John Wilkes Booth escaped his pursuers and eventually became a mummy in a traveling sideshow. It was what the presumed Jesse James (J. Frank Dalton) would call the old fake death switcheroo.
There was some doubt about whether the Northwestern University physicians had ever made an affidavit following their examination of the “Booth” mummy in 1931. But Nathaniel Orlowek successfully produced a copy of the affidavit to help quiet the doubts of Timothy Crouse, a reporter for Rolling Stone magazine. (Source: “Will the real John Wilkes Booth please lie down?”, by Timothy Crouse. Apparently a reprint of a Rolling Stone magazine article, Tucson Daily Citizen, August 28, 1976, page 31)
The 1931 physicians affidavit stated that the mummy “had all the right marks: the eyebrow scar, the bent thumb, the broken leg…” (Ibid.)
Apparently the “David E. George” (John Wilkes Booth?) who had died of poison in Enid, Oklahoma in 1903 was a suicide. But “Old Jesse” (J. Frank Dalton) told a different tale:
Finis Bates, the Memphis lawyer who wrote the book (published in 1907), Escape and Suicide of John Wilkes Booth, had been hired by “John St. Helen/David E. George” to reveal all! This looming unwanted publicity did not sit well with the Knights of the Golden Circle. They were trying to keep a low profile, and then here comes Booth about to blast the trumpet with the Finis Bates book!
A decision was made by the Knights that Booth would have to be killed. One of Booth’s assassins, reportedly, was William S. (“Wild Bill”) Lincoln, a distant cousin of Abraham Lincoln. (Source: Jesse James Was One of His Names, by Del Schrader, with Jesse James III)
According to a sworn statement by “Wild Bill” Lincoln:
“Our branch of the Lincoln family was never satisfied with what really happened to Booth, and I spent fourteen years of my life running down the true story. Strangely enough, I learned it from Jesse W. James, head of the Confederate underground. I was present at Booth’s real death.”
Jesse James and “Wild Bill” Lincoln allegedly crept into Booth’s room at the Grand Avenue Hotel in Enid, Oklahoma, then tricked the hungover Booth into drinking arsenic-laced lemonade. Booth is said to have died in their presence. Although commonly reported that Booth’s corpse was mummified by direction of his lawyer, Finis Bates, Schrader claimed it was the massive arsenic in Booth’s system which caused the mummification. Jesse James reportedly later arranged for Booth’s body to be exhibited on tour, throughout the United States. According to Schrader, Booth’s mummified remains eventually passed into the ownership of a Minnesota jeweler named Jay Gould, a relative of the notorious financier. Today, the whereabouts of the Booth mummy are unknown.