The U.S. has a lot of laws around the possession and ownership of human skulls

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/10/02/the-u-s-has-a-lot-of-laws-around-the-possession-and-ownership-of-human-skulls.html

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I already own one skull.

But I’m kinda using it.

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Yay, Caitlin!

Here is a video version of that!

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If you outlaw human skulls only outlaws will have human skulls.


Oglaf (often NSFW)

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There’d better be a way around this. I want my skull sitting on my friend’s bookshelf if I die- it’s actually a really comforting thought to know that it would be kept safe with someone I care about who I know would deeply appreciate it. Given the horrific racial history of how human remains have been exploited, I’m not surprised there are lots of laws about it (actual, given how obviously racist America still is, maybe a little surprised), but there should be a way if clear, unambiguous consent is given. It’s MY damn skull, after all.

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The Blue Raja: Sorry, but am I to understand you’ve inserted your father’s skull inside of that ball for bowling?

The Bowler: No. The guy at the pro shop did it.

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I suppose the same applies to people who want to have their tattoos preserved after death?

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If you’re into this kind of macabre stuff you should read this. Very fascinating.

One interesting tidbit: most medical skeletons are sourced from gravediggers in India. Apparently it’s still a lucrative practice

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I’m reminded of how when Phil Kaufman stole Gram Parsons’ body from LAX to cremate him in Joshua Tree National Park he was only fined $750 for stealing the coffin. Since nobody could own a corpse, nobody could steal one

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I have one! Not a relative, sadly.

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I bought a skull once at an oral surgeon’s estate sale for $100. It was cool, and I used it to make a really great Halloween party set piece by putting it in a box with a peephole, and covering it with 100 king mealworms.
Then I sold it on eBay for $400. It took two tries, and the successful listing was as a teaching aid (which it was).
The really creepy part was the Kilgore catalog that came with the skull. It basically said that their bones all came from Asia, and childrens’ skeletons were especially hard to get (and therefore more expensive).

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A mortician friend of mine explained that India used to be the main source for skulls and skeletons. Basically if you died indigent there was a pretty good chance that was what was going to happen to you. In 1985 India banned the trade, but of course it still goes on underground
.https://www.wired.com/2007/11/ff-bones/

I’m surprised that nobody has yet mentioned H.H. Holmes, who murdered his tenants and then sold their skeletons, as described in The Devil in the White City.

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In Europe there used to be (possibly there still are) worm farms where you loved ones can be consumed, at least down to the bones. Don’t they have worm farms in the U.S.?
Oh look! This one is in Washington State! https://www.sciencenewsforstudents.org/article/greener-than-burial-turning-human-bodies-into-worm-food

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reminds me of dungeon master.

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Want to keep grandma around?

Plastination

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Del Close, Improv Master in Chicago, left his skull to the Goodman Theatre, so he could play Yorick in “Hamlet”. Not a simple matter.

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So, in many states I can’t own a skull other than a Native American skull…

Anyone else think that’s a little f-ed up?

Any other racial groups excluded from legal protection by name?

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Personally real skulls not my thing anymore, despite my love of Predator.

I want a book bound in the skin of my enemies, anthropodermic bibliopegy is the way to go

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You’ve got it backwards.
"No laws prevent you from owning human remains… EXCEPT those of Native Americans.
(Paraphrased obvs)

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