The man—or what was left of him—emerged from the Irish sod one winter day in 2003, his hair still styled the way he wore it during his last moments alive.
The back was cropped short; the top, eight inches long, rose in a pompadour, stiffened with pine resin. Spotted in the industrial-size sieve of a peat processing plant, he was naked, his head wrenched sharply to the left, his legs and lower arms missing, ripped away by the machine that had dug him from a bog in the townland of Clonycavan.
His head and trunk carried marks of deliberate violence, inflicted before he was cast into the mire: His nose had been broken, his skull shattered, his abdomen sliced open.
Gods inhabited bogs; so did restless outcast spirits.
Others are phantoms: Last year two scholars published an article called “Imaginary People” in a German archaeology journal.