It sounds like the kind of story you’d hear as a child when you’re huddled around a campfire: a young, adventuresome boy decides to investigate an old, abandoned house. Once inside, he finds a mannequin hanging in one of the closets, no doubt put there by previous trespassers to scare those who followed in their footsteps. Upon closer inspection, however, the young boy is shocked to find that the mannequin is, in fact, the mummified remains of a man.
It’s a creepy story, to be sure. What makes it even more disturbing is that this particular tale is true.
According to Dayton resident Michelle McGrath, her 12-year-old son could best be described as “adventurous”. That’s the only reason she could think of as to why he decided to wander across the overgrown lawn and into the rundown house on Harbine Avenue in Dayton. Locals report not having seen any activity at the house for years, so it’s unclear what the boy expected to find inside.
What he did find, hanging from a belt inside a closet, was what the boy originally mistook for some sort of mannequin, made up to look like a mummy. But once he realized that he was looking at actual human remains, he ran back home and told his mother, who called the police.
When authorities arrived, they were able to determine that the body belonged to Edward Brunton, who purchased the home back in October of 2009. The Montgomery County Coroner’s Office concluded that Brunton committed suicide shortly after purchasing the house and that his body had been hanging inside the closet, undisturbed, for close to 5 years. The door to the closet had apparently been closed, which kept the body out of direct sunlight and away from critters, allowing it to take on a mummified-like form.
As to how Brunton’s body was able to remain undiscovered for so long, residents claim they never saw anyone coming and going from the house. Indeed, it would appear as though Brunton never even officially moved into the house as it was mostly unfurnished. He had also never paid any taxes on the house. Brunton was also estranged from his family and friends, which may be why he was never reported missing. And that, to me, is what makes this story so damn depressing.
You see, each and every one of us would like to think that we matter. That there are people who care about us and will miss us when we’re gone. What’s more, they will keep our legacy alive, in some small way, by reminiscing and telling stories about us. Put another way, one of my greatest fears, and one that I think I share with many of you, is that I will be forgotten. That I’ll be gone one day and no one will care.
Yet, that is exactly what happened to poor Edward Brunton. He passed away and no one knew or seemed to care. In fact, had it not been for a random neighborhood boy, Brunton’s body might still be hanging there in that house. Sad.
OK, it’s getting way too serious and depressing around here. So let’s lighten the mood a bit. I’ll leave you with this: a monkey trying to ride a bicycle! Check him out! “He thinks he’s people!”
Check out CNN’s coverage of the story, complete with video, by clicking here.
The Washington Post also covered the story. Go here to read it.