Accidently mummified! Here's why Pennsylvania mummy will be buried after 128 yrs
Stoneman Willie, a 128-year-old mummy will finally be laid to rest after over a century being on display
A Pennsylvania man, who was accidentally mummified in the late 19th century, and had been on display for 128 years, will finally be laid to rest on October 7. Throughout the years, his identity remained unknown.
However, according to sources, the true identity of “Stoneman Willie” will finally be disclosed upon his burial.
Whatever little is known about Stoneman Willie, suggests that he was apparently an alcoholic, who at the time of his death, was held on petty theft charges at Berks County Prison. On November 19, 1895, Stoneman Willie died of kidney failure.
At the time of his arrest, Stoneman Willie stated his name as James Penn but later told his prison doctor that he gave a fake name to protect his siblings' reputations, according to Berks Nostalgia website.
Accidentally mummified during experiment
When the authorities were unable to locate Stoneman Willie's family to hand over his body, he was released to Auman's Funeral Home in Reading, Pennsylvania. During an experiment with embalming techniques, his body was accidentally mummified.
On authorities' permission, his mummified body was kept on display to monitor the effects of the embalming technique. His hair and teeth are still intact while his hard skin appears leathery and shiny. For 128 years, he has been on display at the funeral home.
Why is Stoneman Willie being buried now?
Funeral director Kyle Blankenbiller said, “We don't refer to him as a mummy. We refer to him as our friend Willie,” according to Fox News. “He has just been such an icon, such a storied part of not only Reading's past but certainly its present,” Kyle added.
The funeral home declared earlier in 2023 that he would finally receive a proper burial and that his true identity had been discovered. His real name will be publically revealed at the time of his burial and it will be inscribed on his headstone.
Kyle also said back in June that Stoneman Willie will be honoured in October with a final public viewing. He was re-dressed in an attire inspired by 19th-century fashion for his public viewing, according to Berks Nostalgia website. A hearse carrying the mummy was part of the Reading's 275th Anniversary parade.
Stoneman Willie's public status as local celebrity
A Pennsylvania resident, Mark May said, “It was nice to have our hometown hero and see him one last time,” adding that he was regarded as a “celebrity” in town.
Stoneman Willie's public viewing ends on October 6, and the day after that, he will finally be laid to rest, 128 years later.