National Geographic, in time for Halloween, includes in the latest issue an article on Egypt's animal mummies. The article is available here, as is an interactive map of many finds; but the lavish photo gallery you'll find there is the biggest treat. There are cats, of course, and touching and beautiful they are. There are holy baboons, gold-embellished ibises, cattle wrapped up like linen puzzles, and even a shrew gets a cute tiny coffin in pale stone. Don't miss the perfectly preserved hunting dog that was somebody's beloved pet.
This short online "tour" at the British Museum (which has an excellent collection of mummies) includes, of all things, an eel.
And now to Skelanimals, which I have only discovered within the past week. As best I can figure these are sweet, cute animals who are no longer living thanks to mishaps, but want to be loved by someone with a warm heart (as the website says, "after all, they're just bones"). As far as those mishaps go - wow. Quackee the Duck got turned into an entree after irritiating the farmer with her quacking (I could listen to ducks all day). Cecil the Snake got caught hunting for food in the marketplace and was skewered and grilled. Diego the Bat minced himself flying through razor wire. Kit drowned.
Personally, I find this fascinating: the Victorian sentimental take on death in a brand new junior-friendly guise. I keep forgetting death is back in (or is that "undeath"?) And you'd think they would be a terrible downer, but they are adorable.
Last but not least, I bring to you this bonus: the Ghost Chicken of Highgate, sacrificed for Sir Francis Bacon's 17th-century researches in food cold storage. As it happens the chicken took Sir Francis with it, as he caught a fatal chill stuffing it with snow very early one April. Though Sir Francis was taken to the Earl of Arundel's house nearby to warm up and rest, the bed he was given hadn't been aired for a year and was too damp. He died of pneumonia. As for the Ghost Chicken, as recently as the 70's this plucked and displeased fowl was dropping in unexpectedly. See another page on that here.
Happy Halloween, everyone!