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Thursday, February 02, 2006

A gentleman-collector

From The Scotsman:

WHEN you enter most people's living rooms you'd expect to find a sofa, a television, maybe a few magazines and cushions. Walking into the front room of Gordon Rutter's Stockbridge flat, the sofa's there, but you'd hardly notice it given that it's squeezed between his one-eyed pig, his feejee mermaid, his skull collection and of course - the must-have for every cryptozoologist Scot - a miniature Loch Ness Monster. Gordon is one of a dying breed of gentlemen-collectors - people who hunt down and collect the unusual, the different, and, if we're being honest about it - the downright weird. His penchant for the unusual has been with him for a very long time. "I've been into this sort of thing all my life," he says. "When I was a kid I'd go to the library and devour weird stuff. And now," he says with a wave of his hand, "I've got all this!" "All this" comprises a collection of more than 100 strange items. The 39-year-old has fossilised fingers, rings that belonged to (real) giants, a painted bowl made from a human skull, an ostrich egg mounted on an ostrich foot ("why not?", plus a whole lot of other weird things. But then he is the president of the Edinburgh Fortean Society, a group of people dedicated to the study of the unexplained, has hunted Bigfoot - the legendary North American cousin of the Yeti - on the Canadian border, lectured on cryptozoology - that's the study of hidden or unknown animals - debated the mysteries of the Knights Templar and even produced his own replica of the controversial Shroud of Turin.
Wonderful article, but since I mentioned already it was in The Scotsman that is probably redundant. Go read all of it here.


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