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Sunday, July 18, 2010

NEIL ARNOLD: The Case Of The Sinister Skull

Although the practice of ‘witchcraft’ has often been inaccurately portrayed in the media, some cases of alleged ‘black magic’ have hinted at dark dabbling. In many cases where diabolical summoning has reputedly taken place, animal skulls have been discovered, as if such forms have been used for sacrifice or eerie decoration.

During the 1970s in my home town of Chatham (long before chavs were born!) in Kent, a stir was caused by a peculiarly morbid discovery in an old chimney at a house in Luton Road. The story made the local Evening Post who reported ‘Sinister skull is a mystery’ stating, ‘The sinister looking blackened skull, with two brass cups, came to light as Mr Cornacchia was fitting a new fire place at his home…it must have been in the chimney for at least twenty years.’

The biggest mystery however was not the fact that such an oddment had been found, but as to what animal it had belonged to. The skull (see image) was of some size. The newspaper stated, ‘There is difference of opinion about the mystery skull. Mr Cornacchia’s thirteen-year old son, Enzo, took it to school where a teacher identified it as belonging to a wild boar. But another expert at his sister’s school thought it was a tiger. And at Rochester Museum they say firmly: “It is a bear, you can tell by the teeth”.

So, dear readers, as this case is over thirty years old, and the photo rather hazy, I hope you can solve the mystery as to what exactly had a skull this size. The teeth do not appear to suggest a wild boar.

The newspaper concluded, ‘Animal skulls are popular accessories among witchcraft devotees. Rams are most widely used, but there would appear to be nothing in the rules against bear skulls. Mr Cornacchia has no immediate plans for the skull. At the moment he is keeping it in the garden.

“It is not very pretty” he said.’


stormwalkernz said...

from just looking at the skull and doing a comparative analysis using Google I would say it closely matches that of a tiger due to the shape of the nasal cavity.
The question is however, why was the stuffed down a chimney.
From the condition and colouration of the skull it would appear to have been well up in the chimney to avoid any charring.
A most interesting find.

photog said...

I'd say Bear , see example:

metasailor said...

I just have a guess what it was doing up the chimney: maybe someone put it up there in a lame attempt to try to burn the flesh off it and make a skull? Something young boys might do.

Then it got stuck up there, so they just left it rather than get in more trouble.

Neil A said...

If such a skull was used for ritualistic purposes, then maybe it had been hidden, i.e. stuffed uo the chimney, or dropped down it.

The article mentioned that the skull was blackened so maybe it did not avoid the effects of charring.

hf said...

It looks quite a bit like a lion skull -- I have one, and it looks pretty similar. Possibly a tiger. Doesn't look like a bear skull to me at all, wrong proportions, teeth too big...

Robin Shadowes said...

I put my five cents on a Cave Troll. Just kidding.