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The Ghost, the Kettle, the Two Graves, and the Batman

The Ghost of General “Mad” Anthony Wayne is still seen near Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. It isn’t surprising. If you believe in ghosts, and you believe that one surefire way to get ghosts is to do something undignified to a human body after death, then it’s a given that “Mad Anthony” would haunt his former stomping grounds. Not that Anthony’s son intended to treat his father’s mortal remains with disrespect, mind you. He just wanted to transport his father’s body from where it had been buried in Erie, Pennsylvania in 1796 back home to Radnor, hundreds of miles away. But oh, how he went about it! He had the old man dug up and, when he realized that riding in a wagon with a rotting corpse wouldn’t make for the most pleasant of road trips, he had the body boiled, so that the flesh would come off the bones. All the flesh, and the pot in which the body had been boiled, were reinterred in Eerie. The bones were packed up to be shipped home, but somehow along the way some of them got lost. Thus General Anthony Wayne, a former Revolutionary War hero, is buried in two separate graves, but neither contains *all* of his remains. Thus, ghost. It is said that each year on Wayne’s birthday, January 1st, his ghost retraces the route his bones were carted all those years ago, searching for his missing pieces. Today this route is known as US highway 322.

In 1939, write Bill Finger (along with artist Bob Kane) created this character called Batman, and decided that his hero was the direct descendant of Mad Anthony Wayne. Bruce Wayne was named after the soldier.

The kettle used to boil Mad Anthony’s body is today on display at the Erie County History Center in Erie, Pennsylvania. I’m sure it’s haunted, too.

TheCheezman • August 30, 2019


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