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The Mummies of Wye Mills by James Dawson

On Nov. 14, 1934, in Wye Mills, almost within sight of the majestic 300-year-old Wye Oak and the pre-Revolutionary War Wye Mill, gravediggers got a surprise. There, in the tiny cemetery at the United Methodist Church, a few feet down in the grave that they had been preparing for the late Edna V. Abbott, they uncovered a strange, peculiarly shaped iron coffin, the likes of which had never been seen before. At first glance it was thought to be too small to hold a body. Although the head of the coffin was narrow, it tapered out at the shoulders and was shaped like a mummy. Closer inspection revealed a face plate that protected a small glass viewing window. When slid open, the woman’s body inside was remarkably preserved. “The eyes, hair, teeth, and skin seemed to be that of a corpse recently buried.� [Easton Star Democrat 11-16-34] Work was temporarily halted until the authorities were called to examine the corpse. No clue was given as to who the authorities were, but they were probably the county coroner and sheriff. The five-foot-long metal coffin was extracted from the ground and propped up against an old oak tree

Wye Mills United Methodist Church (not the Wye Oak!). It was much mutilated by rust, and when the top half was unbolted and opened, contact with the air caused the face of the corpse to turn dark, and the sickening odor of decay seemed to indicate that the body had been preserved with some sort of embalming f luid. By this time, word had gotten around about the weird discovery and a crowd had collected. None of the older residents remembered the grave, and it was thought that the iron coffin must be at least 150 years old. When the authorities were satisfied that there had been no foul play (recently, anyway), the grave


June 2014 ttimes web magazine  

Tidewater Times June 2014

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