On Friday, if you were browsing Facebook Marketplace in the Twin Cities area, the following listing might have given you pause.
Yup. That, according to the post, is a “real human skeleton in a coffin,” “just in time for Halloween,” and it costs $100. The coffin, which is four feet long and 16 inches wide, has a little window where you can view the bones in all of their spooky glory.
Absent of context, it is absolutely fucking chilling.
Now, you probably have questions. So did we. But the post vanished quickly on Friday afternoon, so interested parties are out of luck.
Fortunately for us, the original lister, Ross Rogney of Excelsior, was able to indulge us.
First of all, he admits, he’s never used Facebook Marketplace before, and frankly, he did not expect this post to get the amount of heat that it did. Looking back, he says, it’s possible he should have provided a little more information.
Rogney is a member of a charitable fraternity called the Odd Fellows. It’s been around since the 1700s, and like a lot of old clubs, it’s got a few eccentric traditions and rituals. For example, new members often go through a ceremony in which they come face-to-face with a skeleton.
It’s a sort of prop that’s supposed to represent both morality and mortality, Rogney says. That if one is not living in the service of others, they’re not actually living.
“Before you become a giving person, you’re dead,” he says.
Rogney says his Odd Fellows group is selling their current building, which means they have to unload a lot of the stuff they happen to have lying around over the next two years. That includes a lot of ornate oak chairs, cool halberd-looking things, and yes, a human skeleton in a coffin.
Before listing the skeleton, Rogney says he consulted a friend who works at a funeral home. He felt like this was a “huge moral dilemma,” and wasn’t sure what to do. Should the bones be respectfully buried? Was it right to sell them at all?
But his friend pointed out that the skeleton is, in fact, articulated – reinforced with metal in a way that suggests display and scientific study. This was seemingly a person whose body had been donated to research. So, Rogney figured he’d put it up for sale, thinking a nice chiropractic school might be interested. He’d donate the proceeds to the Odd Fellows’ charitable efforts.
By the time he got back from his lunch break on Friday, his phone had exploded. He had texts from 42 people interested in the bones. He decided he’d better pull the post off Marketplace before things got out of control.
All this to say, don’t worry about the Facebook skeleton, but know it is very much no longer available for sale. However, if you’re interested in some cool chairs or bigass axes, you should probably stay tuned.