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The Correction Baby is here to answer all of your Hazardous Tales related questions. Have a burning question, spot an inaccuracy, find a typo? Send it to the Correction Baby at

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Mole

Dear Correction Baby, 

I just read ONE DEAD SPY. Did Nathan Hale, the famous patriot spy, really have a mole on his neck, as you show on page 18?

CB: Yes. He had a large mole on his neck, and his childhood friends really did tease him, saying it meant he would die by hanging. See the following source:

"A childhood friend of Nathan's, Asher Wright, who would become his close ally and camp attendant during the Revolutionary Was, later described Nathan's pockmark as "a large hair hair mole on his neck." A mole on one's neck was a sign of bad luck. If one had a hair growing from that mole, it further indicated that death by hanging was in your future. Reflecting back on his life with Nathan, Wright added, "In his boyhood, his playmates sometimes twitted him about {the mole}, telling him he would be hanged."

Phelps, William M. Nathan Hale: The Life and Death of America's First Spy. Page 3. Thomas Dunne Books, 2008

So did the Hangman really have a cartoon birthmark?

CB: What do you think?