|Hazel Farris |
Hazel Farris was born in 1880 and died in 1906. After a dispute with her husband, Hazel was alleged to have shot her him. She fled, eluding pursuers, and, despite a $500 reward, managed to get as far as Bessemer, where she settled to begin a new life with a new husband, who reportedly eventually turned her in for the reward money.
As police arrived on December 20, 1906 she was alleged to have locked herself in her room. Rather than submit to arrest and trial, she drank a fatal cocktail of alcohol and poison. Her body was never claimed. For 40 years the mummy was a part of a traveling side show. Finally, the mummy was displayed in Bessemer Hall of History, in the basement of the public library from 1974-2002
Hazel's body did not decay in the usual manner. Instead the body desiccated to a 37-pound mummy.
X-ray, CT and endoscopic examinations performed indicated that the body was infused with high levels of arsenic,
which contributed to its preservation, it had not been ingested. Evidence of blood clots in her pulmonary veins suggest that she may have died from pneumonia. It was surmised that the arsenic was used in a makeshift attempt at preservation. The mummy was missing two fingers; one that appeared to have been shot off about a year before death, and the other detached post-mortem.
As Hazel the Mummy, her desiccated remains were displayed in traveling carnivals and, later, at the Bessemer Hall of History. She was cremated shortly after a 2002 appearance on "The Mummy Road Show" on the National Geographic Channel.