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Human bones for sale in new West Michigan online oddities store

There is no federal law preventing the sale of human remains. Three states have restrictions, but Michigan is not one of them.

OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich. — On the shelves of Maggie Fowler's home are a bottle of embalming liquid, animal skeletons, 1800s photos and even a mummified lamb heart.

You can also find a human skull and other human bones.

"Very unique," said Fowler about her collection, "It’s for a certain select few."

Fowler began with a collection, which soon turned into selling her oddities on Etsy. She has a shop called BonedAppetite.

"Some people just don’t get it, and I understand it," said Fowler, "A lot of people are very judgmental. It's fun to collect, but for me, it was more personal."

Fowler began her collection of death-related items less than a year ago. That's when her 20-year-old son, Christopher Robin, died. She was having a hard time "wrapping my head around death in general." She found some connection to items like these to her son. 

"I’m like, 'I must be weird, there’s something wrong with me,'" said Fowler, "I'm looking at dead bodies. I thought only weird people did this. But it really helped to heal me."

Credit: 13 OYS
Fowler shows human big toe bones as part of her collection.

Her collection grew, and soon she needed to start selling to make room for more. She called it a natural progression. 

According to an ABC News report, there is no federal law banning the sale of bones. A person can legally own, sell or distribute human remains, unless they are Native American. 

There are three states which have restrictions on human remains sales, Louisiana, Tennessee and Georgia. Michigan, however, is not among them. 

"There’s really no laws against it," said Fowler, "Definitely no federal laws against it."

Fowler said many of the human bones she has were formerly used for medical education. The skull, which she calls her prized possession, she was told was from a dig in Hungary. She estimates it to be about 300 years old. 

There is no specific documentation for the human skull and some other remains, but Fowler says they are real. 

Credit: 13 OYS
Fowler said her interest in items like these began as she coped with the death of her 20-year-old son, Christopher Robin.

All of her items she bought from similar collector-sellers online. 

On her Etsy page, she often names the animal bones and even the name itself shows the humorous side to her business. She says it's important to have a sense of humor when working with these items. 

"Because it’s so macabre, you gotta be funny," said Fowler, "You got to have a sense of humor and and make fun of yourself. I mean, you’re looking at dead bodies, my gosh, that’s hilarious."

She knows the collection is not for everyone, but she hopes her shop can provide something for other people, like these items once did for her. 

"Believe it or not, I want to help people," said Fowler, "I want to help the people who are mourning and they don't understand why they have a fascination with death. And that fascination of death is normal when you've lost someone."

Credit: 13 OYS
Fowler says the human skull is "her prized possession." It sells for $2,2000 on her Etsy page.

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