One of the strangest mummy tales ever told comes not from the tombs of ancient Egypt or the famous Aztec mummies of Mexico, but from the lawless days of America's Wild West.
It all began with an epic gun battle in Oklahoma in October of 1911, between a posse assembled by Sheriff Harve Freas and the fugitive Elmer McCurdy, who was wanted for bank and train robberies and had a $2000 bounty on his head. McCurdy was killed in the shootout, and his body was embalmed in Pawhuska, OK where it was put on display for the paying public; people would pay the viewing fee by placing a penny in the corpse's mouth.
Five years later, McCurdy's mummified remains were taken from Pawhuska by the owner of a traveling carnival, then changed owners repeatedly over the next sixty years (including wax museums, carnival sideshows, amusement parks, even movie sets) before disappearing... or so people thought.
Photo: Sideshow World
Now comes the weird part: fast-forward to December 1976, during the filming of an episode of The Six Million Dollar Man in “Laff in the Dark” funhouse, part of an amusement park called The Pike in Long Beach, California. A member of the film crew was trying to move a hanging dummy when part of its arm came off, revealing it to be a genuine human corpse. Weirder still, the body had a penny dated 1924 in its mouth, along with a ticket from a Los Angeles museum... and the jacket of a .32 caliber bullet still lodged in the corpse's thigh.
Photo: Alison Meier/Atlas Obscura
Once identified by forensics experts, McCurdy's body was given a proper burial at the Boot Hill Cemetery in Guthrie, OK the following year, and his grave was sealed with concrete... you know, to make sure he doesn't go wandering off again.