Bone Collecting? Really?

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photo credit creative commons license kutakizukari

I must be on a weird kick. After last weeks post about collecting birds eggs I thought that I would get back to the safe subjects of collectibles (the normal kind: albums, old photos, tea pots and so on) but no, I find myself immersed in another kind of weirdness which in a strange way I can understand a relate to a little better than I can to collecting birds eggs.

This week’s corner of weird is about collecting bones, which doesn’t sound that weird, after all, biologists / zoologists do it, most kids will get excited when they find an animal bone or skull in nature, and with good reason. It gives them a peep at what their insides might look like, it gives them a better understanding of both animal and human anatomy; bones are mysterious – usually, in normal situations, the existence of his skeleton is nothing more than a rumor to a child, since it is hidden under his skin and meeting a skull or vertebrae in person takes a way some of the mystery, or, in a way, lets the child in on one of the secrets of the universe.

I remember hiking with my father when I was no older than 6 or 7 and finding an animal skull, probably of some kind of deer. It must have been very old, since it had been bleached by the sun and I was totally enchanted by it. Bone has also always been a useful material in tool and jewelry making since the dawn of mankind, and as such, so collecting animal bones is not really as weird and bizarre as one would initially think.

What I do find extraordinarily grotesque is the ways many bone collectors collect the bone – which for me (personally) is crossing a line. Not a moral line, since the animals are already dead, but there are certain lengths I would go to obtain what I want, and not further. The actions involved in bone collecting are way passed my marker.

But then again, that’s just me.

Ray Bandar obviously has a different point of view on this. The eighty year old has been collecting bones for close to 50 years. He collects the bones of road kill, sea mammals caucuses was up to the beach. He has no issue with the freshness of the animal or the state it is in. Ray is a biologist, but his private collection, which adorns the walls, floors, ceilings and surfaces in his house, amounts to an estimated 7000 skulls, 200 pelvises and many other bits and pieces.

You might think that Ray is one of a kind, since how many people are prepared to clean rotting flesh off bones, with different and delightful means such as flesh eating bugs, bacteria and so on? But you would be wrong. A quick search brings up many people who collect bones in a serious fashion, some are coming at it from the same direction Ray is, some for religious reasons (honoring the spirit of the dead animal) and others have turned obsession into profession.

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photo credit creative commons license the Kirbster

Did you know that some people collect bird’s eggs? I had no idea that it was something that was pursued as a hobby; I always thought it was a scientific pursuit and was very surprised to find out that birds eggs are a collectible.

It seems like a strange activity to me, collecting other species unborn babies and apparently I am not alone in that thought. In the USA collecting bird’s eggs was outlawed in 1900 as part of the bird protection act but in Europe and Britain it took a little longer than that. In Britain, the collection of birds’ eggs was finally outlawed in 1954 and being in possession of eggs collected after that year was a crime, as well as selling and buying eggs, regardless of their age. Another law was introduced in 1981 but still, bird collectors continued hunting down bird’s nests and stealing eggs until the year 2000, when a 6 month jail sentence could be given to bird’s eggs collectors.

Apparently, some people are so obsessed with their hobby that they are prepared to risk jail for it.

This is what I don’t understand – birds eggs collectors have always gone to extremes to get their prize if it is endangering themselves by climbing up and down trees with one hand clutching a delicate egg or in the case of one Charles Bendire a USA army soldier and oologist apparently, he was prepared to have his teeth broken in order to extract the egg of a rare bird from his mouth. He had placed the egg his mouth so that he could have both hands available to climb down the tree and the egg got stuck in his mouth. Rather than break the delicate egg to solve the problem, he elected to have his teeth broken to release the egg. Need I say more? If you think this kind of obsessive behavior towards birds egg’s ended towards the end of the nineteenth century, you are sorely mistaken. Although birds egg’s collecting is illegal in most countries, many people continue to peruse this hobby risking their lives and their freedom in pursuit of their passion.

Frankly, I can’t see the attraction. Can you?

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Halloween is the opening bang of the Holiday craze, and one of the most fun filled holidays ever.
It is an opportunity for people to express themselves to the fullest and for many goes way beyond the 24 hours of October 31st.
Most people will go trick or treating with the kids, put on a Halloween costume, maybe go out to a Halloween party themselves and on the 1st of November put Halloween behind them for another entire year.
Not everyone is like that. Some people spend the whole year amassing collections that they display only on Halloween, or spend weeks before October 31st decorating their house with props they have collected over the years, usually, all year long, and go a lot further than just putting a couple of Jack-o-Lanterns on the porch. I thought I would share some of the wilder houses I found documented on line.


collection of grave stones from M.B.ART

halloween porchnight.jpg

Simple but impressive
From loving my heart and home

From Decorating room design

From decorating room design


From My Desired Home. Not widely theatrical, but a chance to display different items, preferably orange and vintage in a way they are usually not displayed.

I love this one from apartment therapy

This must have been a ton of work. Imagine carving all those pumpkins! (Apartment therapy)

source about Detroit . This one takes the cake for the most creepiest Halloween house in my book.

Someone has been collecting skeletons! from Joanne Parypinski

From Haunted Westgate

from zombie 37

sniderscion flikr

josh sommers flickr

Last 3 images via Mashable

* Disclaimer: I have credited all images to sources as I know them, and there is no intent to profit from the use of these images, just share the talent and imagination of their creators. If I have used your images and you would like it removed, please contact me and I will do so upon your request.

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It makes no difference if you are a boy or a girl or if you grew up on Cinderella or Superman, everyone would like to star in their own version Cinderella, or be Superman if only for a Minute.
The glamour, the surprise and the recognition in our worth is what makes us covet our own personal Cinderella or Superman moments.

Your Cinderella moment doesn’t have to involve a prince, a glass shoe or evil step sisters. All you really need for a Cinderella moment is a fairy god-mother and the intuition to know it when you see it.

A dusty attic or garage full of junk is a good start, but lots of people could have an item stashed away in a garage for years without knowing that it is worth close to half a million dollars, Stan Caffy can attest to that. He had a copy of the declaration of independence stored in his garage. It was one of the 200 copies commissioned by John Quincy Adams in 1820, printed in 1823 by William Stone.
Before marrying, he and his fiancé decided to get rid of some of their “junk”, This rare copy was donated to a thrift store, where it was found by the Cinderella of the hour Michael Sparks, whose fairy god-mother seemed to be present and whispering in his ear!

A similar but more lucrative story is that of anonymous Pennsylvanian Cinderella who found an even more valuable copy of the first printing of the declaration of independence tucked behind the torn picture he had bought, because he liked the frame. He paid $4 for the picture and made a mere $2.4 million (and change) on it.

Way wilder than that is finding a painting on the curb, with the trash, with it turning out to be have been stolen 20 years ago, and worth about $1 million. That was Elizabeth Gibson’s Superman /Cinderella experience - finding a long lost piece of art, returning it to its original owners, getting a $15000 award and a percentage of the price it fetched at auction.
Not bad at all.

Are you ready for your fairy god mother?

photo credit creative commons license GettysGirl4260

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autograph seeker

photo credit creative commons license Kieth Allison

When I think of obtaining autographs, two images come to mind. One is of a person sitting in a room writing hopeful letters to the objects of his admiration in hopes of coming home one day and finding an autograph waiting in the mail box.
The other more prevalent image is of crowds waiting for a star outside a playing field, theatre or arena, pushing in close as soon as the star appears hoping that they would be the lucky ones to get an autograph.
There is a hunt, comradery, excitement, extreme cold or extreme heat and a lot of suspense - will I get close enough? Will he be here? Will he sign my signature? Will he read my letter or ignore it?
That is part of what give autographs a high sentimental value, that and the fact that the star actually handled the paper/shirt/photo that housed the autograph.
People will pay a lot of money for something that was touched by their star, thus, monetary value is added to the sentimental value. The autograph and the autographed item turn into more than just what they are at face value. They have become a story too.

Enter the 21st century, with the world shrunk to the size of our hands with everything available at the tip of our fingers. There are nearly more e-books than books, paper mail is a thing of the past, and even socializing is done online, so it was only a matter of time before somebody came up with the idea and technology of Egraphs - personalized electronic autographs, sold for anything between $25-$100 a pop, usually accompanied with an audio message from the star.

While reading about this my gut reaction was that it was fake. No human touch, no contact, no hunt, therefore, no story, and who would want an autograph with no story?
On the other hand, we do live in a changing world, we have online friends, bank online, watch movies online so why not collect online as well?
Technology has effected collecting as much as it has effected anything else in our lives; cataloging is easier, finding information and collectibles is easier too, and after all there is no good without evil.
What do you think - would you like and egraph or would you prefer the ‘real’ thing?

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