Just before news of the first Jack the Ripper murder tore its way across England, a more supernatural tale spread like wildfire through the American south. First receiving media coverage on July 9th, 1888, I’m talking about how Albany, Georgia fisherman and boat guide Dink Melvin was haunted by a Headless Horse on the Flint River. And this obscure 19th Century ghost story turned newspaper article was the inspiration behind the piece we’ll be examining today: She Headless Horse.

A Brief History of She Headless Horse and its Creator

This wonderful reimagining of the Headless Horse was created by John Price Corr III, or J.P. Corr III, under his Boon Velvet persona. A creative person throughout his life, even before he knew what “art” was, I like to think his childhood spent in the woods of southern Georgia birthed his interest in the spectral. By his own admission, that region of America is ripe with paranormal tales, the majority of people he knows there having had a personal experience with the otherworldly. Now whether you believe in the supernatural or not, it had a lasting impact on Corr.
While studying film at the Savannah College of Art and Design, he became obsessed with photography and its ability to capture perfectly frozen, single frame stories. Shifting focus and schools, Corr began developing alternative photographic processes after graduating from the Fashion Institute of Technology, ones that created particularly haunting imagery.
But in 2002, part of Corr’s lower spine was crushed while doing some heavy maintenance work. While able to still work in limited capacities, his budding photography career was cut short in the aftermath of a spinal surgery on 2009’s Christmas Eve, one that left him predominantly bedridden. In addition to the debilitating spinal damage, Corr also developed Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, or CRPS, which means he’s in a near constant state of extreme pain. As a coping mechanism for this, Corr eventually receded into a hallucinatory state, daydreaming himself to be possessed by the spirit of a 19th Century Southern detective of the unknown. And while these flights of fancy ceased once he began receiving better treatment, the fantastical adventures from this time inspired a creative reawakening in him. And thus the Boon Velvet alias was born, with She Headless Horse soon to follow.
Now, Boon Velvet is the creative conceptualizer and overseer of this piece, but to compensate for his lack of fine motor control and dramatic pain levels, it took a proverbial village to make She Headless Horse a reality. Boon Velvet’s original design was brought to three-dimensional life by sculptor Adil Muschelewicz, and the fantastic folks at Lulubell Toy Bodega undertook the production responsibilities, with the company’s co-owner Luke Rook, or Grody Shogun, casting the vinyl editions in Japan. And, to date, it has mainly been the artist Michael Devera, also known as Obsessed Panda, that has been responsible for translating Boon Velvet’s digital mock-ups of painted details onto the physical forms.
She Headless Horse first appeared in mid-2016 at San Diego Comic-Con in a Blue Glow edition, followed by the Shodai rendition which debuted at that year’s DesignerCon. Then, at 2017’s Five Points Festival, the Eternia version was made manifest, with the version I’ve had infront of me being the fourth and most recent edition, titled Aki No Kumo, which first appeared at last year’s DesignerCon. And as you might’ve noticed, those pictured versions look different than mine, as they all had heads. That’s because, regardless of which edition you get, there’s always more than meets the eye to this strange and spectral creation.

My Impressions of She Headless Horse

Right now, She Headless Horse is in her first phase, known as The Hunt, which is only one of three forms she can manifest in. Recreating the appearance described in the original 1888 news story, this phase has her muscular horse body ending at the neck, a grotesque wound visible where the head should be. While only minimally decorated, eerie baby blue and spectrally silver accents lead the eye to the ectoplasmic swirl of purple atop, and you can still see the sculpted details on this milky white form: straining muscles causing popping veins, bulbous pock marks adorning her hide, and a crescent moon shaped wound carved into her shoulder. This is the form She Headless Horse would first take when galloping forth at midnight, searching for her lost head. But by using a common hair dryer to soften the vinyl, we can remove the wound aspect, replacing it with an accompanied component to evolve her into her second phase, called The Choice.
Representing how a gurgling liquid sprouts forth from the previous neck wound, congealing into the likeness of a bare-chested, armless woman, this is The Choice form. Beautifully designed to express her forlorn feelings through the slight downward tilt of the head, even this form has its hidden gems, like the catfish subtly swimming through her hair. In his personal tale behind this phase, Boon Velvet states that those who survive meeting She Headless Horse in The Choice form believe that she spared them because they had already experienced genuine loss. Something, he says, she personally understands. And for those very few that she speaks to, the only words she utters in the saddest of whispers are, “Have you seen my head?”
Which brings us to her third and final form, The Gift. This is where She Headless Horse manifests a transparent projection of her true severed head, one that forms around the ectoplasmic girl emanation. Brilliantly conceived to be a ghostly window around her second form, this rendition has slightly silvery accents on its mane and olive-green rhinestones for eyes. Featuring a dangling tongue that emphasizes a feeling of death, Boon Velvet posits through his fictional backstory that this phase is thought to be a sign of coping and acceptance, that She Headless Horse is manifesting what she needs to be at peace.
And, quite possibly, that’s exactly what this piece did for the artist. Allowing Boon Velvet to come to terms with his predicament, to gain a second chance at the creative outlet he personally needs. And Boon Velvet expressed it best in our communication about this piece: “I live in a different world now and it’s hard to remember how I felt before, but regardless of the terrors of it all, I like the creative path I am now on, and I am proud of the fruits of our labor.” And thankfully there are already more fruits of this labor planned, as She Headless Horse is only the first design in Boon Velvet’s Yokai Americana series, an exploration of American ghost stories with his own personal twist, the second design in which should be unveiled later this year.

Click Here to Acquire Available Editions of Boon Velvet’s She Headless Horse from Lulubell Toy Bodega.

For more information on Boon Velvet:
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