Have you ever wondered what a place of skulls and bones looked like? For retired biologist Ray Bandar, seeing bones is an everyday part of his life. After all, he has tons of them.
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Ray Bandar, who is from San Francisco, has an estimated number of 200 pelvises, 7,000 skulls and countless limbs from animals he cleaned and mostly found himself. He has been focusing on his bizarre collection for the last 50 years, so it’s not really surprising that he was able to gather insane amount of bones.
The retired biologist grew up in the Richmond District and he first began his collection in junior high. He even gained the nickname “Reptile Ray” for his collection. His collection grew as time passed by and now, his house has become something that would seem out of this world. Crammed with skulls and bones from animals, his home has basically become a museum for bones.
According to 84-year-old Bandar, he says that he looks at bones like pieces of sculpture. However, most people would think that he is either a deranged or homeless man, instead of seeing him as an artist. Also, the awful smell when dealing with dead animals isn’t really attractive.
But the odor doesn’t really bother the bone collector who also uses flesh-eating beetles, maggots and bacterial macerations to help him strip the flesh from the bones.
Ray has utilized his collection to provide valuable insights in various scientific research topics for the California Academy of Sciences, where he has been a longtime research associate. He also likes to tour people around his house who his wife, Alkmere Bandar, describes as a “bone palace.”