Two unusual Associated Artifacts in the Internal Context

The first unusual case is that of "Andy the Blockhead," a sideshow mummy who is displayed at Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana. We conducted a paleoimaging study on Andy prior to his debut (Carnival Mummies 2003). The initial AP and lateral skull radiographs showed that there appeared to be a common nail in the nasal passage of the mummy (Figure 7.30). A popular sideshow act was having an individual place objects deep into the nasopharynx giving the appearance that the object, in this case a nail, was being driven into the skull. Hence the name "blockhead." On passing the endoscope in and along the nail, we were able to make several assessments (Figure 7.31): (1) It was indeed a nail; (2) the nail showed signs of surface oxidation; and (3) it appeared to be placed postmortem as no tissue reaction was apparent. Later, a CT scan was conducted, confirming that the tip of the nail did not enter the cervical vertebral column (Figure 7.32). It is not known if Andy was an actual sideshow performer or a carnival worker. In either case, the nail was likely placed in the nasal cavity after death, possibly as a tribute to a fallen comrade. It is possible that the nail was protruding from the nose in earlier years, allowing the sideshowman to better "sell" the attraction, with the nail later falling deeper into the nose, obscuring it from view.

The second case is that of unusual artifacts associated with a self-mummified Buddhist monk, Luang Pho Dang Piyasilo. Luang Pho Dang passed away in the 1970s at the age of 79, and his mummified body is at the Wat Khunaram temple on Ko Samui Island of Thailand (Mummy in Shades 2002). The first unusual artifact apparent to the unaided eye is the sunglasses the mummy, seated in a lotus meditation position, is wearing (Figure 7.33). The monks placed the sunglasses on Luang Pho Dang to hide the "sunken" eyes from the view of children who, along with others, came to pay their respects and pray to the mummified monk. The initial radiographs not only demonstrated the sunglasses but also revealed another unusual artifact. Luang Pho Dang wore dentures (Figure 7.34). Endoscopy was conducted with the instrument entering the oral pharynx through the mouth, the nasal cavity from the nares, and the endocranial cavity through the supraorbital fissure of the right eye. In each of these cavities, additional unusual artifacts were discovered. It appears that in death, true to the Buddhist i f

Nail Nasal Cavity
Figure 7.30 AP and lateral radiographs of Andy the Blockhead, showing the common nail within the nasal cavity.

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Figure 7.31 Endoscopic images of the nail in the nasal cavity of andy.

Figure 7.31 Endoscopic images of the nail in the nasal cavity of andy.

belief of revering all living things, Luang Pho Dang had become a hatchery for a native gecko species (Figure 7.35). Whole eggs as well as eggs that had appeared to have hatched were found within these body cavities. Additional paleoimaging also revealed that Luang Pho Dang was remarkably well mummified, with brain tissue and organs systems still intact although smaller in size due to dehydration (Figure 7.36).

Submandibular Gland Mri Anatomy Opening
Figure 7.32 cT scout image and axial section showing the precise location of the nail tip within andy.
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Figure 7.33 sunglasses on the mummified remains of Luang Pho Dang Piyasilo.

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