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Urban Legend Comes True

Last Updated on June 2, 2020 by

The legend of human remains being used to decorate a house on Halloween have come true.  The grisly story has been told and retold for decades regarding a homeowner who either knowingly or unknowingly hangs incredibly lifelike Halloween decorations of a corpse up and later realizes the decorations were incredibly lifelike because they are real.  And now Mitchell Fletcher, who bought a human skeleton at a yard sale is recoiling in horror after discovering the skeleton was real.

And the original story, on which the urban legend was based was also true.  In 2005 a woman in Delaware hung herself and was thought to be merely a realistic Halloween decoration until a passing motorist stopped and looked closer only to realize that the decoration was indeed a human body.  And now five years later another Halloween decoration turned out to be the remains of a human being as well.  The body was bought at a yard sale, and thought at the time to be nothing more than a replica of a human skeleton.

So how much did the remains go to Mitchell Fletcher for?  Fletcher was able to buy the skeleton for eight dollars.  Considering medical institutions purchase skeletons for anatomy lessons for no less than $3,000 it would have been an Antiques Road Show Halloween miracle if it had not been incredibly unethical and illegal to purchase and own human remains by unlicensed individuals.  Fletcher turned the skeleton over to police immediately and said he would do so again if he ever found another skeleton like it.

The truth of the matter is, often estate sales deal with large amounts of material that the sellers are not fully familiar with.  What may look like an incredibly lifelike replica of a human skeleton could actually be a little more real than anticipated.  Such a transaction can take place with no one being aware of just how grisly the true details really are.

But the history of Halloween cadavers goes even further with the legend of Elmer McCurdy who was discovered to be a corpse in 1976 after touring as a morbid side show attraction and a film prop for several years.  As time wore on, the corpse eventually made it onto the set of the show The Six Million Dollar Man where television crews came across the corpse and upon moving it one of the arms came off.  Inside the crew could see a bone protruding, indicating that it had once been a living human being.  In fact, he had been a highwayman who had been killed in a shootout which ultimately ended his career.

So is this macabre story doomed to repeat itself?  Though the idea of a human body somehow slipping through the cracks and ending up a Halloween display is certainly disconcerting, it seems to happen with surprising regularity.  And it’s yet another horrifying thing to consider when rifling through belongings at estate and yard sales.  The coffee maker may not work, and the human skeleton may be used.