Sister Wilhelmina Lancaster, the incorrupt nun of Missouri, showed little sign of decomposition when she was exhumed from her grave 4 years after her death.
The National Museum of Funeral History is home to the “Casket for Three,” a 3-person triple casket built for a grieving husband and wife in the 1930s who ordered it, and then backed out their planned murder-suicide plans and then never picked up.
The story of the custom-built triple casket speaks in a unique way to grieving process. For some, it’s a tragic story of parents so distraught over the loss of their only child that they couldn’t bare to live without them. To others, it’s a reminder that we can heal and learning to live without a loved one is possible.
Casket for Three
A couple lost their young child sometime in the 1930s, and were so distraught they didn’t want to go on with their lives. They decided on a plan for the husband to murder the wife and then kill himself so they could join their child in death.
They approached a local mortuary with their plan, and requested this casket be built to hold both of them. After their deaths, their deceased child was to be disinterred and placed between them in the middle so they could all be buried together.
By the time the casket was finished, however, the couple had changed their minds. They no longer wanted to follow through with the murder-suicide plan, and never returned to pick up the casket.
Twenty years later, in the 1950s, the funeral home received a letter from the wife. She wrote that her husband had died, and was asking for a refund on the money they paid for the casket.
The funeral director wrote her back, stating that the funeral home had changed ownership twice since they had paid for the casket. He could not refund the money, and the casket would need to be moved.
The wife was never heard from again, and it seems their identity is unknown.
Today the triple casket can be seen on display at the National Museum of Funeral History in Houston, TX.