I always wondered how sideshows attained their mummies, so after a bit of quick research decided to share with you the stories of 3 mummies in particular.
Sylvester the mummy, who now resides at the “ye olde curiosity shop” in Seattle, was said to be discovered in the Arizona desert in the 1800′s.
It was determined that he had been shot in the stomach and had mummified naturally in the sand and hot climate. He toured the sideshow circuit before settling into his home at the store in the mid fifties.
If you want to visit Sylvester, just stop by the store at
1001 Alaskan Way,
Elmer McCurdy, also known as “The Bandit who wouldn’t give up” was displayed as a sideshow oddity, after being shot and killed by the police in the 1920’s.
When the traveling show that displayed his preserved remains disbanded, he found a new home in a Californian carnival park as a prop, scaring the visitors who believed that he was merely a dummy. His remains resided there until they were accidentally discovered in the mid seventies, when a member of a film crew attempted to move what he assumed to be a fun house prop, only for the brittle arm bone to break off as he pulled on it.
You can pay your respects to Elmer and visit his grave at
Summit View Cemetery
Guthrie Logan County
The mummified body of Julia Pastrana, known throughout her sideshow career under many aliases, including “the ape woman”, “the non-descript” and “the bearded lady” due to the black hair that grew all over her body as a result of hypertrichosis.
She was a talented woman who could sing, dance and speak several languages. She brought in a lot of revenue to the sideshow, so much so that even after her death her husband (who was also her manager) refused to retire her.
Her body was embalmed, preserved and displayed, along with the remains of a child she had lost.
Julie was buried in Sinaloa de Leyva in Mexico where she grew up.