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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Jim Kershner’s this day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

A well-dressed man walked into the Spokane police station with an odd request: He wanted help in “finding himself.”

He said he had completely lost his memory and had been “wandering about the Pacific Coast states trying to locate some familiar spot, which would open the gates of his memory.”

It all began five weeks earlier when he was on a train and he heard the conductor call, “Spokane.”

“The call seemed to awaken me out of a deep sleep, and that just then I was being born into a strange new world,” he said. “I stood up, gathered my bags together and stepped off the train.”

He spent the night at the Davenport Hotel, and “spent the entire night striving to remember why I was there and who I was.” He said it was hopeless.

So he spent the next few weeks on trains to Seattle and San Diego, among other places. He returned to Spokane because that was where he apparently “lost the thread of his former life.”

He was described as about 30 years old, and wearing good, tailor-made clothes with expensive jewelry.

The monograms on his shirt said V.B.I., but his cufflinks were marked C.J.B. A watch was engraved “William Talbott, contractor, Malta, Montana,” but that proved to be a false lead.

There were no other documents on his person, although he said he had $1,000 in cash when he stepped off the train. He had only $200 left.

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