Home Museum institution A collector opens a museum in Brooklyn to showcase HUMAN bones

A collector opens a museum in Brooklyn to showcase HUMAN bones

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The air is a chill inside a new Brooklyn museum where 110 human spines hang on the wall, whole skeletons stand upright from the ground and more than 90 skulls are in a display case for everyone to see inside. from next month.

While the sight of human remains may conjure up thoughts of serial killers, Jon Pichaya Ferry uses his large collection to educate people about the stigmatized market of the bone trade.

Ferry, 22, told DailyMail.com that there are hundreds of thousands of human skeletons in the United States that were used for medical purposes, but now they are gathering dust in attics because people don’t don’t know what to do with it – and he created his company Jon Bones as a solution.

“People feel stuck with the bones because schools won’t take them and it’s illegal to dispose of them improperly,” Ferry said.

“JonsBones provides them with a service. Every piece we have in the showroom is from people who inherited them from a family member who was once in the medical field.

Jon Pichaya Ferry showcases his large collection of human bones at his new Brooklyn museum in hopes of educating the public about the bone trade market

The museum features a wall filled with 110 human spines.  All bones were once used for medical or educational purposes and are legally owned.  Many remains belonged to doctors and professors in the 1950s who have since died and left the bones to their next of kin.

The museum features a wall filled with 110 human spines. All bones were once used for medical or educational purposes and are legally owned. Many remains belonged to doctors and professors in the 1950s who have since died and left the bones to their next of kin.

The collection, worth around $500,000, is displayed in a 175 square foot space in the center of a trendy Bushwick neighborhood and while visitors can feast on the remains, they will also learn the history of the way the bone trade came about during the one hour tour.

The humble beginnings of the bone trade date back to 18th century Britain, when a group of body thieves called the Resurrectionist stole human remains for medical schools.

In the United States, people stole the remains of Native Americans for profit.

Word of these night thefts began to spread, forcing governments to step in and create regulations against such acts.

Ferry has over 90 skulls which are displayed in a large glass display case which he uses to educate people on the history of human remains sold in the market

Ferry has over 90 skulls which are displayed in a large glass display case which he uses to educate people on the history of human remains sold in the market

Ferry told DailyMail.com that there were hundreds of thousands of human skeletons in the United States that were used for medical purposes, but now they're gathering dust in attics because people don't know what to do with them. - and he created his company JonsBones as a solution

Ferry told DailyMail.com that there were hundreds of thousands of human skeletons in the United States that were used for medical purposes, but now they’re gathering dust in attics because people don’t know what to do with them. – and he created his company JonsBones as a solution

The bones were then purchased in the United States from China and India.

“In 1983, 63,000 skulls were shipped to the US and UK in one year,” Ferry said.

“People don’t realize the scale and volume and even though many of these institutions have moved [from purchasing human bones]the bones still exist.’

Outsourcing stopped once “medical companies started springing up to fuel that demand,” Ferry continued.

“There were 14 major bone companies that supplied all of the global trade, but only four or five are still in operation.”

And that’s where JonsBones comes in.

Many of the skeletons in the museum were in people's attics because they had been passed down from a family member and the new owners didn't know what to do with them.  Ferry offers these people a place to dispose of leftovers that can eventually be used by educational institutions

Many of the skeletons in the museum were in people’s attics because they had been passed down from a family member and the new owners didn’t know what to do with them. Ferry offers these people a place to dispose of leftovers that can eventually be used by educational institutions

The collection, valued at around $500,000, is displayed in a 175-square-foot space in the center of a trendy Bushwick neighborhood.  Pictured is the location at 44 Stewart Avenue

The collection, valued at around $500,000, is displayed in a 175-square-foot space in the center of a trendy Bushwick neighborhood. Pictured is the location at 44 Stewart Avenue

JonsBones’ website claims that it sells “responsibly sourced human osteology” and that its mission is to “de-stigmatize a stigmatized industry”.

Ferry only focuses on bones that show indications of medical use – nothing archaeological, he told DailyMail.com.

At JonsBones, the remains are photographed, preserved, documented and preserved “so that future generations can learn”.

Ferry, who is studying product design full-time at Parsons, discovered his love for bones when he was just 13 and his father gave him a mouse skeleton.  Pictured is Ferry as a young boy with his father

Ferry, who is studying product design full-time at Parsons, discovered his love for bones when he was just 13 and his father gave him a mouse skeleton. Pictured is Ferry as a young boy with his father

Ferry said his collecting service institutions might need a skeleton or two — which can sell for at least $6,000 each.

Bones for sale also include femurs, skulls, spines, and whatever Ferry has in bulk at the moment.

“These bones are not for decoration or vanity and are not used as a gadget, but are used for education and learning,” he said.

“We’re getting these coins into the hands that can benefit from them.”

Ferry, who is studying product design full-time at Parsons School of Design in New York, discovered his love for bones when he was just 13 and his father gave him a mouse skeleton.

“I wanted to study osteology, but I couldn’t access the bones in the state I was in,” he said.

This led him to realize that there are human bones in people’s homes and they don’t know what to do with them.

These bones were largely from the 1950s and 1960s, when medical students had to buy the remains for classes.

Decades later, these people have passed away and now their next of kin are the new owners of the bones – and many fear the legality of their possession and disposal.

Ferry said he has received thousands of emails from people who have skeletons in their closets and are terrified of getting into trouble because of it.

He went on to explain that his degree in product design allowed him to adopt a different methodology for identifying skeletons.

“I look at it from a design perspective, from the way it was made,” Ferry said. “I can determine where it came from by looking at the pins.

For example, brass and copper were used from 1920 to 1960 and then people switched to brass.

These small details, according to Ferry, help him discover how the remains were prepared, helping him identify where they came from.

The Brooklyn Museum, which will officially open next month, features a total of nine complete skeletons, more than 90 skulls and a wall of 110 human spines, as well as thousands of detached bones.

“I’ve always preached open accessibility and transparency,” said Ferry, who went on to explain that the museum allows people to ask questions and voice their opinions about the bone trade.

“People in Western cultures have romanticized the true crime theories that exist,” he said.

“When people see bones, their minds jump to pop culture and not to a scientific or educational point of view, and we want to have a conversation about that.”

While Ferry’s business is legal, there are plenty in the United States that aren’t — and most of them are setting up shop on social media.

In 2020, Facebook opened an investigation into several private groups selling and soliciting human remains, including skulls, fetal remains and even a six-year-old mummified child dated to the 1700s.

While Facebook has a policy that explicitly prohibits “the buying or selling of human body parts or fluids,” some users have found a workaround by taking advantage of the site’s private groups feature.

A seller listed a human skull for $1,300, claiming it was from a “young teenage girl”, but offered no further information about its origin.

And a separate listing described an elongated skull allegedly from Peru, on sale for $10,500.

There are no federal laws in the United States that prevent individuals from possessing, buying, or selling human remains, unless the remains are Native Americans.