Skip to main content

Rose Blooms From Mouth of Corpse



Each week I research dozens of strange newspaper articles for this blog, but the following story just may be the strangest I have ever read. The bizarre story takes place in Lancaster County during the time of the Civil War, after a teenage girl died from the measles. The girl's mother, while examining the corpse, noticed that a rose had blossomed from the deceased girl's mouth. Even more strange was the fact that the rose appeared to be made of ivory, and that it continued to grow in size from the time her body was prepared for burial until her body was laid to rest in a graveyard near Mount Joy. Was this a miracle? Or could there be a more logical explanation? The truth will probably never be known.

From the March 1, 1864 edition of the Adams Sentinel (Gettysburg, PA):

The Trumpet, published at Elizabethtown, Lancaster county, relates the following singular phenomenon:
An unnatural phenomenon took place in Rapho township, three miles east of Mount Joy, on Thursday last, at the residence of Martin Inly. His daughter, aged eighteen years, died a quarter before eight o'clock. After the usual ceremonies were attended to, towards morning the attention of the mother was drawn to the corpse, when she discerned something unusual on the lips of the deceased. Attempting to remove it, apparently a voice seemed to say, "Let it remain". Astonishment caused an examination, and the fact was, there appeared in the middle of her lips and teeth, a complete rose-bud ready to open and on the left side of the bud a full bloomed rose- what florists call a double levy rose. On close examination it was ascertained that the bud and rose were a hard substance to the touch, and in appearance like ivory. It was perceptible that from the first and last nights of the phenomena it enlarged.


Thoughts were entertained that the removal of the body to the burying-ground (which was in a hearse and over a mile of rough road) might cause a separation, but the bud and rose still remained as when first seen, only increased perceptibly in size. The rose and bud were as white as ivory, and supposed equally as hard.
Many persons were eye witnesses of the fact. The rose was very natural, and those not knowing the fact felt satisfied that it was a real rose and bud placed there as an ornament, and reports caused many to witness the fact. The disease of the deceased was measles, a relapse took place attended with a cold, which caused her death.

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 True Story of Shamokin's Famous "Mystery Head"

Hardly a week goes by that I don't receive an email from a Pennsylvania Oddities reader asking me to write about the Shamokin "mystery head"-- yes, the very same human head, complete with curly hair and mustache, that was put on display in the window of the Farrow Funeral Home (presumably to show off the establishment's embalming abilities) and later displayed at a local mining museum. The head belonged to an unidentified murder victim whose headless body was found in the woods near the Hickory Ridge colliery in 1904, and the head has been a source of local pride and urban legend ever since.

I've resisted the urge to write about the "mystery head" for a few reasons. Having grown up in the area, I heard about it so many times that the story has worn thin. Secondly, the erroneous local legends and false claims are probably a lot more entertaining than the actual truth about the "mystery head". These local legends run the gamut from plausible to …

Mount Carmel's Night of Terror: The Strantz & Yorkavage Crime Spree of 1937

On the evening of April 9, 1937, two bandits with their guns blazing left a trail of carnage through the sooty streets of Mount Carmel and Shamokin. For one of the gunmen, the trail came to a bloody end in Diamondtown after a shootout with police. For the other gunman, the trail led to the electric chair at Rockview State Penitentiary, with 2,000 volts of electricity coursing through his body.



The Ballad of Joe Cabbage and Wild Wally

A reunion of sorts took place in January of 1937, after Joseph Yorkavage was paroled from the Northumberland County Prison in Sunbury. Known to his friends as "Joe Cabbage", the notorious ruffian was released on the 25th and, oddly enough, this was the very same day Yorkavage's best friend, Walter Strantz, was paroled from the infamous Eastern State penitentiary in Philadelphia.

Back in 1919, "Joe Cabbage" was one of three men who staged a failed train robbery in Centralia. The three men dynamited the tracks and then hid in the bus…