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SYFY WIRE sea creatures

Florida beachgoers mistake washed-up barnacle-covered mannequin for decapitated body

By Adam Pockross

Is there anything quite like a nice walk on the beach? The sun drenching your skin... the ocean breezes filling the nostrils... the headless humans washing ashore... wait a sec! 

Yes, nothing ruins a white-sand stroll like decapitation, but fortunately for one beach-going Floridian (or two, if you think about it), what she thought was a headless body in her wake was really just a mannequin covered formerly-head to toe in barnacles and other sea stuffs. 

Still, this was no laughing matter for Kathleen, a volunteer for environmental nonprofit Ocean Hour, who was cleaning the Perdido Key beach in the name of philanthropy when she came across the barnacled lump of legs, arms, and torso and mistook it, understandably, for that of an actual dead body. That’s scarier than Andrew McCarthy falling for the titular character in the 1987 (only in the ‘80s) movie, Mannequin

According to Ocean Hour’s Facebook post, another visitor to the beach even called 911.

Volunteer Kathleen was walking the intercoastal side in Perdido Key...when she came across what she thought was a dead,...

Posted by Ocean Hour on Monday, November 16, 2020

“Volunteer Kathleen was walking the intercoastal side in Perdido Key...when she came across what she thought was a dead, decapitated body. Another visitor had even called 911. Upon further investigating, she realized it was a mannequin!” reads the nonprofit’s post from earlier this week.

If you look closely at the pics that Ocean Hour posted, you can certainly see why Kathleen was so alarmed. You’d really have to look closely to see through all the barnacles and sea stuff clinging to the human form to realize they were just making an inanimate object disturbingly animated. Granted, the big hole at the base of the neck is somewhat of a giveaway, or, if looked at from another angle, the icing on this frightening cake.   
“How long has she been out in the water collecting barnacles and sealife? Way too long!” Ocean Hour continued in their post. “We are glad it wasn't a real body!”

Indeed, that would have likely affected the nonprofit's volunteer turnout for the group’s weekly Saturday beach-cleaning efforts, as noted on their Facebook profile, which says they are “dedicated to spending at least one hour every Saturday cleaning a local beach or waterway,” while “educating and encouraging others to do the same.”

Hopefully the idea of cleaning up decapitated mannequins doesn't discourage anyone from signing up, because lord knows, now is not the time to be letting our beaches get overcome with headless plastics.

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