February 11, 2011 | 2:43
Feb. 11, 1911: Among the items at the Southwest Museum is a flute, made of a human bone, that was discovered while excavating Native American graves on Santa Catalina Island. The flute was something of a rarity, The Times said, because it had six finger holes rather than three.
[No matter how many years I have spent looking at old newspapers, I am still amazed at some of the complete rubbish that was presented as scientific inquiry, particularly in the field of anthropology and archeology—lrh].
The museum asked various musicians to try playing the flute, but none was successful. Museum curator Hector Alliot (d. 1919) decided that "as the flute had been played by a people whose minds were as children's compared with the minds of the modern man, he would find the person to make the flute speak among the children."
Clifford Elliott Martindale was able to make a sound on the flute. “Suddenly a long, weird sound like a wail arose throughout the museum. It hung and quavered and then died away as Martindale gasped for more breath," The Times said.