The Skunk Woman

I was originally linked to this story by @Fiona_Lang on Twitter, who tweeted this entry on the FindAGrave blog here.

In Riverside Cemetery in Howe, Indiana, you will find this grave belonging to Christina Irene Hahn D'Sullivan (1845-1925):

Please note all the little skunks left by its side. That's because Mrs. D'Sullivan was known as The Skunk Woman.

She was called this not only because she kept many skunks as pets (and also dogs, crows, and an all-around smelly menagerie), but because of her appearance. She got sprayed often by her skunks, so she smelt of one, and she never bothered to wash it off. As one man was quoted "She was considered the dirtiest woman in the world." She hadn't bathed or changed her dress in over 25 years, which is apparently a recurring theme on this blog. It didn't help, either, that she wore only a single black dress, which made for an unfortunate comparison with the animals she kept.
That's her, holding a skunk. Just in case you didn't believe me.

She also "had fingernails so long they looked like raccoon claws". Or, dare I say it, skunk claws?
Skunks: they have claws.

"She was often seen heading to the swamp/marshes early in the morning and returning with a full gunney sack [of skunks???] at sunset." [WHYYYY? If The Princess Bride and Lord of the Rings have taught me anything, it's that swamps/marshes have NOTHING good for you.]

"Sympathetic women helped care for Chrissy in her later years. A County nurse came and gave her, her first bath in many years, [but] instead of helping the bath contributed to her death.She died of pneumonia 10 days later."

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