(01/23/2019)

George White, the famous "Stone Man," was Calhoun native

By Bob Weaver

Calhoun native George W. White, 40, appeared at the New York World's Fair in 1939 as "The Stone Man," because his body was almost completely ossified.

The rare 'stone man' gene changed muscle into bone.

White was featured in the famous "Strange as it Seems" cartoon by John Hix in 1939 as "The Stone Man."

White traveled extensively in show business for eight years until his death in 1943, going to Belpre OH to make his home with his brother, Robert White.

Death followed only a short illness, although his body began to be ossified at the age of ten years. His legs, arms and neck stiffened, with the soft tissue at the joints hardening into a bone-like substance.

He felt a strange stiffness creeping through his limbs when he was a child, he told reporters when he was at the World's Fair in New York.

He suffered no physical pain and rested as easily on a small pedestal as in a bed, he said.

The Stone Man Disease is one of the rarest diseases caused by a genetic mutation, affecting about one in two million individuals, or an estimated 2,500 people. It is incurable.

Mr. White was a native of Big Bend, son of the late Dr. I.C. and Flora Basnett White. He lived there until 1925, when he moved to Ohio. His stepfather was Bert Haverty of Arnoldsburg.

He is buried in the Rockland Cemetery in Belpre, Ohio.

Original story about George White transcribed by Norma Knotts Shaffer from microfilm of the Calhoun Chronicle 1943


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