Halloween, Skulls, Jericho and Mortality

Most of us have photo albums with photos that evoke fond memories! Leafing through the outdated ass and perusing the black and white photos of my great-grandfather, I recall the trips in the pram and even the pleasant smell of cherry tobacco coming from his tube.

My great-grandfather, bless his soul, passed away long ago. If you’re like me, you probably also have pictures of deceased loved ones. When you look at these photos, do you remember any fond memories of past years? Do you remember the happy times you shared? Are they almost still alive?

Most of us don’t realize it, but these images also evoke deeper subconscious emotions that revolve around the theme of mortality and death. As uncomfortable as it is, we are surrounded by such images. From TV news to Hollywood horror movies, we see images that remind us that one day we will really cease to exist!

At no other time of year is it like on Halloween eve, when people dress up in deadly costumes and decorate their homes and gardens with skeletons, skulls and other scary things.

What comes to mind when you think of turtles? Do you remember cemeteries, bounty hunters, shrivelled heads or maybe skulls and crossed bones of pirate flags? You probably wouldn’t think of the Bible! However, in the 1950s a Cambridge archaeologist came across an amazing discovery, indeed a biblical one.

They worked on the site of the ancient city of Jericho, which you may remember from the Old Testament book of Joshua. Packing their belongings, they saw something protruding from an area dating back about 9,000 years. They made a startling discovery – a human skull unlike any other.

It was an unusual skull, as it was reconstructed with plaster. The artist reconstructed her nose and entire face and used very valuable kauri shells before her eyes. The skull was also square at the base, so it could stand upright.

Even more unique was the fact that this skull was not found in the cemetery. He was on a shelf in one of the old mansions in Jericho. Not only did they find one of these skulls along with the other excavations, they intended to look for eight more.

The archaeologist was amazed! What are these skulls used for? What did they mean? Why would anyone who lived in Jericho 9,000 years ago decorate their home with a reconstructed skull? The only plausible explanation they could find was that these skulls were a portrait similar to our photographs of deceased relatives.

Some psychologists believe that images of our deceased loved ones can give us some comfort and help us come to terms with the reality of our own mortality.

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