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.’