MYSTERY OF THE LOST-AND-FOUND TOMBSTONE: SOLVED!

If you’ve been reading here for the last week or so you know that I’ve been obsessed with a tombstone I found at a thrift shop and felt bad about leaving in case it was stolen and also felt bad about buying in case it was stolen.  So then I started investigating and after several ridiculous blog posts THE MYSTERY HAS BEEN SOLVED.

One of the many people I pestered was Clayton, who owns Sahra’s Find-a-Grave memorial and he went on a hunt and found a cousin who confirmed that the old stone tombstones were replaced after one was broken and that Sahra’s seems to have been salvaged and ended up in a thrift store.  So..NOT STOLEN.  Whoop!

He also had a great picture of Sahra and her husband and I think we also just solved the mystery of why Sahra’s husband doesn’t have a death date on his tombstone.  It’s because he’s still alive and is currently Kurt Russell:

Rowr.

So, that means that it’s totally acceptable for me to buy the tombstone since it wasn’t stolen.  Except that Victor says it means that I don’t need to buy the tombstone because it wasn’t stolen so it doesn’t need to be rescued.

So instead I’m just going to wait until the next time we go to that shop and if it’s still there it’s a sign that it needs to be adopted.  And if it’s not there it’s a sign that Victor called ahead and asked them to hide it.

I am the Sherlock Holmes of mysteries that aren’t actually mysteries.  The end.

151 thoughts on “MYSTERY OF THE LOST-AND-FOUND TOMBSTONE: SOLVED!

Read comments below or add one.

  1. You did it! I can’t believe how quickly you solved that. You totally deserve that tombstone as a reward. Never mind what Victor thinks.

  2. I mean, after all this trouble you went to, you’re practically family, right? I think that tombstone wants to come live with you. Victor is just jealous that he didn’t solve any tombstone mysteries this week.

  3. I think the tombstone still needs a home! Otherwise there will be other people just as worried about it as we were! Perhaps make a nice floral arrangement with it in the back yard? A conversation starter if you will!

  4. I LOVE that you did this research; that you cared enough about someone long gone who couldn’t speak for themselves. You may have some anxiety issues as you say, but you are a KIND and DECENT human being.

  5. You should pass on that info to the shop so it goes with the stone… and they can hold it for you. 🙂

  6. Well, I will sleep better knowing that mystery is solved.
    We should all leave instructions for proper replacing of our tombstones for future generations.

    You’ve done a great public service by bringing this issue to light.

  7. Holy stick-to-it-ive-ness, Jenny! Well done. Sleep easy now. And you’re so buying that tombstone, don’t try and convince us you might not. Victor, you have already lost this battle so don’t bother continuing to fight it. And really, we all win here.

  8. I think you need to do a preemptive call to the shop and tell them they need to make sure to bring the tombstone out whenever a woman walks in and says, “Do you perchance have a non-stolen tombstone for sale?”

    Way to make “tombstone detective” a thing!

  9. I’m a sucker for a happy ending, and this is an excellent one.

    I’m firmly on #TeamJenny regarding the tombstone. You have earned it.

    Well done, SuperSleuth!!

  10. But now that we’ve established that there’s a thriving secondary market for tombstones, does that mean more are going to be stolen? We should remind people to put their names on them or something.

  11. I personally am THRILLED to know that her headstone wasn’t stolen. Not that I lost sleep over it but worried that you did. You are a terrific Sherlock Holmes! Amazing what this little thing called the Internet can provide. All the best to you and all of yours, whoever and whatever they may be.

  12. Don’t your folks have a cemetery on their property? It would feel at home there…

    (OH MY GOD, THEY TOTALLY DO. ~ Jenny)

  13. Tell Victor that Sahra’s ghost might still be attached to the tombstone, which makes it an even better value. Free ghost! Plus, the finger pointing up is like a real life inspirational meme. It’s Sahra saying “Go for it! You can do the thing!”

  14. Well done, Sherlock Lawson! They certainly are a cute couple–too bad she didn’t have that Goldie Hawn vibe or it would be perfect. I think you should buy the tombstone though–you’ve invested a lot of universal energy into it, so it’s basically yours already.

  15. Nicely sleuthed! I totally think you should buy the tombstone and send it to Goldie Hawn since she clearly stole Sahra’s man.

  16. Great Investigative job! I collect ancient artifacts and oddities and this is one of those strange items you just want to own! I have 6 40lb statues from the south China Seas (Borneo) where the natives used to carve rocks to look like their dead relatives and imbue their spirits in them…then when someone in the village wad bad, they’d all bring out their dead relative rocks, put them in a circle and the offended would have to stand in the circle and explain why he brought shame to them. They have done some odd things in my home (not bad), but a tome stone would be a very cool item to take care of!

  17. If I could ever get motivated to write a novel, this would be a great opening chapter. Wacky bloggess digs into the mystery of the abandoned tombstone and discovers it’s all part of a coverup — maybe a murder, maybe just a faked death. You could be the next Miss Marple! Miss Marple with a plucky racoon assistant. It writes itself.

  18. I believe in omens too. But as you say, not seeing the tombstone at the shop only means that “Victor called ahead and asked them to hide it”.

    And I like Hipkat’s idea of a murder mystery. It would be awesome!

  19. Maybe you should send it to Kurt; he’s a two-timer! He’s still married to Sahra and living with Goldie!

  20. I’ll bet you read all the Nancy Drew mystery books when you were a girl! Good sleuthing young woman!

  21. Impressive detective work! Benjamin Cucumberbatch would be proud! I know, I know… but that’s my secret nickname for him. Also my secret crush. 🙂

  22. She’s a quite lovely young woman. I’m so glad you solved the mystery. Please thank Clayton for all of us too.

    To the “Ol’ Stick-in-the-Mud” —
    I think Sahra’s already become if not family, then a good family friend. Thus, your buying the headstone is a foregone conclusion, Victor. Kind of like the way James Garfield became a part of your family. Do it for Jenny and Hailey. Do it for the tribe. 🙂

  23. You know, they say that “Kurt Russell” was found written on a notepad by Walt Disney after he died…..maybe Walt knew all about this…..

  24. Now I hear Paul Harvey saying “… and now you know… the rest of the story!” in my head.

  25. As I told the cashier that I had to remind to give me my receipt at the store the other day, yay for closure! It’s so satisfying to actually get answers to the things that cause questions. 🙂 Great sleuthing! You totally deserve that tombstone. Tell Victor, “Because the Internet says so!”

  26. Ha ha. That totally DOES look like Kurt Russell! And yes, you are absolutely the Sherlock Holmes of mysteries that don’t need solving. Which actually makes you that much more important. Cause no one else would think of it. 😉💋

  27. My goal in life (or I guess my goal in death?) is to have my tombstone end up in a thrift store. Because that’s where I buy EVERYTHING.

    Although I’m probably going to be cremated. The plan is for me to be turned into a diamond that my husband will wear as a piercing someplace tender so that I’m an irritation to him in death as in life.

  28. I just looked Sahra up on the Find-a-Grave app, and under notes it states that the original Tombstone has been located at a Texas antique shop. I guess for all those of us who have been following this saga. Perhaps, Jenny, you could use it as your new GPS system: Keep it in your vehicle and when you get lost the pointing finger will always be “Gone Home.”
    Kudos to Jennifer for the Walt Disney reference: Cue the Twilight Zone theme!

  29. Victor is just jealous that after all his telling you that you don’t need this tombstone he’s secured his fate of having an incredibly lame tombstone. You need this one as a template obviously! That and Sahra would probably appreciate you working so hard to find out as much as you can about her (and my word is she stunning!). I think you should “accidentally” end up at the store in question and then have the money “accidentally” fall from your wallet in just the right amount for the stone to “accidentally” find its way to your car. Just saying…. “Well no Victor, I have no idea how it ended up in the garden, what an odd phenomenon!”

  30. Awesome! Though now I’m wondering how many tombstones end up in thrift shops. I know taphophiles exist, but is there a thriving stolen tombstone black market? Or is it just like how the street sign for Sh*tterton, England, gets stolen a bunch?

  31. Glad you solved the mystery! (Although I’ll admit, there was a part of me that was hoping the headstone had been stolen so we could read about your attempts to locate the next of kin and return the stone.)

  32. Add an attempted murder and a vampire and it would make a great book.

    (a sex scene in a graveyard would help too)

  33. Someone with mad photo shop skills needs to make a meme of you as Sherlock. 🙂

  34. Where are you going to put all the tombstones you now collect Jenny? I suggest outside. Or you could match a tombstone with a taxidermied animal as matching pairs.

  35. Congratulations, Jenny! Job well done. And of course you are going to buy that headstone. It was meant to be. And if it wasn’t meant to be before, it is now.

    You could console Victor by leaving out magnificant headstone drawings of possible headstones for him, except, well, he might take it the wrong way.

  36. I told your story to someone and they,in return, told a story of a local “craftsman” who made marble furniture for people. A couple bought a marble coffee table from him. Some time later, one of the legs broke. When they turned it over to fix it, it turned out to be a stolen tombstone.

  37. Totally adopt it. I adopted one years ago. It was in a pile of grave stones in a cemetery in my hometown (Lima OH). I asked the groundskeeper what they were and he said they were damaged and had been replaced or they had typos and had been redone. He told me I could not take one, but I did anyway……….after he left the area. Dragged it all the way to New Orleans and made it into a garden bench. The name on the stone is Ollie Delora Gibson. I think he was a WWI vet.

  38. Please buy it and prop it on the ground near your mailbox to freak your mailman right out.

  39. So the “next time you happen to be at that store” coincidentally is today, right? If not, hey, I need you to do me a favor and pick me up one of those things that you can only get at that one store with the tombstone. It’s a FAVIR do you HAVE to go!

  40. He looks more like Lloyd Bridges. And you know somewhere he’s saying, “Looks like I picked the wrong week to replace my tombstone.”

  41. I think he looks more like Bill Pullman from Scary Movie 4. Seriously, google it. EXACTLY!

  42. so there is a cremation garden in England where they have the names of people and dates on bricks in the walk and lining the walk…however…you have to pay a yearly fee or they will pop it out and replace it with someone else. I flew to England with my friend and she was all about never visiting where her mum was scattered, all day train ride later just to find out her Dad did not pay the yearly ‘death rent’ so her brick was gone. we just randomly prayed for her over some roses we liked.

  43. Yay!! Solved! Maybe now you can help me figure out if my Great Great Grandfather died from Appendicitis or falling off a tractor. Nobody cared enough about the poor old guy to bother with a cause of death. Maybe his Appendix burst while he was on the tractor and he fell off and got run over by the tractor itself. Or not. I’m still digging. There has to be a hint somewhere……

    http://www.mrs-completely.com/funnywoman/celebrity-meow/

  44. you are better than the dana girls & the boxcar children working together on the same case!

  45. Definitely a sign that you need to get whatever pet that will fit the name Sahra McMinn. hmmmm
    Planning ahead.😋

  46. Congrats on this success!
    I’m struck by how pretty her hair is here. She’s obviously taken pains to arrange it. But isn’t it interesting that she’s looking away from the camera lens, while her husband is starting right into it.
    And yes, obviously you need to buy it. I’m sure it’ll play a part in the upcoming stop-motion movies of those dolls. And you’ll make costumes for it and setting it in a sunny window to arm means one of the cats will lie on it…
    The stone and Sahra clearly already belong in your world. They just picked this time to show up in it.

  47. Seriously, I might write a mystery based on this. With the twist at the end that Kurt Russel is somehow an immortal from American Gods.

  48. I totally see a career in private investigation services in your near future ! I’ve had anxiety of a tombstone I’ve neither seen in person or was directly related to in anyway Lol See how much your tribe loves you ! 😻

  49. A note on photos of that era, which I’m sure others know already. People didn’t smile at the camera, but usually tried to look very serious. Although ‘Kurt Russel’ does have a twinkle in his eyes, and Sahra might be trying to keep from giggling.

  50. Well done, Nancy Drew! Maybe the tombstone could be sent on a journey so the woman can visit all the awesome cemeteries she COULD have been interred in if the decision wasn’t left up to her husband.

  51. Yay you found out more about the tombstone..you should TOTALLY go buy it now. Because it kind of needs a home, right? RIGHT?

  52. this has been an interesting saga. Nice to have it come to a satisfactory climax, now we just need to find out if the tombstone ends up in Jenny’s garden for an epilogue.

  53. OMG I love thrift shops. My dream day would be following you around on your thrifting sherlock adventures. In a non creepy way of course, although I guess sluthing about cemetaries and tombstones is kinda inherently creepy…..can I be a Watson to your Holmes?

  54. You absolutely deserve the tombstone; it would look great either in a garden setting or on the sofa with a raccoon next to it. And he actually looks more like a photo of Jim Carrey that I saw today. She probably died to get away from him. Congratulations on solving the mystery-that-wasn’t-a-mystery!

  55. I still think it needs to be saved. I think you may need to go tomorrow to look for book ideas and if it’s there it’s not your fault. Plus it’s for your book. It’s a work expense 😃

  56. bravo, bravo. And I agree, it was abandoned, and needs a home. And how nice it was replaced, which is the happy part of the story. you could be the rescue person for lost things. I am also impressed that you did all that sleuthing, and successfully.

  57. Way to go Jenny! I think it’s pretty cool you did that. And of course you deserve the tombstone as a reward. Tell Victor it’s like a plaque but much bigger and heavier.

  58. But can you imagine what an amazing lawn ornament it would make? The kids at Halloween would be like ‘Damn, this is some fine craftsmanship. The Lawson’s don’t stint’. It would totally be tax deductible now that you’ve blogged about it. Or you could just casually leave it in a flower bed and see how many visitors commented and then make vague mumbles about how Nanna Sahra wanted to stay close to the family.

  59. It seems that the tombstone would make a great centerpiece for your next big dinner party. (knowing that you don’t like/do dinner parties) Or maybe it would be great beside the front door – but then you would need another one for the other side……unless you can find a taxidermied body to go there…..hmmm…..sounds like a plan!

  60. Dear Jenny,
    This is not at all related to tomb stones, but stay with me.
    There are several journals on Amazon that say Fucking Brilliant and variations of that. You need one.
    Also, I have a friend that is a NP for a neurologist and she was ALL about TMS. If she says it’s good it must be good.
    OK, now tomb stones, I love them. I love graveyards and I can’t spell cemetaries so I have to use the word grave yard. which is not as nice. There is one in Savannah GA where I think it was the Union soldiers camped out for a long while and while they were there they changed the dates on a bunch of the stones. Which I noticed before the tour guide pointed it out because although I hate math I still have to figure out how old people are and the dates were changed so they are impossible. LIke someone was 208. It really fucked with my mind because although I don’t like math I can usually at least do basic math in my head and I whipped out my phone and used the calculator and was like “Oh fuck, now I don’t even know how to do math on a calculator.” and there was more than one stone like that.

    Also, there are dozens of head stones hung on the back wall/ fence of that graveyard (I need to learn how to spell cemetary.) because they got knocked down and no one knew where they belonged so they just hung them up. So I said prayers for all those people because I was probably walking over their bodies unknowingly and I didn’t want them to be angry and follow me home and haunt me.

    There was also a sarcophagus (that I can spell?!) that had the lid slightly off. LIke it was sort of pushed to the side and I was debating on pushing it back into place, but Brian was all “Do you NOT WATCH CELEBRITY GHOST STORIES?! What is WRONG with you? Do NOT touch that.” So I said hello to the person in there and said a prayer for him/her too and explained that as much as I would like to cover him/ her back up I was afraid he would mis understand and haunt me and frankly we had enough going on without a pissed off ghost and a sarcophagus misunderstanding. In fact that only thing that had NOT gone wrong that year was a sink hole and a demonic possession.

    ALso, good job inspector. (Elementary my dear Victor)
    Buy it. IT will be an awesome conversation piece. It will be a tax write off and also Halloween.

    WordPress.com / Gravatar.com credentials can be used.

  61. I’m the other way around, I know there’s a tombstone somewhere of my Gggggrandpa in Wales, but I can’t find it anywhere. Perhaps I should start looking in the thrift shops instead of the graveyards?

  62. I think you are sweet to care about this dead woman. I also think you should buy the tombstone and put it in your garden. It means something to you now. It needs to be in your loving home.

  63. I hope if my tombstone ever ends up in a thrift shop that somebody cares about it as much as you did this one.

  64. I’m so glad he finally got back to you!! Btw, if you want to do cool tombstone stuff, you’re welcome to join the Association for Gravestone Studies (gravestonestudies.org). It’s a group for hobbyists and professionals and there’s a Texas chapter. Chapters get together a few times a year for cemetery tours, workshops, lectures, etc. And then there’s a national conference once a year in June. Or you could just join Facebook groups. And then you can hang out with folks like me and my friend Emily (a full-time professional crypt and monument preservationist) digitally! We’d love to have you!

  65. Great job! What is it with husbands who think we shouldn’t buy things we don’t need? It makes no sense to me.

  66. <3 this and thank you for sharing everything with us. Thank you for being you and letting us all into your head, so we know we are not alone!

  67. For some reason this made me happy. Maybe just a little certainty and closure for the day is a good thing.

  68. We should start a gofundme for Jenny so that she can buy this tombstone and do something amazing with it. You know it will not a have a better home than with the Bloggess. Oh yeah, and a petition to for her to give to Victor showing all the people who agree with her. Your cat may also sign it but take care that they use ink, not feces.

  69. You need it so you can use it as a centerpiece when you celebrate Sahra day every year. It could be her birthday or the day you solved the mystery. I’m all for making up new reasons to have a holiday.

  70. At the very least I would write a note about the tombstone verified as “Not stolen” with you blog address so that more people don’t bother the very nice people who helped you. Then take the note to the thrift shop and ask them to post it with the stone.

  71. I actually shared your story in a genealogy group I’m in and had people looking up info on her. 😂 Glad it wasn’t stolen!!

  72. Best yard decoration ever! I would just set it in the yard put some flowers on it and just act like it isn’t there when people ask about it.

  73. Love your mad detective skills. We have an uncle we need you to find information on when you have time.

  74. So now the mystery is whether Kurt Russell is a vampire or some kind of immortal being (a la American Gods).

  75. My first thought was “Oooo–it’s the Eleventh Doctor! (Matt Smith)” The portraits might have been keepsakes from a romantic encounter with a timelord.

  76. So if Victor does call ahead and ask them to hide the tombstone, can I buy it instead? That is just the kind of creepy thing I need to own regardless of what my precious boyfriend thinks.

  77. I agree with another poster that Sahra is pretty. And her husband-yes-majorly hunky. Cross between Kurt Russell and maybe one of the Baldwin brothers. And congrats to you for mystery-solving-stick-to-it-ness! Takes stamina and focus-not to mention curiosity.

  78. I seriously thought that was Kris Kristofferson. So still: ROWR. But Kurt Russell works just fine, too!

  79. I find it completely wacky that they replaced both tombstones sometime within the last century – possibly as late as 2007 – but still failed to put Sahra’s husband’s date of death on it. I feel like there HAS to be a story there (Zombie/vampire Kurt Russell aside).

  80. So, I was listening to a podcast recently (radiolab? or maybe 99% invisible) talking about how they moved all the bodies out of San Francisco when the cemeteries filled up and land became more valuable for housing. So the old tombstones were used for building material in some of the parks. (Pictures here http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/buena-vista-park-tombstones)

    I think you need a new garden path, with the tombstone as the centerpiece!

  81. Rowr is right. Kudos to you for most excellent sleuthing. You have earned the tombstone. Now I am wondering about Kurt Russell.

  82. I am abnormally pleased that this saga has a happy resolution. I’ve wondered about this more times than I care to admit.

  83. Congrats, Jenny! You totally deserve a tombstone!…. Wait, that didn’t come out right.
    JK. Love you so much.

  84. She looks much less judgemental in that portrait. But chances are the tombstone will still be there because I don’t know who else would buy it.

  85. This may relate to the story that Walt Disney’s last words were “Kurt Russell”. Seriously. That’s what he said. Walt had his finger on the pulse of our subconscious hearts. Cute, but creepy too, if you think about it. Sort of like you. And us. Well done, Jenny!

  86. Thanks for this post. Just to hilarious that it put a smile where it needed to be!

  87. Something about this whole tombstone mystery felt vaguely familiar. Then I remember this:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0X6q7nt15uk Graveyard mystery

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_128481&feature=iv&src_vid=0X6q7nt15uk&v=l-cdcb5gYt0 Solution

    For the unintiated, nerdfighters (pro-nerd not anti) are an internet community as weird and wonderful and supportive as this one. I think Jenny and John Greene are the only two internet folks I follow who haven’t wound up talking to each other, although they are connected through the wonderfully weird Neil Gaiman.

  88. I don’t know if people alive today normally get tombstones, like I doubt my wife and I will have graves at all, but she said yesterday that she thought the perfect epithet for her tombstone would be, ‘I know that already,” which I think is perfect, except that I’m really surprised that she suggested it. Almost makes me want to provide for one.

  89. Why did she put ugly stuff around her collar? It looks like black christmas tree tinsel. “Just a minute honey, let me just put this black stuff around my neck for a special touch”. Even in the older picture she butons her dress to the neck and puts some big round broach between the collar.

  90. The sad part about Find A Grave is that people don’t keep it up to date because they get busy and/or they pass away themselves. Such is the case with my father and the family graves that he was keeping track of and we have no idea what the pw was for it. The person isn’t answering the inquiry of the person you talked to for Sahra. He is trying to get her husband’s death date changed. Also a family member has been trying to get ownership of the page switched to her for a year. It’s sad when things like that happen. I know I’m late on the bandwagon but just putting my two cents worth in.

  91. We actually have my husband’s great grandfather’s tombstone upstairs in the loft at our Lake Superior cottage. It was made of wood and got weatherbeaten and unreadable, so my father-in-law decided it needed to be replaced with a nice granite one. And then, being Swedish, could not get rid of it because that’s not What We Do. And being an extremely phlegmatic bunch, no one seems to mind sleeping up there.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: