Buffalo Bill Cody, John Dillinger and George Armstrong Custer are still dead.
No one contends otherwise, although I cannot speak for ghost believers.
But where are they buried?
Just last week, the History Channel pulled out of a plan to exhume Dillinger from a grave in Indiana as part of a documentary. Two descendants doubt the guy buried in the grave is the 1930s gangster.
Dillinger was shot to death by the FBI on a Chicago street in 1934 after emerging from a theatre, everyone thinks.
I never heard of this dispute before, but it’s good to be sure about these things. If he survived the hail of bullets, Dillinger could be 116 years old and living on a beach in the Bahamas, at least up until two weeks ago.
Buffalo Bill Cody wanted to be buried on Cedar Mountain, as we in Cody all know. But unless the story is true a trio of devoted friends snatched the body from a Denver funeral home and sneaked his remains back home, he is likely buried under 20 tons of concrete in Golden, Colo.
There definitely seemed some shenanigans at play in Denver, when Cody died at his sister’s house in 1917 before relatives emerged with a united front about a death-bed conversion that resulted in a Colorado preference.
Someone should hire a pro with a magnetic imaging unit to go to the summit and once and for all determine if there is a body there before digging to find out if it is really Buffalo Bill.
The Buffalo Bill Center of the West has previously wished to keep its distance from such a resolution, partially based on the thought it might turn into an empty-nest fiasco. There is precedent for that thinking going back to when TV personality Geraldo Rivera scheduled a ta-da moment for opening Al Capone’s vault. Only it was empty.
As was its intention when the garden of concrete was poured, Golden is no easy option for obtaining a DNA sample, short of nuclear weapons use.
Back to Custer. No one suggests the cavalry officer survived the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Initially, after he and his Seventh Cavalry troop were killed in 1876, his body was placed in a shallow grave.
A year later, Custer’s body was to be disinterred and moved to West Point Cemetery. The soldiers tasked with transferring him found the original grave had been disturbed by animals, however, and only a small number of bones were removed from the hill in Montana.
In the early 1990s, archeologists studied the battlefield and records of the 1877 return and suggested those soldiers dug up the wrong guy, probably a corporal, and delivered his bones, not Custer’s, to upstate New York.
At the least, people believe some of Custer’s remains are co-mingled in a mass grave on Last Stand Hill with others who died around him.
Unlike Dillinger’s clan, Custer’s family said no way to a West Point exhumation.
Oh, in case you never heard, graves supposedly containing Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were investigated in Bolivia. They weren’t there.