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Between 1810-1840 phrenology was at its peak of popularity, having been developed by German Franz Joseph Gall in the late 18th century. Edinburgh was the centre in Europe for the study of phrenology. It was a fairly common practice to make anatomical busts of the heads of curious people, be they criminal or mentally ill. Franz Joseph Gall split the head into 27 different ‘organs’, each organ relating to a different personality trait. These traits included: parental love, vanity, cunning, and even your propensity to murder and steal. The idea was that some of the organs would be distinctive on the heads of criminals and the insane. The hope was then that criminals could be identified before they acted by finding unusual ‘organs’. Spoiler alert; it was all nonsense. And it quickly fell out of favour towards the middle of the 19th century and Victorians went back to doing things like trying to teach dogs to read, take hot air balloons into space, and trying to reproduce the last image seen with the eyes of murder victims.

Today in the Library we took the opportunity to have a closer look at our phrenological death mask of John Pallet. The death mask was ‘published’ in Edinburgh around 10 months after John Pallet was hanged for murder in December 1823 in Chelmsford. It seems a curious Victorian hobby to purchase phrenological heads of hanged murderers, but there you go; they also loves séances and arsenic.
John Pallet was a bit of a rogue; a vagrant and a drunk. He was fined for 5 shillings for public drunkenness and also had his pigs confiscated by the local sheriff, James Mumford. John took the opportunity to exact revenge one evening in late 1823. Upon hearing that the Sheriff was soon to arrive on a carriage, Pallet resolved to lay in wait up a country lane, and wait for the Sheriff to make his way to his father’s house. He fashioned a weapon from a tree branch and waited. Dusk had just fallen and the short-sighted Sheriff was feeling his way slowly along the lane. John Pallet crept up behind the unfortunate Mumford and proceeded to ‘smash his skull to atoms’ as the Leicester Chronicle put it. What followed was Pallet entering a kind of fugue state where he stood frozen to the spot over the stricken Sheriff. He was soon to be discovered by a passer by and swiftly arrested. He made no attempt to hide his deed. After a trail where he initially plead ‘not-guilty’ upon being found guilty by the jury and being sentenced to hang, Pallet offered a full confession before his trip to the gallows. Like many convicted criminals who faced the ultimate justice, John Pallet was, after hanging, handed over to anatomists. It was one of them who presumably made the death mask, including his neck which still retained the depression from the rope. (Pallet didn’t die instantly from a neck break, rather the hangman pulled him down by the legs to hasten his end).

The Library is my favourite room to clean during the Winter Clean; getting the chance to look in some fairly old books. This map was attached to a copy of ‘Hervey’s Naval History’ from 1779. This map dates to a time when the United States of America was only three years old! Most of western America as you can see is uncharted. Sorry, bit of a map geek. It’s exciting to open a map and see ‘uncharted territories’ or simply the name of the Native American Tribe who have been encountered there. Geekery over!

@WardThomasMusic will be headlining Fyvie Live on Saturday 9th June. (Link in bio)

#WardThomas #WardThomasMusic #FyvieLive #FyvieLive2018 #FyvieCastle #Aberdenshire #Scotland

The biggest and best line-up on the famous FYVIE LIVE stage is coming! Join us for this top date open-air family concert at one of Scotland's most historic landmarks. Packed line-up of live music and entertainment. Great quality food outlets, bars, crafts and picnics on the lawn at what the press has branded the UK's 'posh T in the park' and biggest party in town!

Gates open 2pm, main show 7pm-10pm. Tickets £28 plus standard booking fees. FREE parking. Under 5s FREE. Admission strictly by ticket only ON SALE NOW.
World class line-up main stage, more added: WARD THOMAS (Ward Thomas) ** MAIN STREET featuring stars from EMMERDALE ** DIRTY HARRY BLONDIE TRIBUTE ** THE WYNNTOWN MARSHALS ** JOEL GARDNER ** MASS PIPES AND DRUMS ** FIREWORKS GRAND FINALE ** Special guest host Emmerdale's CHRIS CHITTELL
See Facebook for further details

The happy couple, Mr & Mrs Duncan from yesterday’s wedding, photo by @spoonwedpics1981.

A huge congratulations to Mr and Mrs Duncan who got married yesterday at the beautiful Fyvie Castle and what an amazing day it was! #weddingphotography #fyviecastle #aberdeenshire

A lovely day for the first wedding of the year!

Found one of these down the back of the sofa? Or got a nice wee tip on the paper round? Or maybe you are the child of a stingy billionaire. Either way, this coming season, this could be enough to get you entry into one of 52 amazing National Trust for Scotland sites. All you need is your Pound, and a Young Scot card. Young Scot cards are available free to any one aged between 11-26 living in Scotland, and offers a host of pretty cool discounts here and there (this instagrammer used to love using the Young Scot discount in One-Up on Belmont Street (RIP)). So this is your heads-up, weans! Get your free Young Scot card, find a Pound, and come and see us this new season.

What a glorious blessing morning 🌞Morning sunshine 🌞🌝 🙏 Have a wonderful Friday my lovely people 🌹😍
#photography #hermosodia #morningsky #morningsun #fyviecastle #myfave #photo #sun #friday #beautiful #view #scotland #myplace #monents #ig_captures #ig_scotland #sunblessed #gorgeousglorious #

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