Shrunken Heads for Sale and How to Shrink a Head for Beginners
When I was at school you’d hold your hand up with your index finger and thumb an inch or so apart, look through the gap between them at your friends face, and claim to have shrunken their head, this isn’t necessarily something the cool people did, but me and my friends weren’t necessarily cool.
But then I got to thinking, what if I really did want to shrink somebody’s head, for real, how would I go about it, well I’m glad you asked.
Traditional shrunken heads were the products of the indigenous peoples of ‘Melanesia’ and the ‘Amazon Basin’, made from human heads, shrunken heads were used for both ritual practises and for trading. Known also as ‘Tsantsa’ shrunken heads were found following World War II at the ‘Buchenwald concentration camp’, and were believed to have been created from the heads of former prisoners.
I could tell you about the religious significance of shrinking the heads of your enemies, and as to how it was believed that by shrinking an enemies head you harnessed their power, and prevented their spirit from avenging its death. But lets face it, you’d rather get down to the gristle and bones of the matter, you have enemies to smite, and loved ones whose heads you’d like to shrink for posterity.
How to create a shrunken head
‘The first step is the hardest’ is repeated like Gospel at the meetings of anonymous alcoholics and quit smoking groups around the world, however with regards to the creation of a shrunken head, it could well be argued that the first step is indeed, the easiest.
Decapitation, one fast smooth swipe of your blade, and that’s step one done and dusted.
Next a slit is made in the neck and continued up the back of the head, the skin and hair is now carefully peeled from the skull. Traditionally the skull would now be thrown into a river as an offering to ‘Pani’ the anaconda.
The next step to creating your shrunken head involves sewing the eyes closed, the lips follow next being sewn shut and skewered with small wooden pegs. The head is now simmered in a boiling pot for approximately two hours (any longer and the hair would fall out).
You should now find that the skin of your shrunken head has become dark and rubbery, and the head will have shrunk to approximately one third of its original size. The skin of the shrunken head is now turned inside out, and the inner excess flesh is removed with a knife before turning right side out once again. Your shrunken head should now have taken on the appearance of an empty rubber glove.
The head is now shrunk further by dropping heated stones inside, the hot stones must be kept in constant rotation to avoid scorching of the shrunken head. By this process you should now find that the head shrinks further, and as the head becomes too small for the hot stones the process may be continued using hot sand in order to further reduce its size. Your head once shrunk to a desired size may then be left to harden
Traditionally following this process the shrunken head would then have a hole cut in the top, and a hanging device inserted so that the head could now be worn around a warrior’s neck as a trophy.
WARNING! – This article is intended for novelty purposes only, please do not attempt to shrink the heads of family, friends or foe (unless they’ve really got it coming to them).