Elmer McCurdy (January 1880 – October 7th 1911) was an outlaw killed in a gunfight in the Osage Hills in Oklahoma. A newspaper account gave Elmer’s last words as “You’ll never take me alive!” His body was taken to a funeral home in Oklahoma. When no one claimed the corpse, the undertaker embalmed it with an arsenic-based preservative and allowed people to see “The Bandit Who Wouldn’t Give Up” for a nickel, placed in Elmer’s mouth, which the undertaker would collect later. Five years later, a man showed up from a nearby traveling carnival claiming to be Elmer’s long-lost brother wanting to give the corpse a proper burial. Within two weeks, however, Elmer was a featured exhibit with the carnival. For the next 60 years, Elmer’s body was sold to wax museums, carnivals, and haunted houses.
The owner of a haunted house near Mount Rushmore refused to purchase him because he thought that Elmer’s body was actually a mannequin and not lifelike enough. Eventually, the corpse wound up in “The Laff in the Dark” funhouse at the Long Beach Pike amusement park in California. During filming of the The Six Million Dollar Man shot in December 1976, a crew member was moving what was thought to be a wax mannequin that was hanging from a gallows. When the mannequin’s arm broke off, it was discovered that it was in fact the mummified remains of Elmer McCurdy, who was finally buried in the Boot Hill section of the Summit View Cemetery in Guthrie, Oklahoma on April 22nd 1977, with 2 cubic yards of concrete over his casket so his remains would never be disturbed again.