New York · Newspaper clippings

Man stops child’s funeral procession, pulls body from coffin

August 4, 1881
New York
A police officer interrupts a child’s funeral procession, breaking open the coffin, and pulling the boy’s corpse out

The child, names as Robert Williams by the Harrisburg Daily Independent (Aug 5, 1881), was pulled from the coffin by Jeremiah O’Connor who later identified himself as a police officer. Also according to the Independent, O’Connor claimed that, as he was waiting for a ferry, he noticed the procession and was immediately overcome with a desire to see the body. Williams’ family, outraged at the desecration, wanted to lynch O’Connor but were prevented from doing so by police who escorted O’Connor to a jail cell. It was at the station house that he offered his explanation: his father had died in 1877 and since that time, any time he sees a coffin, he feels compelled to look at his father’s body.

O’Connor was taken to a hospital for mental evaluations. The findings of the evaluations or any possible trial were not reported.


Boston Globe. Aug 4, 1881

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