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Missing your head? College crew team pulled it out of Hudson River

April 26, 2013|By Michael Muskal
  • This handout photo provided by Marist College shows the giant head made of Styrofoam and fiberglass found floating in the Hudson River in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
This handout photo provided by Marist College shows the giant head made… (Associate Press )

America has lost its head. Really.

The head, about 7 feet tall and weighing 200 to 300 pounds, was successfully wrestled out of the Hudson River by the Marist College crew team, which saw it bobbing near Poughkeepsie.

No one has claimed it. 

“I’m a little shocked,” college spokesman Greg Cannon told the Los Angeles Times on Friday.  “It’s been four days and with all of the attention it’s got, someone would have come forward to claim it. But no one has.”

The head, which appears to be made of foam, is about 5 feet at its widest and encased in some kind of fiberglass, Cannon said. There is an internal metal frame and what appears to be half-inch piping inside.

It took 10 people to drag the water-logged head — which resembles that found on a classic Greek or Roman amphora — out of the water on Monday. New York has a strong streak of classicism, with towns named for Ilion, Troy, Rome and of course, Syracuse, among others.

Theories on the origin of the head abound, Cannon said.

One person called the school to say the head proved the existence of Atlantis, the submerged lost continent of science fiction fame. However it was unclear exactly how the giant head proves Atlantis was real. Does the head portray those who lived there?

Another theory is that the head could have been part of a Mardi Gras float that somehow worked its way to Poughkeepsie after a night when revelers traditionally lose their heads in excess before Lent.

Or, perhaps it is a theater prop, goes another, less flamboyant supposition.

In any case, the crew set the head up in front of the boathouse where it dried out and was moved indoors for safety. It could make a cameo appearance at the school’s River Festival celebration, appearing with some bands on Friday night, Cannon said.

Despite the myriad jokes about Poughkeepsie, the head seems to have found a good place for its out-of-body experience.

Some students named it “Nagatomo,” Cannon said. Nagatomo is the name of a famed Japanese soccer player.

“It’s a name that feels mythic and it seemed to fit,” Cannon said.

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