A century-old skeleton that dangled at Halloween parties and...


PITTSBURGH -- A century-old skeleton that dangled at Halloween parties and was featured in a horror movie was laid to rest Saturday in an unmarked grave in a suburban cemetery.

About a dozen people gathered in the mid-March drizzle to observe the burial of the human skeleton, whose brief appearance in the limelight began when an off-duty policeman noticed it in a costume shop.


After a 20-minute service at the Fryer Funeral Home in nearby Bridgeville, a hearse and a limousine carried the small funeral party to Mount Lebanon Cemetery. There, a minister performed another brief service and the skeleton was buried.

'I think we did the right thing, and it straightened out the image of the store,' said Costume World owner Marilyn Wick.

'It's the first time I've been able to bury a skeleton out of my closet,' she said.

The female skeleton, estimated to be about a 100 years old, was ordered confiscated last September from Costume World in suburban Scott Township by Allegheny County Coroner Joshua Perper.

Police removed the skeleton after an off-duty policeman visiting the shop noticed how authentic the bones appeared.

Perper charged that using human bones for entertainment and display purposes was improper and ordered the remains cremated.


But Mrs. Wick filed suit to give the skeleton 'a decent, traditional funeral service and burial for the deceased.'

Common Pleas Judge Nicholas Papadakos last month issued a temporary restraining order against the cremation.

Mrs. Wick, who owns a chain of Costume World shops across the country, said she 'had no idea' the skeleton was real when she bought it from a man who was closing his own costume shop.

'From now on, I certainly will look through the stock better,' she said.

The previous owner, Larry Wintersteller, said he bought it about 10 years ago from a man who said the bones were used in initiations by members of a now-defunct Odd Fellows lodge.

The bones also were rented out for Halloween parties and featured in the 1978 Pittsburgh-made horror movie, 'Dawn of the Dead.'

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