Aug 16, 2011

Butch Cassidy May Have Cheated Death

A newly discovered rare manuscript indicates that Butch Cassidy may have survived the infamous shootout in Bolivia where he was believed to have perished.  "Bandit Invincible: The Story Of Butch Cassidy" is the story by William T. Phillips, a machinist from Spokane, and it contains details which some claim could only be known by Cassidy himself.  In fact, there is some speculation that Phillips may have actually been Cassidy himself writing an autobiography posing as as a mere biography.

The theory goes that while Sundance was in fact gunned down in Bolivia, that Cassidy actually managed to escape, then fled to France, where he received face-altering plastic surgery.  He later returned to the States, hooked up with an old flame from Wyoming, and then settled in Washington state.  This is not the first claim that Butch pulled a Lazarus routine: Cassidy's brother and sister claimed that he visited their family ranch nearly 20 years after his supposed death, and genetic testing done on Butch and Sundance's apparent remains in Bolivia in 1991 proved that someone else had been buried in the grave, although the researchers did believe the two had been killed there.

As to the manuscript's author, there are conflicting reports.  While Phillips' adopted son believed his father to be the famous outlaw, his wife Gertrude later claimed that her husband was not Cassidy, but that they had in fact befriended the bank robber later in life.  Sadly, it appears we'll never be able to tell conclusively, as Phillips was cremated upon death, thus precluding a DNA test.

My favorite part of the story is the quote by Cassidy historian and expert Dan Buck, the researcher who excavated Cassidy's supposed Bolivian grave.  He asserts that the manuscript is "total horse pucky," an understandable position for a man who's based his entire career on the position that the Paul Newman/Robert Redford movie is factually accurate.  Still, you've got to admire a man who uses the word "pucky" in conversation.

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