It’s hard to determine which of these two facts is more surprising:
1. A dozen-and-a-half human heads were discovered just before Christmas in an poorly marked shipping crate at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, and have been kept on ice ever since.
2. It’s no big whoop.
The disembodied noggins arrived in Chicago on a flight from Rome and, due to an apparent clerical error, were stranded there without a (more) final destination.
In the absence of context, this would be a perfect reason to be freaked the hell out.
But here’s the context: the heads had been in Rome as medical specimens, and were being shipped back to the U.S. for cremation, having served their scientific purposes. Thanks, noble heads!
Speaking with the Chicago Sun-Times, Department of Homeland Security spokesman Brian Bell was rather blase about the whole thing:
“Everybody here is ‘Oh my gosh, you got a box of heads’ and everybody thinks that it’s unheard of,” he said.
Apparently it’s quite heard-of. Of course, the poor luggage handler who X-rayed the shoddily documented package will probably henceforth require psychiatric counseling.
The strange journey of the mysterious heads reached its conclusion today when a suburban crematory took possession of the heads.
It’s safe to assume that the heads will soon be incinerated to ashes, which is arguably a less unpleasant experience than flying from Rome to Chicago in economy class.