Shoes Made of Human Skin: Fashion Not for the Weak of Stomach
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Shoes Made of Human Skin: Fashion Not for the Weak of Stomach

What kind of fashion aficionado are you? Do you have leather bags, or leather shoes that are the envy of all friends at the local country club? Are you looking to set yourself apart from the Coach bag crowd? This may be the perfect article for you. The next time somebody asks you what material your purse is made out of, you can proudly state, human! That's right! Read on to learn the latest in the macabre fashion arts.

Are you in the market for a new pair of human skin shoes? How about a bracelet or a hat? No. You didn’t read wrong, and your eyes are not deceiving you. If you are in the market for one of these macabre items of the weird variety, you are in luck.

Recently, while studying for a report in a US History course, I came across the epic story of old west outlaw, “Big Nose” Jim Parrott.  Big Nose was not a nice man. He, along with approximately ten coconspirators plotted to rob a Union Pacific rail train, which ultimately lead to a derailing, and the death of several people. After several of his fellow thugs were tracked down, and forced to spill the beans, two lawmen were sent into the Wyoming wilderness to apprehend Parrott, and another of his criminal gang. Unfortunately for the lawmen, Parrott and his evil friend got the drop on the lawmen and bludgeoned them to death, before dismembering the two men.

Parrott was on the run for two more years after this day before he was tracked down, arrested and hanged. After the death, Parrott’s body was unclaimed, and made its way into the hands of Dr. John Osborne. The good doctor’s wife was legally insane, and he had hoped to investigate Parrott’s brain to find a cure for whatever ailed his unfortunate wife. After observing the brain of the dead criminal, Osborne removed several sections of Parrott’s skin, and sent them to a local tanner, who made shoes out of the grotesque remnants. Later in life, Osborne became the governor of Wyoming, and campaigned throughout the state wearing his taboo fashion equipment. The shoes now reside in a museum in Wyoming.

All of this got me to thinking about the whole, human skin fashion world. I was convinced upon first thought, that surely there were laws that would prevent this kind of practice in the modern era. But alas! As I often am in modern society, I was dead wrong.

Enter the “Human Leather Company” based in the UK. According to the company’s website, they are experts in fashioning all things popular out of you guessed it, human skin.

According to the official site, there is nothing illegal about this practice however they claim that the expense of doing business in this industry is very expensive. This I would likely agree with, although not for the reasons they purport. The site claims that all leathers are attained by willing donors, but also, that the company turns away certain skins because they are after only the finest human skins.

So what can you get? Well, you can get a full items list from the company’s official website, here. Buyer beware, while this practice may not be illegal in the UK, it is indeed illegal to barter, purchase, or trade in human remains in the United States. Recently, a New York pawn shop was fined over one million dollars for purchasing a small piece of a mummified human hand.

Unfortunately for the American collector of human oddities, this fashion statement will have to be put on the back burner, but isn’t it nice to know that all flavors, no matter how demented, can be purchased if the price is right?

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