Skip to main content

Corpse found in cigar box in Mount Carmel



You never know what you might find while digging in your backyard. From the Mount Carmel Daily News, June 8, 1893:


Ghastly Discovery!

A Corpse Found in a Large Cigar Box- The Police Investigating


Last evening a Hungarian resident of Mt. Carmel was digging a garden when his attention was attracted to a peculiarly sloped pile of dirt near the end of the lot. On top of the pile was a large flat stone.


The ground had been newly-turned and the curious Hungarian at once proceeded to dig at it. Finally he excavated enough to uncover and cigar-box of the long kind. Thinking that some one had buried a lot of money the man eagerly pried open the cover and glanced into the box.


He started back in horror. Instead of a pile of glittering gold lay the remains of a newly born infant. The Hungarian ran down town and notified the authorities. Squire Amour, Constable Herb and Robert Wilson of the News hurried to the spot and when the latter reached into the hole and extracted the box, the three men subjected the contents to rigorous examination.


No evidence could be secured leading to the identity of the infant. The neighbors were closely interrogated but could give no tangible information. At last the authorities turned the remains over to the poor authorities.

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…

Natalie, Pennsylvania: A Murderer's Paradise

When a miner named Michael Wanzie was murdered in June of 1905, it was evident that something wasn't quite right in the tiny village of Natalie. Although the scenic mountain village had a population of less than two hundred, the slaying of Michael Wanzie was the fourth murder committed in the village in less than a decade.

By 1924 the population had nearly doubled, thanks to a building "boom" that saw the construction of 40 new homes during the preceding year by builders employed by the Colonial Collieries Company, owners of the Natalie Colliery. Twenty of these homes, many of which still stand today, were built by the Evert Construction Company of Kulpmont. In 1923 there were 56 homes in the village, housing 375 residents. By April of 1924 that number would swell to just under 400 residents and 93 homes.

Although the building boom lent a measure of respectability to the village, Natalie was still imbued with a notorious reputation as being one of the most lawless places …

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 …