Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A Place Of A Skull

I've been sitting on this story for quite awhile, because frankly I really don't know what quite to make of it. It may be an incidental story, of little or no importance. It may have implications as bizarre as it appears to be on the surface. As far as that goes, there might not be a word of truth to it. But it is interesting as hell, so I repeat it here, with the admonition that, by all rights, I can not vouch for it's authenticity. It is certainly interesting, however, and worth looking into.

It involves a man by the name of James Wirt, a United States Atttorney General from the year 1817 until 1829, a man who argued more than 170 cases before the United States Supreme Court and who, in 1807, was the prosecutor in the conspiracy trial of Aaron Burr.

Wirt also, in 1832, was a candidate for President of the United States for the Anti-Masonic Party. Not too many years after this, Wirt died, reportedly from a cold. He was buried in a tomb, deep inside a crypt.

Until, that is, his skull was discovered sitting on a shelf in the office of Washington D.C. Council Member Jim Graham, where it had evidently been for some time. According to Graham, an openly gay D.C. Councilman and immigrant of as yet undetemined origin, he had gotten the skull from a book shop owner by the name of Alan Stypeck. Stypeck, in turn, said he acquired the gruesome souvenier from a cleaning supplies salesman by the name of Robert White, who died in 2003, and who used to have a John F. Kennedy Museum in his basement.

In order to determine whether the skull actually belonged to Wirt, forensic anthropologist Douglas Owlsley was called in. After swimming through an ocean of red tape, Owsley finally had the tomb opened. In addition to the skeleton of Wirt, reported with a large hole in the side of the skull, there were other bodies, including one that was not listed. Stuffed behind a metal ladder that leads down to the tomb was the skeleton of a baby, which Owsley believes to have been a recent addition. From here it was hinted strongly that there may have been some form of ritual sacrifice involving this infant, and Wirts anti-Masonic connections were further noted in this regard.

Graham insits that he is not in the habit of collecting skulls or other body parts, and that he knows nothing about the skulls origins or how it came to be in the possession of Mr. White, or why, or anything other than his presentation of it by the aforementioned Mr. Stypeck.

The origin of this story is actually quite vaque, and I have heard no references to it anywhere. It is worth noting, however, that Congressman Graham, in addition to advocating for the rights of immigrants to vote in local elections, and himself representing a district which has a heavy immigrant population, and which in fact has no single racial or ethnic majority, has made doubltess quite a few enemies.

In fact, he is an enemy of slumlords everywhere, and a perusal of his web-site (which is linked to by way of the post title) would reveal that he has probably made many wealthy and powerful enemies in this regard. He also takes a tough stance on businesses such as bars that don't enforce safty standards. He has even proposed that any bar where a murder has occurred should be closed.

Yet, he is pro-police, and has proposed additional hiring of cops, asking for more than 200 in his district. So, it is easy to see why some would consider him as much of a nuisance as he does a good many of the properties he would have either torn down or forcibly rehabilitated.

Yet, is this story a clumsy attempt by someone to embarrass him, or is it actually a matter of pure fiction?

Or, is there a sinister truth somewhere here that is hiding just below the surface, a truth that should have remained buried, lo, these last one hundred seventy years.

Whatever the case, it is worth noting, by the way, that next year-2007-will mark the 200th anniversary of the treason trial of Aaron Burr, the trial William Wirt prosecuted, albeit unsuccessfully.

Connection?

9 comments:

autogato said...

Aaron Burr! AAAAAaarrron Burrrrr!
Sorry - flashbacks to one of my favorite commercials from teenager-hood.

Are you familiar with the story of Descartes? Upon his death, his body was to be shipped back to France for burial. (He died in a Scandanavian country). A politician cut off one of Descartes's fingers for a souvenir before the body was shipped away. Unfortunately for Descartes, his body was too long to be fit into his coffin. So, instead of making a bigger coffin, they decapitated his corpse for shipment. His body made it back, but his head too another 150 years before arriving in France.

We laugh at the irony of it, for Descartes is none as the father of mind-body dualism (as an answer to the ubiquitous mind/body problem in philosophy and psychology).

pissed off patricia said...

The whole time I was reading your post I felt like someone was going to come up behind me and scare the hell out of me. I have no clue whether the story is true, but it is a good story.

The Pagan Temple said...

Autogato-No, I had not heard that story. Don't it sound a little fishy to you? It's bad enough they didn't fit him for a proper sized coffin, but then for his head to take that long to be reunited with his body makes you wonder if some one might have been wanting a souvenir their own selves.

Patricia-Good to see you here. I know what you mean, the story is so biarre, that's why I sat on it for this long. I've known about it since last October, but didn't really want to go with it without some kind of authentication.

But I finally figured as long as I made that clear, no harm would be done. Graham has made a lot of enemies, slumlords, for example, so I can kind of see this as an attempt to slime him. If so, at least it was original, have to give them that.

On the other hand, there might be a smidgen of truth to it as well, who knows?

sou said...

came here thru autogato's blog.

Very interesting blog.. many of your posts are extremely american (as opposed to global) so i can't comment on them much (i'm from india).. but very interesting posts.. shall keep dropping by.

btw - have u read The Call of Cthulhu, by H. P. Lovecraft?

The Pagan Temple said...

Hi Sou, glad to see you here. I usually try to write about
stuff that is on-going, at the moment, though I try to avoid the same stuff that everybody else blogs about, unless I feel I might have a unique perspective on the subject. I just dislike repetitiveness.

I have done some India oriented posts, which I would be interested in your perspective on. You would have to scroll down in the two archives to find them, but here they are:

March Archives -
1. Passing Up A Faith Based Initiative
2. George W. Ghandhi

February Archives-
1. Ganesh-Theft Of A Sacred Idol

Also, just so you'll know, I generally only update my Blog once a week, but I try to do six or seven posts on that update, the next of which will be either tomorrow or the day after.

meowkaat said...

Great stories of late, Patrick. You always entertain me, and now it looks like others are finally catching on to your genius. :)
OUCH on the piercings, btw. Just... fucking ouch, ok?

The Pagan Temple said...

My genius has hit a dry spell, this week, for some strange reason, but never fear, I'll be around, just a bit of Blogger Block this week for some reason. I feel you on the piercings. I can't stand the thought of my tonque or navel or nipples being pierced. I would be scared to death of the pain, and the possibility of infection, so no way.

Still considering that tonque splitting, though.

meowkaat said...

I have to admit- I got my bellybutton pierced just last year. Didn't hurt much, but it still hasn't healed completely. Does look awful cute though. :)
The navel isn't an area where you feel much pain. Nipples, labia, now those are a different sort of horse.
And you mention something like tongue splitting- YEESH, good gawd. Think of how bad it hurts when you just bite your tongue! NUH UH. No benefit could outweight that shit.

The Pagan Temple said...

O, I could definitely think of one benefit, and if you thought about it, I somehow think you might be in complete and total agreement.