Man accidentally mummified and put on display for 128 years to get proper burial
An alleged thief who was accidentally mummified and placed on display at a funeral home for 128 years is set to be buried at long last.
‘Stoneman Willie’, an alcoholic pickpocket who died of kidney failure in jail in 1895, was mummified by a mortician trying a new embalming technique. Undertaker Theodore Auman experimented with arterial embalming, and it ended up working.
The unidentified man has been at the Theo C Auman Funeral Home in Reading, Pennsylvania, since then.
But his body will finally be buried at the nearby Forest Hills Memorial Park on Saturday.
‘After all these years, the vigil concludes,’ historian George M. Meiser XI, who will speak at Stoneman Willie’s service, told the Washington Post.
Aumen kept the corpse to see the effectiveness of the new technique, because no one claimed the body, Meiser said.
Stoneman Willie became famous in the local community.
‘We don’t refer to him as a mummy. We refer to him as our friend Willie,’ Auman Funeral Home funeral director Kyle Blankenbiller told Reuters.
‘He has just been become such an icon, such a storied part of not only Reading’s past but certainly its present.’
Stoneman Willie appeared ‘white as wax’, according to a newspaper in 1896. More than a century later, he appears a leathery brown.
The funeral home’s owners worked for years to see through a proper burial for Stoneman Willie.
He will be dressed in a tuxedo ‘befitting what a gentleman in 1895 would have been dressed in for burial’, stated the funeral home.
Stoneman Willie used a fake name and hence was not identified at the time of his death. However, the funeral home said it has figured out his identity through historical records and will unveil it at his burial.
‘It’s kind of sad, actually, because he’s been here for so long,’ Veronica Dangler, who visited Stoneman Willie for the last time this week, told WFMZ.
‘But I’m happy he’s finally going to have a place where he can rest.’
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