Was It On The Cards?

It was in Chalford, Gloucestershire in 1766, where several men had got together to have a game of cards. The evening was going very smoothly until around 11pm there was a dispute between the card players. Richard Parsons, a Minchinhampton resident, who was at the centre of the dispute. The argument was about how many hands had been played and Richard Parsons was adamant it was six but the others said it was five. Feeling frustrated by it all, Parsons declared “ If I am lying, may I never enter Heaven and that the flesh on my bones rot if there had not been six hands played”. Rather a drastic response, given the circumstances!

The night ended but the dispute wasn’t taken too seriously as all the men met the next night for more card playing. Everything was going well but later on, Richard Parsons kept complaining of pain and swelling in his limbs.

The pain and swelling became much worse and Parsons went to his doctor, who prescribed medicine for his condition but it became worse. His condition quickly worsened and all of the people who visited him said he looked so very ill and that his skin and flesh was peeling off him. Unfortunately, he passed away in great agony. Whatever he was suffering from, gave him a corpse-like appearance; like a corpse that had been dead for at least 6 months. The undertaker was unable to close poor Richard’s eyes when he was preparing the body for burial.

Had Richard Parson predicted his illness and subsequent death when he was accused of lying during a card game? We’ll never know the answer to that.