Not sure why this grabbed at me. Can’t really put my finger on the feeling of sameness and oneness when I read and re-read the article.
What is certain? I am a self professed Freak. I like it. Alone but not lonely. Been strange all my life. Most likely, I’ll keep on keeping on with the curious behavior. I enjoy it. The Croc’s with shorts and Elmer Fudd jacket, in the middle of a snowstorm.
The constant need for approval by the living dead? The living dead being those ‘strangers’ I meet in the ancient cemeteries? The aged plots of land that I seek out that happen to dot the New Hampshire scenic highways? They remind me there are opportunities yet to be discovered. And, lessons yet to be learned.
Those about me are misfits. Relics who happen to enhance my pecularities…via their own unique like everyone else…actions.
One such misfit who enjoys a good iditarod, after eating leftover buffet chinese food. Sitting there on a wooden bench, awaiting a splinter,temperature at 100 below zero with the wind chill not factored in, just to have laid down with dogs!? Patty ‘don’t over bake’ Cake brought Speedy to my attention and therefore, I feel it is only my duty and honor to pass the story on:
In May 1928, Speedy went fishing and fell with his line into the Ohio River, where he drowned. The city transferred his body to Hamock’s Funeral Home for a pauper’s burial. Having created a powerful preservative, Hamock decided to experiment with it to preserve Atkins’ body. The mixture transformed the corpse into a wooden-like statue. While Atkins’ black skin was altered to a reddish color, his facial features remained recognizable.
Hamock put the preserved body of Speedy on occasional display at the funeral home; he mostly stored it in a closet. He did not charge a fee for viewers. Washed away by waters of the Ohio River during the Paducah flood of 1937, Speedy’s body was recognized and returned to Hamock at his funeral home.
After Hamock died in 1949, his wife Velma took over custody of Speedy’s body. She kept it for another 45 years before burial. During the 66 years that Speedy’s body was preserved, awareness of the mummified corpse became more widespread.
This whole Speedy thing at first, angered me. Who, what and why do people think they have the right to monetize on other’s quirks.
However, after the anger left, I did more research. Hobos, freaks, deaf persons and/or anyone without money and with little or no family, often were used for practice. Practice in the art of embalming! How strange. Not too long ago, before terms such as, hate crimes and politically incorrect statements, we, me, you and other misfits, were rats in a maze of formaldehyde and miscellaneous materials.
What of Andrew McCrew?
Not sure if Andrew had ever met Speedy…but the courtship via ‘a functional society’ had been the same.
McCrew was a one-legged African-American hobo who died in Marlin, Texas, after falling off a moving train. No one came to claim him, and after being heavily embalmed by a local mortician, his remains were acquired by a traveling carnival. For over 50 years McCrew’s mummified body toured the country as “The Amazing Petrified Man”, dressed in a tuxedo and seated in a wheelchair. The carnival company closed in the late 1960s and McCrew ended up in a Dallas warehouse, where he was discovered by widow Elgie Pace. Pace felt that he deserved a proper burial and, unable to afford this herself, stored him in her basement. In 1973 a local undertaker finally heard the story and offered to bury him for free. His grave was unmarked until Don McLean’s song “The Legend of Andrew McGrew” (1974) was played on a Chicago radio station; it generated enough interest for others to come forward and pay for a marker. It reads, “Born 1867, Died 1913, Buried 1973”. (bio by: Brent Priddy)
‘Amazing what some ‘normal’ people do for money!’
‘Cocaine had been removed from what we now call, Coke, in, 1904!’ During the hayday of experimental embalming amongst ‘rational, normal and quick thinking’ society.
‘Still can’t get pot legalized as a, recreational drug, nationwide, 2015!’ asks, the freak who lives outside of the box!