Lee Harvey Oswald Coffin Must Be Returned to Family

The rotting coffin of JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald

It came to light late last year that the pine coffin which once held the remains of JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, was the subject of a court battle in Texas. After the 1981 exhumation to confirm the identity of the remains and silence conspiracy claims, Oswald was reburied in a different coffin due to deterioration of the original.

See: Court Battle Over the Coffin of Lee Harvey Oswald

Oswald’s brother Robert, who purchased the original coffin in 1963, believed it had then been destroyed. He had no idea it was sitting in storage at the Baumgardner Funeral Home in Fort Worth until Allen Baumgardner Sr., an assistant at the exhumation, put it on the auction block in 2010 along with other relics from Oswald’s funeral.

The coffin, a grim reminder of the Oswald family’s dark and tragic past, sold for $87,468.

In court proceedings, Baumgardner claimed the coffin was a gift from Robert to his brother, and therefore belonged to the funeral home. Last month, however, a Tarrant County, Texas judge ruled in favor of Oswald. He said the coffin was intentionally saved and its existence concealed because Baumgardner understood the value of the object. He ordered the coffin be returned to the family and awarded $87,468 in damages.

Robert’s lawyer said Oswald will probably have the coffin destroyed “as soon as possible.”

via New York Times

Lee Harvey Oswald’s Coffin

Side view of Lee Harvey Oswald's coffin

Regardless of its condition, the coffin of a presidential assassin would surely make a ghastly great addition to anyone’s macabre collection.

The body of Lee Harvey Oswald in the original pine coffin

Here is the description from the original auction listing:

Original pine coffin that held the body of Lee Harvey Oswald from his burial on 25 November 1963 until his exhumation on 4 October 1981. Amidst conspiracy theories that a look-alike Russian agent was actually buried in place of Oswald, a fierce legal battle erupted between Robert and Marina Oswald with the former trying to stop the exhumation and the latter pushing it forward. Marina’s side prevailed, forcing an exhumation to determine who was actually buried in Oswald’s grave. As Lee Harvey Oswald’s coffin was lifted, evidence of extensive water damage to the casket was apparent — the cover was weak in many areas and in one place had caved in partially exposing the remains. The coffin’s wood exterior was very soft from moisture damage, and had dark areas of discoloration. Visible along the sides were the tarnished original metallic ornamentation. The interior of the casket also showed splotchy dark discoloration and moisture-softening of the wood. A portion of the original fabric that lined the top of the casket had fallen upon the decomposed remains. After a thorough medical examination, the pathologists assigned to the case officially identified the body as Oswald’s as dental records positively matched. At a press conference later that day the following famous statement was made, “The remains in the grave marked as Lee Harvey Oswald are indeed Lee Harvey Oswald.” After the news conference, Oswald’s remains were transported back to Rose Hill Cemetery for re-interment in a new casket and vault. The original deteriorated coffin offered here, measures 80″ long x 24″ deep, with the thickness of the sides of the casket approximately one inch. Sitting on wood crate which measures 84″ x 24″. Accompanied by a Letter of Authenticity by Funeral Director Allen Baumgardner, who assisted at the original embalming of Lee Harvey Oswald and later purchased the Miller Funeral Home along with all of its property.

Inside the coffin of Lee Harvey Oswald

The original pine coffin that once held JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald

Otranto Drilled Skull Mystery Solved

Researchers shed light on why this 15th century skull from the Otranto cathedral was drilled to extract bone dust.
Drill holes discovered in Otranto martyr skull

The Otranto cathedral in Italy is the site of a brutal slaughter in the 15th century, when invading Turks beheaded more than 800 Christians who refused to convert to Islam. Surrounding the altar, massive glass cabinets display the remains of those who died tragically defending their faith.

But one skull in particular has attracted attention for an unexpected feature.

Related: Otranto Cathedral Houses Bones of 15th Century Martyrs

In a lower row of the center case, one of the Otranto martyr skulls was discovered to have perfectly shaped drill holes of various sizes. The bones are inaccessible, so the skull must have been drilled prior to its installation in the case in 1711. But why?

Researchers at the University of Pisa, Italy have recently solved the mystery. The 16 holes in the cranium of the skull are consistent with a particular type of drill used to extract bone dust for pharmacological preparations.

Beginning as early as the late Middles Ages, bone dust was being used to treat paralysis, stroke, and other illnesses believed to arise from magical or demonic influences. The head was considered the most important part of the body, where spiritual forces remained active even after death. A skull belonging to someone who died a violent, sudden death was considered more powerful, as the spirits had not been consumed by the earth such as those whose remains have been buried.

The added benefit of the skull belonging to a martyr must have made a particularly potent mixture.

Jar used to hold human cranium bone dust concoctions
An example of a vase used to hold human cranium preparations

There are no indications that the skull has any particular significance, however, so the reason it was chosen from hundreds of others remains a mystery.

via Discovery

Otranto Cathedral Houses Bones of 15th Century Martyrs

The Otranto cathedral in Italy is a macabre reliquary displaying the bones of 800 martyrs slaughtered by Turk invaders in the 15th century.
Otranto cathedral reliquary filled with the bones of martyrs beheaded by Ottoman troops in 1480

The small Italian harbor town of Otranto is home to a macabre memorial: A cathedral filled with the remains of 813 people brutally slaughtered by Ottoman soldiers in the 15th century. On the altar of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Annunziata is a statue of the Madonna and child. She protects five large glass reliquaries behind her filled with the bones of martyrs.

Related: Otranto Drilled Skull Mystery Solved

Legend says that when the Turks sailed into the Otranto harbor, they stormed the town walls after a 15 day siege and began a bloody crusade to conquer its people. As the story goes, a tailor named Antonio Primaldi led 800 martyrs in a stand against the savage Muslim forces. When they refused to convert, they were taken to the Hill of Minerva, now known as Martyr Hill, and beheaded while their families were forced to assist.

Killing stone inside the Otranto cathedral
Killing stone believed to have been used in the beheadings

It is said that after decapitation, Primaldi’s body remained standing until the last of his people were mowed down. One of the soldiers, an Ottoman Turk named Bersabei, was so astonished that he converted to Christianity on the spot, and was subsequently impaled by his comrades.

The Madonna watches over the remains of 800 beheaded martyrs in the Otranto cathedral

Though there seems to be some scholarly disagreement with the validity of these accounts, Pope Francis conducted the venerable rite for the canonization of saints for the Martyrs of Otranto in 2013.

Charles Manson’s Fiance Just Wants Him for His Corpse

It turns out the Charles Manson marriage is a deviant plot to get his corpse and put it on display. But this is only a minor setback…because he will never die.
Charles Manson's fiance Afton Elaine Burton just wanted to marry him for his corpse

Serial killer memorabilia can be big business – John Wayne Gacy paintings of his Pogo the Clown persona, relics from the farmhouse of Wisconsin deviant Ed Gein, Charles Manson’s spiders.

So why not Manson himself?

It seems as though Afton Elaine Burton, the woman who became engaged to Charles Manson last year, was only in it for his corpse. It is being reported that she and a friend planned to obtain Manson’s body after death to display in a glass case in LA.

The joke is on her, though, as Manson has informed her he is immortal.

Charles Manson gif

Manson was admitted into a medical facility two months ago for treatment of an infection, which has delayed the wedding. The marriage license expired last week, but the love birds intend to renew it when Manson is feeling better.

via The Independent

Save Circus History: Adopt a Wagon at Circus World

Circus World Museum in Baraboo, WI launches Adopt a circus wagon program to fund restoration of its historic circus wagons.
New program at Circus World in Baraboo, WI aims to raise funding for circus wagon restoration

Circus World, the original winter headquarters of the Ringling Bros. Circus in Baraboo, Wisconsin, is home to the largest collection of vintage circus wagons in the world. The wagon shop works tirelessly to preserve its collection, keeping the fantastic history alive through the lavish and ornate wooden wonders.

Related: Visit Circus World Museum in Baraboo, WI

The Great Circus Parade in Milwaukee used to fund the costly restoration and annual maintenance of the wagons. The last parade was in 2008, however, slowing the process to a crawl with nothing but a superintendent and some volunteers to handle the extensive work.

That’s why Circus World has launched a new Adopt a Wagon program. Pick a wagon, help fund its upkeep, and get great perks like circus world passes, wagon photos, fact sheets, and behind-the-scenes tours.

Adopt a wagon from Circus World in Baraboo, WI to help preserve circus history
Old Woman in a Shoe circus wagon, 1882

Adopt a wagon from Circus World right here.


Circus World Vintage Circus Wagons

Vintage circus wagons at Circus World Museum in Baraboo, WI

Vintage circus wagons at Circus World Museum in Baraboo, WI

Vintage circus wagons at Circus World Museum in Baraboo, WI

Vintage circus wagons at Circus World Museum in Baraboo, WI

Vintage circus wagons at Circus World Museum in Baraboo, WI