Greater Ancestors

World Museum

Skeleton with horns sent 2 Smithsonian



Washington Star “The recent finding in Oregon of a human skeleton with horns attached to the skull has caused much interest among anatomists generally,” said a scientist of the Smithsonian Institution to a Star man the other day.

“However, it is a fact well known to anatomists that horny excrescences upon the face and body of human subjects are by no means rare, and were also known to the ancients.

“That woodland deity, the Satyr, depicted with goat-like ears, budding horns, and a short tail, did not grow altogether from the imagination of the ancients either as to horns or tail.

“In the olden times, horns were symbolic of power and wisdom. Michelangelo in his great sculpture of Moses has given that patriarch a pair of horns.

“Among collected examples of human-grown horns in a medical museum in London, there is one eleven inches long and two and a half inches in circumference. One modern investigator reports seventy-one cases of horns, thirty-seven in females, and thirty-one in males and three in infants. Of this number, fifteen were on the head, eight on the face, eighteen on the lower extremities, and eleven on the trunk.

“Another collector gathered reports of ninety cases. Forty-four women and thirty-nine men, the remainder infants. Of these, forty-eight were on the head. A third collector reported 409 cases of cutaneous horns. The greater frequency of the growths is with women. Old age is often a predisposing cause.

“The most remarkable case of a horn was that of Paul Rodriguez, a Mexican porter, who from the side of his head had a horn fourteen inches in circumference at the base, divided into three shafts. A case is mentioned of a horn that grew upon a woman’s forehead inches in diameter and six inches long.

“In 1696 there was an old woman in France who constantly shed long horns from her head, one of which was presented to the king. Vidal, the eminent French physician, in 1886 presented before the Academy of Medicine a twisted horn ten inches long taken from the head of a woman.

“Small horns growing from the tympanic membrane of the ear are not rare. Dr. Saxton of New York reported having excised several of them. The late Dr. Pancoast of Philadelphia reported the case of a sea captain 78 years old, who had been exposed to the winds all his life. His nose, cheeks, forehead, and lips were covered with horny growths, which were constantly being shed and again reproduced.

“A number of authorities speak of horns growing upon the legs. Among these was one over fourteen inches long. This was taken from the middle of the leg of a woman 80 years old, six inches below the knee.

“The old women of the time of James I, King of England, who chanced to have these excrescences could hardly hope to escape burning as witches.

“Stories of cutaneous horns when seen and reported by the laity seldom lack exaggeration in description. One of these is a story published in papers in New South Wales, which describes a 5-week-old born with a tail eighteen inches long, horns upon its forehead, and a full set of teeth.

“The account adds that ‘the country people around Bomballa considered this child a punishment for a rebuff that the mother gave to a peddler selling pictures of the crucifixion. Vexed by his persistence, she said she would sooner have a devil in her house than his picture.'”

  1. The Minneapolis journal., August 08, 1903, Page 4, Image 4