The Shrunken Head Phenomenon

What is the fascination with shrunken heads? They’ve been around since pre-Columbian times, yet the concept still manages to rear its head (pun intended)  from time to time, even in the good old United States.

Yesterday I pulled into the parking lot of my local city building. After killing the engine and taking out the keys,  I glanced to my right into the car parked next to me.  This is what I saw:

Yeah … I may have peed my pants a wee little bit. There, hanging on the rearview mirror, was a strange looking  head. Not so much the Peruvian Amazon variety, but clearly something meant to look like a decapitated human.

For those interested in the history of the shrunken head, in the dark recesses of the Amazon this is how shrunken heads were made:  

The process of creating a shrunken head begins with removing the skull from the head. An incision is made on the back of the neck and all the skin and flesh is removed from the cranium. Red seeds are placed underneath the eyelids and the eyelids are sewn shut. The mouth is held together with three palm pins.

Horrifically, the same practice (minus the red seeds) was employed in some of the Nazis concentration camps on prisoners during World War 2. This practice was listed among the many crimes committed against prisoners.

To a paranormal mystery writer, the experience of seeing the head swinging from the rear view mirro was …  memorable. Chances are, you’ll most like see a shrunken head in one of my upcoming novels. Just saying.

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