Around 128 years ago, a petty thief, known to locals as ‘Stoneman Willie,’ met his demise due to kidney failure in a Pennsylvania jail on November 19, 1895. However, his story didn’t end there. He was accidentally mummified by a mortician experimenting with a new embalming technique, as reported by media.
Clothed in a suit complete with a bow tie, this man has been on display at Auman’s Funeral Home in the small city of Reading. Remarkably, his hair and teeth remain intact, and his skin has taken on a leathery appearance over the years.
Before his passing, he provided authorities with a fictitious name upon his arrest, leaving his true identity shrouded in mystery.
According to reports, the funeral home had sought permission from the state to retain the body rather than bury it in order to monitor the experimental embalming process.
The funeral home recently announced that they have successfully identified the man’s name and will unveil it later this week when they lay him to rest. Unfortunately, there is limited information about him beyond his Irish roots.
Kyle Blankenbiller, the funeral director, expressed, “We don’t refer to him as a mummy. We refer to him as our friend Willie. He has just become such an icon, such a storied part of not only Reading’s past but certainly its present.”
Local residents celebrated “Willie” with a memorable send-off, featuring a colorful parade that included a motorcycle hearse carrying his casket.
On Saturday, October 7, Willie will embark on his final journey through the streets of Reading before finding his resting place in a local cemetery. At his graveside, the funeral home plans to reveal his true name, bringing closure to this intriguing chapter of history.