Hobbies Long Gone
In Victorian times, for example, women wove human hair into brooches, hair ornaments, picture frames and chatelaines (a key chain that hooks onto a belt), to commemorate dead people or loved ones away at war. The practice was especially popular in the South during the Civil War, says Scott Reynolds Nelson, a history professor at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va. Especially prized were bits of hair clipped from the locks of celebrities of the time, like Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis.
The mother of all morbid hobbies may be collecting shrunken heads. From the late 1800s until the 1930s, Europeans traded muskets for heads shrunk by the Shuar people of the Ecuadoran and Peruvian jungle, says William Jamieson, an ancient and tribal art dealer in Toronto.
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