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Strange Tale Of Petrified Corpse
By: RSS/News FeedsHungZai Team

One would be hard-pressed nowadays to envision a front-page newspaper article about a corpse turning to stone, but Stauntonians wouldn’t have thought twice about the appearance of such a story in the summer of 1909. The Victorian fascination with the grave had carried over into the new century, after all, and it would take a grisly World War to show small-town America what the word “macabre” really meant.

Meanwhile, everything from grisly accounts of local manglings to an old-fashioned case of lockjaw could be counted on to rivet public attention. And, should it be combined with a dash of the supernatural perhaps, all the better for selling newspapers.

On June 10, 1909, the Leader reported that while exhuming the body of a Buckingham County woman so that it could be reinterred next to her recently deceased husband, workers found the coffin to be unusual heavy and decided to have a look inside. Prying open the casket lid, they found the body had undergone “a complete change” and was “thoroughly petrified.”

“A most remarkable feature of this rare circumstance,” the paper noted, “was a lovely tinge of pink could be seen upon each cheek of the deceased. The lady had been buried over thirty years, in a metallic casket.”

An odd coincidence then, that a woman from the same county should have dreamed of a corpse turning into stone some six years before the exhumation. “And stranger yet, the lady told the dream to the daughters of the deceased six years ago. In that neighborhood, the theory was that the petrification probably took place about the time of the dream.”

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