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Bone Dominoes

The story behind these dominoes is like no other… in short… 1700’s, some silly comment taken as a “curse” by an even sillier farmer, chaos ensued, hunting down an elderly couple for a good old fashioned ‘witch ducking’ ending in the death of two innocents, followed by the conviction and public hanging of the ‘witch hunter’ because the law for witch hunting was repealed 5 years before, (this is where it gets good) a skull was made into dominoes that was used as a ‘witchy’ form of divination. Now, who’s skull do you think it was??

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  1. Great story but probably not the history of these. They were amazing and I wanted them badly, so I did homework. I found a set of almost identical dominoes online in an article about prisoner art. The most likely story is they were made by prisoners during the Napoleonic or Crimean war. This was common-the prisoners would use any bone they could find, animal or human. Do some searching- this set of dominoes is nothing compared to the spectacular ships, etc. they made.

    1. that would have been cool too if they came from there. We love prisoner/trench art! I saw those dominoes and unlike these ones they fit in a box and were likely not made from human bone/skull. Our dominoes were curved like a skull. Also the Napoleonic ones would have been dated 1756 and later.

    2. Anything is possible of course. We are always open to other possibilities, as we love the stories! The only thing we can prove without a doubt is the dominoes are from 1751 and made from human skull bone.

  2. The variations in shape, size and materials would’ve been based on what was available at the time. Prisoner art is a long-standing worldwide tradition; and its also possible that these are actually North American, Colonial Wars-era. Its unlikely that they were connected to Witchcraft, as dominoes don’t have a great history of being used as divination tools by Europeans, but rather by magical practitioners of African-influenced persuasion and also have a divination history in China (not unlike I-Ching), where they may have originated. Now if it was dice.. that’s another story! They’re not called ‘the bones’ for nothing. Dice have been used as divination tools everywhere and were often made of bone, human and otherwise.

    1. The chances of someone persecuted during the inquisition actually being a witch is pretty slim (to none). We don’t know who made these dominoes or if they were made for divination for sure or to just play dominoes. Dominoes were used in China and India for divination, later to be used by gypsies, pagans and other fortune tellers. Like I said, anything is possible. These dominoes came from Europe and were made pre-Napoleonic war. If they could only tell us!

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