In many tribes, wearing bones signify your win over someone belonging to an enemy tribe. It proves to others your worth in fighting, symbolises your strength and warns against any ideas someone may have of stealing your women. Folklore is rife with stories of gravediggers and witches who chant incantations over the skull of a virgin male. And the sight of a bloody animal carcass may convince you of religious sacrifices.
The world of the Bone Lady in Pennsylvania is as gory but rather mild in comparison. Janet Haddad aka The Bone Lady has a strange hobby; she creates objets d’art from bones. Perhaps what is most strange is how the Bone Lady has cast a spell over her townspeople, convincing them to buy these creations. Definitely one to be burned at the stake had she been from the 17th Century, this school teacher even has her friends and neighbours doing the dirty deed for her. They scavenge for carcasses and promptly offer any found to the Bone Lady.
Janet boils the bones for hours till all the flesh has dropped off from it, dries it in the sun and then spends months cleaning the bones. Like the Wand chooses the Wizard, the bones choose what they would become for it is the shape that gives Janet an idea of what to create from it. She also adds that she most enjoys working with turkey bones, and how Thanksgiving means so much more to her for this reason. Janet makes jewellery, toys and other objects from turkey, deer, turtle, groundhogs and many others.
It is believed, in many cultures, that bones ward off evil spirits. They may not do this but the Bone Lady’s creations are still beautiful, with just a hint of maliciousness. Fascinated with bones, the Bone Lady even reveals her desire for something to be made from her bones after her death. If it weren’t for the availability of animals near her home, perhaps, she may have created her own masterpiece by now.