“Crazy as a Bedbug”: A Tour of Historic Belvedere Hotel Suicides

by Mikita Brottman (Baltimore Fishbowl, 2/27/2012)

Mrs. Bernice Chaney Webster (Baltimore Fishbowl)

People check into hotels for all kinds of reasons: to escape, to get drunk, to meet lovers, to hide out, to lie low. A lot of the things that go on in hotel rooms are furtive, and most of them pleasurable, but not all. One of the reasons people check into hotels is to commit suicide. You’re alone, there’s no one to make you change your mind, and you won’t be saddling your loved ones with the burden of discovering the body. I’ve lived in the Belvedere for five years, and I’ve enjoyed learning about the grand hotel’s exciting past, the parties, princesses and presidents it has hosted. But every hotel has a hidden history, and the Belvedere has seen its fair share of desperate characters. While most suicides go unreported in the press, those with a touch of drama sometimes make the headlines. Here is a selection of memorable tragedies from the Belvedere’s first 30 years.

On February 19, 1909, 17-year-old Thomas E. Sutton Jr. committed suicide at the Belvedere by inhaling chloroform. This troubled young man checked into the hotel after an argument with his father, who’d insisted Sutton give up his house key. According to The Baltimore Sun, “The father said he feared his son was keeping bad company and took the key from him for that reason.” Ten years earlier, Sutton had undergone an appendix operation at Maryland University Hospital, where he was put to sleep by chloroform, which apparently gave him the inspiration for his tragic plan.

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This entry was posted in Bizarre Deaths, Deaths, Mount Vernon, Suicide and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to “Crazy as a Bedbug”: A Tour of Historic Belvedere Hotel Suicides

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