Man Carries Around Skeleton Of His Amputated Arm
A man from Edmonton in the Canadian province of Alberta managed to turn his tragedy into a conversation starter when he decided to have his injured arm amputated and turned into a taxidermied keepsake.
Mark Holmgren was 17 when he borrowed his friend's motorbike and was involved in a crash, in turn injuring his shoulder.
He told CTV: "I was just driving too fast, turned the corner and I wiped out.
"I tore the nerves in my shoulder. It was a brachial plexus injury and from that day I could never use it. Couldn't move it, couldn't feel it."
Holmgren, who's now 37, ended up walking around with his non-working arm for nearly two decades, before eventually deciding he wanted to do something about it - something pretty drastic.
Back in April, he figured it would make sense to amputate the arm and contacted doctors at the University of Alberta Hospital.
However, not ready to part with his limb altogether, Holmgren also made the decision to get it preserved so that he could hold onto it forever.
Holmgren continued: "At first it was: 'I'm going to wait, they'll be able to fix it, they're coming up with new stuff, give me a robotic arm', stuff like that - and I've been waiting too long.
"I just decided to remove it. Move on, I guess."
About a month after the surgery, the lab called Holmgren to tell him his arm was ready to be collected, so he rocked up and 'carried it out of the hospital in a garbage bag', before taking it home and popping it in the freezer for a month or so.
Then came the time to shop around for a taxidermy business willing to clean and preserve a human arm, something that Holmgren admitted was a bit of a challenge, for obvious reasons.
"A couple of them told me no, like right away," he said.
"There was no way that they were going to touch human body parts."
Eventually, he had some luck when the good (brave) folk at Legends Taxidermy in Drayton Valley said they'd be up for it.
According to the Daily Mail, this involved stripping the bones with the help of hundreds of beetles and other insects, which chewed the flesh over the course of several weeks.
Opting against reconstructing the arm to be lifelike as is conventional with taxidermied animals, the taxidermist stripped the bones with the help of hundreds of bugs and beetles who gnawed off the flesh over a series of weeks.
Referring to the job as the 'highlight of the year' Legends Taxidermy wrote on Instagram: "Our client Mark was in a severe motor cycle accident over 15 years ago and lost use of his arm.
"Finally this past year he was able to get it amputated and asked if we would clean it up for him. Its the oddest project we have ever had but one of the most fulfilling seeing it all come together."
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The highlight of the year has got to be working on this incredible project we were honored with. Our client Mark was in a severe motor cycle accident over 15 years ago and lost use of his arm. Finally this past year he was able to get it amputated and asked if we would clean it up for him. Its the oddest project we have ever had but one of the most fulfilling seeing it all come together. #taxidermy #taxidermist #legendstaxidermy #hand #dermistidbeetles #beetling #beetles #skeletalwork
Hashtags included #dermistidbeetles #beetling and #beetles.
Holmgren dropped the arm off, and was reunited with it just before the festive season - meaning he could even take it with him to Christmas dinner with his family.
Holmgren explained: "Some of them wanted to touch it, some of them don't want to touch it.
"It's just mixed feelings when people see it."
He still plans to let others have a gawp, but said it may just end up 'behind the sink in the kitchen', adding: "I'm happy I did it. It's just not for everybody."
Featured Image Credit: CTV