From The Illustrated Police News
Published June 27, 1874

The Illustrated Police News published interesting, sensational, and often exaggerated news from 1864 to 1938. Its signature was an illustrated cover designed to attract readers.

The story of the skeleton biting a burglar was printed as follows:

A Skeleton in the closet is not generally considered a pleasant thing to have, but a recent occurrence in Greensburg, America, shows that it may sometimes answer a good purpose.

We learn from the Philadelphia Medical Times that a burglar broke into a physicians office in that town, and opening a closet (whilst his companion with a dark lantern was in another part of the room), got his hands between the jaws of a skeleton, which being adjusted with a coil spring and kept open with a thread, closed suddenly on the intruding hand by the breaking of the thread.


Startled at being thus seized, he uttered a faint shriek, and when his companion turned the lantern towards him, and beheld himself in the grim and ghastly jaws of Death himself, he became so overpowered by fear that he fainted; and fell insensible to the floor, pulling the skeleton down upon him, and making so much noise, that his companion fled immediately.


The doctor, alarmed at the noise and confusion, hastened into the room, and secured the terror-stricken burglar, still held by the skeleton.


Burglars, who may have a design upon the tranquillity of any of our households, will take warning by the unhappy fate which befell one of their “comrades in arms” in a doctor’s study on the other side of the Atlantic.

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