The Legend of Stiffy Green
The Legend of Stiffy Green
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This is for all of you who do not know anything or very much about Stiffy Green..

A tribute by Mike McCormick...  One of our classmates, Janie Kessel Poths (Class of '58) is quite an expert on Stiffy Green and even gives lectures to children at the Vigo County Historical Museum. The following article was taken from the Tribune-Star on Sunday, September 24th, 2000 and given to my by Alyce.
"Even now, people can come and be a part of the Stiffy Green legend"
by Barbara Carney
Special to the Tribune-Star
The story of Stiffy Green, part fact and part fiction, has been one of Vigo County's most popular legends. It has been told many times, especially in the fall of the year, but, like Stiffy, never grows old. The tale goes that Stiffy was a pet of the John Heinl family. After his master's death in 1920, the dog sat outside the family mausoleum at Highland Lawn Cemetery until he died of grief.
Because of his devotion to his master, the surviving relatives had him stuffed and placed inside the tomb. There he sat, guarding his owner, and glaring out with cold, green eyes.
The legend persists that Stiffy and his master sometimes took strolls together and that barking and whining could be heard throughout the cemetery on cool fall evenings. As the years passed, "going to see Stiffy" became an adventure for Terre Haute youths on a date. What better way to frighten a girl into your arms than go to Highland Lawn Cemetery, shine a flashlight into the tomb and see Stiffy's green glass eyes glowing back at you?
Unfortunately, about 12 years ago vandalism occurred at the mausoleum. A bullet passed through the glass door and shattered Stiffy's glass eye. It was then that the great-grandchildren of John Heinl made the decision to have the dog removed from the tomb and given to the Vigo County Historical Society. The Terre Haute Lioness (in the paper this way) Club took on the project of having a replica of the mausoleum constructed to create the proper atmosphere to perpetuate the legend. The exhibit that resulted has been a favorite of visitors.
Rob Robbins
To see a photo of Stiffy Green, go to: <> or click "Stiffy"
And another Wileyite writes...
Mike McCormick <[email protected]>
Date: Wed Dec 13, 2000 4:17am
Subject: The Legend of Stiffy Green
FIND-A-GRAVE posts this legend of "Stiffy Green." It is, of course, more legend that fact. Incidentally, that website also posts a photo of a mausoleum; however, the photo is NOT a photo of the HEINL mausoleum!
Heinl, John G.
Notable for his grave marker and its associated lore. The tale begins in the early 1900's when John G. Heinl, a prominent Terre Haute businessman, acquired a bull dog. The two became loyal companions, very seldom seen without the company of one another. In 1921, Mr. Heinl passed away. The dog refused to leave his side, faithfully to attending the funeral and standing vigil at the mausoleum. He stood guarding the door, snapping and snarling at those who chose to come within range of the mausoleum doors. Many times the family tried to take him away, but he always found his way back. One day, Mrs. Heinl came to the mausoleum only to find that the dog had died. Conscious of the bond between the dog and his master, she decided it was only fitting to have the dog stuffed and entombed with his master. On occasion, it was said that a peek into the mausoleum would reveal that the dog had moved to a different side of the tomb, and one would always see the glowing green eyes peering out. At times some claimed to have seen the head tilt or the tail wag. It was said that in the early hours of the morning you might see the figure of a man and his dog strolling the area close to the mausoleum. The dog was removed in 1985 due to vandalism to the mausoleum. It was placed in a replica of the mausoleum at the Vigo County Historical Society Museum.
Highland Lawn Cemetery, Terre Haute, Indiana, USA.
Specific Interment Location: Section 1, Lot 20.


And there is more...
Mike McCormick <[email protected]>
Date: Wed Dec 13, 2000 4:39am
Subject: The Craig Gravesite at Highland Lawn
Though I focus more on facts than legend and lore, the Craig gravesite at Highland Lawn Cemetery receives nearly as much attention as the HEINL mausoleum, together with its "legend of Stiffy Green." A photo of the gravestone can be found at the FIND-A-GRAVE website.
John Robert Craig
b. April 2, 1877. d. December 31, 1931. Traveling salesman with a cheating heart. He had traveled to be with a lover and celebrate the coming new year at a prominant hotel in Indianapolis. While in bed with his lover he suffered a heart attack and died. The lover fled the scene. After authorities found out who he was and where he lived, they contacted the new widow and informed her of her husband's passing and the situation in which it happened.
The wife, now very hurt, said "He made his bed. Now he'll lie in it." So, she brought him back to Terre Haute and put him in Highland Lawn Cemetery. She had a special tombstone built just for him. It resembles a bed, so it will remind everyone just how he died. She even had him buried on his side of the bed.
Highland Lawn Cemetery, Terre Haute, Indiana, USA
Cause of Death: Heart attack.
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