Human skull, on sale for $4,000, draws attention to Florida store
The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Human skull, on sale for $4,000, draws attention to Florida store
An undated photo provided by the Lee County Sheriff's Office shows the human skull that had been on display at a Florida store for Halloween with a $4,000 price tag. The display in the North Fort Myers rock and crystal shop brought scrutiny after an anthropologist told the authorities that the remains appeared to be of a Native American. (Lee County Sheriff's Office via The New York Times)

by Lola Fadulu

NEW YORK, NY.- As a nod to Halloween, Beth Meyer, who owns a rock and crystal store in North Fort Myers, Florida, placed a human skull inside a glass display case there and surrounded it with quartz towers and other crystals.

But Meyer, 62, who meant to use the skull only as a “conversation piece” and did not really want to part with it, put a “really high price on it”: $4,000.

Still, the skull drew attention to her store, Elemental Arts, in the Paradise Vintage Market.

On Saturday morning, while Meyer was unpacking vintage clothing and high-end glassware at the store, a deputy with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office came in to question her about the skull. It is a misdemeanor in Florida to knowingly buy or sell human remains.

“We’re working hard to see if there was a crime committed,” said Carmine Marceno, the county sheriff. “When a human skull ends up in a store, it’s alarming.” The office will then decide whether to refer the matter to the office of Amira Fox, the Florida state attorney whose jurisdiction includes Lee County.

Samantha Syoen, a spokesperson for Fox, said Tuesday that the office had not received the case.

Meyer said that she knew when she put the skull on display that it was from a human. But it was an anthropologist, Michelle Calhoun, who saw it in the store and reported it to the sheriff’s office, according to an incident report. Calhoun told a deputy that she was certain that the skull belonged to someone who was Native American. Efforts to reach her by phone Monday were unsuccessful.

Marceno said that the skull, which looked to be about 75 years old, lacked signs of trauma or foul play, but the medical examiner’s office was further investigating the matter.

Phone messages and emails Monday to the District 21 Medical Examiner’s Office, which serves Lee County, were not immediately returned.

Meyer, who is also a managing partner of Paradise Vintage Market, said that she acquired the skull last year when she purchased a storage unit that had belonged to an elderly man who was ill. She said she buys more than 100 such units each year as part of her work and often does not collect any names or contact information from the sellers.

“We never know what we’re going to find in the storage unit,” Meyer said. “But this was probably the most interesting thing we’ve ever found.”

Meyer said that a quick Google search did not turn up any federal statutes that banned the sale of human remains, so she decided to put it up for sale. “I did not look at any Florida statutes,” she added.

Maybe she should have.

Dr. Phoebe Stubblefield, the director of the University of Florida’s C.A. Pound Human Identification Laboratory, said that she was not surprised to learn that a human skull had been listed for sale.

Stubblefield, a forensic anthropologist who has examined hundreds of skulls throughout her career, said that earlier this year, she saw an oddities market in Orange County, Florida, selling what it said were real human remains. “Most people aren’t checking the code all the time,” she said.

In fact, according to Tanya Marsh, a professor at Wake Forest School of Law who has reviewed all the relevant state statutes, said that Florida is one of eight states where selling human remains is “expressly illegal."

It is against federal law to purchase or sell the human remains of Native Americans, under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, said Jennifer Knutson, president of the Florida Anthropological Society.

After Meyer met with the sheriff’s deputy Saturday, she said, Calhoun came back to the store. She explained to them why certain characteristics of the skull, including the eyebrow region and the formation of the teeth, led her to believe that the skull had belonged to a young Native American female, Meyer said.

During their meeting, Calhoun said, “Beth, if it’s Native American, then it needs to be in a ceremony for burial,” according to Meyer, who added, “It would be so interesting to be a part of that.”

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

Today's News

November 9, 2023

Lark Mason Associates' Fine and Decorative Arts Auction will entice collectors of all persuasions

Human skull, on sale for $4,000, draws attention to Florida store

Asia Week New York zooms in on China's Southern Paradise: Treasures from the Lower Yangzi Delta

A win-win 'Loophole' giving artists space to create

Toronto Biennial of Art announces preliminary list of artists, partners, and sponsors for 2024 edition

Christie's 21st Century Evening sale totals $107,451,800

More than 20 report burning eyes after NFT festival in Hong Kong

Rare Edward Weston photographs highlight Moran's 20th Century Photography: The Emergence of Modernism sale

George Clooney's iconic Batman suit & rare comics take the spotlight in upcoming auction

Paul Thiebaud Gallery opens an exhibition of works by David Fertig

Galerie Templon, Paris unveils Gregory Crewdson's latest work

Important militaria stars in Bonhams Arms aand Armour sale in Knightsbridge

Strong results for The estate of American icon Barbara Walters

Jean-Baptiste Andrea wins Goncourt Prize with sprawling novel

Desire Marea's genre-melting music stirs South Africa, and the world

Masterpieces and milestones: Christie's Amsterdam celebrates CoBrA'S 75th anniversary

Noonans to offer magnificent Iraq note - sale also includes very rare Swedish note

Barry Manilow finally gets his wish: a Broadway show

Christie's announces highlights from Important Watches sale on December 5 in New York

Thomas Erben Gallery exhibiting works from the '90s by Olaédlé Ajiboyé Bamgboyé

Chinoiserie lead second Bonhams Paris Classics sale

Tales that crackle with vitality, with or without a puppeteer

Heide Museum of Modern Art unveils a major survey of photographer Lee Miller

Unlocking the Future of Presentations: DIY vs. Professional Augmented Reality Video Embedding

GBWhatsApp APK Download (Official) Latest Version November 2023 (Updated)

How To Deal With Period Pain And Cramps

Utilizing Captitles in Theater and Opera Surtitle Productions

Leading Car Accident Attorney in San Diego: Protecting Your Rights

Ductless Mini Split AC Repair & Maintenance in Rohnert Park: When to Call a Professional

How to get Seagrass in Minecraft

Celebrating movement and unity: School Field Day

Meet the dancer - Tal Zadok

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez
Writer: Ofelia Zurbia Betancourt

Truck Accident Attorneys
Accident Attorneys

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. Hommage
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site Parroquia Natividad del Señor
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful