US Resident, Stoneman Willie Kept In Funeral Home For 128 Years Now Set For Proper Burial | #NwokeukwuMascot
A mummified man known as Stoneman Willie, who was kept on display at Auman's Funeral Home in Reading, Pennsylvania, for 128 years is set to be given a proper burial.
Reuters reports that the unidentified man was an alcoholic who died of kidney failure in a local jail on November 19, 1895.
The funeral home reportedly said that after his death, he was accidentally mummified by a mortician experimenting with new embalming techniques.
The gaunt man, who was dressed in a suit with a bow tie, was displayed in a coffin with a red sash across his chest with his hair and teeth intact, and his skin has taken on a leathery appearance.
It was reported that because the man gave a fake name when arrested for picking pockets, Stoneman Willie's identity was unknown for many years and local officials were unable to locate his relatives.
The funeral home had petitioned the state for permission to keep the body instead of burying it to monitor the experimental embalming process.
But Auman's Funeral Home says it has now identified Stoneman Willie using historical documents and will reveal his name later this week when they lay the body to rest.
Meanwhile, until now, not much was known about him beyond his Irish roots.
The Funeral Director, Kyle Blankenbiller, said, "We don't refer to him as a mummy. We refer to him as our friend Willie," adding that "He has just been become such an icon, such a storied part of not only Reading's past but certainly its present."
It was gathered that ahead of the funeral, the city of Reading will memorialise the man who has been part of the city's folklore for generations.
Local residents on Sunday reportedly filed onto the streets to celebrate Reading's 275th anniversary with a colourful parade that included a motorcycle hearse carrying Willie's casket.
All this week, Willie will be on display at Auman's Funeral Home, and on Saturday, he will make his final journey through the streets of Reading and will be buried at a local cemetery, where his real name will finally be inscribed on his tombstone.