By Jake Lapham
A shopping trip in Florida has taken an eerie turn after a human skull was discovered in the Halloween section of a charity shop.
An eagle-eyed anthropologist browsing the store on Saturday spotted the skull and suspected it belonged to a human, officials said.
Detectives visited the store and agreed it was likely to be human.
The store owner told investigators the skull had been in a storage unit after being purchased several years ago.
Police in North Fort Myers, around 160 miles (260km) north-west of Miami, and the local medical examiner are now investigating the discovery and will inspect the skull further.
Officials do not believe the case is suspicious.
The Lee County Sheriff’s Office made light of the discovery on social media, describing it as a “twist of not-so-humerus events”.
Under Florida law, “no person shall knowingly offer to purchase or sell … any human organ or tissue for valuable consideration”. The statute covers eyes, corneas, kidneys, livers, hearts, lungs, pancreases, bones and skin.
A similar finding was reported in Arizona in September when a human skull was found in a donation box at a Goodwill charity store.
Experts said while the skull was human, it was probably ancient and not associated with any crime.
While the surprise findings in Arizona and Florida may sound creepy, skulls discovered by researchers have captivated anthropologists and shed light on the evolution of humankind.
In 2019, researchers discovered a nearly complete 3.8 million year-old skull in Ethiopia in Africa.
That unearthing was significant because the skull belonged to a species that gave rise to the first early humans.