Don't bogart the skull, dude!
Another great story involves the head of Edward Teach, the famed "Blackbeard." After years of ruling the seas off the East Coast of North America, he was finally killed in 1718. Rather than bring Teach's corpse back to port, his killers cut off his head and threw his body overboard. After Robert Maynard, the commander of the force that killed Blackbeard, turned in his head for a reward, Governor Spottswood of Virginia hung the trophy from a pike in Bath, Virginia. There are conflicting stories about what happened to the skull; my favorite is that it was gilded with silver and turned into a drinking vessel.
It's not too hard to see why people would contemplate using a skull as a beer mug. Apart from the grisly coolness of the finished product, it's not all that hard to do. Basically, it only requires removing the top of the head, blocking a couple of holes, slapping on a handle, and developing a strong stomach.
On the other hand, constructing a bong from a skull is a pretty difficult undertaking, involving the aforementioned blocking as well as the introduction of various other difficult elements, including hole drilling, carburetor inserting, and so forth. Given a choice, I'd probably go with the femur as a more likely bong candidate, although the humerus would do in a pinch. Still, I guess the thighbone and the arm bone don't quite have the romance of the head bone.
Recently, three Houston teenagers decided to test the potential of bone-based bongs. Apparently, the boys found a disused graveyard, where they proceeded to disinter the body of an 11-year-old boy who died in 1921, remove his skull, and use it to fashion a water pipe. They weren't caught in the act, nor was the scene of the crime discovered. Rather, one of them, Kevin Wade Jones, told the police about his arts and craft project while he was being questioned in connection with a completely unrelated crime. When he was asked why Jones would incriminate himself in this way, a Houston police officer stated that "We can only speculate and guess to what goes on in the criminal mind."
I'm sure that the officer's statement about the criminal mind is absolutely correct, but I'd argue that the stoner mind is a little easier to decipher. In all likelihood, Jones was probably vacillating between mild paranoia, a desperate craving for Cheetos, and a goofy desire to brag about his incredibly cool new bong.
This little adventure probably won't cost the boys all that much. The three culprits are being held on misdemeanor charges of abuse of a corpse. Still, maybe this will encourage the next gang of would-be bone recyclers to consider a plastic skull kit instead.
Bruce Watson is a freelance writer, blogger, and all-around cheapskate. He wishes that India hadn't placed a ban on the exportation of bones; no wonder stoner kids are digging up graveyards!