Tuesday December 05, 2023

VIDEO: Stoneman Willie, Pennsylvania thief, mummified in 1895, to be laid to rest after 128 years

Stoneman Willie is displayed in a coffin wearing a suit and bow tie and has a red sash around his chest

By Web Desk
October 03, 2023

Stoneman Willie, a mummified man who spent 128 years on display in a funeral house in Reading, Pennsylvania, will finally be buried in a respectful manner on October 7, 2023.

On November 19, 1895, the unnamed guy, an alcoholic, passed away in a local jail from kidney failure. According to Auman's Funeral Home, an undertaker testing out new embalming procedures accidentally mummified him.

The gaunt man is displayed in a coffin wearing a suit and bow tie and has a red sash around his chest. His skin has a leathery aspect, but his hair and teeth are still there.

Stoneman Willie's identity remained unknown for a very long time, and local officials were unable to track down family members because the man used a false name when he was jailed for pickpocketing.

The funeral home had requested permission from the state to detain the body rather than bury it in order to observe the trial embalming procedure.

However, according to Auman's Funeral Home, Stoneman Willie has now been recognised through historical records, and his name will be made public when the body is buried this week. Beyond his Irish ancestry, not much was known about him before now.

"We don't refer to him as a mummy. We refer to him as our friend Willie," said Kyle Blankenbiller, funeral director. "He has just been become such an icon, such a storied part of not only Reading's past but certainly its present."

The man who has been a cherished part of Reading folklore for many generations will be remembered by the city before his funeral.

Locals flocked to the streets on Sunday to commemorate Reading's 275th birthday with a vibrant parade that featured a motorbike hearse transporting Willie's coffin.

Willie will be on exhibit at Auman's Funeral Home for the duration of this week. He will make his last voyage through Reading's streets on Saturday before being laid to rest at a nearby cemetery and having his true name officially inscribed on his tombstone.