'Stout gentleman' who drank iron tonic sends yacht off course
While looking for information on arc lamps, a kind of high-intensity street lighting in use in Toronto and other cities in the early 20th century, I found a report in The Electrical Journal that detailed the strange case of the Toronto-Niagara yacht, the 'Cygnet.' In 1886, the vessel became lost in fair weather during its journey across Lake Ontario and arrived at Wilson, New York, a town about 30 kms east of his intended target.
From the Journal:
"The commander was greatly troubled. [The mistake] decidedly a reflection on his seamanship, and he was exceedingly annoyed. He regarded the compass suspiciously, carefully examined its surroundings, but could nothing that would account for any vagaries on its part. While he was standing gazing gloomily at the tremulous it gave a sudden start.
The commander looked up and that a stout member of the party had in the approached. As he passed the needle followed his movements, and finally when he stopped at the bow the needle straight at him. A series of experiments were then instituted, and it was found, when the stout gentleman was near, that pointer followed him. He admitted that for some weeks he had been indulging in the wild delights of an iron tonic, and he was afraid that his system had become permeated with the metal.
This explanation was accepted by all, and secretary was requested to communicate the facts to Philosophical Society."