By Allen Foster
On the morning of 1 October, 1941, a porter working on the North Wall Docks in Dublin upended a large case that had been accidentally turned upside down the night before as it had been unloaded off the ship Slieve Bawn from Liverpool. The porter thought it was his imagination when he heard tapping coming from inside the crate. He listened carefully and it started again.
He tapped the case and received an answering tap from inside. He called other porters to help and the case was quickly opened. The men were amazed to find a hysterical semi-conscious Frenchman upside down encased inside a large plaster cast.
The frantic man was brought to Jervis Street hospital. There he identified himself as 40-year-old Maurice Carcassus de Laboujac, an artist with an address in London.
M. de Laboujac’s paintings were due to go on show in Dublin, but he was unable to obtain the necessary visa. He arranged to ship himself inside the crate to a Dublin art gallery on Molesworth Street.
The Frenchman planned his trip carefully and had a plaster cast made which fitted his body and prevented him from being too severely buffeted in the packing case.
This cast was contained in an inner box. The outer box was over eight feet long and two and a half feet wide. The top of the inner box was formed of the cast itself allowing the Frenchman an opening through which he could push his head against the fibrous packing between the two boxes and breathe fresh air from outside.
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