How to shrink a Head
Mary Roach hat im Outside Magazine einen tollen, langen Artikel über Schrumpfköpfe: SAY HELLO TO MY LITTLE FRIEND: „A guy calls, says he found some mysterious papers left behind by a dead relative who apparently shrunk human heads and bodies. Do we wanna come see? Uh, no. But we knew Mary Roach would.“
Fast noch besser finde ich aber die kurze Anleitung, wie man selber einen macht. Dazu hat sie mit einer Präparatorin den Kopf eines Luchses geschrumpft: DO ICK YOURSELF – The ABCs of Shrinking a Noggin.
As it turns out, the most challenging part of head shrinking isn’t the shrinking; it’s the skinning. A shrunken head is basically skin removed from the skull and then contracted and hardened by boiling it and filling it with hot sand.
It takes Monica ten minutes to get from frozen bobcat (“He’s so pretty! Bye!”) to partially thawed bobcat with skinless head. It would have gone faster had I not helped. I did the top of the head, which is a straightforward skinning task, but some details take skill. Detaching outer ear from inner, cheek from gums, is confusing. There’s no dotted line. I quickly hand the scalpel over to Monica.
Our future shrunken head is now a floppy pelt draped over Monica’s gloved fist, a furry hand puppet that should never be given to a child. Next comes the part one ethnographer has called “the boiling of the flesh-head.” Monica drops it into a pot of simmering water. Never put your flesh-head on a roiling boil, because the hair may fall out.