Stoneman Willie Buried 128 Years After Death

( – After lying in a coffin on display for over 128 years in Reading, Pennsylvania, a famous mummified corpse and unusual tourist attraction will finally be laid to rest in a proper burial ceremony.

The mummy is known as “Stoneman Willie,” although the man’s true name remained unknown for over a century. Stoneman Willie has been on display at a funeral home in Reading for 128 years, but now the local legend will be given a final resting place.

According to Auman’s Funeral Home, where the body has been on display for well over a century, Stoneman Willie’s true identity remained unknown until recently. He was arrested for pickpocketing and given a fake name by law enforcement, who were unable to locate any relatives. The man was a homeless alcoholic and died in jail of kidney failure on Nov. 19, 1895. After his death, the unidentified man was mummified accidentally by a mortician who was trying out new, experimental embalming techniques.

Funeral director Kyle Blankenbiller said Stoneman Willie “has been gawked at enough.” He also said they do not “refer to him as a mummy,” but as their “friend Willie,” who’s “become such an icon” and “storied part” of Reading’s past and present.

The mummified body is displayed in a coffin at the funeral home, wearing a suit, a bow tie, and a red sash. Stoneman Willie’s teeth and hair remain intact, and his leathery skin has turned brownish-red. He was never buried because the funeral home petitioned Pennsylvania to allow them to keep the body so the results of the experimental embalming procedure could be monitored.

After 13 decades on display, the funeral home finally found some answers about Stoneman Willie’s identity by using historical records and documents. Following a procession of the casket through Reading during the city’s 275th-anniversary parade, Auman’s Funeral Home buried the body on Oct. 7 and revealed that the man’s real name was James Murphy, which will appear on his tombstone.

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