The 20 Year Gunshot

When a bullet is fired, unless it is purposefully recast and molded as a lead ball to be fired again in a black powder rifle it cannot be shot twice as it flattens upon impact with bone or other hard surfaces.  So it was with incredible surprise to the people of Honey Grove, Texas when a man who had been shot thirty years prior was killed by the bullet intended to take his life after it passed through his body without it ever touching human hands.  How can a bullet once fired wait thirty years before eventually claiming the life it was intended to kill thirty years earlier?

The legend goes that in 1893 a man named Henry Ziegland left his girlfriend.  In an extreme case of wishing to preserve the girl’s honor, her brother took a pistol from the family’s home and confronted Ziegland, shooting him at his home in Honey Grove.  As the bullet struck Ziegland he collapsed, making the brother believe he had killed the man who had offended his family’s honor.  Thinking that the deed was done, the man turned his gun on himself and died moments later.  But as help rushed to the scene, they discovered that though the assailant was dead, Henry Ziegland had survived.  In fact, the wound he had sustained was merely superficial.  He was rushed to a doctor and his injuries were treated.  The bullet, as luck would have it had only grazed his face.  After being informed that he was a lucky man he went home and carried on with his life.  The bullet was buried in a tree behind him and forgotten about for several years.  Twenty years, in fact, passed before once again Henry would interact with the tree.  It would be his final act.

Deciding the tree was a nuisance on the property, Henry set explosives around the base of it deciding it was time for the tree to go, but beyond his abilities to simply chop or saw down by himself.  Wishing to get the job done efficiently and quickly, explosives seemed the best idea to him.  No one knows if in those final moments of his life he ever suspected what was about to happen.  When he was rushed once again to the doctor, the doctor informed the family that there was nothing he could do.  Henry Ziegland was already dead.  The cause of death was a bullet wound directly to the head.  It seemed Henry’s luck had run out.  The explosives that were set on the opposite side of the tree had violently ejected the bullet out in the direction of Henry and struck him.  If one thinks about it, the principle was very similar to that of a gun or rifle.  As Henry was laid to rest, people wondered where the bullet had come from.  As it turned out, there was only one bullet lodged in that tree: the one that had been intended to kill him almost twenty years before.

Though this story is not authenticated by any official source, it is told throughout Texas even to this day and is often considered one of the great tales of a man’s fate coming to him decades after it would have otherwise.  Whether he truly existed or not, the name Henry Ziegland has made its way into the history books as a man who was struck down by a dead man twenty years later.