In a remarkable turn of events, Stoneman Willie, a mummified man on display at Auman’s Funeral Home in Reading, Pennsylvania, for an astonishing 128 years, is finally scheduled to receive a proper burial.
Stoneman Willie’s story begins in a local jail on November 19, 1895, where he succumbed to kidney failure. Unbeknownst to anyone at the time, this man’s remains would become a part of a captivating tale that has endured for over a century. He was accidentally mummified by a mortician experimenting with innovative embalming techniques.
One of the critical mysteries surrounding Stoneman Willie was his identity. When arrested for pickpocketing, he had provided a false name, which added an extra layer of intrigue to his story. For years, local authorities struggled to uncover his identity and locate living relatives.
The Remarkable Journey of Stoneman Willie from Mummification to a Proper Burial
During his long tenure on display, Stoneman Willie appeared in a coffin dressed in a suit with a bow tie and a red sash adorning his chest. His hair and teeth remained intact, while his skin had taken on a leathery appearance—a testament to the embalming process that inadvertently preserved him.
Auman’s Funeral Home had sought permission from the state to keep Stoneman Willie’s body, primarily to monitor the ongoing effects of the experimental embalming process. However, recent developments have brought clarity to this mysterious figure’s story.
Historical documents have now allowed Auman’s Funeral Home to identify Stoneman Willie, and they plan to disclose his actual name this week as they prepare to lay his body to rest.
Kyle Blankenbiller, the Funeral Director, expressed, “We don’t refer to him as a mummy. We refer to him as our friend Willie.” Stoneman Willie has become an iconic figure, deeply woven into the fabric of Reading’s history and present.
As a fitting tribute, the city of Reading will honour this enigmatic individual who has been part of its folklore for generations. Throughout the week, Willie will remain displayed at Auman’s Funeral Home. On Saturday, he will embark on his final journey through Reading’s streets, culminating in a burial at a local cemetery. At long last, his real name will be etched onto his tombstone, bringing a profound and captivating chapter in history to a close.
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