Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Aucamville Project 9: A gruesome discovery

A pal texted me just a short while ago to alert me that a human forearm has been discovered in a wood near Aucamville.  The police are looking for the rest of the body, if there's one to be found, in an ever-widening circle around the chapel of Notre Dame de Boisville (post from July 1, 2010).

The article can be found here, but there's not much to be learned.  Dogs found it while their master was walking them in the woods, the arm has been sent off to be CSI'd and the police are looking for more clues.

Yow.  You know we've been a bit quippy about those Canadian feet.  A lot less funny when it's a kilometer or so from your house, a place I frequently go during Summer to relax and watch the sun go down....

Still, several bad puns present themselves:  It's Armageddon!  Notre dame de Brasville ("bras" being "arm" and rhymes with "bois"), Aux Armes, Citoyens!  We should stop by and lend the police a hand, etc.  All in poor taste, I know.  Sorry.

Finally, an historical tidbit.  Just before the Revolution, scandal rocked these parts when a religious mystic who had made this chapel his home was murdered by two brothers.  In a place this old, one need not dig too deep for histories of violence....

Jan. 20

Local rag La Dépêche du Midi reports that results of the DNA analysis should be ready tomorrow and that the arm is not from the ossuary adjacent to the chapel.  Depending upon the results, a major excavation may begin towards the end of the month. 

Investigators have also dismissed rumours about a student dissection gone wrong.  I'm not sure if this in response to a rumor or if they just want to head this one off at the pass!  I'm sure it's the former, which means I'm missing out on some good speculatin' down at the café!

Jan. 21

Update from the Dépêche.  The arm belonged to an adult male.  The police are currently compiling a list of missing persons, focusing on the two départements which meet at the area, but also looking at national cases.  A large search is anticipated with sniffer dogs and manpower.  The Margestaud creek and Garonne will be explored with a kind of sounding device.  A helicopter will add eyes in the sky.  A lot of excitement for such a quiet place.

This story has got me to thinking about dismemberment in history.  A missing hand has been a recurring literary device.
  • I recently read The Lost Symbol, where it kicks off (punches off?) the "plot"
  • ....this made me think of Luke Skywalker /Darth Vader....Vader is actually referenced in the book in what I took as a reference to the shared mythological resonance of a severed hand.  
  • Captain Hook comes to mind.   
  • The Monkey's Paw revolves around the magical power of not a human but a monkey's hand....which brings me to the Hand of Glory.   
  • This guy has a neat collection about the HoG "and other gory tales about human hands."  
  • And then there's Jesus, who according to some translations said:  "If your right hand offends you, cut it off...."  (Matthew 5:30; Mark 9:43).
Any other famous dismembered hands come to mind?


  1. How timely a post, what with the new banner showing the captured evidence from the crime scene

  2. Other odd coincidences:

    Tim W. updated his Facebook status thusly:

    "Power saws! And finding a disembodied hand in your glovebox."

    This was Tuesday.

    Then yesterday, I left my Facebook account open at work and someone wrote

    "silly me, leaving my facebook open. Guess who hacked it?"

    In response to this Charles "Chuck" B. wrote:

    "The one-armed man?"

    Strange to find two dismembered arm/hand comments from out of the blue just before a man actually finds one near my home....

  3. A body has been found....


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