Jennifer D. Wade Journal

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Blog posts June 2010


Well, this is a new one. I've spent more than 20 years in the news biz, but it took until now to come up with a story about mummies. Yeah, I said mummies.

OK, well, maybe not mummies of the kind wrapped in gauze. But, last week, the bodies of two people were found in a home in Bradford County. In a news release from the state police, the remains were described as "mummified." Hence, mummies!

As you might imagine, the story has generated quite a bit of interest from the media. The weekly newspaper that covers that area updated its web site with "breaking news" and a headline reading "MUMMIFIED BODIES UNLEASH NEWS MEDIA BLITZ." TV stations from Scranton and Elmira, NY covered the story. My station received special mention in the article for sending a satellite truck. Eventually, ABC News picked up the story. Like I said, mummies!

The story, in a nutshell, is this. The mummified remains of two people were found in the home of a 91-year-old woman who lives near Wyalusing. According to court papers, they were discovered when workers from the Area Agency on Aging went to check on the elderly woman and she happened to mention that her late husband was wrapped up in a carpet in the garage and her late sister was also in the house. Those same court papers reveal that, to the agency workers, the elderly woman seemed quite sane except for, you know, the mummies!

Further investigation revealed that the elderly woman's husband died in 1999 and was buried near the home. It seems that, not long after he was buried, the woman enlisted help to have his body dug up and brought to the house. Similar events apparently occurred last year following the death of the woman's twin sister. She got buried, then quickly got dug up. As of this writing, police have not said why the elderly woman wanted her dead relatives brought to the house and no charges have been filed.

So far, it doesn't seem to be a case of Social Security fraud or anything of a similar criminal nature. It just seems that, for whatever reason, the woman wanted her dead relatives in her house and whoever helped her dig up the bodies went along and said OK.

My question is how did this woman get away with this for so long? Granted, her home is in a rural area of Bradford County. Pretty much ALL of Bradford County is rural, but it's not like there aren't any neighbors for miles. It sounds like there are neighbors who knew her, and there certainly seemed to be plenty of friends or relatives coming and going from the house once the bodies were found.

So, I guess what I'm saying is, it seems like there were more than a few people who knew about this - and no one said anything? What kind of spell did this elderly woman cast to make others think it's OK to dig up a body or two and keep them in your home? No one thought, hey, maybe I should tell the police or somebody about this? Everyone just went along? I get the feeling that the home with the mummies was pretty much the best-kept secret in town.

I can't wait for the rest of this story to come out.

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