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Destination Death
Destination Death

Season 1, Episode 12 · 1 year ago

EP13 The Funhouse Corpse aka Traveling Mummy

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

This story is about our friend Elmer McCurdy, and the wild ride he took before and after death. Intro by @benny_jets on instagram and follow the show @destinationdeathpodcast!

Hello, welcome back ore, welcome todestination death. Today's episode is going to be another one of those likecrazy. Is it to? Is it true crime? Is it just weird type of situations? I don't necessarily think it's truecrime, but I guess it could potentially fall under that category. I don't know I don't have anything written up forthis episode, so I apologize if I get off topic or on a tangent at some pointduring this episode, so today we're going to talk about theone thousand year old man, the traveling mummy, the outlaw that wouldn't quit. This isjust some of the names of this person before we get too into it. First we'll go to my disclaimer. Theinformation in this podcast, as well as those that follow, is informationreadily available on the Internet. I've spent my own time researching theseevents, and I have included only information I deem necessary indescribing the events to my audience. That being said, some informationtopics and opinions expressed from this point on could be considered explicit,grotesque and or off pudding. Okay, so really quick, let's just checkin with each other. I know that I said I was going to havethis episode up in the afternoon and it is now nighttime.

I watched the Super Bowl yesterday andgot home quite late and then had to be up for work at seven this morning. So I did not get very good qualitysleep yesterday, so I attempted to take a nap today, which I normally do not doand it did not work out. So I'm still just as grumpy and tired as I was thismorning. So I just made myself some food I'm going to make some tea after Ijus t episode and then hopefully I will sleep well tonight, because I cannot gothrough another day of this. Our episode today is about a man namedElmer mccurdie and he was kind of a big failure, but thatdoes not mean that he deserved what happened to him. So with that Bhingsaid, let's just get it started. He was born in Maine in N, AndeightheenND, eighty to a woman who was not married. I can'tremember her first name now that I'm trying to remember it, but heeventually later in life, found out that he was an illegitimatechild and it deeply disturbed him, but he lived in Maine for a while withhis biological grandfather and he ended upleaving at age twenty when his mother and his grandfather died within a monthof each other. So he holds a little bit of resentment for his mother. So Idon't want to say that her death was easier on him, but he did very muchlove his grandfather, so very sad...

...things to happen back to back. He ended up moving to the Midwest at age, twentyand ended up becoming kind of a drifter. He was a heavy drinker from his youngyears to the end of his life. He really couldn't hold down any type of job, so he ended up enlisting in the army where he was used for explosive demolitions. He I believe he worked in minds, so he specialized in usingnitroglycerine for these dem demolitions and if you are unaware,Nitro glycerine is incredibly explosive. It's not as explosive as a lot of ourlike more modern day explosives, but a little bit of nitroglistener and getsyou a long way. So he really enjoyed doing this work andthen eventually he leaves the military. I believe he washonorably discharged. I might have gotten that backwards, but I'm going to say he was honorablydischarged, so elmer and his group of friends decidethat they want to switch to a life of crimeinstead of trying to find something wholesome to do with theirtime. So they ended up trying to rob trainsfor a while. So they would rob these trans and elmer always thought that he was areally smart guy and that he could figure things out and that he was goingto get everything HEU wanted.

So he decided that in order to get the money that he wanted out of thesafes on the trains, he was going to use Nitro Glicerin, so he attempted to rob a PacificExpress Company train that had four thousand dollars worth of silver and inthat time four thousand dollars was a very large amount of money. So he put nitroglycerine all over the frontof the safe and ultimately ended up melting, all of the silver onto thesides of the safe. So they ended up with somewhere aroundtwo hundred dollars worth of melted silver and they were running aroundwith like the door and the side to the safe,because the safe was just completely destroyed so in for a while. He does these likesmall time robberies. He would rob like business like stores for like fivedollars and like run around and go to banks and stuff with his friends andall of them pretty much end up the same way. He tries to use NITRO glycerineand ends up blowing up everything inside at one point he tried to use. Hetried to rub a bank and he used too much nituro glycerin and it ended upthe the safe that they were trying to enter had double doors. So he tried to blow upthe first door so that it would basically launch itself into the seconddoor so that the cash would not be affected by the explosion. However, itdid the exact opposite that he wanted, so it ended up blowing the door towardshim and completely destroyed the...

...interior of the bank while the safe wasuntouched. So he didn't bring any extra nitroglyscer in with him, because who thinks that they need someextra nitro glycerin, so he wasn't able to actually getinside the safe, but he did a good job of destroying the entire bank. So in October one thousand nine hteenand eleven near Okessa Oklahoma, he ended up trying to rob another train.They thought that it had around four hundred thousand dollars in cash in asafe, because we know that's worked out sowell for him before so they ended up actually robbing the wrong train this time. So they ended up robbing a passengertrain and they got two jugs of whisky, a revolver a coat and the trainconductors watch, and they wrote about this in thenewspaper like the next day and they called it quote: One of the smallestrobberies in the history of train robbery. So, as you can imagine, Heis probablylike just overit at this point and he'd had been staying at a ranch inOklahoma on inside the barn and so the police kind of caught wind that himand some of his boys were hanging out on this ranch. So he ends up getting really drunk on aHay. Loft and the police come and he startsshooting outside of the barn. They start shooting back in they're a bettershot than he is, so he ends up taking a shot to the center mass in the chest...

...and he ends up dying in the shootout. So his body was taken to a funeral homein Pahaska Oklahoma and the owner Joseph Johnson embambed, the body witharsenic based preservative. So this is the same enbalming techniquethat was used on Abe Lincoln and we all know that he went on that like longjourney through the United States before he was ever buried. So this stuff lasts a very long time andit can keep you looking pretty much pristine for a very long time. So he decided that he was going to waitaround for the next of kin, but he already paid for the materials to embalm him,so he was kind of like if nobody shows up I'm losing money. So he decided that he was going to make some money off of mccurty's corpse, and this is only the beginning of the like awful stuff that happens tothis dude. So he ends up dressing mccurdy like anoutlaw. He gives him a rifle and he props him up in the window ofhis funeral home and people came from all around to lookat him and he named him. The outlaw who wouldn't give up he sat in the funeralhome and people would come by and he ended up telling people you know, ohyou'lll berich or you'll. Have your wish come...

...true or whatever, if you put a nickelin his mouth. So all these people that are coming are shoving nickels down histhroat, this embalmed man's throat all right, so he ended up making so much money offof propping up mccurty's corpse that hedid not want to part with it. But in one thousand nine hundred andsixteen two men contacted the police departmentand they claimed to be mccurty's long lost brothers. They actually did getpermission to take custody of mccurty's body, but, as you can imagine, theywere not his family. Tor were not his brothers. They were going to use him.Similarly, to the same way the funeral home guy did so they were James and CharlesPatterson and they were running a traveling carnival and it only getsworse. So what he was a side show curiosity throughoutTexas as part of this traveling carnival and in one thousand nine hundred andtwenty two, the whole carnival was sold to this man named Leuis Sunny, whodisplayed the corpse in his Traveling Museum of crime show, which featuredwax replicas of other famous outlaws. So I think you can a little bit imaginewhat direction this is taking for over fifty years, his curt corpse hiscurps. Oh my God, his corpse kept changing hands. He was sold, he wasgiven to other people, he was reembalmed, he was dipped in wax. Youknow whatever in one thousand nine hundrend andthirty three. He was acquired by a man...

...named Dwayne Esper. He was making amovie a B movie called narcotic. The corpse was actually exhibited in thelobby of the theater as a quote: Unquote Dead, Dope fiend to demonstratethe dangers of drugs. Mccurdy didn't do drugs, so theye, just taking some random deadman and saying that he did drugs and that drugs killed him anyway. He also was part of hauntedhouses and amusement park near Mount Rushmore low budget horror, flick sothey're using him as a prop in movies. He actually was in David, F, Freedman's Shefreak, ifyou've ever seen that movie and in one thousand nine hundred andsixty eight, he was sold to the Hollywood Wax Museum. So at this point no one knows that heis a corpse and not a wax replica of a corpse one thousand nine hundred and seventysix, the new Pike Amusement Park in Long Beach, California acquired him. He had been there. Theydon't know how long he was there, but he has documented being there sine onethousand nine hundred and seventy six. So they were on location, filming the sixmillion dollar man and a prop guy who was in the fun house decided to youknow, move this wax manacan. That was sitting in the corner and the Manikin's arm came off, and I think that you- and I can bothkind of imagine that when Amanikan's arm falls off, you want it to be hollowplastic...

...or even solid plastic. That would befine too. You don't want to find human bone and beef jerky. Looking human skinremains on that arm. That falls off, but of course that is what they found. So they ended up bringing the corpse tothe local corners office where they performed an autopsy. The body had been petrified and shrunkto less than fifty pounds, which can happen when a Emwen, anembombed body, is exposed to too much oxygen, but it was also covered in wax likelayers upon layers of wax and they painted him with orange. Florescentpaint for fun house displays so obviously, at some point they find out.This is a human male. He had died from a gunshot wound to the chest. The bullet jacket actually remainedinside his body, which let them know that he was elmer mccurdy and that the era in what in when he haddied and whatnot. You know they got a lot of information from the bulletjacket. The other thing was that inside his throat was on ousand, nineTeden, a D, twenty four penny and ticket stubs to the Museum of crime, so that ultimately led to the discoveryof who he was so this guy basically ended up famous and newspapers and TV talked all abouthow they this prop that everyone had seen in LongBeach, California, because a lot of...

...people went to this amusement park andwent into the fun house. So a lot of people remember seeing him there, so it was. It was big news at the timewhen they discovered this, but basically a bunch of funeral homes started,calling the corners office, but La Police were like Na. This is toorisky we're not just going to give you over to some to some funeral home, so they decided to hang on to the bodyfor a while to see if there was a living relativethat was going to come forward for it. That did not happen. So a man namedFred Olds, who is from the Indian territory posse of Oklahoma Westerns,offered to let him be buried in the summit view cemetery in GuthreyOklahoma next to bill dulin. Who is another man who is a train, robbingoutlaw and when they decided that they weregoing to do this? They also poured two cubic feet of cement around his casket, so he is and never going to be a funprop again. How did we like this story? I thoughtit was pretty interesting. I mean. Obviously props are getting so muchmore detailed now and I mean some stuff that you can just buyfrom party city. Is it really looks real, like you can make things lookvery legitimate nowadays, so I don't know. I think it's pretty crazy that no oneknew that this prop was an actual man for a long time. I feel pretty bad forhim. You know rest in peace and all that, but...

...he also wasn't very good at much in hislife, so maybe the notoriety and the and the fame thathe got out of it after death is enough to cover up what happened in his real life. I don'tknow just speculation anyway. I hope that you guys enjoyedthis episode. Sorry if it was a little bit unstructured, but I really wanted toget it recorded, because I said I was going to, and so here I am doing it allright. I think I'm going to make myself a cupof tea, but I hope that you guys have a really great Monday night and if you'renot listening to this on a Monday, have a really good day whatever day it is,and then a really good week. After that, I will probably be recording a medicalcorner, sometimes soon, hopefully well come out on Wednesday orThursday. I do have the day off on Thursday, so it is more likely to comeout than anyway. I enjoyed it telling you thatstory. Let me know what you think about it and I will catch you guys later.Don't forget to check out the photo that I posted of Elmer on our instagrampage at descination, death, podcast.

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