Todays post is is a repeat from May 23, 2013. I swear, I’m not lazy. Ok, I forgot last weeks post, but I actually wrote one for today. And then I went back and re-read it for editorial purposes. And that’s why you’re getting a repeat. The original post had to do with the Confederate States of America and what their constitution had to say about slavery. I have decided that, with the current events going on around the nation, it probably wasn’t in the best taste to make that particular post at this time. If you’re really interested you can look it up for yourself, or I can repost it later. But for today, you get a classic.
Shrunken heads. We’ve all heard of them. We’ve all seen the low budget, Saturday afternoon movies with head hunters and shrunken heads. You may have even seen what was purported to be a shrunken head in a museum.
For a long time, experts scoffed at the concept of a shrunken head. Most specimens were shown to be the shaved heads of monkeys. Until........
One day, the Jivaro Indians were encountered. This group of indians live in areas of Peru and Ecuador. They are also a group you want to stay friendly with.
You see, once a year, a group of Jivaro will go out to an isolated location and raid a hut. They will kill everyone except the young women, who they claim as brides. From the men, they harvest the heads to make tsantsa.
And, since this article isn’t odd enough yet, here are the instructions for making your own shrunken head.
First, you need to obtain a head. Your donor can be dead or alive durring harvest, it doesn’t really matter. You want to make your cut just below the neck, and make sure you take a section of skin from the chest and back with the head. At this point, it’s wise to relocate before continuing the process.
Once you have reached a safe location, you want to make a slit up the back of the neck and head so you can peel the skin off the skull. The skull is usually discarded as an offering to the Anaconda.
Next, carefully sew the eyes shut. The mouth is closed with small, sharpened sticks, which will be replaced with string once the process is complete. The head is then placed in a pot of boiling water for one and a half to two hours. (any longer than that and the hair will fall out)
When you remove the head from the pot, you will see that it has shrunk by about 1/3. The skin will be darker and rubbery. At this point, you want to turn the head inside out and scrape the remaining flesh from the skin. then, turn it right side round and sew up the slit you made in the neck and head. At this point, you have a sort-of hand puppet.
This next process is going to take a few days. You will now heat small rocks in a fire. Carefully, put the rocks, one at a time, inside the head. Continually rotate the head to keep the rock moving. This is important, as you don’t want to scorch the inner skin.
When you reach the point that your rocks will no longer fit in the head, start using heated sand. This will get into all the nooks and crannies the rocks wouldn’t. Repeat the sand process frequently. Be patient, it will take about a week to properly prepare your head.
Once you have it shrunk down to size, apply heated stones to the outside of the face to shape it. You’ll want it to look as much like your donor as possible. Now is the time to singe off any extra hair. Make him look pretty. Apply a heated rock to the lips to dry them out, then using a fire, carefully blacken the face. At this point, remove the sticks from the lips and insert the strings.
Finally, cut a hole in the top of the head and thread your choice of materiel through it so you can wear your new tsantsa around your neck.
You’ll be the envy of all your friends.