When you see the words “exciting” and “wake” in the same headline, you can make a guess that someone is not resting in peace. Fortunately, funeral services, however weird, seldom get as ghastly as our following tale. From the (Huntington, Indiana) “Daily Democrat,” July 21, 1890:
Sedalia, Mo., July 21.-- A burial which was performed under the most peculiar and weird circumstances took place at Springfork, fifteen miles from this city, at an early hour.Cremation has a lot to be said for it.
Among the early settlers of Pettis county were a young German by the name of John Peterson and his bride. On Thursday Mrs. Peterson died of dropsy. When a girl Mrs. Peterson was slim and supple, but as years passed on she grew very fleshy, and at the time of her death was a remarkably large woman, weighing nearly three hundred pounds.
Immediately after Mrs. Peterson's death arrangements were made for the funeral. The largest casket that could be procured in the city was the exact measure required at the time of her death, but as it was not delivered until Friday morning the corpse had swollen so much that it was crowded into the narrow case with difficulty. The lid was screwed down and the remains left in that condition for burial.
The funeral services were set for Saturday afternoon, and, as is customary, a number of neighbors acted as watchers on Friday night. Just as the stillness of midnight was approaching, the watchers were startled by a loud report in the parlor, where the coffin was placed. The women screamed and ran out of the house. but the men plucked up enough courage to go into the parlor.
The sight presented was a most horrible one. The gases of the body had accumulated in the casket until their force burst the glass over the face and bosom of Mrs. Peterson. So terrific was the explosion that the body was shot forward and upward, the head protruding from the coffin. A vapor cloud, laden with the rankest of putrid orders, filled the room.
The men sent for Mr. Peterson, who, after dressing himself, went down stairs. A consultation was held and it was decided that, owing to the advanced state of decomposition of the remains of the deceased, the burial should take place at once. Half a dozen of the male watchers agreed to dig a grave in the garden near the house while the others attended to other details of the burial. The grave having been prepared, the coffin was carried to the grave, and strong ropes were placed under the casket. Just as the coffin was lowered one of the assistants let go of the rope. This threw the weight to the head of the coffin and the ropes were jerked from the hands of the men stationed there. The coffin fell with great force head downward and was burst to pieces. It was decided to fill the grave at once without waiting for another casket, and the remains were thus interred.
Poor Mrs Peterson. Well, I suppose she might have thought enough indignity had been suffered by her remains, so a quick burial might have been favoured, had she offered an opinion.ReplyDelete