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Musser’s Bleeding Headstone

The Union Cemetery in Millheim, Centre County, boasts something that not many cemeteries have—a tombstone that bleeds. The stone marks the final resting place of a 19th century resident of the area, William Musser. Shortly after his burial, tales began to spread about the red stains that appeared around the lettering of his name on the stone. It was as though the letters chiseled into the stone had been cut into flesh, and at a glacially slow pace, it was oozing blood.

The grandparents of the current residents of Centre County recall visiting the stone to see the stains, and began creating stories about the grave’s occupant. The tall tales said he had been a murderer, and this was the blood he had spilled in life. Some claim that the image of a knife once appeared on the stone as well. Neither of these claims stands up to scrutiny, however. Musser was apparently a peaceful local businessman (his family believes he was an innkeeper) and of the many people who have witnessed the bloodstains, none recalls seeing the image of a knife.

The Musser family, upset at the tales and probably disturbed by the phenomenon, had the tombstone replaced. The same thing happened. Some say that a third gravestone was put in place after that, but none of these measures stopped the bleeding. Finally, they hit upon a typical Mom’s approach to the problem: If it’s bleeding, put a Band-Aid on it. The current stone has an iron plate over the name, and the bleeding has stopped—or at least, is no longer showing.

You can find the tombstone just inside the town limits off Route 45 towards Millheim. And you can’t miss it, even though the bloodstains aren’t showing: The tombstone is just about the largest in the place.

You can read about all of Pennsylvania’s other creepy crypts, unusual interments storied tombstones in Weird Pennsylvania.

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