segunda-feira, 27 de junho de 2011

Santos=Dumont erases part of his history in Benérvile

leia este artigo em português

The life of Santos-Dumont could have been better documented, wasn’t for the episode in Benérville, near the French Resort of Deuaville, in which he burns all his documents, photos and personal objects.

It is a known fact that after the experiences with his “Demoiselle” in January 1910, Santos=Dumont was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and as a flame that goes out with the air stream, Santos just disappeared.

He had built a modest house as a refuge in Benérville, nicknamed La Boîte for its square shape.

It is also known that he was visited by some close friends, such as SEM, the now very saddened mechanical Chapin and Roland Garros, who had gone there for the arrangements regarded to the purchase of a Demoiselle number 20 (possibly they played tennis on his magnificent court).

In this 1913 document we see Santos reffering to the construction of "La Boîte"

Due to his now complicated health condition, S=D devoted his life to sports and let his mind busy with scientific pleasures, built an observatory on the roof of his house with a powerful Zeiss telescope to watch the stars.

Santos=Dumont Observatory – Santos=Dumont receive his friends Ferdinand Charron and Emmanuel Aime among others. At back the famous Zeiss telescope.

Looking at these pictures, we can realise that he received visitors not so famous, so it was not possible to know exactly who these people are.

He paid a high price for living a reclusive lifestyle, as soon as the first world war was declared in Europe in August 1914, Santos=Dumont was visited by the Gendarmes in two cars. An Austrian neighbor called Goujon denounced him. He believed that S=D was watching the movement on the coast of the English Channel with his powerful telescope and communicating through nautical flags erected on a ship mast installed next to the house.

By that time, Santos would take advantage of the laurels of his former aviator life, spent in design and style, beside the eccentricities of having nautical pieces installed in the village, he also had a beautiful Alda, 4 cylinder, 15HP, designed and built by his friend Charron.

By scouring the house, the police confiscated several belongings and documents and Santos=Dumont kept under house arrest. Antonio Prado Jr, was alerted and intervened with the Embassy of Brazil to resolve impasse.

Santos=Dumont decided to leave his residence, but not before burning all documents, plans, books and personal objects, without the chance of making duplicates, leading to a great loss of historical documents.

After the withdrawal of the S=D, the Gendarmes returned and confiscated several other objects left by him, including the beautiful car Alda. Exactly 62 years later, in September 1976 Benedic Hubert was at the site where the house was built. He found the place deserted, with only part of the floor among the debris " a magnificent view, both sides, which must have seduced Santos=Dumont" as written in this letter addressed to the family of Santos=Dumont.

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