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Archaeology

The Monkey's Paw: Dapper Cadaver Oddity

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Fri, Oct 15, 2010 at 7:41 AM

click to enlarge monkeypaw.jpg

If you go to a store called Dapper Cadaver in Sun Valley here in Los Angeles, you will see many weird things. Of the weird things, this monkey's paw is perhaps one of the weirdest. The monkey's paw, of course, is infamous for bringing bad luck to those who use it to make their wishes come true.

Proprietor B.J. Winslow took time out of his busy Halloween schedule to answer my questions about the paw.

Where did you get this monkey's paw? Did you make it yourself?

We make our own monkeys' paws, available in small (vervet monkey), medium (capuchin) and large (chimp).

I see it was in a couple of movies. Did it do bad things in these films?

We sold one to Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, but I'm not sure where it popped up. Mostly we do them for sideshows and stage productions of W.W. Jacobs "The Monkey's Paw," where it brought ill luck to all the wishes made.

Where do you normally keep it in the store?

When we have one in stock it's usually just hanging from the wall or on a shelf. Since it's one of ours it's not actually cursed. I've only had to deal with 3 actually cursed items in my shop: one was a devil door, one was a red devil that had a specific curse for Vincent Gallo only, and the other is a cannibal's monkey skull amulet. Only the cursed monkey skull can still be seen in my shop.

What's the deal with monkey paws anyway? Why are they scary?

It all seems to come from the W.W. Jacobs story and play, where an enchanted monkey's paw grants wishes, but the wishes are cursed. It's not clear why the monkeys paw had this power. Was the monkey a magician while alive?

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