Mysterious Grave Decorations Continue

Over 131 years ago, little five-year-old Carrie Frances Kiene died and was buried in the Valencia, Kansas cemetery where she remained until 1920 when her grandparents had her moved to the newly opened Mt. Hope Cemetery in Topeka. After her reburial, the family commissioned a pensive statue in her likeness for the grave where she has remained for these last 96 years. Normally that would be the end of the story, were it not for the ongoing mystery that has surrounded the statue for the past two decades.

     At least four times a year the statute has been mysteriously dressed in seasonally appropriate attire provided by a mysterious admirer. In the winter she can be found wrapped in a shawl, neck warmer and hat, while in the summer she sports nothing more than a sunhat offering the marble sculpture a bit of shade. One Easter she had a woven basket with various Easter related items and small toys. Just who has been doing the dressing and why, has become a local mystery that has remained unsolved.

     The clothing changes take place during dark moonless nights while the ever-vigilant cemetery keeper, who lives on the property confesses, he hasn’t seen a thing. According to a 2008 FlashNews report “Cemetery counselor Rick Kuebler says they have no clue who the phantom stylist is, but some believe Carrie herself is hitting her closet for her outfits. He says, ‘There’s a group of South American ladies who come to worship the statue. They’re convinced she’s dressing herself.'"

     Whoever is doing the wardrobe changes has been very consistent and involved for some time to the delight of many Topekans who can be found to visit the grave periodically to see what Carrie is wearing.

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