Bones boned

A woman was charged Wednesday with disturbing the peace of the dead after authorities found a full skeleton, a skull and a CD-ROM titled "My necrophilia" in a box in her home. [Reuters]


    1. The pictures are all over Reddit, etc., and seem innocuous enough, but even if they were pornographic, this is ridiculous. Are we really living in a world where we’re prosecuting people because of the shape and material of their sex toys??? The skulls were legally purchased and in general there don’t appear to be restrictions on what can be done with them. I used to buy and sell human skulls as a small business and some of my human skulls even ended up in a Suicide Girls photo shoot… And as others have pointed out, we have a long history of using skulls in art. As long as she didn’t graverob/steal the skulls, I don’t see the issue. It sounds like this comes down to a word, really… if she’d written “my art photos representing [insert pretentious explanation here]”, she’d be fine, right?

  1. Assuming she did buy the bones, and didn’t go trespassing to get them, why is this a crime?

    I mean, it’s not my thing, but how much harm is she doing anyone?

    1. My guess is that it has something to do with the rights of the deceased individual, especially when considering religious doctrine.

      Along those lines, Louis CK jokes that we should be allowed to rent our own dead bodies to these necro types so they can get their needs met without having to involve the more reluctant folks. :)

        1. Neither can a vibrator? The dead have more in common with a coffee table than with a child… unless you’re very very sick.

  2. “Authorities found a full skeleton, a skull and a CD-ROM titled “My necrophilia” in a box in her home”
    Police are yet puzzled about the woman´s  intentions.

  3. “Disturbing the peace of the dead” makes it sound like they actually believe there’s still a person inside the bones.  That’s just silly.

    But if there is, and someone can prove it, I’ll cancel my plan to be fed to the fish, and look forward to some post mortem action.

    1. I always thought it would be nice to be used as jewelry. I mean how awesome would it be to become a knife sheath or something? Much more interesting then being burned and stuck in an urn.

      1. How about re-shaping the appropriate bones and being sold as fake ivory?  If we all did it, we could collapse the ivory trade and save some elephants!

        You’ve got me going now – I’m going to draw up a document specifying uses for my body parts.  Yeah, real tiger balls!  True, powdered rhino horn!

      2. My wife has discussed the idea of leaving her skeleton to art, rather than science – as a mounted skeleton for art students to be able to draw, measure for sculpture, etc.

      3. Actually, you can quite legitimately be used as jewelry when you’re dead. Without anyone having to wear creepy (and more importantly, illegal-in-some-jurisdictions) human bone jewelry, or get busted over fake ivory, or anything like that. There are several companies that take cremains (or apparently hair) and then compress the carbon in them into an artificial diamond. Just Google “cremation diamond” and a bunch pop right up – the first company to do this was LifeGem. You can just specify that instead of a normal burial in your final instructions, and it’s not even really that expensive, because there’s no paying for a cemetery plot! It doesn’t take the entire body either, so you could easily donate organs for medical purposes or whatever, then have the rest cremated and still get the cremains made into diamonds. They even do pets!

        There was also a Victorian tradition of taking a dead person’s hair (or sometimes a live loved one’s) and weaving it into jewelry; you can find the antique ones on ebay sometimes. I found at least one website where someone has revived the technique: … they also wove longer hair into bracelets/watch fobs, though that website’s owner apparently doesn’t do that one. So there’s another method.

        Tada! You’re dead-people art/jewelry! And it’s all perfectly legal and even borderline normal.

        They also used to occasionally tan human skin as leather to bind books – almost exclusively anatomy texts and momentos (momenti?) mori, AFAIK. I worked in Brown’s special collections library one summer, and actually got to handle all three of the ones they have (bonus “awesome work story” points: they kept one of them in an honest-to-God, big-spinny-lock-like-a-bank-in-the-movies underground vault… and this is the same place with the world’s largest Lovecraft collection!) But they used the skins of criminals and such for that, and I don’t think anyone is currently doing it, or that it’s remotely legal, outside of maybe some godawful third world dictatorships. And I recall hearing that the Nazis did the same thing for lampshades (not to Godwin the thread or anything, just giving it as an example, though this may well be /why/ human leather is such a no-go now). If I ever got published as a poet, I think it would be kind of cool to have the “master copy” of my work bound that way, with my blood used for ink for good measure… but I may just be having an attack of ZOMGoth on that one.

        And then there’s the Sedlec Ossuary: link goes to the ossuary photogallery on the official website (English version) of the place.
        Obviously you can’t have that done with your own remains, but as long as we’re talking about art-made-of-dead-bodies, it’s just too freaking awesome not to mention. Seriously, go look at these pictures, they’re AMAZING.

        1. Oh, right, almost forgot – there’s a company out there that will put your ashes into a fireworks display! It’s in California and there’s an issue with the shipping, from what I know, but it’s out there.

      4. I am strongly leaning toward cremation so that any of my friends that want to can be tattooed with my ashes. Jewelry would be great too. I’d love to have my tattoos skinned and mounted as well. Inspired by the Ferengi on Star Trek by the way…

    2. Its an old law. Its the same why theres fences around all cemeteries or why people put candles on graves during halloween here. 
      It came from superstition and now its tradition. Like that.

  4. Why wouldn’t you have labelled it “Wedding photos” or “Income Tax” or something? If you have something to hide, you should at least try to, you know, hide it.

    1. Partly, it used to be a very common belief that desecrating a corpse or failing to give it a proper burial could create a(n angry ghost). Some people still believe it. Assuming you believe in ghosts in the first place, it only seems reasonable to expect messing with their former body to upset them.

      Partly, it’s really “disturbing the peace of the dead[‘s living relatives and friends]”. I mean, most people wouldn’t want some perverted stranger using their /normal/ possessions that way, right? So why would a body that used to /be/ a person you cared about not be at least as bad?

      And in any case, people digging up the dead is a) theft – from the cemetery or the next of kin I’m not sure, but it’s definitely theft to take a gravestone or a corpse’s gold teeth, so why would it be ok to take other body parts or whole bodies? and b) *incredibly* unsanitary – there are laws against just shipping them around because of the public health issue, even if it’s actually at the request of the dead person’s instructions and family. The health issue is only that much worse if you go having sex with them. So having a law against it is still sensible even from an atheist-materialist perspective.

      1. Old bones aren’t that unsanitary. Sure a corpse with even the slightest bit of flesh left on will be unsanitary. Bones not so much, by the time there are just bones left bacteria has done the job it needs to do and there’s nothing left to continue feeding the bacteria. Of course you’d still want to wash the bones to get rid of dirt etc.

  5. That’s not really necrophilia, which is sex with a CORPSE, not a bunch of clean bones.The corpse has to be fairly fresh and still with most of its flesh. A REAL necro wouldn’t be caught dead with a pile of bones, all his corpse loving friends would laugh at him and think he was weird.

  6. Interesting fact: The ancient Egyptians (according to Herodotus) would let an attractive woman’s corpse rot for 3 or 4 days to discourage the embalmers from having sex with her.

  7. The thing I find most distressing about this story is that some guy that’s been dead for 50 years has a better looking girl friend than I do.

  8. Those Tibetan skull beads the head shops used to sell were made from human bones.  Presumably this does not disturb the monks, since they intended their bones to be useful after their deaths, and the beads bring income to the monasteries.

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