Known also as Xenios, Grimnir, Ahausurus, Cartaphilus, Isaac Laquedem, Kukulcan, Zerib Bar Elia, Joseph, Salathiel, &c.

Michael D. Winkle

680 B.C. -- Marmora, an island in the Black Sea -- Our first glimpse of the eternal wanderer comes from the Father of History himself, Herodotus. From The Histories (5th century B.C.), as translated by Aubrey de Selincourt:

I have mentioned the birthplace of Aristeas, the author of this poem; now here is a story I heard about him in Marmora and Cyzicus. He belonged to one of the first families in his home town, and one day, upon entering a fuller’s shop, he fell down dead. The fuller closed his shop and hurried out to inform his relatives of what had occurred, but no sooner had the news of Aristeas’ death got about, than a person from Cyzicus, who had just arrived from the town of Artaca, contradicted the rumor and declared that he had met him going toward Cyzicus and had talked to him. He was absolutely certain of this and would take no denial. Meanwhile, Aristeas’ relatives were on their way to the shop with what was necessary for the funeral, intending to take the body away; they opened the door, and the room was empty -- Aristeas was not there, dead or alive.

680 - 673 B.C. -- The sources of Aristeas’ powers and immortality are unknown. After many years of life he falls into a comatose state and “re-sets” at an (apparently) much younger age. Associated with his immortality is a restlessness, an urge to wander. He treks off into central Asia, where the Walls-Between-Worlds are weak, and he passes through a Gate into Aanuu, home of gryphons, Arimaspians, giant ants and wasps, and other strange beings. Eventually he finds a passage back to Earth.

673 B.C. -- Marmora -- “Seven years later he reappeared in Marmora, wrote the poem we now call The Tale of the Arimaspians, and again vanished.” [Herodotus]

433 B.C. -- Italy -- “I will add something which I know happened to the people of Metapontum in Italy two hundred and forty years (as I have found by computation) after the second disappearance by Aristeas. There the story goes that Aristeas appeared and told them to erect an altar to Apollo, with a statue beside it bearing the name of Aristeas of Marmora; then, after explaining that they were the only people in Italy whom Apollo had visited, and that he himself on the occasion of his visit had accompanied the god in the form of a raven, he vanished.” [Herodotus]

The people consult the oracle at Delphi about this mysterious being, and for once they are given a straight answer: “they had better do what it recommended.” Thus a statue of Aristeas was erected beside the image of Apollo in the market square of Megapontum.

Biblical Era -- the Prophet Elijah -- “And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.” (II Kings 2:11)

Elijah never died, but was translated bodily into heaven. According to Jewish belief and folklore, “he spends half his time on earth, wandering throughout the world to bring solace and hope. This vast number of legends about Elijah’s wanderings preceded the legends of Cartaphilus-Ahasuerus-Laquedem by many centuries.” [Joseph Gaer, The Legend of the Wandering Jew (1961)] It is possible that Aristeas has been mistaken for Elijah over the years, or that he has passed himself off as the Prophet.

Third Century B.C. -- Scandinavia -- “Three or four centuries before the Christian era the Teutons were established in the south of the Scandinavian peninsula, in the islands of the Baltic sea and on the great flat plain of north Germany,” writes E. Tonnelat in “Teutonic Mythology” (New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology). Upon forming a culture distinct from their Indo-European ancestors, the Teutons develop their own myths, including the tales of Odin, Othin, or Wotan, the god of the raging elements.

When Aristeas, white-haired and bearded by this time, hikes through these lands in his traveler’s guise, he stands out -- not too many men live to be graybeards. He is taken to be Odin in the form of a traveler, as in the story of Sigmund: “He was tall, already old, and blind in one eye. His head was covered with a broad-brimmed hat, his body was wrapped in a wide cloak.” In the Scandinavian lands Odin is called Grimnir (“the Hooded One”), Gangleri (“the Wanderer”) and Sithskegg (“Long-Bearded”). Jacob Grimm may have known something about the Wanderer, for he mentions Aristeas in his chapter about Odin in Teutonic Mythology, Vol. 1: “To the Greek Apollo too the wolf and raven were sacred; his messenger the raven informed him when Koronis was unfaithful, and Aristeas accompanied him as a raven.” (Odin’s companions are two wolves, Freki and Geri, and two ravens, Hunin and Gunin.)

Prior to 1228 -- Armenia -- “The earliest extant mention of the Wandering Jew, is to be found in the book of the chronicles of the Abbey of S. Albans,” writes Sabine Baring-Gould in his Curious Myths of the Middle Ages. In 1228 the Archbishop of Armenia Major visits England to visit sacred places. The Archbishop is asked if he “had ever seen or heard of any thing of Joseph, a man of whom there was much talk in the world.” Through an interpreter he says “the said Joseph ate at the table of my lord the Archbishop in Armenia, and he had often seen and held converse with him.” The visiting Archbishop explains that, upon reaching the age of one hundred years, the Wandering Jew becomes again as he was at the age of thirty. “He often dwells in both divisions of Armenia, and other Eastern countries, passing his time amidst the bishops and other prelates of the Church.”

1465 -- Bohemia -- While passing through Prague, Aristeas is taken in by a kindly weaver. The weaver has amassed a fortune in gold and silver over the years, and he wishes to hide it until his grandson is twenty-one years of age. Before he wanders off again, Aristeas helps him built a small, underground vault in which to hide the money.

1505 -- Bohemia -- At this time Ladislas II rules Bohemia, and in Prague, not far from the royal palace, lives the royal weaver, Kokot.

Kokot’s grandfather had forty years earlier hidden a great treasure somewhere near the cottage of the Kokot family. The grandfather died, and Kokot’s father was murdered before he could tell the young weaver where the treasure was hidden. Kokot searches for the treasure for years without success. His wife and friends doubt the fortune even exists.

“Late one wintry night in the year 1505,” as Kokot toils at his loom, there comes a knock at the door. “In the doorway, against the black of the wintry night, stood a tall, gaunt, bearded man, wearing clothes too thin and worn for such harsh weather.”

The stranger, who gives his name as Joseph, has just arrived from Prague. “He had seen the light in the window and felt too tired to walk any farther.” Kokot gives him bread and cheese and prepares him a bed in the workroom.

Joseph proves popular with the local children, including the weaver’s own family. He works as the weaver’s apprentice, showing “great familiarity with the art.” Eventually Kokot tells him the story of his grandfather’s treasure. Joseph interrupts with “Yes, I know.” He explains: “Your good grandfather took in this old man and gave him a roof over his head and the food of his table to eat, just as you have done for me.” Joseph then reveals: “I am the Wanderer who cannot rest and must roam over the earth in wretched poverty until Judgment Day.”

Kokot is skeptical. Joseph will prove it. “I can show you the hiding place of your grandfather’s fortune, which I helped him hide when I was last in Bohemia.” Which he promptly does by leading Kokot to a tiny brick vault buried in an embankment near the cottage. Inside are many old gold and silver coins.

Kokot runs through the streets with a basket of the old coins, rubbing everyone’s nose in them, so to speak. When he finally returns home, he finds that Joseph has vanished. (Joseph Gaer, Legend of the Wandering Jew)

1525 -- Florence, Italy -- “About twenty years after the Wandering Jew left Kokot, the happy weaver in Bohemia” [Gaer], he visits the occultist and alchemist Dr. Cornelius Agrippa. The Wanderer says, “I would have thee tell me of that Marvellous Mirror, which thy potent art of magic hath enabled thee to make -- the renown of which hath brought even me, Cartaphilus (for that is the name I bear), within thy door, seeking after such strange knowledge.” With the mirror the Wanderer wishes to see the image of the woman he loved centuries ago, “Rebecca, only daughter of Rabbi Eben Ezra. . . as she was, I say, when with her I wandered . . . upon the flowery banks of the Kedron.” Agrippa grants his request, and the Wanderer looks upon the ghostly image of his long-dead love.

1530? -- near Elvan -- “A short time after the Wandering Jew visited the famed alchemist Cornelius Agrippa” [Gaer], he met the Moslem leader Fadhilah.

“After the Arabs had captured the city of Elvan, Fadhilah, at the head of three hundred horsemen, pitched his tents, late in the evening, between two mountains.” He says his evening prayer, and an “echo” repeats his every word. He implores the parroting being to show himself if he is human and not a spirit, and an old man with a staff obligingly appears.

Fadhilah asks the old man who he is. The strangers replies: “Bassi Hadret Issa, I am here by command of the Lord Jesus, who has left me in this world, that I may live therein until He comes a second time to earth . . .”

Fadhilah is understandably curious. He “inquired the signs of the approach of the end of all things, whereupon Zerib Bar Elia gave him an account of general, social, and moral dissolution, which would be the climax of this world’s history.” [BG] Zerib Bar Elia is the Moslem name for the Prophet Elijah.

1542 -- Paul von Eitzen, a divinity student who would someday become Bishop of Schleswig, visits his parents in Hamburg during Easter vacation. In church on Easter Sunday, he notices a tall, gaunt man with long white hair and beard, who, despite the bitter cold, wears tattered clothing and no shoes at all. After the service, von Eitzen and other divinity students question him. The stranger calls himself Ahasuerus (a name that has defied translation) and claims to be the Wandering Jew. He answers questions in Middle High German, Latin and Greek, and in the student's various languages. Von Eitzen meets Ahasuerus several times and has many long conversations with him. He brings learned men to question him about history, and "they all came away astonished, but convinced that Ahasuerus was telling the truth." [Gaer]

1575 -- Christoph Krause and Jacobus von Holstein are sent by the Duke of Holstein to the royal court of Spain. While there they meet Ahasuerus in Madrid, appearing exactly as he had to von Eitzen. Also this year the Wanderer visits Brussels, where he uses the name "Isaac Lakedion" (apparently a corruption of Lkodem, a Hebrew word meaning "ancient one").

At this time, in Western Europe, the Wanderer becomes more of a bogey in the local folklore, his appearance bringing storms, hurricanes, and pestilence. There are ways to repel him, just as fairies and vampires can be repelled -- by turning a chain harrow plow teeth upwards when not in use, for instance.

the eternal wanderer

1599 -- "A trustworthy and respectable citizen of Brunswick" [Gaer] writes that Ahasuerus is in Vienna, and is preparing to visit Poland and Russia.

1601 -- Chrysostomus Dudulaeus of Westphalia, who committed von Eitzen's story to paper, reports that "This Ahasuerus was at Lubeck in 1601, also about the same date in Revel in Litvonia, and in Cracow in Poland. In Moscow he was seen of many and spoken to by many."

1604 -- Rodolphe Bouthrays records that the Wanderer is in Paris this year.

Also this year a lawyer named Louvet, in Beauvais in northern France, has a strange experience: As he headed one Sunday toward the unfinished Cathedral of St. Pierre, he ran into a wind of astonishing power. He reached the cathedral stairs and nearly collided with "a gaunt old man with a flowing white beard and long white hair, dressed in rags." [Gaer] He was speaking to a group of children. Louvet entered the cathedral to hear the people, oddly enough, gossiping about the eternal wanderer who entered their city "on the wings of a storm." Louvet decides to question the old man when services are over, but when he steps outside the sun is shining and only a slight breeze is blowing. Though he searches all day, Louvet never sees the old man again.

1633 -- “In 1633 he was again in Hamburg.” [BG]

1640 -- Brussels -- “In the year 1640, two citizens, living in the Gerberstrasse, in Brussels, were walking in the Sonian wood, when they encountered an aged man, whose clothes were in tatters and of an antiquated appearance. They invited him to go with them to a house of refreshment.” The stranger does not sit, though he accepts a drink, and he speaks of events of many centuries before. “Hence the burghers gathered that their companion was Isaac Laquedem,” their name for the Wandering Jew, and “they left him full of terror.” [BG]

1642 -- “In 1642, he is reported to have visited Leipzig.” [BG]

1644 -- In this year a Turkish spy in Paris writes up a long report about a man named Michob Ader who has come to Paris. Michob claims to be the Wandering Jew. "They say that he heals all diseases by touching the part afflicted. Divers other miracles are ascribed to him." Michob has escaped from the Inquisitions in Rome and Spain, which is miraculous in itself.

The spy speaks with Michob for long hours. The Wanderer tells him stories of Nero, Saladin, and other men and peoples. The spy writes that if his tale is true, "he may not unfitly be called 'A Living Chronology.'" "By his looks one would take him for a relic of the Old World, or one of the long-lived fathers before the Flood. To speak modestly, he may pass for the younger brother of Time."

1658 -- Samuel Wallis of Stamford, England, reports that the Wanderer appeared at his home. Wallis was in a bad way, suffering from consumption. While reading a book by the fire, he heard a knock at the door, and, as his nurse was absent, he had to crawl to the door and open it himself. In his own words:

“I beheld a proper, tall, grave old man. Thus he said: ‘Friend, I pray thee, give an old pilgrim a cup of small beere!’ And I said, ‘Sir, I pray you, come in and welcome.’ And he said, ‘I am no Sir, therefore call me not Sir; but come in I must, for I cannot pass by thy doore.’

“After finishing the beer: ‘Friend,’ he said, ‘thou art not well.’ I said, ‘No, truly Sir, I have not been well this many yeares.’ He said, ‘What is thy disease?’ I said, ‘A deep consumption, Sir; our doctors say, past cure: for, truly, I am a very poor man, and not able to follow doctors’ councell.’ ‘Then,’ said he, ‘I will tell thee what thou shalt do; and, by the help and power of Almighty God above, thou shalt be well. Tomorrow, when thou risest up, go into thy garden, and get there two leaves of red sage, and one of bloodworte, and put them into a cup of thy small beere. Drink as often as need require, and when the cup is empty fill it again, and put in fresh leaves every fourth day, and thou shalt see, through our Lord’s great goodness and mercy, before twelve days shalt be past, thy disease shall be cured and thy body altered.’”

After this, the stranger left. Wallis followed his instructions and was soon free of consumption. For months afterward the clergymen and philosophers of Stamford argued over whether the stranger was an angel or a devil. Wallis (as recorded by Baring-Gould) described the stranger:

His dress had been minutely described by honest Sam. His coat was purple, and buttoned down to the waist; “his britches of the same couler, all new to see to;” his stockings were very white, but whether linen or jersey, deponent knoweth not; his beard and head were white, and he had a white stick in his hand. The day was rainy from morning to night, “but he had not one spot of dirt upon his cloathes.”

1690s -- A man calling himself the Wandering Jew appears in England. The peasantry believe him, the gentry do not. However, those of the upper class, being often bored, invite him to gatherings to tell his tales. He even visits Oxford and Cambridge, where the professors question him on matters of history. His stories conflict with historical books, but the Wanderer is of the opinion that a true history has never been written -- all writers are prejudiced on one side or the other. One day, the Wanderer simply vanishes. "He disappeared from London as he had appeared, without warning; and was next heard of as having been seen in Denmark." [Gaer]

1800 to 1830 -- Several people appear in England during this period claiming to be the Wandering Jew, according to Joseph Gaer. In a new skeptical age, they are all deemed to be imposters or lunatics. “The last appearance of such a person in England was recorded in 1830.”

The Three Nephites

In the nineteenth century, Aristeas may have assumed a new identity, with the help of the newly-established Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. According to the Book of Mormon, a man named Lehi, who lived in Jerusalem circa 599 B.C., believed that the city had become filled with inequities. He left with his family, and after long travels the group landed in what is now South America. Lehi's descendants multiplied and split into two factions, the Nephites and the Lamanites. After the resurrection of Christ, the Savior walked among the Nephites and established His church in the New World, even gathering twelve apostles to carry on His work after He left. Christ asked of the twelve: "What is it that ye desire of me, after that I am gone to the Father?" Three of the apostles were too embarrassed to put their desires into words, but Christ said: "Behold, I know your thoughts, as ye have desired the thing with John, my beloved. . . Therefore, more blessed are ye, for ye shall never taste of death; but shall live to behold all the doings of the Father unto the children of men." Thus these three apostles, known as the Three Nephites, have wandered through the world ever since, helping people in times of need.

"The Three Nephites are eternal wanderers," writes folklorist Austin E. Fife. "They wear poor, simple, and often tattered clothing, and almost universally have white hair and long white beards. They are in perfect health although they appear very old and venerable. What is most surprising, and quite significant is that they seldom appear in groups but almost always alone."

If Aristeas is the progenitor of some Nephite appearances, there is an obvious reason only one Nephite appears at a time. Unlike simple folklore, most Nephite tales happen to specific people at specific places and on specific dates. Hector Lee writes: "It should not be inferred that these stories were deliberately fabricated to attract attention; we do not question the veracity of the persons concerned, nor their sincerity." [Lee, p. 90]

1870 -- First, however, the Eternal Jew gives one last appearance, "down on the Muddy here," as one Charley Seegmiller reports. The event happens to his brothers Adam and Billy, as Charley did not yet live in the area. "One day they was settin' around -- kind of a windy day -- and all at once they seen a man comin' along the desert. This desert was a plateau above the Muddy Valley, on the east side of the Valley, and it was just only covered with evergreens, green bushes, so you could see all over."

The man approaches the Seegmillers, who are chopping wood, and says, "I would like if you would let me have some dry bread and some patches to patch my clothes. I am goin' to cross the desert here and I would like to have somet'ing of that kind."

Billy Seegmiller asks, "Do you know what kind of country you are goin' over?", as the stranger seems to have no way to carry water. "Oh, yes, but I know how to get water," the man replies. They offer him good bread, but the man merely says, "Good bread sometimes spoils, but dry bread won't spoil." The Seegmillers ask his name, and he answers them in German: "Mann heisst mich den ewigen Juden" -- "Man calls me the everlasting Jew." The stranger then walks toward the edge of the plateau, about four-fifths of a mile away. He vanishes before he reaches the drop-off. [Fife, pp. 30-31: "Charley Seegmiller, aged 93, St. George, Utah, December 27, 1939 . . . The event which he reports here must have taken place about 1870."]

1890, winter -- Joseph Wood is chopping wood in knee-deep snow when a man walks down the street and says, "Young man, I've come to have a talk with you. Come on in the house." The stranger rather familiarly leads the way into Wood's house, and he speaks of astounding spiritual matters, mostly concerning the fate of the Mormon church.

"He was dressed like an ordinary man," reports Mr. Wood. "Clothes of a dark nature. His beard was just as white as -- as the driven snow. And his hair -- just as white as it could be. I said to him, 'You have the appearance actually of being a young person, but your hair says that you are aged.' All I got was a good big smile from that."

Mr. Wood questions his visitor but receives few answers. The stranger refuses to give his name. "He gave me to understand he was from the north." [Maybe he's Santa Claus? Or does he refer to Hyperborea?] "When he left me he left me as sudden -- he opened the door and shut it, and that's all. I opened the door but could not see my visitor." [Fife, pp. 23-25: "Joseph Wood, aged 82, Woods Cross, Utah, August 13, 1939"]

1900 -- The Maud May Babcock story is perhaps the most famous Nephite tale. "During the summer of 1900, I spent my summers in Brighton, Silver Lake, Utah. . . . Carrie Helen Lamson, a school teacher, some years older than myself, was my companion on most of the trips." Ms. Babcock and Ms. Lamson ride out in the semi-arid terrain on horseback. "We reached, as we thought, a trail by a deserted mine camp over Dog Lake about seven o'clock in the morning." At the top of a peak they find themselves in a shale-filled gulch, and their horses are in danger of sliding several hundred feet on the jagged detritus. Maud prays for help.

"As I raised my head after my prayer, a voice above me said, 'How did you get there, my daughter?' I jabbered in relief and excitement, trying to explain our predicament, when before my explanation was finished, I was standing on the path below the peak, on the other side with Miss Lamson and both of our horses in a circle facing the stranger. We had no recollection of how we or the horses got there." The stranger is an old man with a gray beard and "very new blue overalls." He directs all his remarks to Ms. Babcock, although he does answer Ms. Lamson's questions. The old man tells Maud to follow the path she had been following, and the two women start off. Ms. Babcock looks back to call thanks, but the man is gone.

Wherever he went, he left miles of hobnailed boot prints from wherever he came from. The women follow the footprints until one o'clock in the afternoon. Ms. Lamson, a former atheist, joins the Latter-Days Saints after this encounter. [Lee, pp. 154-55, reprinting Ms. Babcock's story from The Juvenile Instructor, Vol. 56, p. 584]

Circa 1912 -- George E. Brown and John J. Oldroyd visit Vancouver Island (British Columbia) and try to preach the Mormon gospel on a street corner. Mormons are very unpopular here. "They had little more than started when down the street marched a large group of men and boys carrying several large pots of melted tar and several old feather ticks." Just as the the mob is about to tear the clothes from the Mormon missionaries, "a white haired gentleman (no one saw him arrive at the scene) grasped the leader by the wrists and said in a loud commanding voice, 'I have heard these boys preach back in the old country and they are all right. Now let them alone.'"

The mob leader wants to fight. The old man "grasped him at the nape of the neck with one hand and by the belt with the other and shook him so soundly, taking him completely off his feet, that when he had finished the mobster could not stand without assistance." The mob disperses, and the old man stays for the Mormon service. A crowd gathers to listen rather than jeer, and the mystery man vanishes. [Lee, pp. 152-53, from a manuscript by Glen J. Brown concerning his father.]

* * *

Do the Three Nephites exist, as described by the Book of Mormon? Are these stories simple folk-tales? Loren Coleman, in Mysterious America (original 1983 edition), writes, "I would suggest a third alternative: namely, that Nephites as such do not exist, but that manifestations calling themselves or being taken for Nephites do." [p, 230]

Aristeas on the Throughway

The latest Nephite incident Hector Lee located occurred in 1944. He collected it from one Pearl B. Baker of Green River, Utah, on June 3, 1946:

This story came from Clyde Trammel, of Grand Junction, and I haven't had an opportunity to check with him about it, but it seems that a friend of his and his friend's wife were driving by truck from Montrose to Grand Junction when they picked up an old man. They hauled him for a long way and he seemed to be very much read-up on the current events; he knew a great deal about the war, and he talked very interestingly. They came to a long, desolate stretch of road, and the old man wanted out, and they tried to dissuade him and told him that he should go on down to more civilization, but he insisted on being let off. And he thanked them, and he said, "On your way back you will be hauling a dead man." [Lee, pp. 147-48]

The hitchhiker also volunteers the information that World War II will end in August. The couple drive on, and on the way back they do indeed carry a dead man -- the victim of a car wreck who dies on the way to Grand Junction. Their friends tell them about the Three Nephites, but they doubt the identification because the war doesn't end in August 1944. It does end in August 1945, of course, and at that point the couple become convinced that the prophetic old man was a Nephite.

We seem to see here the phasing out of "Nephites" in favor of the Phantom Hitchhiker, that classic urban legend. Surely the following exchange from Hector Lee's interview is the very essence of an urban legend:

Q: When did you first hear this story?

A: This spring, 1946. And I heard it from Mrs. MacDougall, of Green River, Utah.

Q: Was Mrs. MacDougall, one of the persons concerned?

A: No, she had heard the story from Clyde Trammel, who is a railroad man. And he, himself, wasn't concerned in the story. It was some friends of his that had had the experience.

To the Modern Era -- "This text was collected by folklorist Keith Cunningham in Arizona in 1978," writes Jan Harold Brunvand (The Vanishing Hitchhiker):

Someone Miss Packard knew, unfortunately, I cannot remember the person's name, was driving on a deserted road towards Holbrook on a cold, rainy night. As she was driving, she saw a figure on the side of the road, soaking wet trying to thumb a ride. She felt sorry for the person, stopped the car, and a young man sat down in the front seat. After a long period of silence he said, "Jesus is coming again." She turned to look at him, and he was gone. [p. 39]

The traditional story of the Vanishing (or Phantom) Hitchhiker tells of a young woman trying to get back home from a party or dance thumbing a ride from a passing motorist. When the motorist reaches the address indicated, the woman disappears -- and the driver learns that the woman died years earlier. Now, however, the unfortunate ghost-girl has company. "Another major development in the long and complex history of the roadside ghost is almost predictable, given the nature of folklore and the changing times," writes Brundvand. This new legend is usually called "Jesus on the Thruway," although the hitchhiker in question does not claim himself to be Christ.

The "Jesus on the Thruway" legend was more-or-less discovered by Lydia M. Fish of the State University College of New York at Buffalo. Aside from collecting reports of her own (with her students' help), Ms. Fish also found an MA thesis by Jansen L. Cox entitled "The Vanishing Hitchhiker." "Of forty-nine texts with male hitchhikers, she reported (p. 7) that Cox has twelve Nephites, an angel, one rider identified as St. Joseph and one as Jesus." [Brundvand, p. 45] The hitchhiker usually makes a prediction of the Second Coming, or of some disaster (like Mt. St. Helens erupting) before disappearing.

Many of these modern tales may have been spawned by Aristeas. Perhaps, after twenty-seven centuries, he is tired of walking across the world, and now he flags down passing cars. Perhaps some who stop for him will become privy to astonishing secrets or amazing adventures.


Baring-Gould, Sabine. Curious Myths of the Middle Ages (New Hyde Park, NY: University Books, 1967 [1866-68]).

Bellows, Henry Adams, ed. Poetic Edda (New York: American Scandinavian Fondation, 1968 [1923]).

Bolton, J. L. P. Aristeas of Proconnesus (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1962).

Book of Mormon.

Brundvand, Jan Harold. Vanishing Hitchhiker (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1981).

Coleman, Loren. Mysterious America (Winchester, MA: Faber & Faber, 1983).

Fife, Austin E. "The Legend of the Three Nephites Among the Mormons," in Journal of American Folk-Lore, 53:207 (Jan.-Mar. 1940), pp. 1-49.

Gaer, Joseph. Legend of the Wandering Jew (New York: New American Library, 1961).

Grimm, Jakob. Teutonic Mythology, Vol 1 (New York: Dover, 1962).

Herodotus, Histories.

King James Bible.

Lee, Hector. "Three Nephites: The Substance and Significance of the Legend in Folklore." In University of New Mexico Publications in Language and Literature No. 2 (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1949).

Tonnelat, E. "Teutonic Mythology." In New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology (London: Hamlyn Publishing, 1981 [1959]).

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