1900

In the early 1900’s (exact year not recorded) tragedy struck in St. Joseph Hospital. A man, badly burned when the shack in which he was living, burned to the ground, was admitted to the Hospital. The patient recovered from the burns and was soon to be discharged. Sullen and aggressive, he made things unpleasant for every eon. His diet forbade wine and he took this deprivation as a personal affront. One unforgettable day, the young Sister in charge of the Ward, brought in the diet trays. This patient sprang at her with a knife and in an effort to save herself, Sister fled to the kitchen. Trapped there, the patient stabbed her repeatedly; Sister died from the wounds several hours later. In her dying moments, the young Sister pleaded with those around her “not to do anything to the man; he didn’t know what he was doing.” How like the words of our Lord for those responsible for His death. The man died in jail and as no one claimed the body, the authorities had the privilege of experimenting with the unknown and unclaimed. A new embalming fluid was used on him. Years later, he was exhumed because the grounds were to be made into a City Park. He was found to have been “petrified.” The embalming fluid was evidently the reason for this condition.

It is said that the body of this unfortunate man is now in the present jail of Reading, labeled “Stone Man Willie.” In spite of his crime, a prayer may be breathed for the repose of his soul.

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