Tim, this is your area of the woods...this is from "The Plains Dealer" and dear friend you are a reporter...please send me feed back on anthing you know or do...Peace Debbra...
Please write, call, SCREAM...do anything to let these people know how WRONG this is...may there be a "special place" for those who do things like this...Peace
Halloween display frighteningly appalling
'Little Indian girl' mummy angers some
Saturday, October 15, 2005
Plain Dealer Reporter
The "little Indian girl" looks like what its owner insists it is: a centuries-old mummified skeleton. It lies in a 3-foot-long plastic coffin, its hands and feet the size of a baby's. Delicate blackened bones carry shreds that look like skin. An orange-size skull has ears, teeth and lidded eye sockets.
Add to that the owner's contention that anyone touching the coffin will dream of the 12-year-old dwarf American Indian girl it supposedly once was, and you've got something creepy - and offensive, depending on one's perspective.
The mummy is the star attraction at Fright World, the Halloween extravaganza at the Lake County Fairgrounds in Painesville Township. The skeleton's owner, Tom Godard of Medina, hauls it there in his SUV.
Though Godard says he has fielded only rare complaints from people who see his exhibit, a local American Indian leader is outraged.
"If this is legitimate, if this is an actual Native American or anyone else for that matter, it is way over the top to display it in a haunted house," said Tony LoGrande, assistant director of the American Indian Education Center in Cleveland.
He is also the son of a member of the Ojibway tribe of northwestern Ontario. "It downright enrages me to see some child on display for people to goggle at," he said.
Godard, 47, has a history of being an impresario of the weird.
He had a yearbook he said was signed by serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, a classmate at Revere High School in Richfield. He once owned Haunted Hill Farm, a Halloween pumpkin and hayride site in Copley Township, but sold it 1997 - when zoning restrictions halted his plans for operating an adjacent indoor haunted attraction.
Then Godard traveled south, converting a Kissimmee, Fla., gift shop into a combination museum and novelties store. There, the remains were shown alongside other oddities, including the coffin used by Barnabas Collins, the vampire character in the TV soap "Dark Shadows." Godard said he closed the museum shortly after it opened in 1998 because of his poor health.
He auctioned many exhibit items, but kept the skeleton he said he bought for about $20,000 from a California supplier of artifacts and medical specimens. After he moved to Medina, Godard took the skeleton to exhibits in Wisconsin and to last year's Halloween event at the Lake County Fairgrounds.
Godard declined to produce a receipt from the supplier who sold him the skeleton or even name the firm.
The skeleton was seized by the FBI in the mid-1990s and approved by the U.S. Department of Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs as genuine, according to a Fright World news release. Godard said it was returned two years later. The FBI office in Tampa, Fla., could not confirm this.
But Godard might have another problem. A spokeswoman for the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Washington, D.C., said the bureau is concerned about the news release that claims the bureau approved the skeleton as an artifact.
"There is no such thing as Bureau of Indian Affairs approval for artifact legitimacy," said Nedra Darling. "We would not support the display of this so-called mummy. Looking closely at this, there may be some law enforcement issues that we need to address in this case."
The Bureau of Indian Affairs is not the only federal arm concerned with Godard's activity, especially if he intends to sell the mummy. Godard has set the price on the object he refers to as "the little Indian girl" at $15,000.
Sherry Hutt, national program manager for the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, said selling the remains could violate federal law because someone is selling American Indian human remains without the "right of possession." Right of possession typically means that only a family member or the person himself can decide how remains will be disposed, Hutt said. That the skeleton may be old or that it was found in the 1920s makes no difference, said Hutt. A first-time trafficking conviction carries a one-year prison term.
Godard says he treats "the little Indian girl" with respect, keeping the coffin under glass and discouraging visitors from touching the coffin. However, the skeleton, along with a "Dead Granny" and other props, will spend Wednesday with contestants who will vie to see who can endure staying overnight in one of the haunted houses.
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