Who would ever imagine there are urban legends when it comes to chimney repairs?

Joseph Pic 2

Chimney repairs seem like a boring and repetitive job. When you sit down and think about chimney repairs you think of dirty soot covered fireplaces with a brick or two falling out. I will say most chimney repairs are just that, but sometimes there is an occasional treasure or surprise lurking in there. There has been anything from money, diamonds, baseball cards and hundred year old letters to Santa. That stuff has great history and value, but none as intriguing as the so called urban legend of the body found in the chimney during ordinary chimney repairs.

In Abbeyville, Louisiana in May of 2011, a body of a young man was found in the chimney of a Louisiana bank. A chimney technician was called out to make normal chimney repairs during the banks renovation. He began his inspection of the chimney and noticed a blockage in the chimney. He began to pull on a cloth like material that was shoved in the chimney. Once the material broke loose he pulled out an old pair of pants and a shirt along with a pile of human bones. Astonished the chimney repair technician called the authorities.

The body was that of Joseph Schexnider a twenty-two year old former National Guardsman. The last time anyone had seen Joseph in January of 1984. His beloved family assumed Joseph went on the run due to an upcoming court date for stealing a vehicle. He had always been a floater most of his life, so family hoped for the best and never reported him missing.

Because of the chimney repairs, Joseph had been found!

Authorities and the family still are unsure as to exactly why Joseph was in the chimney of the bank in the first place. Along with his skeletal remains there was a magazine and gloves. If he was planning on robbing the bank he didn't come with any tools or a money bag. There are many speculations as to whether he was murdered and stashed there, although autopsy reveals no sign of foul play. After twenty-seven years of a body being entombed in a bank chimney you would think someone would have noticed. The chimney is located on the second floor of the bank which was never used except for storage until renovations in 2011. Investigators stated that since the body was decomposing in the chimney that the stench would have traveled up the chimney out to the roof, making the smell unnoticeable by bank employees.

So the great chimney urban legend is no longer a legend but a true story thanks to the chimney repair technician. Just an ordinary call for ordinary chimney repairs and a body was discovered. Now I am sure any chimney technician would much rather find money, jewels and coins, but at least the job is never boring, and brings anticipation every time they peer into a chimney.

At Masters Services, (972) 877-4650, we have never found a human body during chimney repairs, we have found many animals in chimneys during chimney inspections that have gotten in from faulty caps.