Reminiscences: Easter Island Skull Find

When I was five my parents took me to Easter Island -even today not the most common of holiday destinations. I have lots of memories about the place, all united by a tangible sense that we were in some place weird.

The airport was a shed. The customs was a trestle table. There were no trees and lots of just… crazy statues.

But the key memory I have of this trip, and one that I think has shaped me to a degree, was as follows (I’m going to write the memory down first and then ring up my folks to compare):

There was a kind of cairn thing. A pile of rocks in the middle of nowhere. At the base of this cairn was a cave, a small opening that a child, but not an adult, could enter. I crawled inside and there, in the dim, was a collection of bones. I seem to remember a pile of skulls but I can’t remember how many. I do remember taking a skull and backing off out of the cave to show my parents.

I guess they were a bit freaked out by their little boy emerging from some chthonic nook with a human skull in his hands. That’s all I can remember.

…… I just called my folks.

This is what they remember….

Pretty much as described but. It was an altar on the north side of the island… underneath a plinth. I wanted to take the skull home… they wouldn’t let me… I had to crawl back in and put the skull back.

That’s all they can remember…. To my dad, a far more prominent memory of that trip wasn’t his son finding a skull but him losing his briefcase.