Head in a jar costume at Maker Faire 2011

One of the most awesomely creepy things I saw at Maker Faire was this "head in a jar" project by artist Marque Cornblatt. From the project literature:


A decapitated human head can be observed floating in a liquid-filled jar carried by a person in head-to-toe hazmat protection. The living head moves, makes eye contact and seems to struggle to escape it's water-tight vessel.

According to the "handler" the head was discovered by a CDC cleanup crew after a zombie outbreak near detroit, moaning and gnashing long after it was separated from the body. Quick-thinking personnel placed the head in a slurry of plasma, protein supplement and a top-secret organic antifreeze agent.

The head has been maintained in this state of animation for several weeks with no apparent degradation or decomposition. A hopeful CDC spokesperson was quoted as stating that this breakthrough may be the first step to understanding or even curing the zombie outbreak.

Video Link. More of Marque's zombie explorations here.


  1. Good, but not great. Double walled container to make it look like the head was in formaldehyde without snorkel gear would have been better.

  2. I thought that was one of the coolest things too. I appreciated the costumes a lot of other people had, but they were mostly pretty tame/lame steampunk/victorian things, and this was really well-done and very cool.

    I did find it a bit odd that (at least when I saw him) he didn’t stop walking… there were lots of people trying to take photos, but he just kept walking at a fast pace! He wasn’t trying to get anywhere, just wandering around, but wouldn’t stop for photos.

  3. And the backstory HAD to include Detroit.

    Newsbreak! Detroit will put down a zombie outbreak in no time flat.

    I feel sorry for Scottsdale, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Charleston, etc.

    We got sixteen men on a dead man’s chest
    And I shot those suckers and I’ll shoot the rest

    Most illingest b-boy – I got that feeling
    Cause I am most ill and I’m weldin’ and killin’

  4. It’s a variation on the classic John the Baptist on a caterer’s tray.

  5. I’d be worried about getting water in my goggles, or in my lungs. No escape valve? Just stand on your head I guess?

  6. This is awesome, although we dont have some creepy fair but I really like this one.

  7. I took a stereo image of this. (And about 120 other cool things at Maker Faire.)

    I’ll submit a link to the set when I’m done making anaglyphs.

  8. @ Anon #1

    [Great}, but not [spectacular].

    Fixed fer ya. :)

    Double walled container to make it look like the head was in formaldehyde without snorkel gear would have been better.

    Yeah, safer too; although I’d guess he had a safety release valve where he could reach it.

    Another nice touch for the next version would be a pivot motor on the head with a simple wired remote concealed in the hand so he can make the CDC worker look toward passersby. Along with the double-walled tank that would look hyper-creepy.

  9. How is he exhausting the bad air? When you use a snorkel you have to pull in the good air thru the snorkel and breath out thru the nose via a valve in the face mask. Otherwise you are just re-breathing the same air in the snorkel and he won’t last very long.

  10. >How is he exhausting the bad air?

    Maybe through the hose out the top of the tank, like you see in the picture?

  11. he’s breathing a lot of dead air in that snorkel … needs to be shorter. I suspect he knows that by now.

  12. As long as the volume of the snorkel is significantly less than the volume of his lungs, it doesn’t matter. My lung volume is in excess of 3 litres. Hazarding a guess, the volume of that snorkel is probably about half a litre. That means I’d get 2.5l of “fresh” air with each breath.

    And that’s more than enough to live on. As long as he doesn’t start hyperventilating, with lots of rapid, shallow breaths, he’ll be just fine.

  13. You can snorkel like that pretty much indefinitely, or, at least, you won’t be limited by anything involving the air (eventually you’re going to get cold or tired or sunburned or hungry or bored and want to head back to shore). There’s no accumulation of “bad air.” What I (and apparently, others of you) wonder is what happens if the mouthpiece gets dislodged from his mouth. How does he get the water out from around his head?

    1. Quite right — what creeps me out more is that he doesn’t have at least a rough bit of screen on the top of the snorkel. Unlikely as it is, the first thing I thought of was a wasp climbing down through that thing. Eeek.

      1. You know, millions of people go snorkeling *every year*! The vast majority of them are not breathing out through their noses. Not only are they breathing through snorkels, they are actually, you know, exercising.

        And Anon: a double-walled container would have looked like a double-walled container with a dry person inside. This is way better than that.

  14. Sloughed skin, dirt and oil from his face would cause one awesome bitch of an ear infection.

  15. I remember seeing this guy (pretty sure it’s the same guy) at BM, many years ago…

  16. Augh, I applaud this guy for the costume. I am feeling pressure of not breathing just IMAGINING what it’d be like to be submerged in the water all day, or even an hour, just breathing through the snorkel. I’ve drowned and had to be resuscitated before. And I’ve been locked under a bed so tight it was like being in a coffin. I can only imagine this costume combines BOTH of those feelings t the same time.

    1. I’ve drowned and had to be resuscitated before. And I’ve been locked under a bed so tight it was like being in a coffin.

      God seems to be having difficulty eradicating this particular m15t4k3, if you don’t mind my saying so. You must lead a perilous life. FWIW, I’m glad you’re still with us.

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