Skip to main content

Sunbury man wore shoes made of human skin

Shoes made from skin of outlaw George Parrott, on display in a Wyoming museum.


All kinds of materials have been used to make shoes, from blue suede to alligator skin.  In 1907, one man from Northumberland County favored a pair of slippers made from human skin- at least according to this article which appeared in the January 24, 1907 edition of the Bloomsburg Columbian:

A pair of house slippers made out of a man's dermis and epidermis- to be more plain, made from skin taken from the body of a man.  The very thought makes creepy graveyard chills ripple up your spinal column causing an uncanny ghastly sensation.  But nevertheless this is true and a Sunbury man is the possessor of these very same slippers, which the members of his family will not allow him to wear around the house, forcing him to keep them locked in his room and to carry an insurance policy against nightly visitation of ghosts.  There is an interesting story connected with the slippers, as follows:

Several years ago a railroad man was killed at work near Williamsport.  None of his relatives could be located and as no friends came forward to claim the body and give him a decent burial the body in some manner reached a hospital in the northern part of this state where it was dissected.  One of the doctors at the hospital was interested in a tannery and securing the skin from the man's body he sent it to the tannery and had it tanned.  It was then taken to a Muncy shoemaker who made from it several pairs of slippers and a number of pocket books and tobacco pouches.

The shoemaker displayed these goods at his place of business and told from what they had been made.  As a result the good people of Muncy were so horrified that the shoemaker was boycotted and he was forced to leave the town.  Just at this time the Spanish-American war had started and he enlisted in the United States Navy, serving through the war as an orderly to Rear Admiral Bob Evans.  Some time after the close of the war he took sick and died but before his death he presented a pair of slippers to his cousin and it is this cousin who now resides in Sunbury and who still has the slippers.  

In appearance, the slippers are of a saffron color and are very soft and pliable.  In telling of the slippers the owner stated to a newspaper representative that he had refused an offer of one hundred and fifty dollars for them.

(View the original 1907 newspaper article here)

Popular posts from this blog

Mount Carmel's Mysterious Suicide Cell

Tucked away at the head of North Oak Street in Mount Carmel is a quaint shop housed in a tiny historic brick building. The Shop at Oak & Avenue is a must-see destination for visitors, offering an impressive variety of gifts and handmade jewelry. It is a gem in an otherwise drab coal town whose glory days faded away with the demise of the steam locomotive and the trolley.

While this quaint small town gift shop gives off a pleasant appearance, the history of the building-- one of the oldest in the borough-- is tinged with horror and death. For this tiny building, erected in the 1880s, served as Mount Carmel's first city hall and jail, and this jail had a rather dark distinction of being the site of the cursed and mysterious "suicide cell".

History records six suicides taking place in the basement cell, along with scores of other attempted suicides. For a reason that has defied explanation, this tiny jail in this tiny town seems to bring out the darkest demons lurking wi…

The Mob and Marion Heights

To the casual observer, the borough of Marion Heights is a sleepy coal mining town, one of hundreds of similar soot-stained villages dotting the landscape of the Coal Region.  Prior to 1901, this borough of less than a thousand souls didn't even exist, and back then the village went by the name of Kaiser.

I grew up in Kulpmont, just a stone's throw away from Marion Heights, and the tiny village always fascinated me.  Being a descendant of Italian immigrants who toiled in various mines throughout the Coal Region, I used to love the stories my grandfather and other older relatives told me as a child.  Often, these stories revolved around the "gang warfare" which pervaded the region throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

These clashes were the result of various ethnic groups who settled in the Coal Region, arriving from places like Italy, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Serbia.  Being strangers in a strange land, they banded together and formed fraternal clu…

The Kulpmont Mob Murders of 1939

When most Pennsylvanians think of coal region history, their minds invariably turn to the Molly Maguires, Yuengling beer, pierogies, and the Pottsville Maroons professional football team. However, there is a side of coal region history that is seldom discussed; a dark, violent side that resembles something out of a Martin Scorsese movie starring Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci.

Many Pennsylvanians would be surprised to learn that, during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Northumberland County was a haven of organized crime, a place where gunshots rang out as regularly as church bells, leaving in their wake a blood-smeared trail of terror. Perhaps the most chilling mob murder in the county took place in early 1939, not far from the curve on Brennan's Farm Road in Kulpmont.




A Gruesome Discovery

On the morning of Thursday, March 2, 1939, two brothers from Marion Heights, Paul and Mickey Mall, set out from their Melrose Street home in order to engage in some bootleg mining at Brennan…