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Yup, pretty much what I thought would happen…

Did you see the Drudge link to the Mail yesterday, the guy who tried to pay the property taxes on an old Oddfellows Hall by selling the coffin (and bonus enclosed skeleton) he found in the basement? And now the police are all after him because that shit’s illegal?

There but for the grace of God, ladies and gentlemen, go I. The seller, not the skeleton. Well either, I guess.

When I was in art school, my roommate and I were browsing our favorite junk shop when we overheard the owner talking to his brother about the skeletons they had just moved into the basement. And my roomie, who was a certifiable dangerous crazy person, hissed at me that we must have one. Because art school.

They were cagey as hell about it, but we were regular customers and we finally talked our way into the basement. It was stacked with coffins. I don’t know how many in total. I’d pulled an all-nighter finishing a project and it’s all a bit hazy. Anyway, three stacks of four I remember for sure, because the guys were shuffling them around to look inside.

One of the skeletons was papier-mâché, the rest were real. Several were children. The coffins were all different kinds. They were clearly very old (late 19th, early 20th maybe). We were told they had come out of an Oddfellows Hall, where they had played a part in some ritual (this is repeated in the Mail story).

Anyway, we picked the best skeleton (he had all his teeth) in a not very nice felt-covered coffin and paid $125 for it. I kept the receipt for years (“1 body in box”). We called him Uncle Wallace. I got stuck with him after school, of course, and dragged him around several apartments, still in his box. That was fun, said nobody.

At some point became aware that that shit’s illegal, but I didn’t know quite how to get out from under. I couldn’t imagine a scenario that didn’t ultimately lead to me and a big serious policeman in a little cement block interrogation room. I sweat bullets over that thing.

In the end, I…gave it to some guy. A long, long time ago. I don’t think I want to be any more specific than that. That article made my hands go clammy.


Comment from Mitchell TAFKAEY
Time: June 24, 2013, 10:16 pm

You know, I’m completely unsurprised that you had a skeleton at one time.

Comment from Oceania
Time: June 24, 2013, 10:21 pm

Sweasels former life as a Quack!

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: June 24, 2013, 10:47 pm

Generally, I would sympathize with you and say something like,
“Well we all have our skeletons in the closet”, but ah, well….

Nice weather, eh?

Comment from Nina
Time: June 24, 2013, 10:47 pm

You have so many great stories, Stoaty…my life is boring by comparison. 🙂

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: June 24, 2013, 10:56 pm

So was mine, Nina. Until… weasels!

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 24, 2013, 11:12 pm

It didn’t rot in there or anything. It wasn’t dug up. It was a nicely wired medical specimen.

He was small and kind of square-headed, but adult judging by the teeth. I thought maybe he had Down’s or something. It would be just like the unsentimental Victorians to sell the bodies of people who died in care homes.

Comment from Armybrat
Time: June 24, 2013, 11:37 pm

Go to St Johns co-cathedral in Malta for some of the best and most whimsical skeleton art. I have a picture of one of the floor plaques that looks very much like the fellow you posted.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: June 24, 2013, 11:58 pm

I’ve always wanted a nice skull for my curio cabinet. They can, of course, be purchased through medical supply companies and so forth, but I haven’t bought one because the silly regulations and laws just plain gripe my ass. I don’t see why the govt whack jobs have to criminalize any and every little thing they feel like. OK, I realize human remains, no matter how tastefully or carefully preserved, give a lot of people the willies, the creeps, or the heebie-jeebies [1] but that doesn’t mean you should toss somebody’s butt in the slammer. I mean, who’s the victim? Where’s the crime?

1. I suspect that the willies, the creeps, and the heebie-jeebies are similar but distinct phenomena. More research is called for on this crucial psycholinguistic question.

Comment from tomfrompv
Time: June 25, 2013, 12:14 am

No room in your closet?

Comment from scottthebadger
Time: June 25, 2013, 12:25 am

I see a relative of yours here in the States in on Maggie’s Farm today. http://maggiesfarm.anotherdotcom.com/archives/22425-Mustelid-du-Jour-Least-Weasel.html

Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: June 25, 2013, 12:34 am

I can’t say I’ve ever been taken with the notion of owning an human skellington, but we have quite a few dead Tanqueray corpses lingering about the house. 8 or 9 (1.75L) at least.

Comment from woolie
Time: June 25, 2013, 1:33 am

Tanqueray Scweezers…oh ya.

Comment from steve
Time: June 25, 2013, 1:05 pm

Stoat Weasel’s New and Used Body Parts

Made in America! From Americans!

Comment from Timothy S. Carlson
Time: June 25, 2013, 1:27 pm

Speaking of bodies in boxes:

Nelson Mandela’s family is holding a vigil around Nelson’s bed. We may soon have another CDP winner!

Comment from mojo
Time: June 25, 2013, 2:08 pm

“I don’t know nuffin’ about no skelingtons!”
— Hot Fuzz

Comment from JeffS
Time: June 25, 2013, 7:24 pm

This is an odd coincidence. Yesterday, while helping a relative clean out a house for a deceased relative, we opened an old trunk. Lots of interesting stuff in there, uniforms, old clothes, mementos, a Japanese flag (possibly) from WWII… … … and the skins of 6 or so weasels. Or possibly minks.

They were fairly long, but complete (including head/snout) with all the bones removed, and very well preserved, possibly 50-60 years old.

Most of those present were grossed out, but I guess they’re worth $50 each.

Like I said, an odd coincidence, eh?

Comment from beasn
Time: June 25, 2013, 8:25 pm

I would have been very wary of going down to a basement to look at skeletons. I don’t care how frequent I visited above grounds. Maybe the owners collected them from once live customer donors.
I’m jittery like that. ‘Ya, you think you can bring me one up.’

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 25, 2013, 8:35 pm

It was spooky as HELL, beasn. I was going to try to describe the atmosphere better, but I realized when I get all up in the adjectives, I usually fall flat.

Creepy as shit. Think Norman Bates’ root cellar.

Comment from Mrs Compton
Time: June 25, 2013, 9:24 pm

I have from a very good source that Mandela may be joining the skeletons in the basement. They are awaiting elders to make the announcement.

Comment from Bob Mulroy
Time: June 25, 2013, 11:13 pm

I am also not surprised that you owned a skeleton at one point.

I was helping a guy clean out the basement of his apartment building, and we found a crate with 6 heads in jars. Boy, do the cops take that kind of thing seriously!

I also worked at a neuro lab that had this lovely silver punch bowl set in a human skull.

That’s all I have.

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