Canada markets closed
  • S&P/TSX

    19,999.59
    -144.45 (-0.72%)
     
  • S&P 500

    4,166.45
    -55.41 (-1.31%)
     
  • DOW

    33,290.08
    -533.37 (-1.58%)
     
  • CAD/USD

    0.8021
    -0.0073 (-0.90%)
     
  • CRUDE OIL

    71.50
    +0.46 (+0.65%)
     
  • BTC-CAD

    44,805.99
    -1,122.16 (-2.44%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    888.52
    -51.42 (-5.47%)
     
  • GOLD FUTURES

    1,763.90
    -10.90 (-0.61%)
     
  • RUSSELL 2000

    2,237.75
    -49.71 (-2.17%)
     
  • 10-Yr Bond

    1.4500
    -0.0610 (-4.04%)
     
  • NASDAQ

    14,030.38
    -130.97 (-0.92%)
     
  • VOLATILITY

    20.70
    +2.95 (+16.62%)
     
  • FTSE

    7,017.47
    -135.96 (-1.90%)
     
  • NIKKEI 225

    28,964.08
    -54.25 (-0.19%)
     
  • CAD/EUR

    0.6758
    -0.0036 (-0.53%)
     

Shrunken Head Used in '70s Film Wise Bloods Revealed to Be Real and ‘Made from Human Tissue’

·2 min read
Shrunken Head Used in Seventies Film Wise Bloods
Shrunken Head Used in Seventies Film Wise Bloods

Screenbound Pictures

A shrunken head that was used in the 1979 dark comedy Wise Bloods was recently authenticated and confirmed to have been real human remains.

The head, known as a tsantsa, was a sacred artifact obtained by Mercer University in 1942 after a former faculty member acquired it in Ecuador while serving in the U.S. military, scientists Craig D. Byron and Adam M. Kiefer from the Georgia university revealed in a research paper shared on Heritage Science

In the film Wise Bloods, the shrunken head was attached to a fake tiny body and became the object of worship from one of the characters.

"The singular artifact in this paper is presumed to be an authentic tsantsa composed of human tissue," professors Byron and Kiefer wrote in their research paper.

RELATED: Melissa McCarthy Shares Empowering Note She Wrote to Herself Years Ago: 'Still Stands'

The scientists at Mercer University performed countless tests over the years to authenticate the artifact so that it could be returned to Ecuador's government.

"It's a relief to have the specimen out of our possession," Byron toldThe Art Newspaper Monday. "It had 'underground' value; it was illegal to trade or sell; it was the skin from a person's head."

He added, "We had no business holding on to this item. It was a rewarding conclusion to a project hanging around since 2015."

Tsantsas "are cultural artifacts that were made from human remains by certain indigenous culture groups of Ecuador and Peru. Typically, male members of the Amazonian Shuar, Achuar, Awajún/Aguaruna, Wampís/Huambisa, and Candoshi-Shampra," according to the research paper.

RELATED: Bowl Bought at Yard Sale for $35 Turns Out to Be Ancient Chinese Artifact That Could Fetch $500K

The Mercer University scientists added that they are made from the skin "of enemies slain during combat" and were believed to contain "the spirit of the victim and all their technical knowledge and thus were considered to possess supernatural qualities and represent a source of personal power for the owner."

The experts revealed the artifacts became "monetarily valuable as keepsakes and curios during the nineteenth century."

Because of the value placed on the heads, experts had to spend years testing the tsantsa's size, structure, hair, hairstyle and many other factors. They also performed CT scans.

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

Over the years, scammers tried to replicate tsantas using animals, synthetic materials or "the heads of European victims," in order to get money for the items, the Mercer University scientists wrote.

"We were able to affirm 30 of the 33 authenticating indicators," they revealed of the shrunken head used in Wise Bloods.

Watch: 'Venom - Let There Be Carnage': UK trailer

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting