1800S SKELETON BACK AT MORGUE
Miami Herald, The (FL) - October 1, 1982
Author: UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL
A human skeleton estimated to be 100 years old, rented as a Halloween costume-ball prop and a star in a horror movie and lodge initiation rites, was back where it belonged Wednesday at the county morgue.
Police officer Frank Augustine recognized the skeleton as the real thing and not a plastic replica when he spotted it lying in a glass-topped coffin in a Costume World store.
The skeleton, rented for $100 during Halloween for many years, appeared in the 1978 movie Dawn of the Dead, filmed in Pittsburgh.
The bones were removed from the costume store Tuesday and identified by Allegheny County Coroner Joshua Perper as those of a middle-aged woman.
Police have not ruled out foul play in the woman’s death, but they are leaning toward the theory that the skeleton was originally used by a medical school and discarded as it began to deteriorate.
Marilyn Wick, owner of the Costume World shop, said she bought it last spring from Larry Wintersteller when his costume shop folded.
Wintersteller, now living in San Diego, Calif., said he knew the skeleton was authentic when he bought it about 10 years ago.
He said he purchased it from a man who said the bones were used in initiations by members of a now-defunct Odd Fellows lodge.
"Why didn’t they see it while it was sitting in my store
window -- while I needed the publicity?" Wintersteller asked.