THE SPIKE PEOPLE OF EAST WESSEX

Latin: Spiciformis Populus Oriente Wessexiae

These busts are reproductions of the two famous skull-with-interior spikes excavated in the time of Cynric (534-560 C.E), as dated from the West Saxon Genealogical Regnal List. Their appearance (as explained in the Regnal List as conic-implant experiments in cranial manipulation) was used to frighten the neighboring Britons in the Battle of Beranburh (“Barberry Castle” 556) upon ritual dissection of the enemy. Their excavation from the site and the subsequent court sensation of this discovery in 1658 soon inspired Charles II—in a moment of reverse inspiration—to order the head of Oliver Cromwell excavated from Westminster Abbey, to be impaled on a 20-foot spike, where it was felled by a storm in 1685. Johnny Rotten of the punk band the Sex Pistols, was reported in Rolling Stone to have one of the skulls on his floor when composing the line “No Future” from their song “God Save the Queen.”

– BY DAVIS SCHNEIDERMAN