Potato Mystery

Maybe the butler did it

My friend Emily, from Boston, Massachusetts, recently came upon a mystery involving a potato. She posted the following on Facebook …

Yesterday, while walking through the neighborhood, my friend Sarah and I noticed this potato sitting on a railing (Photo 1). Today, I walked by again and the potato has moved off of the railing and is now leaning against the house (Photo 2). I do not know the origin or purpose of this mystery potato, but I do have a ton of questions.

1. Was the potato placed on the railing by the homeowners or a cheeky passerby?
–Follow-up questions:
If the homeowners are responsible for this potato, why? What did this potato do to them? If this is not the handiwork of the homeowner, why would a cheeky passerby choose to leave a perfectly good potato in this particular location?
2. Was the potato purposely moved next to the window, knocked off the railing by a reckless passerby, or did it move itself?

After a fair amount of thought and no other rational explanation, I would like to believe that this potato is in control of its own destiny and has moved from the railing, which begs the questions:
3. Where might it go next?
4. What adventures await this scrappy, young, and slightly rotted-looking tater? I will keep watch.


I immediately started my investigation. Seems that this mystery potato was located in the Beacon Hill district of Boston, one of the oldest neighborhoods in the United States, located just a short walk from Boston’s theater district.

This historic region, with its Federal, Greek Revival, and Victorian architecture is known for its historical landmarks, and its many antique shops, boutiques, and fine eating and drinking establishments.

Reverend William Blackstone, a reclusive clergyman, owned all of what is now Beacon Hill in 1624. Farming was done here and to answer your next question … yes potatoes were grown there. Boston’s Charles Street Jail was remodeled into a luxury hotel that relishes its roots; the cellblock rooms and original catwalks lining the atrium remind you that a prison always has stories to tell.

For instance, a captured German U-boat captain killed himself while imprisoned here in 1945, and one can only imagine what was going through Malcolm X’s head during his time inside. When a court ruled that conditions here were so poor that they violated the prisoners’ constitutional rights.

It took nearly 20 years to relocate the inmates. And again to answer your question … Potatoes were fed to the prisoners.

Well, since you mentioned the Great Irish Potato Famine, now is a good time to talk about it. Between 1845 and 1849 Ireland had an ordeal of hunger, disease, and emigration that shaped the Ireland we have today. The potato crop, which was pretty much the exclusive nourishment to Ireland had a blight, also known as phytophthora, occur. This disease devastated the crop for years and the population dropped by 25%. Hundreds of thousands of farmers and laborers were evicted from their homes during this devastation.

In 1847 over 37,000 Irish Catholics move to Boston, Massachusetts. Most of these Irish immigrants were poor and struggling to survive. The Irish settle near the waterfront, north end, and the East side of Boston.

Potatoes can also be useful too. They can be used for removing rust and making electricity. The flowers from them have been worn by the likes of Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI. They have been raised in space, the first vegetable grown in the Space Shuttle.

Rose cuttings will grow from a potato and they can be used to make environmentally friendly plastic. The Incas used the time that it took to cook a potato to measure time and you can mail a spud to a friend for only $9.99.

OK, this brings up a possibility. Maybe the mystery potato was mailed to a friend that was out of town. The mail person left it and the rain washed off the stamps and message. It could have fallen off of a shoppers cart and a spud lover placed it on the railing to keep it safe. It is possible that this potato is trying to get back to one of these Irish immigrants farmers. There is a lot of paranormal activity in the Boston area, tours are conducted to the haunted graveyards and hanging sites all the time. Maybe this potato was eaten here and now haunts this area. If it is a residual haunting it may occur time and time again. I would avoid that area at night.

Don’t forget about the potato’s eye. To answer the question on how it moved from the railing, it is possible that it was watching pedestrians and one did not appreciate that fact. A good slap could have sent it rolling.

I’m going for the obvious explanation. It was probably grown in space and is an alien potato trying to find its home. Albert Sacco Jr., payload specialist on the Space Shuttle Columbia was born in Boston on May 3, 1949. The potato is trying to find its grower. Emily, maybe you could try to deliver it to him.


Author: Doyle

I was born in Atlanta, moved to Alpharetta at 4, lived there for 53 years and moved to Decatur in 2016. I've worked at such places as Richway, North Fulton Medical Center, Management Science America (Computer Tech/Project Manager) and Stacy's Compounding Pharmacy (Pharmacy Tech).

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