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  • Writer's pictureCat Ward

SCREAMING SKULLS AND GHOSTLY GENES?

Updated: Sep 14, 2023


My friend Claire Davy, Secretary of ASSAP recently posted a joking meme about

haunted cemeteries and it got me thinking about bones, screaming skulls, and

genetics (which I explored the possibility of ghosts being present in, long ago in a

post,) and I was reminded of the fact that bones can store genetic information, for

many hundreds, if not millions of years in some cases, as some studies show.

The field of forensic science is changing all the time as new methods become available

and scientifically validated for use in what is termed the medico-legal system. The field

of forensic genetics, which applies genetic science to the issues of identification of

human remains and criminal investigation, has advanced very rapidly over the last decade or so, due to the expansion of the number of commonly-considered locations

and positions of human remains, that are used in forensic investigations (this is also called Loci, and you may be familiar with the term Genus Loci, a taxonomic term used to group species under an umbrella, or as a sort of blanket term if you will) for the

improvement and expansion of DNA databases. Due to the advancement of DNA

technology, genetic evidence now plays an essential role in the criminal justice system.

DNA obtained from items found at crime scenes may be valuable in placing a person

at the scene, or in contact with an object associated with a crime. DNA information can

also be important to prove someone's innocence. In addition, using skeletal remains to produce DNA profiles can also be essential in identifying a missing person, and victims of mass disasters, as skeletal remains are

often the only biological materials left after exposure to environmental conditions

such as intense heat, damage to the remains, and in cases where a large amount of

time has passed since the death of the individual. Our DNA often stays in our bones and teeth much longer than in the soft tissues of

the body, as the structure of bones and teeth provides some protection against degradation. The DNA molecules become chemically bound to the hydroxyapatite of teeth and bones, which stabilises the DNA and provides a degree of protection against its degradation. Environmental factors can also play a part in preserving skeletons, in different bones within the same skeleton, and also variations in DNA quality and quantity gathered from the same bone.

I found an interesting article in Burials and Beyond, which says:

"These skulls need not necessarily be attached to a body, but rather exist independently from their corporeal form. Rather than aimless haunting, or haunting in more attractive surroundings, it is said that these skulls are emotionally linked to

the houses in which they wish to continue to live.

Screaming Skulls are most commonly attributed to those who suffered religious persecution during Henry VIII’s 16th Century Reformation, or under Oliver Cromwell’s Roundheads during the English Civil War in the 17th Century. Immediately prior to

their death/undoubtedly violent murder, all owners of future haunted skulls

professed that they wished to be buried within the walls of the house in which they

lay. When these wishes were ignored and the persecuted individual was laid to rest in

a grave, vault or in undesired grounds, the spirit fought back.

Inhabitants of these houses reported strange noises; bangs, crashes and moans and various ‘unexplained happenings’. Once the house’s occupants made the connection between the noises and the deceased, they frequently disinterred the skull, returning

it to the homestead. While the skull rests in the home, undisturbed (on its shelf, stoop (or within its case) all is well, yet once one attempts to remove said skull,

supernatural chaos ensues. Should one try to dispose of such a ‘screaming skull’ by

any means – via physical destruction, throwing into a river, or even by burial – the

skull will always return to its house intact. More often than not, the skull delights in its revenge by not only terrifying the perpetrator, but cursing them with bad luck, a poor harvest or illness." HERE COMES THE SCREAMING...

Greyfriars Kirkyard, Edinburgh, Scotland; Bachelors Grove Cemetery, Midlothian, Illinois; Wildwood Cemetery and Crematorium, Williamsport, Pennsylvania, Gettysburg Battlefield, Pennsylvania; Borley Rectory, Borley, England; Highgate Cemetery, London, England.

This got me thinking about bones, ashes, and cemeteries such as the eerie Greyfriars Kirkyard in Edinburgh, Scotland- said to be the home of both the friendly spirit of Greyfriars Bobby, a small terrier whose master John Gray is buried nearby, and where Bobby himself is buried, which is also the lair of a violent poltergeist-type entity, known to scratch and generally cause terror to those who experience its wrath, and also of the activity at Borley Rectory, famously investigated by Harry Price, (who you can read about on the S.P.R. website devoted to his work) and its surrounds, the austere Highgate Cemetery, in London, the picturesque and peaceful Bachelor's Grove, Illinois, and Wildwood Cemetery and Crematorium Pennsylvania, and the sad, blood-stained yet beautiful surrounds of Gettysburg, also in Pennsylvania, and the different reasons that some spirits may linger in a cemetery- perhaps it is to wreak violent revenge for their death or draw notice to their plight, or to the burial of their bones in an undesired location, or perhaps because in life they, like many, found a spot they considered a wonderful final resting place. Maybe they were Taphophiles like many people are.

This led to the thought as to how we could access the information in bones, clothing, or personal objects, some of which are said to be cursed as well such as the notorious Hope Diamond, or offer protection in the form of Apotropaic Magic, (which you can read my thoughts on here) such as the evil eye charms common in many cultures, or even rings, hairbrushes, and clothing which may contain traces of our DNA. Our Australian Indigenous Elders, called "medicine men" have a practice called "pointing the bone", and bones are used in voodoo charms, as are human hair, animal feathers and bones.

One process of course would be Psychometry, but in my long-ago post I also explored the possibility of metals and alloys, as if energy from emotion is projected externally of our bodies in the form of electric and magnetic fields, but now we're exploring bones of course- could this energy be absorbed by our talismans? Some types of natural materials are indeed electrically conductive, due to their molecular composition; when the molecules in the crystalline structure of an element or mineral are spaced further apart, electrical energy can move through the structure with greater ease.

The types of metallic elements and alloys (elemental compounds of different "pure" metals) with the highest electrical conductivity are, in descending order; Silver, Copper, Gold, Aluminium, Zinc, Nickel, Brass, Bronze, Iron, Platinum, Carbon Steel, Lead, and Stainless Steel. The types of minerals listed as having electrically conductive properties include Pyrrhotite, Graphite, Pyrite, Galena, Magnetite, and Chalcocite.

Conductivity is not the only factor that decides the capability of minerals, elements, materials or alloys to absorb, store or conduct electrical energy- the electrical properties known as Pyroelectricity and Piezoelectricity are also contributive factors. Pyroelectricity describes the capability of a mineral to develop electrical charges when exposed to changes in temperature; some minerals can develop a charge when heated, and others can do so when cooled. Some examples of Pyroelectric materials are Tourmaline, ceramic, and dry bone. Piezoelectricity is the capacity of a material to develop an electrical charge when put under stress; Piezoelectric minerals will develop an electrical charge when struck or rubbed repeatedly. Some Pyroelectric materials can also be piezoelectric, including dry bone, silk, and Tourmaline. Other examples of Piezoelectric materials are Quartz and Topaz. Interestingly, when we look at the types of metals, alloys, or minerals used commonly in jewellery or ornamentation, or indeed in the minting of coins (or in clothing, in the case of silk), many of these materials are an intrinsic part of the composition of those items.

And then when we examine some of the actions performed with talismans, for example repeated rubbing, or placing them close to or on our skin (as with necklaces or rings), which would cause them to absorb traces of DNA the possibility that this may cause an object to absorb or develop an energetic or electric charge becomes all the more viable at least for my mind anyhow.

If inanimate objects can "store" energy and emotion, projected externally by an individual, (or a few individuals) over a period of time, could this explain how talismans can have a positive or negative effect on people? Has a great deal of energy been stored within that item due to its conductive or absorptive properties, and thus, through that conductivity, combined with an act of unconscious psychometry, could the item's owner discern that energy each time they wear or carry the item, via their DNA stored in bones and teeth? It does make me wonder why there aren't ghosts of dinosaurs, but there have of course been ghostly dogs, cats, horses and even a bull, which I'll eventually tell you about as it's an Australian tale...Then there's the Place Memory theory, commonly known as the Stone Tape Theory, which would include perhaps fossilized or petrified bones I think, as these are often displayed as artefacts in Museums, and unusual occurrences have been connected to the places that house their remains. The DNA stored in bones, teeth, and clothing could be expressed perhaps from them, as seems to be illustrated by the cases above. I say seems because as yet there is no proof, this is merely a hypothesis, and the ramblings and explorations of a curious mind!

-Cat


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