Share story

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa — An Iowa man’s online classified ad offering an oak coffin for sale neglected to mention the full skeleton inside, so police seized the bones.

The Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil reported that the coffin belonged to the Council Bluffs chapter of the International Order of Odd Fellows, which promotes anonymous giving to the poor. Dave Burgstrum placed the ad on Craigslist to sell the coffin for $12,000 because he’s trying to raise money to pay the property taxes on the fraternal organization’s hall.

He said the coffin was made in the 1900s and had been used in the group’s rituals to represent death. The bones had been in there for years. Burgstrum, one of a handful of remaining members of the Council Bluffs chapter of the Odd Fellows, said lodge records suggest the skeleton was donated by a doctor in the 1880s.

Police Detective Michael Roberts said human remains can’t be sold without proper identification. The skeleton was sent to the Iowa State Medical Examiner.

This week, save 90% on digital access.
Custom-curated news highlights, delivered weekday mornings.