Of Nat Turner’s skull and Consetto Formico’s mummy

“It never ceases to amaze me the number of people in this day and age who still approve of holding onto these things [human remains such as Nat Turner’s skull].

“Several years ago, in my decently liberal large Southern city, there was an article about one of these depicted as a ‘human interest’ piece. Apparently in the early 1900s a young Italian-American circus worker died here and there was no knowledge of who his family was. So someone kept his skull in their family and named him ‘Spaghetti.’ This was portrayed as cute and funny, which as an Italian-American (and frankly, fellow human) I don’t find it at all. Rather than getting the Catholic burial that I am certain his family would have wanted, he’s sitting on someone’s desk and called a stereotypical name. Yet even in this century there are enough people who think this is OK that they publish in the newspaper? Unbelievable….”

The details of Consetto Formico’s life, death and postmortem journey are complicated and sometimes conflicting, as Bridget Madden noted in “Laurinburg’s Modern Mummy.”