What Collegedale thinks of its tallest resident: Mr. Bones

Mr. Bones is currently dressed for
summer fishing. Friday, September
8, 2023. (Photo by Amy Mejias)
Mr. Bones is currently dressed for summer fishing. Friday, September 8, 2023. (Photo by Amy Mejias)

Written by: Amy Mejias

Drivers cruising eastward along Apison Pike into Collegedale will most likely notice a greeting from “Mr. Bones,” a 12-foot fake skeleton whose appearance changes on a seasonal basis.  

Mr. Bones, erected in a yard adjacent to the roadway, first made his appearance last September, according to the owners, who wish to remain anonymous in consideration of their family’s safety and their home’s vicinity to the road. The owners first got the idea to dress the skeleton up from a social media post by other 12-foot skeleton owners who did something similar. The owners decided to leave Mr. Bones up for holidays to decorate him accordingly. So far, Mr. Bones has worn seven different outfits. After a while, one of the owners said it felt wrong to take him down. Many in the community agree.

The owners said they have received a lot of positive feedback from notes people have left them or others stopping by to tell the owners how much they love the skeleton. 

Mr. Bones greets Apison Pike drivers during the Christmas season. The owners adorned Mr. Bones with a scarf and lights to celebrate the holiday. (Photo courtesy of source)

Collegedale resident Nika Frey told the Accent that her family members “love seeing the skeleton and can’t wait to see the next outfit or theme.” 

“My kids were bothered when it was missing an arm for a [little] while,” Fray messaged. “ … and we love the skeleton dog too.”  

Ooltewah resident Crismary Gadd also agreed.  

“[We] look forward to what new outfit they plan for it each season,” she messaged.  

The Accent received some negative comments regarding the skeleton from local residents who did not wish to be quoted.

 County Commissioner Tonya Sadler wrote in an email to the Accent: “Supporting our citizens’ rights to free speech and free expression is important to me. I view ‘Skelly’ as an art installation on private property. I keep waiting to see the owners outside for a chance meeting while they are outfitting Skelly with the next theme.”  

Assistant Chief of Police Jamie Health also shared the Collegedale Police Department’s perspective in an email with the Accent: “The skeleton hasn’t yet violated any laws or public safety ordinances, so the police department hasn’t had any involvement with it or its owners. However, Halloween is right around the corner. Who knows what it’ll do then?”

Collegedale residents and passers-by can plan on seeing Mr. Bones up for the foreseeable future, according to the owners. They said they will continue to keep the skeleton up  “as long as nothing breaks and the majority of the comments that [we] receive are positive.”

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