Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Eugene the Mummy

On June 6, 1929, the body of a black man was found in a ditch in Clinton County, Ohio, apparently dead of natural causes.  The man, who appeared to be about fifty-five years old and was found off of the 3C Highway, had no identification on him, save for a small slip of paper bearing the address "1118 Yale Avenue, Cincinnati. 

Unfortunately, the address that was found was merely a vacant lot.  Therefore, with no identification, the man was dubbed "Eugene" after Eugene Johnson, the man who lived in the lot NEXT to the vacant address.

Olin Moon of the Littleton Funeral Home prepared the body using the regular embalming techniques, but the funeral was delayed in hopes that family or friends would recognize the body and claim it.  It is said that one man did appear to recognize the corpse, but did not say anything. 

At the time, it was popular to display bodies as tourist attractions, and sadly, that is what Eugene became.  It was housed in a special addition off the funeral home, where he became a local celebrity.  The area became a popular spot for the bus between Columbus and Cincinnati to stop for a rest break, and millions stopped by for their own look at Eugene.

Eugene was also kidnapped several times as collegiate pranks, once winding up at Ohio State University in Columbus.  Shortly after his last kidnapping, it was decided that Eugene should finally be buried.  It had been over thirty years with no one claiming him, and thus it was unlikely that anyone ever would.

On a brisk October day in 1964, Eugene was finally buried in the Sabina Cemetery.  Chairs were set up for the absent family and friends, and eight pall bearers carried the casket from the Littleton Funeral Home hearse to its final resting spot.

Picture Property of  Scott Hammond, Roadside America
More information can be found in Haunted Ohio III by Chris Woodyard

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