The Mystery of the Petrified Man of Hog Island

This really happened. Or at least the people who came across the mystery thought it did. 

Waterman George Avery
Waterman George Avery Melvin in a photo taken on Hog Island before his death

It was 1956 and Hog Island was coming apart. Atlantic Ocean waves were beating the southern Chesapeake Bay barrier island’s shoreline into the water. Bodies were being churned out of their final resting place. Among them was George Avery Melvin, a waterman who’d died 22 years earlier. But Mr. Melvin wasn’t decomposed. His body was rock hard and in perfect condition — except…

“He was black, as black as could be,” says Bob Smith, who was an 18-year old Coast Guard seaman on morning patrol.

Brice Stump, a reporter with DelmarvaNow, talked to Smith and others who witnessed what he calls “the most unusual discovery of its kind ever made on the Eastern Shore, if not the nation.”

Mr. Melvin’s body was petrified.

Possibly due to a strange combination of Chesapeake Bay water and unusual soil minerals where he was buried.

Find Brice Stump’s full story at It’s a good read.

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