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Is It Actually Legal To Buy A Human Skull Online?

Is It Actually Legal To Buy A Human Skull Online? image

Is It Actually Legal To Buy A Human Skull Online?

Ever wondered about the legality of buying and selling real human skulls? Here's a quick introduction on the subject.

So is it legal to buy one online? Yes, but the laws are often changing and it's very important that you buy the skull from an ethical dealer. Otherwise, you may be funding a sketchy grave robbing operation. Or worse, your new skull might have come from a human remains harvester. Well, that got dark quickly, didn't it?

One skull collector describes how he first got into the business of buying these collector's items. Back when he started buying, Ebay still allowed human remains to be sold on their platform.

“I looked online to see if I could get a real skull, and to my surprise, there were several dozen available,” says Wylie, whose name has been changed for privacy purposes.

But it wasn't just Ebay offering real human remains for sale online. In 2011, a study was published in the Journal of Forensic Science that uncovered just how easy it was for anyone to buy and sell human remains. Over just seven months of monitoring, the study revealed that 454 human skulls were listed on Ebay with bids typically opening at $650!

Apparently, the study came as a surprise to Ebay because just four days after it went public, the online auction company prohibited the buying and selling of human remains with the exception of human hair. Hair is often used to make wigs and was considered harmless enough.

According to Ebay, the reason for outlawing human remains was because it is "prohibited by law". This isn't exactly true but the legality of the trade is still considered a gray area as far as legality.

Skulls and other human remains are still being sold through websites like Facebook.



If you do want to buy a skull legally online, Skulls Unlimited is the only guaranteed ethically sourced supplier in the U.S. All their goods come straight from donors and are professionally cleaned and preserved. They are very open about their sourcing, cleaning, and preserving process.

According to co-owner Josh Villemarette, they always know exactly where each skull comes from and would never deal in unethically sourced materials. “If it was a murder victim, there would definitely be ways for us to know that, just because the standard person’s not going to be able to get it clean,” says Villemarette.

“But there are times when you receive a photograph of a skull that someone’s wanting to sell that’s very clear that it’s been dug up.”

You can learn more about the strange history of selling human remains from this fantastic National Geographic article here.


Via National Geographic

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