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Grandad's Carved Bust

 

I began writing a reply to a discussion of "The Haunted Bed Frames" (http://www.yourghoststories.com/real-ghost-story.php?story=22401#comment), when I realized that I'd written over half of a story which may be worth of submitting to YGS in its own right. Chronologically, this is the third haunting event in my life; however, as I was only tangentially involved, it is the easiest story to tell. As I was nine at the time, and my Grandad had the significant experiences, each detail is presented to the best of my recollection; that said, I have almost no sense of time, so what seems like a week in my memory may have been an entire summer...

Though I've lived in the US for more than a quarter-century, I was born and raised in Leicestershire, England. If you look at the National Geographic map of England, Leicester is right under the letter "G" in "ENGLAND." It's a small city in the midlands, but it has a remarkably complex past that has been pivotal in shaping the western world on more than one occasion (Simon de Montfort's idea called "Parliament;" the death of King Richard III --then the death of Henry VIII's advisor Cardinal Wolsey-- changed British politics; David Attenborough, the documentarian/educator extraordinaire, was born there; and the discovery of genetic fingerprinting at the University of Leicester changed the modern sense of identity).

I love history, I also love antiques, relics, and historical objects; my wife is justified in accusing me of "bringing home more junk" on a regular basis. Only once in my life has an antique object made me feel wary: a beautifully-carved bust of an African Woman's head, in teak. It stands out in my memory with remarkable clarity, considering the fact I have quite clear memories from the age of four onward. I think Grandad won it betting on dominoes at the pub, or somesuch. He was so proud of winning a piece of art that he showed it off to his visitors. His visitors were mostly family, as my more-sociable Grandma had died a few years earlier.

The sculpted woman wore an elaborately-carved headscarf (almost turban-like), she had a serene expression on her youthful face, her neck curved out to her shoulders and the entire artwork stopped below her collarbone. It seems odd, in retrospect, that she'd apparently been carved with great care and detail, but I can't recall any indication of her irises: her eyes were either closed or blank. Additionally, she had been carved without the pedestal or plinth I was accustomed to seeing as stands for busts in castles and museums; she simply rested on the flattened base. The craftsmanship was elegant; the word "exquisite" better conveys the artistic details of this piece. The rich tones of the polished wood showed off her high-cheekboned dignity. She was a beauty, but one who appeared indifferent to her own beauty.

Grandad placed her in the living room initially, but he moved her into one or two different locations before he finally set it on the south-west windowsill of his bedroom, to the right of his bed. My brother and I were encouraged to play with our toy cars on the floor of this room, because children were not allowed to make any noise while the television was on (his TV was always on). We were usually kept as far away as possible from Grandad while Mum visited him.

When I entered the room with the bust, she was a compelling presence; I just knew that the bust had been moved to that room before I had seen that it had been relocated. Once I'd discovered where Grandad had moved it, I'd be uncomfortable when looking at it, but I'd feel a sense of dread if I sat with my back toward it. I kept telling myself, "I'm a big boy, now. I know it's a piece of wood. I'm just imagining that *she* has feelings," but I remained unconvinced by my sensible rationale. Though the bust worried me, I tried not to let anyone know that I felt dread when I was close to it.

I later discovered that she scared not only my mother, but also her younger brother and his wife. The sculpture made my dad uneasy, too: Dad still hates anyone knowing that he can feel fear, but he told Mum this bust concerned him. (Yes, a lot of what I learned as a kid was due to eavesdropping; I'm curious, not nosy!)

Once the bust had been installed, the temperature in Grandad's room slowly dropped a few degrees per week, until the difference between the bedroom at one end of the short hallway and the living room at the other end (which had the same-sized windows, south-western exposure, and the same central heating thermostat) was noticeable. Grandad started to have unusual dreams. He was a strange and selfish man who'd been one of eleven children, he'd gotten away with some indiscretions as a handsome teen, he'd become disillusioned as he chased Rommel back-and-forth across Egypt, then he spent much of his adult life alienating people; God only knows what qualified as "unusual" in his dreams. Not only did he suffer from a lack of restful sleep at this time, but also he became ill over a period of several weeks. His symptoms baffled doctors by failing to respond to customary treatments, apparently justifying Grandad's delusion that the medical profession was filled with well-intentioned but ill-informed quacks.

His health had been getting worse for 6 weeks or so when he woke up in the middle of the night and the world was "not spinning like [he] was ill" but, he insisted, "it was swirling." He'd had no sense of balance in this peculiar, psychedelic state: he had thought he was having a stroke. As he turned to reach for the phone on his nightstand (to the left of the bed), he *knew* that the bust resented his turning his back to her. He turned his head to look, and the bust was stationary. The window sill, the window, the curtains, and the wall were part of the bizarre "swirling" effect, but the bust was the calm center of the visual storm. He never explained how he maintained eye-contact with the bust without putting on his glasses, but he told Mum and her two brothers that he crawled backward out of his bedroom into the hallway without taking his eyes off of her and, once he was safely across the threshold, he struggled to close the door.

He refused to go back into his bedroom until his elder son, a fireman, arrived and removed it from the apartment. My rather pragmatic uncle said that the room had seemed a little chilly to him, and he could see his dad was shaken up, but nothing else seemed out of the ordinary. Grandad had used the gas stove to light a cigarette, had made himself a cup of tea, and was squinting at everything because he'd left his glasses and his lighter on the nightstand. Grandad told my uncle that the head "spoke" to him; she didn't move her mouth, but she had changed her expression; to the best of my knowledge, he did not tell anyone what the carving had said. My uncle had thought that Grandad was having a mental breakdown, and -as far as I know- only showed up in the middle of the night to see if he should call an ambulance.

I'm willing to discuss this peculiar series of events, but I have included all the relevant details I can recall (and probably some irrelevant ones, too) in this account. I have no idea what my uncle did with the wooden head after he'd taken it from the apartment; it had been on the window sill, then he'd removed it. Grandad died almost two decades ago, my mother and uncles now live in three different countries (each uncle has divorced and remarried), and some family members have lost track of each other on purpose; additional information would be difficult to obtain. I'll add my more-personal stories to the YGS archive in the upcoming months.

-Biblio.

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by yourghoststories.com. Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, Bibliothecarius, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

Jubeele (3 stories) (122 posts)
 
1 week ago (2017-10-11)
Hi Biblio

I was taught in school during the 1970s and 80s about the founding of the four major religions in Singapore (Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam). Great foundation to promote racial harmony - have children grow up learning about different cultures and to respect each other's belief systems.

From what I remember, Siddhartha Gautama was a Nepalese prince born over 2,500 years ago to a small kingdom on the border between Nepal and India. "Buddha" is more a title than anything else. I think it means" one who is awake", or spiritually enlightened. I've heard the saying "we all have the Buddha within".

I'm not an expert about the Feng-Shui (Wind-Water, elemental influences) aspect, but anything placed at the entrance is supposed to influence whoever (or whatever) comes into or goes out from the place. My mother has made jade talismans, blessed by the temple priest, which I've hung at the entrance of my home. They're for protection, good fortune or something. It reassures her that they're there, so there they will stay.

If Buddha (who dwells within all "Enlightened" souls) is watching over the hallway entry to your parent's house, from the vantage point above waist-level on the windowsill, then I feel that Buddha is smiling in blessing at you. Buddha has been known to have male and female incarnations. My favourite aspect of Buddha is Guangshiyin, the Bodhisattva also known as Guangyin, the Goddess of Mercy. The non-gender specific part is to show that mercy and compassion have no boundaries.

I really appreciate the cross-cultural connections between Hinduism and Buddhism too. Same-same, but different. So rich in heritage! I feel that many peoples in the world share more things in common than differences. Never can figure out why so many want to dwell mostly on the things that they disagree with. The late Carl Sagan said it rightly that "we are made of star stuff". All part of the same cosmos.

Sorry to ramble on. I spent more time in libraries than dance clubs as a teen. Biblio, I'll gladly come over to help you catalogue and stack books anytime if you need a hand! 😆
Bibliothecarius (5 stories) (742 posts)
 
1 week ago (2017-10-11)
Thanks, Jubeele, for your insight (unintentional pun, but I liked it) on the carving.

As I thought about your ideas, I realized that we'd had a brass Buddha in my parents' second house in England (yourghoststories.com/real-ghost-story.php?story=23732). There were small windows on the sides of the front door, each with four or five decorative brass objects/statuettes on the windowsill. When we were leaving the house, the Buddha was in our right-hand window, thus on the left-hand window when we were returning. He was close to the corner with the hallway wall, but a different brass decoration was in the corner slightly behind him. He was turned at a 45° angle, so he smiled at everyone entering or exiting our home and at everyone who came down the staircase. I thought it odd that my hyper-religious Christian mother was ok with the Buddha's presence in our hallway, but she stated that he never claimed to be a god, he was a teacher who sought truth and understanding [Seriously hoping I didn't offend anyone, here].

-Best,
Biblio.
Jubeele (3 stories) (122 posts)
 
3 weeks ago (2017-09-28)
Hi Biblio,

I really enjoyed your story. It brings to mind how my mother has warned me in the past against buying religious artifacts or statues because they could be of deities. Her fear is that such an item may have been taken from a shrine, with a spirit already indwelling in it. She frowns on using the statue of Buddha as a decor item too. For her, putting Buddha on the floor or below waist level is a sign of disrespect and will surely attract bad karma. Her mothers (my maternal grandfather had two wives - at the same time) were Buddhists. For her, the statue of Buddha represents a religious belief and isn't meant to be some lawn ornament.

Another theory on why the bust didn't have eyes clearly defined. Eyes would have made the carving too realistic and imbue the object with too much "life". Wait, that didn't work too well in this instance. Hmmm, maybe scratch that theory out.

I meant to comment earlier, but it's taken me a while to go through all the previous dialogue. Much of the discussions have gone way over my head, but it was still very interesting reading.

Thank you for sharing your insights!
Bibliothecarius (5 stories) (742 posts)
 
5 months ago (2017-05-23)
Thanks, Augusta!

Tweed's find was closer in (the subject's) age and facial shape, but your image appears to have the right sort of head cloth and the color of the wood --I *think*-- is closer, too. I have no idea why I didn't think of Indonesian/Balinese before. I guess someone in the family said "African" and it stayed "African" in my mind.

I'll admit I think I lost half an hour there, browsing the busts, statuary, and figureheads on google. Time to get back to work.

Thanks, again.
Biblio.
AugustaM (2 stories) (378 posts)
+2
5 months ago (2017-05-23)
Well that did it! I can't resist a chance for a little research! I tried the reverse search, Tweed and Google failed us... Absolutely nothing useful! So, based on Biblio's initial description and the differences he noted between the sculpture in the picture and in his memory, I tried tweaking the search terms a bit and came up with this:
Https://goo.gl/images/7AH3kj
That bust is Indonesian. Scroll down to the related images, many seem to fit the general idea of the sculpture you mentioned - i.e. Material, lack of plinth, African-type features, head scarf etc... So perhaps your grandfather's piece was, in fact, Indonesian.
Tweed (22 stories) (2034 posts)
+1
5 months ago (2017-05-23)
Biblio, I sometimes search for random things I've read about yonks ago. Antiques Roadshow has had a few opening title changes over the years, one of the more modern ones includes a bust. I finally got around to looking at that opening sequence on youtube, but the bust I remember isn't African (it's also painted, not stained wood). The Roadshow titles bust also has hands clasped to the side of the face, with some kind of Roman or Pagan head gear. This lead me to do an image search for 'English carved bust' and up came that ebay listing, to my surprise, looking decidedly African and matching your description.

Unfortunately I can't find the ebay listing from the picture urls alone. So I don't know where it's selling from. Or even if it's still for sale.
Anyway, doing an image search for 'African carved bust' gives a lot of tribal style busts. But 'English carved bust' turns up results which lean toward realism. Perhaps this bust was a British work inspired by African culture.
Wish I could find that damn ebay listing, would love to know the maker as it could be the same maker as your Grandad's. Funnily enough I thought this one had a more sorrowful expression to the way you'd described his.
Try a reverse image search with those pics, my computer hates google image searches for some reason. 😕
Bibliothecarius (5 stories) (742 posts)
 
5 months ago (2017-05-23)
Damn, Tweed!

While I don't think that's the *exact* one, it's bloody similar!

My memory has more of the headscarf "up" than to her right side, and it appeared darker, --possibly because it sat on Grandad's windowsill-- but it has the same air of dignity (she appears sorrowful in these images) and careful carving of details.

I see the pics are from ebay; is it being advertised as "haunted," or just as African art? (If so, which country?)

Thanks,
Biblio.
Tweed (22 stories) (2034 posts)
+1
5 months ago (2017-05-23)
valkricry (39 stories) (2730 posts) mod
+1
8 months ago (2017-03-01)
Tweed,
They use to use the honeycomb (and still do in some places) to make a type of furniture polish for wood. If done properly it can be quite glossy and protective.
Tweed (22 stories) (2034 posts)
 
8 months ago (2017-03-01)
Biblio, Christ knows why I keep forgetting to tell you this.

A couple months or so ago I was making chips and the noise from the chip pan garbled what was said. Antiques Roadshow was on, it's literally what it says on the box. A bunch of Antique experts go around the the country and locals bring their antiques to learn about and get valued.
So I'm manning the chip pan, which was noisy, when I hear one of the experts say, about someone's olden day wooden animal carving, "They used to rub honey into the wood to _______ (noisy pan) " I missed the rest of the sentence unfortunately. Remember how I asked you what the bust smelled like and you replied 'like beeswax'. I only asked that because I'm a weirdo and obsessed with scent. I wasn't going anywhere Scooby Doo with the question. Maybe your Grandad rubbed beeswax into the bust. Or maybe, just maybe, some olden day wood honey treatment is a useful avenue to explore with this mystery bust.

Just some really belated thoughts!
Bibliothecarius (5 stories) (742 posts)
 
9 months ago (2017-01-29)
Greetings, Mods:

Someone or something called "BEBEK MIRING" has reposted my first YGS narrative on the following website: http://bebekmiring.com/news/Grandad's-Carved-Bust/

I was not asked for permission to have my personal experiences copied onto another website without the context of my participation in this forum for 6 months before I posted it on YGS. I joined in the general banter of comments, debunking, researching, and questioning first, so I'd know what to expect as feedback when I shared my narratives.

As a researcher and as a Librarian, I must admit that I was somewhat mollified by the inclusion --at the very end of the post-- of a direct link to this YGS webpage.

As it *is* cited, and the truncated form of my screen-name appears as the last line of the text that was copied, I suppose that no action on my part would be productive? There are links on the other website for others to share the copied text via Facebook and/or Twitter, but no-one seems to have done that (to my relief).

-Biblio.
Bibliothecarius (5 stories) (742 posts)
+1
10 months ago (2016-12-20)
Thanks, Tweed.
I know that this time of year is hellish on college/university profs, with exams & grading; throw in a little seasonal affective disorder & you're looking at a tons of stress & misery hitting someone all at the same time. I appreciate your passing along the message.
Best,
Biblio.
Tweed (22 stories) (2034 posts)
+1
10 months ago (2016-12-19)
Hey Biblio, this is regarding your question about Hecate. Thought I'd reply here because it's one of those responses which is bound to go off topic.

I've heard from her, she wrote a couple short and cryptic responses (after asking me to write to her, which is odd in and of itself!) quite frankly I'm worried about her. The last I heard from her was months ago, she made reference to using a new email address. I've been checking my spam folder in case anything winds up there. But nothing. I don't like quoting private messages on a public forum, but the content of her recent responses has been depressive.

I was going to email her again before Christmas, oddly enough planed to do it today. I'll tell her you miss her. 😊
Bibliothecarius (5 stories) (742 posts)
+2
2 years ago (2015-10-17)
Tweed:

Had my grandfather not been a notorious womanizer, flirt, and occasional embarrassment to his siblings for his scapegrace dalliances, I'd be perfectly willing to entertain the idea of his having a homosexual relationship; it would be nice to think that *someone* had known him well and had loved him for who he was. However, I remember that the corners (plural!) of the carpets in his living room were higher than the rest of the floor, because he thought no-one would find the 3-, 4-, or 5-issue stacks of Penthouse, etc., which were one of his many vices. About a month ago, I did allude to a family secret about "character traits worse than I feel comfortable sharing/alleging without any corroborating evidence," and that I didn't want to delve into "a potentially-provable, incontrovertible piece of family lore." Though the man is quite dead (the cremation resolved any doubts on that score), his secret which I -and others- did not wish to explore is based upon intuition, accumulated incidental evidence, inductive reasoning, and some odd events; we have no direct eyewitness testimony, no hard proof, no professional investigations, etc. Trying to dig up concrete details would be like an episode of "New Tricks" based upon hunches with no supporting evidence whatsoever.

That disclaimer aside, his friendship with this stranger -as you speculate about it- is entirely within the realm of PROBABILITY: "They may have... A shared belief or hobby. The man's knowledge of your Granddad's life and the way he spoke of him suggests a level of intimacy. Even the most selfish and crude people have in them the potential to be kind and generous, given the right nurturing. Maybe this man brought out humane qualities in your Granddad which he was otherwise unable to feel. I can only imagine this level of comfort coming from a place of love and escapism." YUP. That's him alright. Private to the point of paranoia and ridiculously secretive about even the most normal actions. (For example, he liked to snack on cheese & crackers, but he was selfish and didn't want to share them with everyone else; his solution was to hide them in his trouser pockets while watching tv with the family! My dad would lose interest in the program and keep track of how many times Grandad surreptitiously tried to snap the cracker in half *inside his pocket,* then sneak the bits up to his mouth while he thought no-one was watching. I have no idea who'd even want to eat cheddar covered in someone else's pocket lint, but I suppose that was an effective deterrent to sharing.) I can only imagine that the man was a "son substitute," as his eldest spent more time across town with Grandma's sister's family, my deeply-religious mother called him "the most selfish bastard" across the parking lot of his apartment building, and his youngest child -by all accounts his favorite- was something of an unsuccessful entrepreneur (creative ideas & hard work, but only profitable if he worked an 18-hour day, 7 days a week, for months). Perhaps the stranger filled a need Grandad had to appear to be a wiser older brother, or a kindly father figure, because he had only heard Grandad's version of his kids (based upon anything ranging from reality to Winnie-the-Pooh cartoons). This would be entirely in keeping with Grandad's personality, neediness, weakness, selfishness, etc.

Thanks for the perspective,
-Biblio.
Tweed (22 stories) (2034 posts)
+2
2 years ago (2015-10-12)
Biblio,

Hope you don't mind me butting in. Had some thoughts about the man at your Granddad's cremation. These aren't opinions or conspiracy theories just thoughts from an outsider's perspective.

This man may have been linked to your Granddad in a romantic capacity. Albeit a secretive, compartmentalised, perhaps even unspoken bond. They may have shared a love or deep affection either for each other in a homosexual context, or a shared belief or hobby. The man's knowledge of your Granddad's life and the way he spoke of him suggests a level of intimacy. Even the most selfish and crude people have in them the potential to be kind and generous, given the right nurturing. Maybe this man brought out humane qualities in your Granddad which he was otherwise unable to feel. I can only imagine this level of comfort coming from a place of love and escapism.

Whoever this man was to your Granddad is his business. It seems he was afraid of something regarding the segregation and consistent omission of the man's existence.
Death has a habit of revealing what was hidden in life. But some details are forever shrouded in mystery.😊
Bibliothecarius (5 stories) (742 posts)
 
2 years ago (2015-10-10)
Hecate:

I didn't think you were questioning my Grandad's integrity! He didn't have a lot to begin with, then his modicum of integrity suffered heavy damage during WWII. If it is possible to anthropomorphize an attribute, his integrity had serious PTSD issues for the rest of his life.

Sorry to do this to you, as you've shown much patience and interest in this story, but reading the rest of my response will probably require your professional objectivity as a psych prof. I'll understand completely if you decide that you want to take a day or two to respond to this recounting of Grandad's peculiar behaviors.

Grandad sometimes acquired objects of dubious value hoping to sell them at the earliest opportunity to make a profit, even if that item had been given to one of his children as a toy (apparently, he'd presumed his offspring knew the difference between "present" and "loan" without explaining the words, nor identifying what items he handed to his kids fell into which category). As his attention was focused upon money to the detriment of interpersonal relationships, if he HAD said "it's a present" when handing over an item, the opportunity to turn a quick profit would supercede that truth with the idea that he'd let his kids "borrow" the item in the first place so any fuss they made was unreasonable.

I know that, sometimes, he did mean well: in his late 60s/early 70s, he visited us in the US. He told me the story of how he started smoking at age 14, then, as an adult, he'd been smoking 2 packs a day for as long as he could remember; this was all prefaced and concluded with the instruction NOT to smoke cigarettes because he hated them but couldn't stop! He was a selfish and weak-willed man in a great many respects, but not wholly bad.

A couple of years after he'd visited us, Grandad went to the doctor because he'd had an upset stomach for a few days. He hadn't been to a doctor in years, so he had to explain that the last serious physical he'd had was when he'd enlisted in the late 1930s. Ultimately, the doctor was very kind to him, and explained very gently that they thought it had probably started as Renal Cancer, but had metastasized and spread to so many internal organs/systems (stomach, small intestine, spinal column, ribs, lymph nodes, bone marrow...) that he had about three weeks to live. Under the wonderful care of the LOROS hospice staff (I can't imagine his dying peacefully in a hospital which would have required him to go cold-turkey on nicotine after more than 6 decades) his rapid decline lasted only two weeks. My mother flew to England and spent time with him before he died, then was able to attend the funeral before flying home (my parents had taken "3 weeks" very literally when purchasing a round-trip ticket). HERE'S THE POINT: at the brief service were his 3 children, a few other saddened family members (elder son was divorced, mum flew out alone, younger son & his family were there; I think almost all of Grandad's 10 siblings had predeceased him) and ONE COMPLETE STRANGER IN HIS 50s/60s. The stranger was openly weeping and being comforted by the mostly dry-eyed family, bemoaning the death of "the greatest friend" who would "help out people in trouble" and "could never be repaid" for his "generosity." Needless to say, the older siblings were exchanging glances of bemusement (Grandad's youngest had been spoiled & hadn't noticed anything amiss until he was 30). Mum and her brothers were astonished to discover that this complete stranger 1) was at the correct cremation service, 2) knew details about them and their lives in the US and the UK, and 3) had been Grandad's friend for over two decades, after Grandad had helped him out of a sequence of economic crises as a young married man. None of the siblings had even heard the man's name before.

Not only was Grandad selfish, weak-willed, and opportunistic, but also his heretofore 'reserved' and 'secretive' nature was revealed to be full-blown paranoia which kept separate sections of his private life clearly divided from each other. Many people separate 'professional' and 'personal' lives quite naturally, but there's something bizarre about dividing one's social life from one's family life so completely as to omit mention of a decades-old friendship to ANY living relatives.

He would have had no qualms about the provenance of the bust; he would have had a pragmatic approach to owning a beautiful object and displaying it with the likely intention of selling it again later if he needed cash or there was an opportunity to make a decent profit. Presuming your 'war trophy' hypothesis is accurate, his mercenary attitude would have greatly vexed any spiritual entity connected with the bust. She was clearly a beautiful young African woman, and this was in the early 1980s, but given Africa's history of tin-pot dictatorships, border skirmishes, guerilla warfare, (ALMOST ALL being repercussions of the invasions and retreats of assorted colonialist/conquering forces and over-intensified cultural differences) It seems quite credible that someone obtained the artifact through criminal means. Not that this would have bothered Grandad; only the supernatural/inexplicable events which occurred to him mattered.

Grandad did once tell a story about his looting jewellry during the war (this MAY be true OR he may have seen in a movie I've not yet tracked down), but during the retreat from a massive counter-offensive, his Sergeant threw all packs into the river/port/sea, to cram as many infantrymen as possible into the boats. Grandad -in this instance- did not bemoan the loss of life, his deliberate disobedience of his C.O., or his violation of the Geneva Conventions; he was saddened by the likelihood some foreigner had found his hard-stolen treasure years later.

Thanks for letting me ramble a bit;
-Biblio.
Hecate0 (4 stories) (418 posts)
 
2 years ago (2015-10-09)
Biblio,

I think she was stolen during a war perhaps, in a very bad way. The artist was perhaps killed, the woman he used as a model and/or the person on whom he bestowed it. She had great power. So, I was not necessarily questioning your grandfather's integrity in not questioning his fellow losers in dominoes. I just still find her fascinating.

Best,
Hecate
Mimi81 (203 posts)
 
2 years ago (2015-10-06)
Biblio, if she was stolen that would explain the negative energy she gave off. But many art objects are stolen and don't cause the problems she did. Too bad we'll never know what or who gave her that power.
Bibliothecarius (5 stories) (742 posts)
 
2 years ago (2015-10-06)
Hecate:
You may very well be correct about her having been stolen; there is every chance that (to Americanize a common answer from my childhood) "it fell off the back of a truck." I heard this description of many items during my childhood years (every month or so, from various male family members), and it wasn't until I was 5 or 6 that I questioned the undamaged nature of these alleged flotsam of the road. If she felt that Grandad was guilty of receiving stolen goods -however unwittingly- she may have held a deep resentment. We've only got my 3-decade recollection of the version of events that Grandad told everyone when he brought her home; that's the other problem. Grandad always sounded sincere when he spoke, simply because he really believed what he was saying while speaking to others. He might tell the same story three or four times to different visitors, guests, friends, etc., but replace one of the first set of details with a different location, companions, incident, or resolution; this would get compounded the second time he recounted the narrative if he changed another detail while retaining the earlier change. While winning the bust was perfectly consistent with his character (scratch tickets, occasional bets on horses, wagers on dominoes or cards with his friends at the pub,) there's every possibility that he knowingly took home an objet d'art sold to him by the original thief's fence at a huge discount.

I have no way of verifying this at all: any of his living contemporaries are in their mid-90s, I don't speak with the uncle who disposed of the carving, even his local pub (hideous 1960s poured-concrete with a single outward-tilted glass front wall for the both the first and second storeys, so that the building was also its own front door awning!) was levelled about two decades ago should anyone living near there have happened remembered him.

One of the advantages of being an expatriate (as you may know from being a New England transplant to AZ,) is that you may communicate with those family members you miss, yet completely neglect those you didn't like in the first place. Far too many members of my mother's family fall into this sad category. Several of them have befriended my brother on the Facebook website, and I've gone so far as to avoid joining the conversations in which they are active participants...
Hecate0 (4 stories) (418 posts)
 
2 years ago (2015-10-02)
Biblio, I still feel that she was stolen from someone who found her very precious. She has anger. But I do not sense she is bad.

Wordplay is good. 😁

Hecate ❤
Mimi81 (203 posts)
 
2 years ago (2015-09-30)
Biblio, thank you for answering. Reading about the bust and your grandfather's experience was really interesting. All the unanswerable questions just add to the fascination.

Several times I've touched what I guess could best be described as objects with a possible paranormal nature. They were unusually warm to the touch. I wondered if possibly the bust might have been the same.

I suspect that bust has left a trail of weird stories all over the world.
Bibliothecarius (5 stories) (742 posts)
 
2 years ago (2015-09-30)
Hecate:
Anyone who includes wordplay in an update is ok in my book.
Bibliothecarius (5 stories) (742 posts)
+2
2 years ago (2015-09-30)
Hi, Tweed!
You ask the oddest questions!
I'm not certain, but I think it smelled like beeswax.

Mimi & Tweed: it felt cool to the touch, but (I suspect) that's not particularly useful info...
-Biblio.
Bibliothecarius (5 stories) (742 posts)
+1
2 years ago (2015-09-30)
Hi there, Mimi!

I try very hard not to correct anyone's grammar, spelling, or misuse of a word on YGS, unless that writer has baffled my attempts to unscramble the initial idea, or clearly has issues with English as a non-native speaker. Your/you're was not an issue (I've written really stupid statements on the board while verbally responding to a student's question!)

You asked, "the elaborate headscarf the woman was wearing. Did the scarf look like a tribal pattern or something more modern? If it was a tribal pattern, did you ever do any research to find similar patterns?" Sadly, this was beautifully carved and simply polished teak; there was no indication of pattern, nor of color, beyond the natural woodgrain.

Before that, you asked, "Is it possible the swirling was something trying to take form?" From my Grandad's description at the time, I imagined a sort of psychedelic whirlpool effect on the walls, but I could have misunderstood him; an attempt at manifesting a corporeal form makes as much sense as anything else...
Thanks for asking questions; I really wish I could offer more information in response.
-Biblio.
Hecate0 (4 stories) (418 posts)
+4
2 years ago (2015-09-30)
Biblio, I am glad my "too easy to misinterpret" compliment only stung for 5 seconds. I like Biblio being Biblio. So, the second part of the sentence I wrote there sums it up. Please do not stop being Biblio. There. That's my piece/peace.

Hecate ❤
Mimi81 (203 posts)
 
2 years ago (2015-09-30)
Biblio, I have one more question. Did the bust feel warm or cool to the touch?
Tweed (22 stories) (2034 posts)
+2
2 years ago (2015-09-30)
LOL Mimi, I had *exactly* the same thoughts about someone possibly trying to get rid of the bust! 😆

Biblio, horaah! Good to see you back! Few of us were a bit concerned to say the least. So let's get this back on track!

Ok, husband is sat here giggling at me for what I want to ask about this bust. I'm really curious to know what it/she smelled like, if you can remember or even noticed a smell all those years ago.
I'm big time OBSESSED with smell, to the point it annoys people in an amusing fashion. So this is purely a curiosity question.

I can't find the comment right now but I think it was Silentwings who said about the eyes. How the eyes were 'left' relatively simple compared to the rest of the craftsmanship. What Mimi said about scarf style and dating the bust reminded me of this. Maybe the scarf style together with the eyes would help narrow down a time frame and maybe even the creator. 😲 (They make it look so simple on Antiques Roadshow! Lol)
Bibliothecarius (5 stories) (742 posts)
+5
2 years ago (2015-09-30)
Hi, all.

I'm back and I'm responding to questions ABOUT THE WOODEN BUST my Grandad owned.

However, here are a few notes on the derailment of the conversation.

Miracles: Thank you. Thank you, Thank you. I read your post on msforgetmenott's later comment about my writing the explanation, then the apology (although I can't find your message, now!). I am humbled by your kindness and thoughtfulness once again. Even if this entire posting gets deleted by you for being off-topic, at least you'll have read this paragraph. Thank you.

Tweed and Dreamer: I am very glad there are no hard feelings! Thanks for understanding how I mis-read your conversation: Dreamer, I don't throw stones at people because they could do serious injury; Tweed, I'd vote for the "Surprise" emoticon (God knows it surprised me!); Tweed's husband, I tend to give extensive lectures to individuals in the first detention, so I think you get a smiley face sticker: 😊!

Hecate: "Biblio was just being Biblio" stung for about 5 seconds, but the calmest of my inner voices folded his arms in his oversized knitted cardigan, looked askance through his half-moon spectacles, and said in his James Earl Jones voice, "Uh-huh. She's right. You never listen to me beforehand and now she's got the better of you. Are you going to hold *that* against the nice lady? Ruffling feathers that weren't your business in the first place..." He tut-tutted his way into the back of my brain where the coffee pot is kept, mumbling phrases like "damnfool interfering behavior," "thick-headedness," and "why do I even bother warning him?" You were most astute in your assessment: I was being me; any doubts on that score were erased by my need to apologize or to clarify afterward.

Msforgetmenott: You wrote "I guess I tend to be overly sensitive, but I felt hurt and then shamed... In tears, I read and read repeatedly your very long, off topic response... You have burst my bubble... I will never make the mistake of entering words on your thread again, this said in tears." THIS is why I apologized. I'm not very good at gauging other peoples' feelings over the internet, which is how I misread both Dreamer's and Tweed's statements. However, you mentioned tears twice, so I got your unhappiness loud and clear.

Your response to my apology, apparently moved to "My Horse saw Him First" (story=22160), begins with self-justification of your hurt feelings: "you state: DON'T do it on a thread for one of my stories... Now, please look under your name. Does it not say Msforgetmenott? [No; it does not.]...Addressee to addresser: This is simple 6th grade English! You have not directed to whom you write. Perhaps if you had, I would not have thought you were in general, referring to all three of us." I have no idea why this is necessary, as you had been upset and I had apologized, but you've taken umbrage at the second half of a sentence which originally read "If you can't resist the temptation to heap scorn on imaginative, creative, dedicated explorers of ideas, DON'T do it on a thread for one of my stories." This sentence is specifically addressed to anyone who is dismissive of the expansion of human understanding through science. In fact, the sentence is the second half of a paragraph which is introduced by my clarification, "Please, please, please do not condescend to scientists and their methods, when the limiting factor in exploration is usually business 'suits' and 'beancounters.'" As the first half of the paragraph and the first half of the second sentence do not fit with your need to justify your feelings, they are not mentioned in your analysis of the half sentence which you claim is NOT addressed to anyone. Again, I had apologized for having upset you inadvertently, but I had written that the intention of that message had been my defense of scientific thought. The entire posting was prefaced by, "I'm enjoying the banter -don't get me wrong- but I have a serious issue with the generalization that "scientists" are stuck in regimented thinking BECAUSE they're scientists. They are bright people trapped by a stupid social set-up which can yank their funding at any time!" I EXPRESSLY FOCUSED upon the casual dismissal of scientific thought as unimaginative. You didn't write anything that could have been misconstrued as dismissive. Dreamer and Tweed had expressed ideas that provoked my irritation, but there was a lack of context, both for their comments and for my reaction: long since resolved.

I have NO idea why you wrote, "As usual, Biblio, you left me in the dust, just as you do most of us. There now dear, do you now feel better?" How would this make anyone feel better? I'd been busy thanking others (Tweed and Val, in particular) for their perspectives opening up new possibilities for me to consider. I'll admit that my posts can be somewhat frustrating for me to write, as my fingers only type at about 1/3 the speed of my message composition in my head, but that's why I usually take a couple of hours to write out responses, edit them, re-edit them, triple-check for clarity, then post them. Why would I waste time leaving people "in the dust?" I simplify my sentences to speed up the typing process, I add clarifications if I think I'm making too obscure a reference for the general public, and I presume that everyone reading my comments or narratives understands what I have written.

Because I wish to get to your concluding thought, I'll skip commenting on, "I had been waiting to bring up the subject of what I have been reading much of, now I probably will never get the chance. For that I am sorry, you probably would have input."

Your message ends with "Did you have a bit of pain in your left temple for a while? It is gone now isn't it." Seriously: what the hell? Were you trying to SEND me a headache? 🤔 REALLY? No; I've had no pain in my left temple. There's been no pain in my head whatsoever. I've had no head trauma, headache, dizziness, nausea, vertigo, migraine, bruising, pressure, nor nerve damage. I have no idea if it's gone because wherever it was, it wasn't here. Did you send the a headache via Voodoo? If so, perhaps you have a malfunctioning poppet which needs to get stuffed. Is the Left-Hand Path more your style: Sethian sex magic to create a headache? Headaches are the archetypical of excuses to avoid sex, but sexual behaviors improve overall bloodflow and release endorphins which relieve headaches: a self-defeating exercise. Right-Hand Path rituals with which I'm familiar wouldn't send out one headache without the sevenfold binding causing the sender intense pain (I have trouble believing anyone enduring that much agony just to send pain to me). Did you encrypt a neural-feedback message within your post, so that anyone who reads it will get a headache? Doubtful; there'd be vitriolic responses about headaches from everyone who read it. Was this comment just an attempt to irritate me before you accepted my apology IN THE POST-SCRIPT? Were you seriously so bent on writing out the self-justification of your feelings that you forgot to write that you'd accepted the apology? "PS: Your forgiven! Biblio, we all welcome your words even if we need the Daniel Webster dictionary to see what they mean. Please address properly."

Msforgetmenott, I'll introduce a brief clarification: Daniel Webster was a New Hampshire Lawyer, a Constitutional scholar, a Congressman (first from N.H., then from MA.), a Senator (Massachusetts again), and *twice* served as Secretary of State. NOAH Webster was the lexicographer from the West Division of Hartford (now "West Hartford"), Connecticut. After Noah Webster died, the Merriam brothers of West Brookfield, MA, bought the rights to his dictionary, and eventually moved the enterprise to Springfield. However, through common attribution, ANY dictionary in the U.S. Has the right to print "Webster's" on the front cover as a generic term (though why Americans are enamored of a man who wanted to change the spelling of "women" to "wimmin" has yet to be made clear).
Mimi81 (203 posts)
+1
2 years ago (2015-09-29)
Biblio, please ignore the "your" instead of "you're". I really shouldn't type and talk at the same time.
Mimi81 (203 posts)
+1
2 years ago (2015-09-29)
Biblio, your back! I definitely have some questions. You mentioned the elaborate headscarf the woman was wearing. Did the scarf look like a tribal pattern or something more modern? If it was a tribal pattern, did you ever do any research to find similar patterns?

Did your grandfather know the age of the bust or where it originated? If you knew the area it came from originally it would help to understand if maybe the bust itself had "power" and if some practioners could put powers in the bust.

Can you tell this story really caught my attention? I've even theorized some guy purposely lost the domino game just to get rid of the bust.

😆

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