Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What I Didn't Buy at The Flea Market: A Human Skull, Anyone? Yes Indeed.


The day was appropriately sultry and grimy the first time I got to thoroughly examine a real human skull; who's flesh once covered these bones the world may never know. The flea market vendor claims to be a medical assistant and explained that the sell of human skulls is legal if they're used for medical use only. He bought the one above for $200 from his teacher and is attempting to sell it for more (likely $600ish) on eBay.


The seller, in his cargo cut-off army camouflage pants, wife-beater, tats and thick south-eastern accent doesn't look anything like the picture of a medical assistant but when out in my colorful sundresses (hunting uniform) I don't look like a person with action figure collections that can nearly recite the 1986 "Transformers the Movie" either. You never know.


Instead of questioning further I relished an opportunity to examine the remains; turned it, felt the heft and texture, made a mental apology to whatever special person this was (one that never imagined his skull would end up here in front of your eyes- hopefully not a murderer), snap photos, and leave with a renewed appreciation for the unique wunderkammer wonderland that is Florida thrifting.


You never know what you're going to find.
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32 comments:

  1. Alas poor Yorick! What was the asking price on this poor disembodied fellow?

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    1. He bought it for $200 so I'd assume he couldn't sell it for less than $300-$400. He was trying on eBay for a while with no luck.

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    2. Doesn't ebay prohibit the sale of human body parts even if it is a skull and even if it is for medical purposes? I'm pretty sure they do

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  2. That's crazy!! I would be totally weirded out!

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    1. Is it bad that I was barely phased? Oddity museum and Florida flea market exploring has changed me!

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  3. My dad used to get skulls of off road kill animals. He was an artist and he liked to have real skulls and bones to draw from. It was pretty creepy. There was a giant cabinet full of skulls in our basement in Detroit. Sometimes my mom would ask me to go downstairs and get her something (clean load of laundry, a hammer...whatever), And I was too scared to go down there. My mom would start yelling at me. "Get down there NOW and get me that laundry basket!" (and I'd be thinking "fuck no, mom!) Dark basements in old houses are creepy enough as it is. Add a giant cabinet full of skulls and ask 6 year olds to go down there???!! Jesus H. Christ, mom, what were you thinking!?

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    1. I've known a few people that do that, an ex of mine lived on his grandparent's expansive rural property and I went with him and a group of his ur, unique, friends (*cough*satanists*cough* buttheywerenice) to collect boar bones. Bones on a shelf in the daylight- awesome. Skulls in a dark basement-- no no no no. Nightmare fuel! Basements are scary enough to even adults as it is.

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    2. For the record I admire animal bone/skull collectors, it brings me back to my favorite parts of science class, but I won't join the ranks. I already have too many collections and things to keep track of... Seems to be a popular artist thing to do that goes up-and-down in popularity?

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  4. golly thats insane! I can't believe thats legal!

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    1. It may not be, I didn't double-check, haha :)

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    2. I mean really, how can you prove "medical use"? If I'd have taken out $600 I bet he'd have sold it to me and I'm far from any kind of medical professional...

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  5. Florida flea weirdness indeed! Legal? Hmmm. Even weirder, someone will come along and buy it. :)

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    1. It'll probably sell on eBay for him eventually? But yep, some money bags may come along and need a skull for his collection while flea browsing. That reminds me, the skull wasn't out on display, It was inside the box its perched on. I opened it and, "Oh, hello skull"...

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    2. "Oh, hello nightmare" is more like it.Creepy.

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  6. Wow that's nuts! I don't like the trend of human skulls being used for decoration, creeps me out and seems so disrespectful. Glad you didn't buy it!

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    1. Wouldn't even if it wasn't over $200, haha. ;)

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  7. I would have totally bought it! But I have friends with shrunken heads, victorian coffins with the skeleton still in it.......ummmm what else do they have, oh a mummified hand, a baby goat with two heads (from an old side show circus). Well I could go on forever. What did they want for it?

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    1. -He- bought it for $200 so I'm sure $300-$600ish. I love skull collections but don't let myself collect too much, just my small art and toy collections. ;)

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  8. Interesting comments. No doubt the seller was on guard in case of inspectors looking for illegal items. My brother sells a lot of ivory pieces ( some scrimshaw, but mostly mostly netsukes), and apparently you need a license to sell it now or you can get fined big time by the DEP. Also, if you sell anything that gets weighed, whether it's food or metals, the dept of weights and measures can come around and do a spot check on your scales. If you're a vendor in the same place too long, you can also be an IRS spot check target. So he prob said that spiel to you just to cover his butt.

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    1. Could be. Somehow I doubt the IRS will ever investigate our highly informal style of flea market but it's a possibility! Now I'm going to be scanning the perimeter of markets for anyone I deduce to be an IRS agent in disguise ;)

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    2. Hey you never know. I remember once in PA there was a big bust at one of the drive in flea markets because of unlicensed imitation designer handbags.

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    3. Damn, that's crazy! Sneaky bastards, those IRS agents!

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  9. Replies
    1. I admire skull collections but don't want one for myself, very fragile and doesn't fit with the rest of my collections I suppose. Got a whole modern thing going on that doesn't go with nature/boho/medical, haha.

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  10. A real testament to the randomness of flea markets/thrift stores/yard sales, etc! But, of course, that's part of what makes them so much fun- you really never know what you're going to find!

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  11. "wunderkammer wonderland that is Florida thrifting" awesome! I need to get out to the flea markets more. I love the antique stores, but a lot of stuff is past my price point...

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    1. Yeah, we've gotta make a living and price appropriately in antique malls. Actual antique stores are much higher. I do find a lot of good deals in them though when Iet myself hunt.

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  12. Ick Ick and more ick. I am sure whomever donated their body to science was hoping for something more than a guy selling his remains on Ebay. After that there is not much you haven't seen at a flea market :)

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    1. Hm...there was the golden vagina and penis that I can't get the vendor to sell to me anymore. Could be worse than the skull depending on the viewer's level of prudery.

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