Funny things happen.
I’m from Saint Petersburg Florida currently and was telling my
colleague a story.
Years back I worked
for a man who told me an interesting story that I told her.
She looked things up on the internet and found your website.
During the 80’s I
worked for a man that led an interesting life, he was always
telling me true stories of all the things he did in his life. He
bought his wife in Morocco just after WWII while stationed there
as an electrical engineer for the Navy.
Once he walked up to
me and asked me if he had ever told me about his Petrified Man.. I
answered no and the following is what he told me.
After leaving the Navy
he relocated to Mulberry Florida. The biggest Industry in the area
was phosphate mining. He worked there and was promoted to
dragline operator. As you probably know draglines dig up the dirt.
The buckets are so large they can hold a car just to give you an
idea the size of the machines. He told me one day he arrived for
his shift and the dragline was not moving. A bad sign that more
than likely meant the machine was broken and it would be a bad day
As he got out of his
truck he noticed all the fellows off to one side looking at
something. He approached the men and discovered why everyone
stopped working. On the ground in front of him the dragline had
placed a few things that were dug up around 60-80 feet below. The
first was a canoe if I remember correctly was about 20-30 feet
long and had broken in half during excavation. I questioned the
wording of canoe, he said like a native American canoe, but it was
petrified. I spoke up and said it probably was not native American
era, which he replied oh no it had to be much older to be
petrified. Nearby was a second canoe completely intact and the
guys were focused on something else. A petrified man, I cannot
remember how tall he said it was but it was larger than the
average man (maybe 9-12 feet tall) the man was complete and not
broken. Then the shift supervisor drove up yelling and complaining
why everyone had stopped working. They showed him the items they
found and he told them to push it back in the hole.
I ask why he would say
something like that and he told me the supervisor said if the news
got a hold of it they would make them stop digging phosphate. He
then asked if he could just take The petrified man home, the
supervisor said it was ok Just for them to get back to work.
The next day he
arrived with a trailer and used the dragline to load the petrified
man. He wanted to take the unbroken canoe but no one knew what had
happened to the canoe.
Mr. Buckner took it
home and loaned it out to a museum in Ohio for a couple of decades
Then the museum contacted him and indicated that they were not
longer interested in keeping the piece on loan. His brother
asked what he was going to do with the petrified man and he
did not really know,
so he gave it to his brother whom had lost both legs in WWII. Mr.
Buckner ‘s brother found some interest from Ripley’s believe
it or not and had displayed it in Orlando.
I was really
interested and asked if he knew if it was on display. He said they
rotated their pieces And the last time he went it was not on
display. I was really surprised that my colleague found your
website and the stories are almost identical. The gentleman passed
some years ago his name was Omar Buckner. I always wondered
what his petrified man looked like and now maybe I know.
Thanks for posting the
stories, I’m not certain that it is the same one but it is very
Thanks for creating
Charles Watson - Tampa Bay Times - Saint Petersburg, Fl
Back to Cutting Up Jackpots