"This is definitely different. We don't usually get a call from an antique store that there's a human skull out on the floor."
A shopper at a Florida antique store was browsing through the store’s Halloween section — but didn’t expect the scare of an actual human skull.
The unnamed customer was shopping at Paradise Vintage Market in Fort Myers when she noticed something odd about one of the items for sale. It just so happened that the customer was an anthropologist, and she pegged the item as being a real human skull.
The Lee County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) was then called in to examine the skull and send it off for testing.
“It was found in a Halloween section,” said LCSO Captain Anita Iriarte in an interview with Newsweek. “What’s been described is that the antique shop was having a fossil day, so this female, an anthropologist, was shopping and noticed the skull and then was like, ‘This is definitely not a Halloween decoration.'”
Testing by the medical examiner confirmed the customer’s suspicions. The skull has been sent off for further testing to see what else can be determined about it.
“What’s preliminarily been decided is it’s like an archeological bone,” Iriarte said. “The skull is estimated to be about 75 years old.”
According to Beth Meyer, managing partner of the store, the skull came from a storage unit that was purchased in 2022.
“We spent several hours just trying to figure out what to do because several of the deputies were like, ‘This is new, we’ve never had this experience before,'” Meyer said in an interview with WINK News. “The medical examiner took the skull back to the office, and they are going to do whatever they need to do to figure out what it is.”
However, authorities do not suspect foul play was involved.
“There’s no noted trauma to the skull,” Iriarte said. “There’s nothing that leads them to believe that this skull has been preserved by suspicious means of any sort.”
The anthropologist who discovered the skull reportedly told Meyer that she believed the skull was Native American, which means the skeletal remains would be restricted to own in most U.S. states.
“The anthropologist came into the store, and gave a very informative and educational explanation as to why she thought it was Native American,” Meyer said. “The medical examiner came in, bagged and tagged the skull, and took it to the lab for testing. If it is Native American, it will be returned to one of the local tribes and we will have a ceremony.”
This is not the first time a human skull has been found at a resale shop. Earlier this year, a real human skull was found in a Goodwill donation box in Arizona.
The skull had its front teeth still attached and had a false eye in one of the eye sockets. It was discovered in the donation box by Goodwill staff, and the donor is unknown.
But police in Goodyear, a suburb of Phoenix, believe the skull to be “historic” and not related to any crime.
The skull had “no forensic significance, meaning there appears to be no associated crime,” said Lisa Berry, a spokesperson for the Goodyear Police Department, in an interview with USA Today.
After reading about the real human skull discovered at an antique shop, read about phrenology, the bizarre practice of measuring skull shapes. Or, read about the mysterious crystal skulls said to be from aliens — but are actually a hoax.