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The Most Famous Dead Guy In Sabina

On June 9, 1929, the body of a middle-aged black man was discovered in a ditch along the Wilmington Pike in Sabina. He seemed to have died of natural causes, but the papers found on his body led the police to a vacant lot in Cincinnati. To make matters even more mysterious, when the police talked to residents of the neighborhood, no one seemed to recognize or remember the man once they were given his description.

When the police came back to Sabina, they decided to give the body a name—Eugene—named for the last person they spoke to in the Cincinnati neighborhood.

Eugene was embalmed and was put up at the Littleton Funeral Home, waiting to be claimed. But his wait was much longer than expected. He was kept at the Funeral home for over 30 years.

Somewhere along the line someone thought that it would be a good idea to give him a new suit, prop him up in a windowed shed on the funeral home property, and maybe someone would recognize him. But, no one ever did.

He became quite a dead character around Sabina over the years. He would sometimes be used as a Halloween prop, being put on people’s front porches to scare the trick-or-treaters. Sometimes local college students would take him for a drive, or bring him to a frat party. His body was remarkably well preserved, although over the years, he had begun to lose a few fingers. But his serene composure never left his face.

In 1963 the Littleton Funeral home decided it was time to lay Eugene to rest, and buried Sabina’s most famous dead guy in The Sabina Cemetery with a rather odd inscription on his marker: Found dead 1928 (it was ’29 actually), Buried 1964.

We found the following personal remembrance of Eugene posted on a Sabrina historical web site at www.sabinahisotry.org.

I visited Sabina a number of times in the late 1950's and considered moving there to attend Wilmington College but decided on the USMC instead.

Eugene was a famous figure back then, especially at Halloween. He often appeared on the front porches of homes (with a little help from his friends) and terrorized more than a few houses.

Some of his fingers were missing but he was kept well dressed in his black suit and had a rather serene look of composure on his face. I used to spend a few minutes of each visit talking to him and asking him questions like where he came from and if he had a family. As expected, no communication was established but I did attempt to comfort him with a prayer for his soul and his loved ones at the end of each visit.

Sabina is a delightful town that I have visited since and can well understand the loyalty and accolades it receives from its current and former citizens. –James L Clark

Weird Ohio


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