Arrested for ‘Possession of Burglary Paraphernalia’
Arrested twice and murdered once. This is the only known mugshot of Elmer McCurdy. On November 19th, 1910 – McCurdy and his old army buddy were caught with chisels, hacksaws, funnels for nitroglycerin and gunpowder as well as money sacks. In January of 1911, they were found ‘not guilty’.
Come and See the Dead Man!
After Joseph Johnson finished his autopsy and embalming, he turned his Pawhuska, Oklahoma funeral home into a circus side show. The only exhibit? McCurdy’s arsenic filled remains.
The Second Autopsy
In 1976, McCurdy’s body was delivered to the Los Angeles County Coroners Office where Dr. Joseph Choi performed a more up to date autopsy. Clues to the man’s identity were found inside of his body. Including a bullet jacket, coins and ticket stubs. The autopsy report also notes where he lost parts of his earlobes, fingers and toes.
A Mother’s Dying Wish
In October of 1916, two men came to town pretending to be Elmer McCurdy’s brothers. They were given the remains under the assumption that they would take him to California to be buried. The men were actually the Patterson brothers, James (pictured below) and Charles Patterson. Owners of the ‘Great Patterson Carnival Shows’, a traveling carnival.
A Scary Red Skeleton
McCurdy’s body ended up hanging from the gallows inside of the ‘Laff in the Dark’ attraction within the Nu-Pike Amusement Park in Long Beach. At this point, there wasn’t much left of him and the body only weighed fifty pounds. Even with the layers of wax and paint.
Catching a Bandit
Below are two examples of early 1900’s newspaper articles discussing the manhunt and shootout involving McCurdy and his crew.
The Path of McCurdy’s Body
Below is a city by city list of all the places Elmer McCurdy traveled, both alive and deceased.
Sixty-five Years of Wear and Tear
From the time he was embalmed in 1911 to the day he was discovered in 1976, The years, weather and travel were not kind to Elmer McCurdy’s body.