Tumblr awoke earlier this month to the story that a woman had been sent an amputated toe, with which she intended to make a pendant.
As Twitter reported with horror:
She claims she received a medical specimen jar containing a toe.
The fourth toe (second to pinkie) of her friend, to be exact.
'Lana' is a jewellery maker with a keen interest in voodoo and working with materials such as teeth and dead animals.
Her bio reads:
I'm Lana. From Massachusetts. Still angsty but no longer a teenager. Medical marijuana patient. Little. I collect dead things. Friendly & non judgmental [...]
This is going to get weird. I'm going to make this weird.
According to her blog, her work is inspired by New Orleans voodoo culture:
A specific shop in New Orleans has about six human skulls out in the open for people to touch, along with a mummified cat on the wall, and other great oddities. It was my first exposure to that kind of stuff as a child.
And stepping back several hundred or thousand years most civilizations and tribes wore or preserved human remains as mementos. But whatever *shrug* I still like what I like.
She writes that she usually works with human teeth, but the toe is a first. Nevertheless, she is "familiar with working with wet specimens".
Her creations are sold via Etsy under the name PastelAlienShop.
According to her blog, a friend commissioned her to make the pendant. The toe, she writes, was amputated nearly a decade ago for medical reasons.
It has an expiration date because "preservation solution only lasts a few years":
Her fluid is like nearly six years past due lol hence why I'm changing it out for her.
Lana told Buzzfeed she intends to re-preserve the appendage because her friend, Hayley, wants it to "remain a wet specimen":
I'll be changing the jar and preservation solution, then I'll be electroforming the lid shut and adding crystals or stones to make it extra sparkly and pretty .
Responses ranged from disgusted, to intrigued and curious, to highly offended (perceptions of racial/cultural appropriation of voodoo culture).
And also, sheer disbelief.
But this one Twitter user summed things up rather nicely:
There's really very little else we can say about this.