publication date: Saturday, May 15, 2021 (part of Spring 2021)

category: Mysteries

clue: How did this man's real corpse wind up in a Long Beach amusement-park scare ride? That turned out to be the six million dollar question, involving a whole lot of nickels.

explanation: McCurdy was a thief shot dead by Oklahoma deputies in 1911. His embalmed and wax-sealed corpse went unclaimed and became part of a ghoulish display where people could pay to see him by inserting nickels in his mouth. After time in a traveling carnival, the corpse was lost and later turned up being used as a scary mannequin in a haunted-house dark ride in California. In late 1976, a production assistant on The Six Million Dollar Man was preparing that ride for the filming of a scene when he discovered that the mannequin was a real body. Police identified the corpse as McCurdy and arranged for his interment in Oklahoma in 1977. The crew of the TV series attended McCurdy's long-overdue formal burial. more…

intended difficulty: medium

solved by: Russ Wilhelm, Steve West, LaVonne Lemler, Samir Mehta, Chris Lemler, Richard Slominsky, Denise Sawicki, Erik Bates, and Mike Eberhart

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