“Booth” Mummy Pictures

This gallery is devoted to the “Booth” mummy. The mummy is that of Enid, Oklahoma drifter, David E. George who took his own life in 1903. Before his death, George told residents of Enid that he was actually John Wilkes Booth. When the news spread, Memphis attorney Finis L. Bates came to identify the body. Years before in Texas, a man by the name of John St. Helen confided on his assumed deathbed to Bates that he was actually John Wilkes Booth. St. Helen survived his illness, told his whole tale to Bates, and skipped town shortly thereafter. Bates came to Enid and identified David E. George as John St. Helen. The local undertaker embalmed the body and it was a local attraction in Enid for many years. Bates bought the mummy and had it carted around carnival sideshows to expound his theory (and book) about Booth’s escape. While not John Wilkes Booth, the George/St. Helen mummy is an interesting piece of pseudo-history all its own.

Click on a picture below to see the larger image and a description

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12 thoughts on ““Booth” Mummy Pictures

  1. Gene C

    I hope they washed their hands after touching the mummy.
    What is this about the ring in the stomach? You would think it would have passed through after 40+ years.
    That can’t really be Booth. He wouldn’t be caught dead looking like that.

    • Yes, evidently history books failed to document not only John Wilkes Booth’s escape, but that he also suffered from Pica disorder.

  2. rich smyth

    If you look closely at the ring it appears to be the match to the one he gave Isabel Sumner.

    • Rich,

      I added a picture of the ring that was removed from the mummy during the “autopsy”. I didn’t put it up the first time because the picture is not complete. It is not like the pearl ring Booth gave to Isabel Sumner, but it does have a giant “B” on it!

  3. Tom K

    The whole Booth Mummy thing is a bunch of bologna

  4. Pingback: John Wilkes Booth’s Vertebrae | BoothieBarn

  5. Wes Heidt

    It’s not even remotely possible that David George was John Wilkes Booth for one very simple reason – David George had far too much hair. By the time of David George’s death in 1903, John Wilkes Booth would have been 65 years old. Photos of Booth in his mid-20s reveal that his hairline was already drastically receding. Had Booth lived on into his mid-60s, he would have been bald. David George had more hair in 1903 that John Wilkes Booth had nearly 40 years earlier.

  6. Jose R. Puig

    Although the mummy looks real enough, my questions are: number one, how did his corpse mummify? And number two, where did he get the mummy?

  7. Jeff Bloomfield

    According to her entry on the International Movie Data base (IMDb) website, Kathy Bates, who won the Best Actress “Oscar” for her performance in “Misery” base on a Stephen King story, is Finis Bates’ descendant.

  8. jed

    What I would like to know is why has no one done the ” Facial Recognition ” on the two pictures? This should prove the probabilities if nothing else.

  9. Gary Goodenow

    This alleged Booth mummy story is connected to the American automobile manufacturer Henry Ford.

    The story, if it’s mentioned at all, comes up as almost an afterthought in biographies of Ford. It’s put down to his effort in the 1920s to collect American artifacts and memorabilia for what is now an outstanding historical collection in Dearborn Village, Michigan. I don’t think it overstates the case to posit all Americans are lucky Ford did the collecting he did then.

    I don’t know if any scholar tracked down the full Ford Booth mummy story and has written the story. There’s no evidence Ford’s research effort as to the alleged Booth corpse can be considered anti-Lincoln. After all, Ford owned a car company named after the murdered President. As to Ford, the whole story remains what can be politely called: weird.

    While I can’t vouch for any of it, I offer the following from the internet, which gives a summary of the Ford story with Booth:

    “The following story about Harry Houdini is an account by Robert Lund, founder of the American Museum of Magic from his lecture, “Abracadabra: Magic in Michigan”:

    ‘Houdini’s best friend in Detroit was a man named Fred Black, who was also a friend of mine. I retell the story of his friendship with Houdini as I heard it from Fred. Fred worked for Henry Ford, the founder of the Ford Motor Company. Ford mistrusted employees who had been to college and Fred Black was one of the few executives of the company who had Mr. Ford’s confidence, despite the handicap of a higher education.

    Ford came In Black’s office one day with an unusual assignment. He wanted Black to find out everything he could about the death of John Wilkes Booth. Black spent the next year conducting interviews and collecting material on Booth. He became an authority on Booth.

    Ford lost Interest in the project along the way and transferred Black to another assignment. Black asked what he should do with the material he had accumulated on Booth. “Write something for the Independent,” Ford replied. (The Dearborn Independent was Ford’s personal newspaper.)

    The day the first article appeared, Black received a phone call. “Are you the Fred Black who wrote the story on John Wilkes Booth?” the caller asked. “I have an interest in Booth and I’d like to talk to you.” The caller identified himself as Houdini the magician. At the time, the name meant nothing to Black.

    The men eventually became close friends and exchanged many letters and photographs. Two souvenirs of the friendship survive. One is a two-volume manuscript entitled Henry Ford and the Corpse of John Wilkes Booth by Fred Black. It is in the rare book collection at Oakland University. The second souvenir is a bound volume of the letters and photos Black received from Houdini. Fred gave this to me In March, 1961.’ ”

    I’ve never seen this manuscript by Mr. Black. But I’ve also never inquired of Oakland University.

    In the 1920s, Ford certainly had the financial means to track down the Booth mummy story, and there seems little doubt he would’ve spent the money if there were any indications the story had a basis in fact. All historians, pro or con Ford, agree he was nearly maniacal in his search for American artifacts and memorabilia. For example, on at least one occasion in New England, Ford bought the entire contents of a single antiques’ store. Wikipedia reports Ford declined to buy the mummy. In any event, there’s no Booth corpse in the Dearborn Museum.

    The 1920s had a few bizarre history claims. There was a book published in 1926 that purported to show General Custer’s alleged “Lost Message”, which explained events at Little Big Horn. The book included a photographic image of a document credited to the collection of Owen D. Young. Mr. Young was among those who founded RCA and he was president of GE. He was Time Magazine Man of the Year in 1929. He collected historical documents that are now at the Owen D. Young Library at St. Lawrence University, Canon, NY. Today, no present Custer historian credits the document as real. Then again, no one seems to have found the original document credited to Mr. Owen’s collection in 1926.

    Perhaps Ford was drawn into an unhappy historical fraud. By Ford’s inquiry into the matter, he may have lent a remote credibility to nonsense.


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