was to pursue this case, he simply couldn’t push himself to do so. He feared for his career. The original report listed details about Mr Fentz, all of which perfectly described the body which had been delivered to the morgue. Thus, the case was marked as unsolved and has never been touched since.

It was eventually found that this story was fiction and originated from a short story which had been written by Jack Finney.


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