The Monkey Hangers of Hartlepool

In the early 19th century, a French ship was spotted sinking off the coast of England, near a small town named  Hartlepool. The only survivor was a monkey, dressed in a military uniform. This was during the Napoleonic Wars, and the citizens of Hartlepool had never seen a French person before. They interrogated the monkey, who responded in a manner they couldn’t understand. Obviously it was speaking French. The monkey was tried on suspicion of being a French military spy, convicted, and hanged in public.

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Was any part of this story true? While it sounds like an urban legend, making fun of the people of Hartlepool for not knowing the difference between a Frenchman and a monkey, there are possible elements that could have been mangled enough to result in this tale. Either way, the legend has survived long enough that Hartlepool has learned to embrace it. The story in reflected in their sports teams, and they even have a statue of the monkey at their marina! Read about the legend of the town that hanged a monkey at Amusing Planet. 

Source: neatorama

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