Favorite Skulls

Image by Hatchibombotar

Image by Hatchibombotar

It wasn’t easy to pick only 30 favorite skulls from all the submissions we received in response to our question, “WHOSE SKULL WOULD YOU DIG?” There were so many terrific responses! But with a bit of patience, we were able to narrow them down to the favorites you see below.

My choice is “Amelia Earhart”… Why? Since I was in grade school I have been fastinated with her life and curious as to where her life actually ended. Amelia, was way a head of her time regarding women and the opportunities that awaited them outside of the “house”, I’ve always admired her for her gusto! If I were to “find” or obtain her skull then the mystery as to what happened to her during her last and greatest flight would be solved and I always love solving a good mystery!!! — Darby Lohrding

Most definitely it would be Benjamin Franklin! Because of this quote and the hundreds just like it attributed to him:
“If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing.” ~ B. Franklin — Donna Crafton

Although phrenology is no longer in vogue, I would love to palpate Albert Einstein’s skull. Wouldn’t it be nice to know if the skull of a genius really IS that different from your average Joe? I’d love to compare and contrast. — Amy Malaise

Well, assuming that the myth that drinking from it makes you see the future, Nostradamus’s skull would be my choice. — JohnSkylar

It sounds sacrilegious to think of stealing a saint’s skull, or anyone else’s for that matter. I couldn’t do it, but I would like to gaze respectfully on the skull of St. Anthony. I would venerate it as a holy relic. St. Anthony is one of my favorite saints, and I believe he does intercede with God for those who pray to him. My father was Italian and had a special devotion to him. Perhaps one can visit St. Anthony’s grave somewhere (in Italy, I’d guess). St. Anthony, pray for us. — Joanne Newton

In truth, I probably wouldn’t steal anyone’s skull. But the skull I most want to *see* is the one that once belonged to the Marquis De Sade, just to check whether it displayed the characteristics that made his phrenology-obsessed doctor deem it “in all respects similar to that of a Father of the Church”. Apparently there’s a story that Sade’s head ended up as a phrenology teaching tool showing “characteristics of benevolence and religious faith”? — Bess Lovejoy

Phineas Gage. No genius, Phineas Gage is just an ordinary man whose story has lived on as an anecdote in Psych 101 classes for over a century now. Gage was a railroad worker in the 1840s who, by a freak turn of events, ended up having a 6 foot iron pike shot through his cheek and come clean out of the top of his skull…and survived. The most interesting thing about this case (besides the wonder that the man lived) is that his personality was said to have changed drastically after the event. There are many apocryphal tales of drastic personality change, but regardless of the veracity of those claims, the case was integral to the study of how the different parts of the brain function and what happens when they are damaged. Who wouldn’t want that skull, giant hole and all, on their bookshelf? — Megan Curran

I would risk arrest for the skull of Phineas Gage, the 19th century laborer who famously survived a railroad spike getting shot through his brain — and never even lost consciousness. Apparently he was a bit of a jerk after that, though. Ideally, I’d display the skull with spike. — Justin Clark

Although I am opposed to stealing skulls or anything else, had I the opportunity and the will to do so, I would go for St. Jerome’s. He’s often portrayed with a skull on his desk, a lion at his feet (he supposedly took a painful thorn from the lion’s paw, perhaps a sanctified version of Androcles), and a quill in his hand (he was a scholar and is patron saint of librarians). I was once a scholar of sorts and a librarian and continue to be very fond of animals. Jerome was quite grumpy, but I do think he’d like a place on my desk. — Kathy Petersen

OK what skull……….hmmmmmmmm, I believe I’d want the skull of Oscar Wilde. — Joanne B

I would pick Jimmy Hoffa’s skull. That way, I’d know where he’s been all these years… — Terri Schlichenmeyer

Is this where I tell you about the scull I would choose? Well if not, here it is anyway. First in thinking of whose head I would dig up, I thought immediately of an old Hollywood gossip columnist named Hedda Hopper… but thought nobody would understand that and it wasn’t serious enough. Then I thought of the Headless Horseman created by Washington Irving so he would be fictional… same as that Nearly Headless Nick ghost from Harry Potter so… I guess I would say I would want to be asking first if once I dug up the skull, would it answer questions because if so, then let’s go with Margaret Mitchell so she can tell me what the REAL sequel to Gone With The Wind would have been. — Karen Haney

This is an easy one: I’d dig poor Yorick’s skull! Although I didn’t know him well, his is arguably the most famous skull around. — Dogberryjr

Catullus. I’d read his (its) poetry to him (it).
Quare id faciam, fortasse requiris? Nescio …
Why do I do it, perhaps you ask? I don’t know … — GraemeW

Hmm… I think I’d have to go after Walt Disney’s skull… just to prove once and for all that his head isn’t cryogenically frozen somewhere…. In truth I think he was cremated, so I might need a bit of time and a lot of glue…
Would it be tacky to put a mouseketeer hat on it? — Emidawg

Henry David Thoreau. I’d love to sit in my yard in a shack made of my books piled up and stare into the eye-socket holes and tell him thanks. Thank you for helping me understand to seek quiet. Thanks for helping me not be such a lonely weird kid. — benjclark

Clearly, I’d need to get the skull of Cadavra. I mean, a motile skeleton capable of telepathy? I’m sure it’s all in the head. — aethercowboy

I think I would want to steal Lon Chaney’s skull. It’s the solid structure upon which “the man of a thousand faces” draped his many masks — from the Phantom of the Opera to the Hunchback of Notre Dame. The architecture of bone is inherently fascinating… but I would love to just look upon his skull, and play the many movies in mind over its features, admiring his art and its effect on my memories. — arnzen

Athanasius Kircher! Who better to be the centre-piece for any cabinet of curiosities? And I rather think he’d understand the impulse: though as a Jesuit, perhaps not… okay, failing Kircher, Charles Babbage. He wouldn’t understand at *all*, but I bet his objections-at-length would be amusing. — melannen

Definitely Goethe’s. Not only because I’m very interested in his life (a skull is somehow part of that), his works and ideas (born in that skull), but particularly because he was fascinated himself with skulls (he wrote about the Os intermaxillare). He chose to take into his hands the skull of his late friend(!!) Friedrich Schiller and wrote a poem about the experience, perhaps somewhat inspired by Hamlet’s musings. He might be/have been one of the rare people not too upset with the idea that someone would do the same thing with his own skull… — JanWillemNoldus

I think I would like to have the skull of H.P. Lovecraft sitting over my computer desk. It would be amazing to gaze into those dark sockets and contemplate the vast and empty wastes that author dreamt of. — Steve Chaput

Dostoevsky. Not only is he the finest fiction writer, at least his last five books, but he was also a chronicler of 1870-1880s Russia in his writer’s diary. Sort of a homespun newspaper. Plus, I could light up his skull for the kids when I read them Crime & Punishment. — Paul

Is it completely sacrilegious/horrible to say Jesus? Because, I mean, come on. That would be one powerful skull.
If not Jesus, probably Cleopatra. I am intrigued by her. And what with facial reconstruction tech, it would be interesting to see if she was worth the hype. — Misty

Hmmm… I’d like Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria’s skull and Marie Vetsera’s. I’ve heard very interesting things about them, but not from the most reliable sources (wikipedia and youtube commenters). I’m curious to see if those things are true or not. — Rachel (aka. Kaiserin Sisi)

Jules Verne. He’s my ultimate fave author because he could vision the future through such marvelous, exhilarating and mind-boggling works of art (I’m talking about Les Voyages Extraordinaires).

For example: From the Earth to the Moon.
He made a number of correct predictions:
1. the country who became the first one successfully sent a manned mission to the moon.
2. the two states contesting to be the launch site. The winner? Verne’s prediction is correct as well.
3. the shape of the capsule and the number of people on board.

If I could choose from all the authors in the world (deceased or not), which one that I want to be like, my answer is the almighty Jules Verne. Not only because of his visions, but also due to his ability to create unforgettable adventure stories that will never cease to fascinate readers in many centuries to come. — Choccy

Omar Khayyam who spoke with such passion of the body’s dissolution would make a fine item of ossuary interest. — davidbmetcalfe

Since Hippocrates had the insight to nail epilepsy as a mental disorder ~440 BC, he lights up my crainal nerves the best. — wpbost

If I could steal any skull, it would be J S Bach’s, so I could experience his fugues the way he did when they 1st resounded there! — mindywithrow

I would steal the skull of Tenzing Norgay and he would lead me to victory! — nickseagers

I think I would choose the skull of Hatshepsut. She was the wife of the Egyptian king Thutmose II. When he died, she become the regent for the young child Thutmose III. She assumed all of the trappings of kinghood and refused to give them up until she died. She was king for over 20 years. She managed to keep one of the greatest of Egyptian kings under her thumb for many years. I would have to fight off hordes of archaeologists though. — bookzen

As explained in the Rules and Regulations, winners have two weeks to respond (cranioklepty@gmail.com) with their contact and mailing information in order to receive their copy of Colin Dickey’s book, CRANIOKLEPTY: GRAVE ROBBING AND THE SEARCH FOR GENIUS. Congratulations to the winners, and thanks to all those who responded and helped spread the word!