Norman "Sailor Jerry" Collins the Apprentice
"Jerry first tried tattooing as a teenager by hand-poking designs on willing customers with whatever supplies he came across while hitchhiking and hopping freight trains across America. He landed in Chicago in the 1920s and connected with his first formal teacher, the legendary Gib "Tatts" Thomas, who taught Jerry how to use a tattoo machine. The lesson itself became part of the great Sailor Jerry mythology: Thomas took Jerry to the city morgue where a friend of the tattooer worked the night shift and would allow the young apprentice to practice tattooing on corpses. They led Jerry to a dark room where a cadaver lay covered by a sheet on a table and left him alone with his tattoo machine and inks. Determined not to be spooked, Jerry set up his gear and lifted the corpse's arm when suddenly the body sat upright and screamed, terrifying Jerry. Thomas and his friends laughed hysterically at the joke they had played on the young, severely shaken apprentice."
- Excerpt from Homeward Bound: The Life And Times Of Hori Smoku Sailor Jerry
Available in the Sailor Jerry Shop