STORY: 'Stoneman Willie' is one of the U.S.'s oldest mummies
For 128 years, he's been on display at a local funeral home in Reading, Pennsylvania
Now, he will finally receive a proper send-off and burial
(Kyle Blankenbiller, Funeral director, Theo C. Auman Funeral Home and Crematory)
"Well, I've only been here ten years. Willie has been here 128. So, Willie, throughout the generations that I've worked and gone through the halls of this historic funeral home, has always been a treasured resident. //We refer to him as our friend Willie."
It's believed the unidentified man was a petty thief
who died of kidney failure in a local jail in 1895
and was then accidentally mummified by a mortician experimenting with new embalming techniques
"So Mr. Auman is supposedly the first funeral home, the first funeral director to employ this technique. //And Mr. Auman petitioned the state to maintain Willie here because he wanted to, quote unquote, monitor his experiment to see how long indeed this person would remain in a preserved state. Oddly enough, with the chemical concoction that he had used, not knowing the balance of fluids and chemicals that we know today, Willie began to mummify within weeks. And I think within a matter of six months, he was almost completely mummified."