What is a skull? Well, according to Merriam-Webster, the formal definition is “the skeleton of the head of a vertebrate forming a bony or cartilaginous case that encloses and protects the brain and chief sense organs and supports the jaws,” or quite simply, “the structure of bones that form the head and face of a person or animal.” Yet, the skull is so much more than that. It is used for symbolism in all kinds of cultures, and is sometimes portrayed as a good sign or (to some people) a bad omen. A Buddhist may see a skull as a sign of a deity that is corrupt, but to someone who creates an enticing piece of artwork from it may find it beautiful. A skull, along with crossbones, are used to depict a poisonous substance that is inside a container that it may be in. The fashion designer, Alexander McQueen, thought that skulls were lovely enough to create handbags and scarves that included the prints. It simply all depends on who is looking at it. In using some types of Tarot cards, the Death card is represented with a skull, and it normally signifies a new beginning, which is not malicious at all. People confuse this card, thinking that it means they are going to die; which is not true at all.
People have used skulls as symbols for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Today we see skulls and think of death, but crystal skulls are perceived to mean life. The crystal skulls were used in ancient civilizations and were thought to have magical powers. In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Yorick is a character that has been buried and then his skull is unearthed. Hamlet then speaks to him, believing that he is his long-lost friend, Horatio. Paintings have been created of Hamlet and his long-lost pal’s head, showing the character sometimes holding, and sometimes standing next to, the skull.
There are many people who love skulls, and there are so many different uses for them. Mexico celebrates the Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, to honor the dead, in which skulls are found throughout the celebration. There is a society that is called Skull and Bones, and there is even a cup that was made from a skull of an enemy. In certain areas, there are racks that display skulls and there is even one that has skulls lining a cave that visitors can witness when visiting the area. Some people like skulls, some don’t. We simply need to acknowledge that as long as people exist, human skulls will always be around.
15. Used for Medical Research
If you are going to school to become a doctor, chances are likely that you need to know the human skeletal system. This includes the skull, the backbone, and pretty much everything to do with the hominal body. Normally a University that teaches about health has skulls for the students to learn about what the different parts are; or at least they should. It’s very easy to purchase a human skull for use (strangely enough); you can buy one online at any of the major sellers. Amazon and eBay have skulls for sale from anywhere between $100 and $3000. It’s hard to determine the differences between the skulls, and what affects the pricing. A few are replicas, but even some of the credible craniums are pretty cheap (when referring to human body parts, anyway). There is a skull that is said to be authentic, but it is only going for $55. Perhaps that one is specifically intended for the community colleges.
14. Make It the Main Character in a Movie
This is yet another example of how people have different tastes. The movie, Ghostrider, is a movie with Nicolas Cage in which he sells his soul to the Devil, and then falls in love with Eva Mendes (or at least her character in the movie). Being a fan of Marvel Comics and Stan Lee (the creator of the movie), I personally loved the movie. Granted, it does have its gory and cheesy moments, but those are the types of movies I typically go towards when picking out a film.
The main character that Nicolas plays in the movie is Johnny Blaze, and he can change his appearance to a skull that is covered in flames. Some people have called this “disgusting,” while others call it simply astonishing. It all just depends on the types of characters that engage the viewer. It is whatever you want it to be.
13. Dress It Up To Make It Look Like a Person
There is always that person with the sick sense of humor who thinks that dressing a skeleton to make it look like it’s still alive is pretty funny. Okay, so it (more often than not) is comical when someone does that. Perhaps that person doesn’t really have a sick sense of humor, maybe they have a pretty good one and just don’t realize that it might be illegal to use the remains of a dead person for their personal enjoyment. Well, for practical jokes, anyway.
In the picture above, someone decided to dress up this skeleton to look like a doctor. It is possible that the jokester was an actual physician and wanted to scare their patients. Luckily the skeleton did not have hair, and it wasn’t really life-like, so chances are that the person who was intended to be scared did not get too startled.
12. Protest Against the Government
In the 2015 elections, Maryse Narcisse was running for president of Haiti. It was time for an election during October, and it appeared that there was mass corruption, and violence had ensued during a previous period. The people of Haiti just wanted fair elections, and it seemed as if the government did not want this to happen. Maryse would have been the first woman to be elected in Haiti as president in history, and a lot of the government officials were fighting so this wouldn’t happen. Residents went to the streets to protest against the government, using skulls as symbols for the corrupt current regime, and they were tired of what had been going on in the past.
As of June, 2016, and receiving 61 percent of the votes calculated, Maryse Narcisse is now the new president of Haiti. Apparently it pays to protest using human skulls.
11. Lock it Up Because it Has a Bullet in It (And It Belonged to Hitler)
Adolf Hitler was arguably the worst ruler in history. He led Nazi Germany for eleven years (from 1934 to 1945), was responsible for executing millions of people, and was the sole reason for World War II. He took his own life after he was taken down, and there are very few people on Earth who would think that this man was anything but horrible. So why in the world would someone want something that belonged to him? The only answer I can think of is that there are historians who want to have items simply because they have significant meaning in history, and they can tell everyone that they have it.
The fragment of a skull that (allegedly) belonged to Hitler is now locked up in a museum in Moscow. The cranium fragment has been sealed up for many years, along with the bullet hole in it, which was the slug that killed him. In 2000, the museum opened up an exhibition that displayed the part, and they called it: “The Agony of the Third Reich: The Retribution” which “marks the 55th anniversary of the end of the war.” Some people have doubts to the authenticity of the skull, but documents and Hitler’s own items are included along with it, which makes it appear authentic.
10. Create an Anti-Smoking Ad
Smoking is bad. We all know that, yet there are people who still smoke every single day. It is a terrible addiction that people are dependent on, and for some reason television advertisers believe that showing negative impacts on our health will get people to quit. It isn’t quite that simple; addictions are not something that can be eliminated just by seeing something on TV and putting it down. It takes time, and on occasion we may have an epiphany once we see a charred lung, a corpse with a cigarette pack attached to his toe, or a skeleton with a cigarette hanging out of its mouth, but it isn’t going to make a difference one way or another. It is up to the individual as to whether or when they want to eliminate harsh chemicals from their diet completely.
9. Grateful Dead’s Logo
The Grateful Dead was formed in 1965 during the “hippie movement” and was around for decades up until 2015, which was their last concert series. The Dead (as they are commonly referred) had many followers, and fans, called Deadheads, would travel from city to city to see them perform. One of their lead singers, Jerry Garcia, passed away in 1995, and many thought that that was the end of the band. This did not cause the death of The Dead, as they still performed with help from Bob Weir and other people who would step in on occasion to fill in on lead vocals. It seemed like the end of an era, but the entire premise of the band still lives on. They were about peace and love, and during their time had sold over 35 million albums throughout the world.
The logo of The Grateful Dead changes from album to album, from a skull with a lightning strike inside of it, to the skull with roses surrounding it. The colors involved are red, white and blue, and the main logo was created from one of their albums, Steal Your Face, from 1976. They nicknamed the logo, Stealie. They have other logos, as well, mostly involving the dancing bears, which are adorable teddy bears dancing around playing, with collars with a peace sign in the middle. The skull is their main logo, as it makes sense with the name (The Dead).
8. Make It a Paperweight or a Bookmark
During my years, I have read many, many books, and a lot of times I find myself looking for a bookmark. Sometimes I use a piece of paper, an actual bookmark (which is rare, since I often don’t have one within reach when at a stopping point), a piece of string, the paper covering the book or even a sock if I can’t find anything else. On occasion, I will fold down the end of the page I am on, but normally that doesn’t work out since it ruins the book, in my opinion. But never, ever, have I thought of using an actual human skull to keep my place, even if I am reading a Stephen King novel. Perhaps this isn’t really a bookmark, maybe it’s just a nice piece of artwork or a lamp that someone created out of a skull and a book. Either way, it’s pretty creepy (but interesting, for sure).
7. Turn it Into a Freaky-Cool-Melty Piece of Art
“Art is in the eye of the beholder.” At least I think that’s how the saying goes. I also assume that it means the way we see art is different than how our best friend looks at it, or how our neighbor does. We may take notice of something that is beautiful to us, but the person standing next to us believes is pure garbage. In this piece of art, it is a skull that appears as though it is broken into a large piece that is melting into a vast gob of liquid that is floating at the bottom. There are some artists who can create masterpieces that appear that the picture is melting right off of the canvas, and to some it is simply astonishing. Then there are those who don’t think that kind of art is really art at all. It really is all in the eye of the beholder.
6. Crime Scene Investigation Assistance
If you have ever seen any of the television shows where they are trying to find out who the murderer is, there is almost always a small white room where the technicians are struggling trying to figure it out. Usually they seem to sum up the entire plot, including the perpetrator, within a very short amount of time. They take a small sample, send it away to “the lab” (which is just around the corner, normally), and within minutes the answers are revealed.
In real life, it is highly unusual to get results from a test back so quickly, let alone sum up the motives and discover who the murderer is in less than a few hours. Because it is so time consuming, labs normally have a lot of items to assist in their investigations. This almost always includes a human (or sometimes an animal) skull that scientists can dissect.
5. Make It a Candle Holder
So if you happen to have a skull laying around and have some excess candles handy, you might as well put them to good use by creating a light source. It’s simple, easy and completely cheap. And you don’t even need to check Pinterest on how to do it! Just drill a really large hole in the top of the skull, stick the candle in it, and voila! You now have your very own skull lamp. This works great as a Halloween decoration, too. You can freak out the neighbor’s kids by inviting them in and showing them your creation. Then again, that would probably be a bad idea. Don’t do that. Just sit back and enjoy your dead human head with a light sticking out of it, yourself.
4. Mascot for Iron Maiden (Eddie)
Iron Maiden is a heavy metal band that has been around for over forty years. They have 16 studio albums, but they also have so many other LPs, that it would be almost impossible to count them all. Dave Beasly was the band’s stage manager when Iron Maiden first got together, and basically created their mascot. They had made an ongoing joke out of a head (that would spit out blood) that Dave had constructed, and had put it over the drummer when they played in front of an audience.
They wanted to be unique, and that is exactly what they got. According to sources, the story goes, “‘A woman had given birth to just a head, the doctor told her she needn’t worry since he would come up with a suitable body for good ‘ole Eddie within a year or five. So five years later Eddie’s father entered the room on Eddie’s birthday and said: “well today’s your birthday, and boy do we have a surprise for you!” after which Eddie replied: “Oh no!, not another bloody hat!”‘
That was when Eddie was born. He did not have an actual body until a man named Derek Riggs created one for the mascot in 1980. There has been much controversy in the years since he was spawned, but he has been with the band ever since; including being on every album and is on stage at every concert.
3. Props in a Horror Movie
Did you ever see the movie, Poltergeist? I had seen this movie as a child, and to this day, I still get freaked out whenever I see an empty swimming pool or hear the words: “Just drive away.” It was something that stayed in my mind for decades, and the reason for that is the amount of skulls that were used as props in one of the scariest movies ever written.
According to sources, real skeletons (and skulls) were used in the feature because they were much more affordable than buying or creating fake ones. They were seen throughout the entire movie; including floating in the muddy swimming pool and floating down the stairs. It is said that there was a curse behind the flick, even though that has never actually been proven (how exactly would you prove that a curse is real, anyway?). Perhaps the authentic skulls and skeletons that were used had a lot to do with the damning that was allegedly put upon the film.
2. Halloween Decorations
Oh, my favorite holiday; Halloween. It is the day where people dress up, go trick-or-treating, visit haunted houses, perform pranks and decorate their homes to scare others out of their skulls (pun intended). Those skulls are then used for decoration (not the actual ones from those scared), creating potions, and magic is the top priority of the day. The entire month of October is usually dedicated to the dead, and it is the perfect time for skulls and skeletons.
Haunted houses are another reason for using skulls to decorate. Kids, along with some adults, will come from miles around to visit a haunted attraction just to be petrified. It may sound strange to some, but being scared (to many) is an excellent past time. Telling ghost stories and bobbing for apples at a party is another reason for celebrating the spooky month. It is definitely one of the most under-rated holidays of the year.
1. Create Beautiful Jewelry Out of It
Having a jewelry design business, I know first-hand what it’s like to create jewelry out of skulls. Indubitably, you cannot make a necklace out of an actual skull, but you can buy or even make skulls from several different mediums. It may sound a bit strange, but skulls are one of my most popular selling items in my web-store. One, in particular, is a skull necklace and earrings set that are made from rose quartz and clear crystals. They have a design and creation that have special meaning behind them. The rose quartz is considered “the stone of love,” and one of the theories behind the meaning is that whoever wears it will be lucky in the favors of love. The quartz crystals used supposedly have special healing properties, and are meant to enhance energy to those who wear it. People normally buy and wear these pieces not just for its healing properties, but because they look really pretty, even though they are skulls.