Lithopedion

Came across a strange story yesterday on Fox News Latino. The mummified remains of a fetus, which weighed 3 pounds and 12 ounces, were found during an abdominal X-ray exam of a woman in the Dominican Republic who had been suffering stomach pains for decades. (A girlfriend of mine tells me that there was an episode last summer on the series All Saints that featured a similar condition.)

In looking at the Wikipedia I discovered that such a fetus is termed a Lithopedion and that though it is rare it is not unknown.

The cause was already described in 1881 by the American journal of obstetrics and diseases of women and children, Volume 14, Issues 1-2, p. 331, which states

Sometimes the foregoing inflammatory changes do not occur as the result of the death of the fetus, in which case the fluid contents of the sac is reabsorbed, the walls collapse and come in contact with the fetal cadaver. The skin of the latter, and at a later period the deep seated soft tissues, undergo fatty degeneration and form a greasy substance, consisting of fat, lime salts, cholesterin crystals, and blood pigment. At a later period, the fluid portions absorb, so that nothing remains but the bones, lime lamellae, and incrustations upon the walls of the sac, or the fetus may shrink up like a mummy, preserving its shape and organs to the minutest detail (Spiegelberg). A fetus thus altered is termed a lithopedion. It can remain imbedded in connective tissue for years without injury to the mother. The lithopedion of Leinzell was removed in 1720 from a woman ninety-four years of age who had carried it for forty-six years. The presence of the lithopedion does not prevent pregnancy from taking place. In some cases, it may, after years, excite suppuration – a result which is fostered, according to Spiegelberg, by pregnancy and labor. Recovery may follow the artificial extraction of the foreign body, or death may result from inflammation and the discharge of pus.

I found an earlier story entitled The curious case of the stone baby that among other things decries the common tendency to create curiosities out of such phenomena:

In 1582, the autopsy findings of Madame Chatri – complete with illustrations depicting the woman and her stone child — became an instant medical bestseller and the calcified fetus was quickly sold to a wealthy French merchant (sort of the P.T. Barnum of his day) who put it on display at his museum of curiosities in Paris. The fossilized fetus reportedly changed hands several times after that, finally ending up in the King of Denmark’s royal museum in 1653. Two hundred years later, the museum was dissolved and the stone fetus was transferred to the Danish Museum of Natural History.

The Secret Life of Bees

Had a chance to watch The Secret Life of Bees the other night. Reminded me of the beekeeper I met on my trip to the Bush Dance Fest in the Southern Highlands a few weeks ago who sold me the beeswax for my re-creations. Turned out that she knew Ted and Nelly. In fact she had known Nelly since childhood and she had later sold wax to Ted as well. She told me many stories, which I have again vowed to keep under wraps. Increasingly I fear that my personal life is converging on Ted’s in disturbing ways.

X-Rays Penetrating Insight

Listening in on some of the conversations in Building 2, I find there is a great deal of interest in finding a deeper meaning in the objects discovered and even to wondering what’s inside these artefacts. My pursuit of their inner essence led me to the idea of taking x-rays of the objects. I was fortunate that a chance encounter with my veterinarian, Stephan Grey, led to a discussion of these matters and his assistance in gaining penetrating insight into the core of the objects.

To our great surprise we determined that a significant number contain items such as rings, necklaces, etc. This, of course, has led to a quandary as to whether we might retrieve these inner treasures at the risk of destroying the objects that contain them. Not wanting to destroy Ted and Nelly’s legacy, I have created several of these artefacts myself, had them x-rayed, and then proceeded to destroy them in order to get at their essence. But in the end I realized that however deeply the x-ray insight penetrated, there was always another elusive essence within to the vanishing point of svabhāvaśūnyatā.

गते गते पारगते पारसंगते बोधि स्वाहा

Nelly Votive

How Beautiful You Are

Quam pulchra es, et quam decora, carissima, in deliciis!
Statura tua assimilata est palmæ, et ubera tua botris.

Dixi: Ascendam in palmam, et apprehendam fructus ejus;
et erunt ubera tua sicut botri vineæ, et odor oris tui sicut malorum.

Veni, dilecte mi, egrediamur in agrum, commoremur in villis.

Mane surgamus ad vineas:
videamus si floruit vinea, si flores fructus parturiunt, si floruerunt mala punica;

ibi dabo tibi ubera mea.

Must Find Nelly

I must find Nelly. I need to find Nelly. I have put her photo on Facebook and asked friends to look for her, but to no avail. I realize that having little more than her photo and first name makes it almost impossible to locate her, but it is so important to find out what happened after all these years.

If anyone reading this knows of her whereabouts, please let me know.

Google Search for Nelly


I had a brilliant idea – I should be able to find Nelly using Google image search. I uploaded her picture and got back these results. It’s obviously not perfect. I highly doubt that this is her.

I must look at each of these people to see if I can find her.

Is This Nelly?

I can’t find more than a picture.

This woman looks a lot like Nelly, but the location seems improbable. Follow the link and see what you think.

The hair looks right, but she is too young and I can’t believe Nelly would pose like this. This is all not so easy.

A.M.

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It’s Her!

I’m sure this is Nelly. I think ‘Nelly’ must have been a nickname that Ted used for her and not her real name. That would explain why I can’t find any pictures under that name. She must have moved from Australia to Spain. I knew Zaragoza would figure into this somehow. Do I dare contact her?