Sunday, June 27, 2010

My Theory About How The Skull Got There

Okay, here's the last installment of the skull in the attic story. The previous owner of our house was a dentist--one of the old school dentists who never used Novocaine. I've heard horror stories of his dentistry from the long-time Tooele residents. Anyway, Doc, as he was called, was on the town's Search and Rescue team. He had an old Jeep that he would get in and go exploring all over Tooele county by himself, whenever he had some free time away from torturing people (that is, working on their teeth).

My theory is as follows:

Doc was out one day, driving in a remote area of Tooele County. From a distance, he sees something that catches his interest. It appears to be a shallow cave in an outcropping of rocks. He drives as close as he can to the site, then gets out and proceeds on foot. Upon reaching the cave, he peers in. He is a big man, and can't squeeze himself into the narrow opening. The cave is dark, but not very deep and he sees something back inside. Looking around, Doc breaks a limb off of a dead tree. He sticks the branch into the opening and tries to sweep out what he can only dimly see. Much to his surprise, what rolls to the front of the cave is a human skull!

Doc looks over the skull carefully. The jawbone is missing, but it is surprisingly well preserved. It has skin tissue and hair still attached, and a tooth! Ah, thinks Doc, if only I'd gotten to this poor fellow sooner, maybe I could have saved the rest of his teeth. He chuckles to himself. What a fine old relic, he thinks. I think I'll take this home and show my wife. We can add it to our collection of oddities.

Doc wraps the skull in an old burlap sack he keeps in the back of his Jeep for just such an occasion, and sets it gently down next to the wheel well cover. He has gone quite far from home, he realizes, and by the time he gets there it will be dark and the children will be asleep. Maybe that's for the best, thinks Doc, I wouldn't want to scare them.

By the time Doc arrives at his home, it is dark. He lets himself in through the back door. His wife is sitting in the living room reading.

"Look what I found out in the desert!" he says, holding up the burlap sack with the skull inside.

"You found an old burlap bag?" his wife asks.

"No. Look." He gently pulls the skull out of the bag and presents it to his wife, dropping the bag to the floor.

"Ugh! That's horrible," says his wife, "Where in the world did you get it?"

"I found it in an old cave," says Doc, "I think it's an Indian skull."

Doc's wife backs away from the skull, her eyes wide and lips drawn tight against her teeth. She knows there's only one way to handle this situation.

"Doc, you've got to get rid of it. I don't want the children to see that horrible thing, and I'm not even sure if it's legal to have it in the house."

Doc is very disappointed in his wife's reaction, but he can see the wisdom in what she says.

"All right, Dear," he says, "I will put this skull somewhere where the children will never find it. In fact, nobody ever need know that we even have it. You and I are the only ones who know about it."

Doc takes the skull and carefully climbs the narrow, steep stairs to the attic. He surveys the attic, thinking about where the best place would be to hide it. When the weather is mild, the children come up here to play, he thinks. It will have to be somewhere that they won't accidentally discover it. His gaze stops on the new cupboards he and his son built last spring. Yes, that might work, he thinks. Doc walks over to the furthest cupboard from the stairwell, up near the front of the house, just on the other side of the chimney. He opens the cupboard door and puts the skull inside. That's not going to be good enough, thinks Doc, All they'd have to do is open the cupboard and they'd see it. He remembers the triangular space under the slope of the attic roof, which he has closed off with the back of the cupboard. If he could pry one of the boards loose and cut it in just the right place, that would be the perfect place to hide the skull.

The next day, Doc leaves the office early, arriving home before the children come home from school. He goes to the garage and gets his hand drill and a bow saw. Then he grabs some nails and a hammer. Thirty minutes later, Doc climbs down the attic stairs, sweating from the exertion and the heat in the attic.

"Okay, Dear," he says, "That old skull is in a place nobody is going to find it. It wouldn't surprise me if it's still there when the millennium comes."


  1. What a great theory. Wouldn't it be cool to find out if you're right? Maybe you could write it into your next book.

  2. A very plausible theory, and well-written too!

  3. I agree with the other ladies. I think what you wrote is plausible and I enjoyed the way you showed it. This incident could be the jumping off point for many very differnt novels as well as a factual article for a magazine.

  4. Thank you! Yes, I've actually wanted to use the experience in some kind of story. I need to do a lot of research into 17th century Native Americans in Utah.

  5. What a "fun?" experience--one that you will tell for years to come. Good theory and well written. Keep us updated.

  6. No more farfetched than any other farfetched theory. My theory is sort of in the vein of how many chimpanzees typing on typewriters for how many years will randomly produce a line of Shakespeare, except it is based on an even more profound theory, quantum mechanics, which states that random fluctuations of space-time-energy taking any form whatsoever cannot be ruled out. So the skull in that case popped into the sad cavity out of what could haved seemed to observers as sheer nothingness.
    This is not animism btw.