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   xoxoxoBruce  Wednesday Oct 27 12:47 AM

Oct 27, 2010: Bloody Gourd

It's not quite Halloween, so instead of a jack-o-lantern pumpkin, we've got a bloody gourd.
This gourd started it's afterlife as a gun powder holder, decorated with a flame tool which burns the design in the gourd.
Among the writing, besides the date 1793, one sentence stands out...

""Maximilien Bourdaloue on January 21st, dipped his handkerchief in the blood of Louis XVI after his beheading."

It is described in contemporaneous accounts that there was a lot of blood in the scaffold after the beheading and that, in fact, many people went there to dip their handkerchiefs in the blood," Carles Lalueza-Fox, lead author of the study and a researcher at Spain's Institute of Evolutionary Biology, told Discovery News. The handkerchief is now missing from the gourd, but Lalueza-Fox and his team identified a brownish substance on the interior of the dried squash. Biochemical tests determined that the substance was dried blood.

Lalueza-Fox recalled that the king was known for his blue eyes, featured prominently in paintings. He then got the idea of looking for the blue eyes mutation within the dried blood's DNA. The scientists found this mutation, at a gene called HERC2. The researchers also analyzed other aspects of the blood's genetics, such as its mitochondrial DNA profile, its Y chromosome profile and some other markers. These all revealed that the DNA profile "found inside the gourd is extremely rare in modern Eurasians," suggesting that it may derive from a royal bloodline.
At this point they are pretty sure it's Louie's blood, but they want to have positive proof.

As luck would have it, a probable organ from such an individual exists. A heart located in a royal French crypt is thought to belong to the king's son, Louis XVII, who died when he was just 10 years old. The heart was cut from the young boy's tumor-ridden body and pickled after Louis XVII spent three horrific years in Paris' Temple Prison. Bodily remains of Marie Antoinette maternal relatives allowed for genetic comparisons to the DNA in the heart using mitochondrial DNA, which is passed down from a mother to her children. Lalueza-Fox now hopes the gourd blood's DNA can be compared to what's in the heart.
I guess if they do prove it's Louie's blood, it'll make the gourd worth a lot more on Antiques Roadshow.


monster  Wednesday Oct 27 08:09 AM

Very interesting, thanks

newtimer  Wednesday Oct 27 09:40 AM

It would be more impressive if they found King Louis' blood inside an old hearse in South America.

Scriveyn  Wednesday Oct 27 09:58 AM

Gourd King Wenceslas?

spudcon  Wednesday Oct 27 10:18 AM

Can you cook a gourd that old?

Gravdigr  Thursday Oct 28 03:13 AM

The National Gourd?

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