Auntie Doris’s Mysteries of the Unexplained #8: Mr Potato Head.


We all know that potatoes have eyes. And we all know that some people have heads and faces that look a bit like potatoes. But the phenomenon known as Cephalus Maris Piperus has baffled scientists and paranormalists alike since time immemorial (whenever that was, when it was all at home)
Cephalus Maris Piperus occurs when a person, or in some cases a group of people witness a pay to with a human face which speaks to them, imparting words of wisdom, warnings, or suggestions such as “go forth and cleanse the streets of sin.
Sometimes these phenomena can be religious in nature. The Salvation Army used to always have a few wise words from Sam Spudkins on the back page. Sometimes the potato has a resemblance to a great religious leader of history, as in the 1938 case of the Moses King Edward, which caused an outbreak of religious rapture in the Lancashire Mill Town of Accrington, or the spectacular case of the faces of Jesus and all his disciples found in a bag of cheese and onion crisps in Haverfordwest in 1976.
At other times the potato is strictly secular in nature. In John Locke’s 1689 “Essay Concerning Human Understanding” he relates the story of the swearing potato of Turin, which “knew and recited curses strong enough to make even those with a stout constitution blush at their crudity and courseness” and pondered whether or not a speaking potato with a face was more human than a silent man without one. Ruddy philosophers!
Any road, my nephew Michael swears blind that he experienced Cephalus Maris Piperus last Christmas, when he was given the task of peeling vegetables to serve about a dozen people for Christmas dinner. He was on some strong tablets at the time, because of his bad foot, and whilst he was doing the carrots he noticed a half full bottle of sherry on the shelf above the kitchen table. I’m not saying that that had any bearing on what happened next, as with all matters of the paranormal that I relate to you, you must weigh up the evidence and make your own ruddy mind up. But the story he tells is more suited to the gullible reader than anyone with a ha’pence worth of common sense.
He claims that the potato he was peeling suddenly looked him in the eye, a calm look of disgust upon its face, and spoke to him. It’s voice full of hatred, was only rendered slightly less threatening by the fact that it sounded like Pinky and Perky, or someone who had just breathed in a lungful of helium out of one of them party balloons.
“A curse upon thee!” it said, “Thou hast slain my brothers and thou art about to slay me, and tomorrow thou and thy kin shall feast upon my flesh” strangely enough the words were not delivered in a Barnsley accent, but sounded more like Robin Hood used to talk in black and white films. Our Michael was startled and dropped the tatie knife, but he still had the presence of mind to pick up his pocket camera telephone thing and take a picture to show off with to all his mates on ruddy Facebook.
Apparently he spared that potato’s life, and hurled it out of the kitchen window to rest in a floral border outside. He peeled no more that day. In the spring, he found the remains of it, all gone mushy and rotten. I reckon that he might as well have cooked the ruddy thing and ate it, in that way it would have merged with the chemistry of his body and prolonged his existence. It might have somehow given him a bit of sense an’all, like Sam Spudkins would have. But somehow, I doubt it.

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