Mount Carmel Cemetery is known as the final resting place of numerous bishops and archbishops of Chicago, as well as a large number of gangsters, including Al Capone.
However, one of the most popular and memorable grave in this cemetery belongs to a humble Italian-born housewife, Julia Petta.
In 1921, Julia Petta died while giving birth to her child at the age of 29, however, the child did not survive either and was buried right next to her in the same coffin.
Julia was dressed in a beautiful white wedding dress and then placed into a coffin, as in the tombstone photo, so she later received the nickname “Italian Bride”.
Exhumation of The Coffin Of Julia Petta
After Julia’s funeral, her family moved to Los Angeles, 5 years later, and suddenly her mother, Philomena began to see the same recurring dream, in which Julia came to her and said that she was still alive.
The dreams continued to haunt her for a year, as she could not stand it any longer, she came back to Chicago and requested that the body of her daughter be exhumed.
She suspected that Julia might have been buried alive and her daughter’s restless ghost would stop haunting her in dreams if she checks her grave.
Her request was approved and her coffin was exhumed.
The coffin was buried for 6 years, so it was already damaged on the outside.
Shockingly, when the cover was removed from the coffin, they saw Julia’s completely undecomposed body inside.
The body looked so fresh as if it was buried only yesterday.
It showed no signs of decay, not even cyanotic (cadaveric) spots.
Interestingly, at the same time, the body of her newly born son, which was wrapped in a blanket and placed next to Julia’s body, had decomposed into a skeleton.
Her mother was shocked after what she saw, and she took a photograph of Julia Petta in her coffin, which was then placed on her gravestone.
During the exhumation, a few more people were present and they wanted to make sure that Julia was really dead, and not fast asleep (no matter how strange it may sound).
They began to touch her face and hands and then reported that her skin was soft and Julia’s cheeks were pink, not deathly pale.
Whether any other manipulations were carried out with Julia Pett’s body is not indicated anywhere, only it is known that in the end she was still recognized as dead (perhaps this was proved by the called doctor), and then it was decided to bury the coffin back along with her dead body.
However, it remained unclear why did Julia’s body look imperishable even after 6 years of her death while her son’s body had turned into a skeleton.
Why did not Julia Petta decompose?
Over the years, some experts suggested that Julia’s body did not decompose due to the special type of soil in that specific place of the cemetery where her body was buried, while others believe that Julia Petta was most likely very well embalmed.
In those years, preserving a body was not a rare occurrence, but if it was done, Julia’s mother would surely have known about it.
The most common folk version says that Julia Petta was a devotee of God and after her death, she became a saint.
Therefore, it is said that the Lord did not allow her body to decompose.
Julia’s body has never been exhumed again and the current state of her body is not known.
However, even if Philomena’s dreams are the consequences of grief from the death of her daughter, and Julia’s non-decomposing body is the result of good embalming, another strange thing happened around her grave.
After Julia Petta’s funeral, a ghostly woman in a white dress was often seen in the cemetery.
The ghostly silhouette was seen by night drivers driving along Harrison Street wandering in the cemetery
Julia’s grave is located near the entrance to the cemetery, which is nearby the streets.
Once a little boy was accidentally forgotten in the cemetery after a funeral by his family, and when they returned to the cemetery looking for him, they saw a woman in a white dress walking towards them along the path and leading the child by her hand.
When the woman reached the family and handed the boy over to them, she disappeared right before their eyes.
The mystery behind her imperishable body is still not known.
Was her body mummified or did she turn into a saint or a wandering ghost after her death?