Betty Wood

Ned Nefer isn’t a name that has crept over to this side of the Atlantic yet, but given the frenzy of media coverage this guy and his ‘wife’ are getting Stateside we thought we’d bring you a little taste of American’s new obsession…

He’s on a Forrest Gump style mission across New York State walking from his home in Syracuse to Upstate New York – a journey of around 70 miles. A pedestrian in the land of the automobile may be a little unusual, but Ned Nefer is also taking his wheelchair-bound ‘wife’ Teagan along with him as he makes the journey on foot.

What sounds like loving devotion takes a surreal twist when you realise that ‘Teagan’ isn’t your ordinary woman. Or a woman at all. ‘She’ is a 6ft wooden mannequin Nefer ‘married’ over 25 years ago after finding her – or her head to be precise – in a dumpster at a children’s home he was living at the time.

And over the last 25 years as his affections for her have grown, so she has too. ‘Standing’ now at 6ft tall, she’s made from wood and apparently has a fondness for the outdoors. The pair- married 16 October 1986 according to Nefer – are making their way back to the place they first met in a romantic gesture that reiterates their lengthy devotion to each other. At 38 years old, Nefer was only 13 when he ‘married’ his bride, and 25 years later his attachment to her remains strong as the pair prepare to celebrate their Silver Wedding Anniversary.

The couple are toting 16 disposable cameras to document the journey – presumably Ned’s taking the pictures – and according to New York Daily News, the pair are “hoping it doesn’t rain because when it does, it fogs up the camera and the pictures don’t come out really good.”

Whether it’s an elaborate joke Nefer has cooked up, or whether their relationship is genuine remains to be seen. Agalmatophilia (as mannequin-attraction is medically termed), inter-species attraction, mechaphillia and objectum-sexuality are all genuine disorders or lifestyle choices, depending on who you ask. And Nefer’s not the first to hit the headlines for his bizarre model love-life. Back in 2009 a man called Dauveed hit the news for ‘marrying’ his mannequin lover Clara.

Those of you fearing for this man’s mental well-being fear not; social welfare officer Lisa Spear who assessed Nefer for the country’s Social Services department reassures people that Nefer “seemed quite happy” and that she “wouldn’t classify him as dangerous at all”. Nefer it seems is enjoying the media attention his story has attracted, we just hope the weather stays fine for the happy couple.

If you want to follow this story further, check out the Facebook group Syracuse Mannequin Man which is dedicated to following Ned and Teagan on their journey together.