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118-The Restless Corpse of Elmer McCurdy

By Greg and Sharon Ross

  In 1976 a television crew discovered a mummified corpse in a California funhouse. Unbelievably, an investigation revealed that it belonged to an Oklahoma outlaw who had been shot by sheriff's deputies in 1911 and whose remains had been traveling the country ever since. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll trace the postmortem odyssey of Elmer McCurdy, "the bandit who wouldn't give up." We'll also reflect on a Dutch artist's disappearance and puzzle over some mysterious hospital deaths. Intro: In 1922, mechanical engineer Elis Stenman built a summer home with walls of varnished newspaper. Winston Churchill's country home Chartwell must always maintain a marmalade cat named Jock. Sources for our feature on Elmer McCurdy: Mark Svenvold, Elmer McCurdy, 2002. Robert Barr Smith, "After Elmer McCurdy's Days as a Badman, He -- or at Least His Corpse -- Had a Fine Second Career," Wild West 12:1 (June 1999), 24-26. United Press International, "Amusement Park Mummy Was Elmer McCurdy, a Wild West Desperado," Dec. 10, 1976. Associated Press, "Died With His Boots On," Dec. 11, 1976. Associated Press, "Wax Figure Maybe No Dummy, May Be Old Outlaw's Mummy," Dec. 12, 1976. Associated Press, "Elmer McCurdy Goes Home to Boot Hill," April 23, 1977. Listener mail: Alexander Dumbadze, Bas Jan Ader: Death Is Elsewhere, 2013. Jan Verwoert, Bas Jan Ader: In Search of the Miraculous, 2006. Brad Spence, "The Case of Bas Jan Ader," www.basjanader.com (accessed 08/18/2016) (PDF). Rachel Kent, "Pun to Paradox: Bas Jan Ader Revisited," Parkett 75 (2005), 177-181. Wikipedia, "Bas Jan Ader" (accessed 08/18/2016). Richard Dorment, "The Artist Who Sailed to Oblivion," Telegraph, May 9, 2006. (We had referred to a collection of Ader's silent films on YouTube. Unfortunately, this has been pulled by Ader's estate.) This week's lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Steven Jones. You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music or via the RSS feed at http://feedpress.me/futilitycloset. Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet -- on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and all contributions are greatly appreciated. You can change or cancel your pledge at any time, and we've set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website. Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode. If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

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