Ned Kelly’s skull has been found in New Zealand, just a few months after the headless body of the famous Irish-Australian outlaw turned up in 2011.
The skull was found by a great grandmother in New Zealand, Irish Central reported. Anna Hoffman said she was vacationing in Melbourne, Australia, more than 30 years ago when she was given Ned Kelly’s skull by a security guard. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s Hoffman was living as a witch, and met the man at a family dinner in 1980, the report said.
After reports that Ned Kelly’s headless body turned up, Hoffman began to wonder whether the guard was telling her the truth when he told her it was “Ned’s skull.”
“When I heard that my heart skipped a beat. It made sense because of all of the secretiveness around it, ” Hoffman told the New Zealand Herald.
It has not been determined if the skull does indeed belong to the outlaw Ned Kelly. A spokeswoman for the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine said they want to look into the skull’s origin, but think it’s a long shot to actually be Ned’s.
“There is a chance that that is his head, although it is a long shot,” an official at the Institute said. “That would be wonderful if it was. It’s either out there somewhere or it has disintegrated into nothing.”
Gina McFarlane, a forensics expert at Auckland University, said it actually looks like the specimen was used in teaching so it’s likely not Ned Kelly’s skull.
“It could be five years old, it could be 100 years old,” McFarlane said. “The fact that the top of the cranium has been cut off and reattached by wires indicates it’s a teaching skeleton.”
Ned Kelly gained notoriety for his string of crimes in the late 19th century, with some seeing him as simply a cold-blooded killer but others finding him a folk hero for resisting the Anglo ruling classes in Australia.
Hoffman said if it is indeed Ned Kelly’s skull, she will return it to his family for burial.