When Sandra Dixon, an art technician at Haydock High School, found an old, yellowing lab skeleton locked away in one of the schools many storage closets, she had a sneaking suspicion that it wasn't just a run-of-the-mill teaching aid.
Dixon said, 'I remember thinking, "Could this be a real skeleton?" And as it turns out, her hunch was correct.
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According to BBC, the school carried out a litmus test to see if the bones were human and, after a positive result, decided they needed to further investigate into where they came from.
As it turned out, the 'model' skeleton had been used at the school as a teaching aid for 40 years without anyone realizing it was real human remains. Affectionately dubbed "Arthur," the skeleton was eventually placed in storage after being replaced with a new plastic model.
Upon forensic investigation by Dixon and Bill Craddock, and undertaker at Haydock Funeral Services, it was discovered that Arthur the skeleton didn't exactly lead a charmed life.
Arthur was born with a spinal defect which caused his growth to max out around 5ft tall, and showed signs of severe nutritional deficiency which suggests he grew up in an impoverished household. Though it is not confirmed, it is speculated that Arthur was one of hundreds of skeletons bought from India in the early 20th Century-- a trade that was later outlawed.
On top of that, he spent 40 years of his post mortem career locked inside of a high school classroom.
Teachers and pupils today paid tribute to a lost member of their school - lab skeleton Arthur.
After learning the troubled history of their friend, the students decided to give Arthur the nicest send off they could. All the necessary ingredients for a proper funeral, including a wicker coffin and hearse, were generously provided by Craddock, and a prime burial plot was furnished by GreenAcres Woodland Burials free of charge.
Student pallbearers carried Arthur's coffin to it's final resting place, while others laid roses on top of the coffin as it was lowered into the ground in a touching tribute. During the ceremony, both a Christian prayer and a traditional Hindu funeral prayer were read, the latter believed to have been his religion.
Finally, Arthur has a chance to rest his weary bones.
Related: Remains of multiple humans found in coffins under Washington Square Park:
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