Memories of Marie

by John Banik

 

Every time I see anything about Marie it reminds me of the time I worked with her, even though it's sort of morbid in a way. But It's really good to see that Marie is still around.

 

The last time that I saw her was here in Tupelo, Mississippi. I had been working for Charlie Campbell for about the last six months in 1968. There wasn't much of the show left, we were traveling with her, in her Palace Car where everything was on exhibit. Her mummy and a few other oddities as I remember them, which included 2 headed snakes, 2 headed rats, a shrunken head, an eight legged pig with two bodies and 1 head, "darn that thing was ugly", and a few old guns, each of them having their own story. "I sure would like to know what happened to Charlie"? But most of all I do remember Marie! She was in a very fine casket with satin sheets. It was my job to make sure her sheets were kept clean and changed, she had to look good for her appearances.

 

If memory serves me correctly the way Charlie told his story was a little different from what you have posted in your answer about the Legend of Marie O' Day on your site. It probably changed a little with each showmen that owned her.

 

Taken from our Ask The Staff section, The Legend of Marie O' Day,

 

"Marie was a stripper who entertained in a night club in 1925 when she was stabbed and had her throat cut by her common law husband. Afterward, she was thrown into the Great Salt Lake in Utah, where her body remained floating for 12 years. It was found when it washed up near a pavilion along the shore of the Great Salt Lake. When it was found it was said that it was still intact from the red hair on her head to the corn on her toe. It had become mummified due to the great salt deposits absorbed from the lake."

 

I don't recall her being referred to as a call girl or stripper. But rather as a show girl and that her jealous husband had stabbed her and dumped her weighted body into the Great Salt Lake, where she was later discovered. It seems that some workmen who were digging a pier found her, and In Charlie’s spiel, Marie didn't wash up on the shores of the Great Salt Lake!

 

To the best of my memory I can recall there was a place where the workers damaged the mummy with a shovel. I don't recall exactly where. The story went on to say that several years later the husband took a case of conscience and admitted to killing her, and received a lengthy prison sentence. Charlie told me that her husband had contacted him about arranging for a proper burial when he was released from the Utah State Prison.

 

Charlie Campbell was quite a character. I remember him as a decent sort of a fellow even though he never paid me for my last weeks pay of $8.00. He did keep me fed and showed me things that I would have never learned about in any school. I guess his show might have grown larger over the years as it pasted through the many folks that owned Marie. I only remember having the mummy and the other 8 or 10 freakish animals not to say that they were all real. I had my suspicions that he may of had somebody make them up for him.

 

All in all I can say that my time spent with Marie and Charlie Campbell was good. It is one of those times that I will never forget...

 

Out of many interesting thing that happened while I worked with Marie, I don't recall any problems that occurred with the police.

 

I do remember a Baptist Minister in Corinth Mississippi, bringing his family in for the show, and raising pure hell about it. Charlie and that Minister went outside and had a few choice words and then the Minister took his family and left. There was also a group of high school girls that were really grossed out by the shrunken head. We always had a lot of folks who were interested in why the head was so small. They would ask me how they managed to get it that size. The best I can remember it was about the size of a baseball it may have been of African descent and had long hair maybe 12 inches in length.

 

The animal freaks such as the 8 legged pig and the 2 headed snakes were a great topic of conversation as well. But it seems that we had a mouse with 2 heads and a 5 legged rabbit. Well I always thought he had those made (Gaffed) somewhere because they were stuffed. As I said before there were also a few old guns of which I don't remember any of their stories. They also were exhibited under glass.

 

The thing that I remember best was that story Charlie told about the alleged letter that her husband had written him asking if he could retrieve Marie's mummy when he got out of prison, in order to give her a proper burial. I take it that either he never got out or that Charlie was just telling me a story.

 

Charlie also had these photos that he claimed were of Marie when she was a show girl.

 

Well, I guess that's show business!

 

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