The Curious Case of Pat Gorman

Part One

In the autumn of 1928, a sad news story appeared in the pages of the October 27th edition of The Times Colonist in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. It seems that a search was on for any friends or family of Pat Gorman, a veteran of the World War and presently a patient at the Hamilton Asylum for the Insane (by now known as Ontario Hospital).

(All news articles transcribed below for easier reading.)

The Times Colonist, Victoria BC – October 27, 1928


“Hamilton, Oct. 27 – Claiming to have been a medical officer during the World War, a man going under the name of Pat Gorman, thirty-one, is at the Ontario Hospital here suffering from loss of memory. Efforts are being made to trace relatives or friends of the man, who suffered shrapnel wounds in the head during the war.”

Part Two

A few days later, the curious case of Pat Gorman took a turn as Dr. Williams became suspicious of Pat’s story. This was the news as it appeared in the pages of The Windsor Star on November 1, 1928.

The Windsor Star, Windsor ON – November 1, 1928


“Gorman’s War Story Found Unfounded At Hamilton”

“Hamilton, Nov. 1, – Pat Gorman who is a patient in the Ontario Hospital, suffering from loss of memory and a physical ailment, is not a medical health officer with a war record, but a medical student of Philadelphia. This was established yesterday by Dr. J. J. Williams, superintendent of the hospital, who has written to the American city for further particulars. Gorman is progressing favorably and will recover, but at the time of his admission little hope was entertained. He was picked up on the streets of St. Catharines.”

“Gorman told the officials that he graduated from St. Mary’s College, in Ireland, and that he served as a health officer in the North Staffordshire Regiment. He also gave a regimental number. Dr. Williams was not satisfied with the story. He said the patient is not more than 31 years of age and as the war has been over 10 years, it would be almost impossible for him to have graduated in time to serve with the medical forces. Had he been a health officer he would not have a regimental number.”

“Regarding the cause for the serious physical condition, Dr. Williams did not press Gorman for further information. From remarks made by the patient it was gleaned that he came from Philadelphia. A communication was dispatched to authorities there and this afternoon the superintendent was informed that Gorman’s home is there and that he was a medical student. The information was not complete, however, and another communication was sent here from yesterday.”

Part Three

Apparently, another communication was indeed sent to the States. The mystery of Pat Gorman’s identity had finally been solved. The news was reported in the November 9, 1928 edition of The Windsor Star.

The Windsor Star, Windsor ON – November 9, 1928


“J. P. O’Gorman, New York, Has Loss of Memory”

“Hamilton, Ont., Nov. 9. – Inquires instituted by Dr. J. J. Williams, superintendent of the Ontario Hospital here, have cleared up the mystery surrounding the case of Pat Gorman, who was brought to the institution from St. Catharines some time ago, in serious mental condition, suffering from loss of memory. It now appears that the man’s name is J. Patrick O’Gorman, and that his address is 598 Madison avenue, N. Y. He is married, with two children, and is thirty years of age. His parents both are dead. He has lately been a newspaper reporter, and before that he was an auditor. He was discharged from Bellevue Mental Hospital in New York in March of this year. During the past ten years, he has been in many hospitals throughout the United States.”

“He claims to have been born in England, but it is thought that his birthplace is in Ireland. He was naturalized as a citizen of the United States at Little Rock, Ark. He claims to have enlisted in the British Army in the war, been discharged, and later to have enlisted in the United States Navy at Buffalo.”

“His condition due to traumatic epilepsy, is already much improved, states Dr. Williams. An order for his deportation to New York city is being secured, and Dr. Williams expressed confidence that his mental and physical condition will be sufficient improved to enable him to be moved when the deportation order is served.”

If you are interested in the history of the Hamilton Asylum for the Insane, be sure to check out my other posts on the topic by navigating to the “Categories” section on this site.

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