And then you get the weirdos. Consider a historian named Dee Brecheisen, for instance. What did he do that was so weird, you ask? Was he a snake charmer? Fire eater? Duct tape artist? Sock collector?
No, no, nothing like that at all. Those things would be too normal. No, Mr. Brecheisen collected civil war-era mummies and showed them off at home:
Or, more accurately, he was a grave robber of century-old burial sites.
Union troops had been stationed at Fort Craig, in New Mexico, in the 1880s to guard against Confederates and Indians, but the fortress had been abandoned and the location of its graveyard lost. Until, that is, Brecheisen found it, some time in the 1970's or '80's. Since then he has unearthed some 20 graves and stolen their contents, bodies and all.
But that's not the most disturbing thing. Apparently, at least some of these bodies and their possessions were displayed in his house. One historian friend of Brecheisen's, a guy named Don Alberts, visited the house 30 years ago and saw there the full mummified remains of an African-American Union soldier, "with patches of brown flesh clinging to facial bones." Did the friend DO anything about this? Did he report it to anyone? No.
Brecheisen: "Over here you can see my authentic collection includes a musket, a belt buckle, and, oh, the rotted remains of a corpse I dug up in the desert."
Alberts: "Oooh. Lovely. That's perfectly normal."
Brecheisen: "And next I'll show you my collection of Civil War hats…."
The skull of the soldier eventually wound up being stored in a brown paper bag.
When asked why Alberts hadn't reported his pal's macabre and illegal practice, he simply replied, "I didn't want to get a friend in trouble."
Goody for you, Don.
Sadly, Brecheisen recently died. All of his other "mementos" have been auctioned off by the family (apparently they didn't have any qualms about selling off body parts and stolen burial items, either).
Personally, I hope Brecheisen gets dug up a hundred years from now and displayed in someone's living room – and his head winds up in a paper bag.
It's good to have hobbies.
Image taken from HERE.