During the Christmas season, Nativity scenes are a staple in yards, house and churches.
Most Nativity scenes are quite a bit smaller than the actual thing would have been, but some industrious individuals, like 71-year-old Maureen Wall from Nottingham, want something with a little more razzle-dazzle.
“The display used to be done with cardboard but after a little while they would just fall to pieces,” she told the Daily Mail, referring to the scene erected at St. John the Divine Church.
“We had the idea to use mannequins, as we needed something more life-size. We had heard a place in Newark was selling old mannequins. They cost us about £30 each, we bought seven in total with an extra half body just in case.”
So with the help of her sister and a friend, Wall acquired these retired mannequins and got to work making them worthy of the church display. They were painted in her kitchen and left to dry in her garden or wherever she could find a place to set them.
“My sister did a fabulous job, she brought the mannequins to life,” Wall beamed. “Margaret is the most wonderful artist, and we have had no formal training.”
But the neighbors started to notice. Perhaps some of them only caught unsettling glimpses of the stoic men and women scattered about in pieces on Wall’s property, or maybe they just weren’t fans of dismembered mannequins, but either way the police showed up at the church woman’s door to see what was going on for themselves.
The policewoman started to ask Wall questions, but kept looking over her shoulder into the house. Wall noticed that the cop didn’t really seem to be focused on their doorstep conversation.
“You could see the mannequin in the back of my house — and she looked very interested at what she could see on my kitchen table,” Wall recalled.
“She was shocked, but relieved when she realized what it was. I opened my washroom and showed her three more fake bodies stood up waiting to join the display.”
“She said nobody as the police station would ever believe her.”
The police weren’t the only ones who investigated. Wall’s cleaner informed her that he’d noticed something a bit spooky himself.
“A few weeks later, my cleaner said he had just seen two naked men hovering around in my garden.”
“I invite him in and explained what they were, he said they would work as great deterrents for anyone who might want to break into the house,” she explained. “He felt foolish, walking out with his tail between his legs.”
Now that the Nativity is complete, Wall said the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive.
“A lot of people have said they really feel they’re in the presence of the actual scene themselves because it’s so lifelike,” she said.
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