Sometimes you really can’t improve upon the original headline, which is the case with this story from the Spokane Press (Spokane, Washington) on April 6, 1908. It seems that a group of female employees were more concerned with having a laugh at the view of a sheeted corpse at a nearby funeral parlor, until the sheet was removed.
“A score of hysterical girls who wrung their hands, cried and mussed up their hair and pointed in terror out the back windows Saturday afternoon caused the men employees of Jodoin and Davids to rush gallantly to the girls’ workroom and there witness a sight which caused them no wonder at the mental and physical condition in which they found the young ladies.
Lying in plain view from the store windows they could see the cold, stark remains of a human being laid out on a slab in a rear apartment of Smith & Co.’s morgue. At one time a sheet had hidden from view all but the feet, but owing to an attendant’s carelessness this was pulled partly off the body and the ghastly features looked steadily up at the girls and struck terror to their hearts.
At first, when only the feet were visible, it was taken as a huge joke, and one girl nudged another and pointed at the foot that had finished life’s journey until every girl in the place had looked, and kept it secret from the men employees.
Then an attendant came in, sat down beside the body and horrors! He sat there quietly and ate an apple.
But the climax which caused the girls’ consternation and lead to the final denouement and some sudden action on the part of the employers, came when an attendant, who after calmly finishing the apple, arose to go-and the sheet caught and was pulled partly off the body.
A creepy sensation swept over the young ladies, but they contained themselves for a few minutes, in hopes that the undertaker would cover the ghastly features. But the undertaker had not noticed what he had done.
Finally it was too much. Even when the girls did not look they could conjure up mental pictures a thousand times more horrible than the real article. One of them became hysterical and screamed. Another promptly swooned, and then pandemonium reigned.
The men thought something terrible had happened in the workroom and rushed in.
All the girls could do was point-all of them were pointing and terror was depicted upon every countenance.
One of the men hurried over to Smith’s and then the blinds were drawn and the ghastly show hidden from view.”