It was a perfect night for a ghoul-li-cious event in San Francisco. The fog was eerily rolling over the chilly streets and there was an ominous feeling in the air. This year's most-buzzed-about Halloween event was held at the palatial Legion of Honor. Upon entering the gates, we were greeted with ghostly music that echoed in the column-enclosed courtyard. The creatures and characters of the night made our way up to the grand entrance, where The Thinker, a sculpture by Auguste Rodin, acted as gatekeeper. He seemed to ponder the hellish fate of those beneath him. I wondered if it was an honor or a curse that he had let me pass.
Time knew no boundaries as Romans, flappers, cowboys, and cheerleaders intermingled in the rooms lit with violet lights. Heading toward the room with the delicious aroma, I encountered a bountiful feast of delectable hors d'oeuvres: cheese, fruit, mini-hot dogs, assorted sushi, dim sum, egg rolls, shrimp cocktails, and more. There were several open bars stocked with complimentary potions and spine-chilling elixirs. Two of my favorite specialty drinks of the night were Pernod Absinthe Sour and the Zombie Killer; the latter was made with vodka and pomegranate liquor. Wicked!
Drinky-poos in hand, we headed to the dance floor. The cover band, Pop Rocks, played all of our favorite 80s and 90s hits. Even the zombies had to stop, pop, and roll. I could have danced 'til dawn, but I still had one more important task to complete. I had to meet the man of the hour, our very-well-preserved host. We left the jovial crowd behind, and headed to a more somber part of the museum.
There was a respectful silence as we approached the chamber were he lay. As we entered, I noticed on my left a statuesque Anthony and Cleopatra. Had they also come to pay tribute to a 2,500-year-old mummy, known as Irethorrou?
The exhibition Very Post Postmortem: Mummies and Medicine, which opened on October 31, 2009, explores the modern scientific examination of Irethorrou the mummy. Who was he, what was his life like, when did he die, how did he die? These questions are all answered by using state of the art technology. The CT scans done by scientists at Stanford Medical School reveal Irethorrou's long held secrets. A three-dimensional "fly-through" of the mummy takes you on an incredible journey inside his mortal remains. I stared at the plaster forensic reconstruction of his small round head. It was produced using CT scan data through a process know as rapid phototyping, or 3-D printing. Although he died thousands of years ago, he achieved immortality as new generations learn his story.