Friday, August 30, 2019
There are far too many historical figures who’ve had their body parts misplaced (15 Photos)
In most cultures, there’s an emphasis on respecting someone’s body once they’ve passed. You don’t want to do to much damage to it, post-mortem and you want it buried as intact as possible. For us regular joes, that’s usually not a problem. For famous historical figures, however, it’s big deal.
If you’re famous, then burial isn’t always permanent for you. There are countless stories of bodies of famous historical folk being dug up, rearranged, stolen, and have parts go missing for collectors. It’s pretty fucking creepy, to be honest.
Gonna have myself welded into my coffin, and buried under concrete, just to be safe. After I’m famous, of course.
Albert Einstein’s missing brain
He’s easily got the most famous brain in history, so it’s understandable that someone would want to examine it to see why he was so smart. Except, those weren’t entirely Einstein’s wishes.
Throughout life, he always maintained that he wanted his body donated to science, but he never wrote that down. So, after he passed in 1955, his family directed that his body be cremated. So that’s what happened, minus his brain.
His brain was secretly taken by Pathologist Thomas Harvey, sliced into hundreds of slides and displayed in his home for over 30 years. They were recovered in 2010 after his death, but almost half the slides were missing and misplaced somewhere.
JFK’s brain disappeared without a trace
After the traumatic event of his assassination, the details of his death where kept under wraps and an autopsy was conducted. Somewhere along the way, his brain went missing. According to official reports, his brain was removed and placed into stainless steel box that was given to the Secret Service, and was kept at the White House until 1965. Then, reportedly, his brother took possession of it.
According to the conspiracy theories, there’s a cover-up that the brain would have either a) shown that JFK had a neurological disease and was neutralized before he could lose function and b) he wasn’t shot from the direction we were told he was shot from. Hence, the big secret switcheroo.
As of the last official report, released in 2017, there’s still no sign of his brain.
Napoleon’s penis was put on display
Despite the jokes and rumours, Napoleon wasn’t actually a tiny man. He was, in actuality, an average-sized dude. But, he did have a reportedly tiny, almost micro, penis.
So, after his death, his member was passed around from person to person, and put on display. It ended up in the hands of an Italian priest in NYC, then a book seller, then a museum, until it went up for auction and purchased by an American urologist, who has it on display.
Beethoven’s skull was shattered into fragments
While he was one of the most genius composers of all time, he wasn’t treated very well after his death. During the autopsy, his skull was accidentally smashed into pieces with a hammer. The pieces were glued back together and he was laid in state, then buried.
Fifty years later, rogue scientists drug up his body to analyze his brain and they took pieces from the back of his head. Those pieces were handed around for far too many decades, until the were donated to the San Jose University Centre for Beethoven Studies.
John Wilkes Booth’s neck bones
After his assassination of Abraham Lincoln, Booth was on the run and tracked to the Garrett farmhouse in Virginia. He was shot in the neck and paralyzed, dying 3 hours later.
During the autopsy, his 3rd, 4th and 5th vertebrae were removed in order to find the bullet and they’re now on display at the National Museum of Health and Medicine. Or maybe not.
There’s a conspiracy theory that a scapegoat was shot instead, and Booth escaped justice and lived until 1903. Despite repeated requests from family to exhume the body or test the bones on display to prove they belong to Booth, have been denied. Makes you wonder why, and who’s bones are actually in the museum.
“Stonewall” Jackson’s left arm
During the 1863 Battle of Chancellorsvile, the General was wounded by friendly fire, and his arm had to be amputated on the battlefield. It’s assumed that the discarded limb was left on a pile of other similarly amputated limbs. Thankfully, one military chaplain went to save it.
Eight days later, Jackson died and his body was buried at the Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery in Lexington, VA, while his left arm is in a private cemetery at Ellwood Manor, near the battlefield.
But, there’s some debate over whether or not it’s really Jackson’s arm, or someone else’s. There were apparently a lot of arms there.
Mussolini’s blood was once for sale on eBay
During WWII, Mussolini was a brutal and fascist dictator who was overshadowed by his German compatriot, but was no less evil. After he and his mistress were captured, shot and hung on display, supposedly, someone stole his blood.
Back in 2009, Alessandra Mussolini, his granddaughter, found a listing for his brain and blood for sale on the site, that was reportedly stolen from Milan’s Policlinico hospital’s archive storage.
The hospital denies that they kept any materials from the dictator, and eBay took the listing down quickly, but it makes you wonder.
Charlie Chaplin’s body was once held for ransom
Chaplin was one of the greatest silent-era film actors, and insanely popular. After his death in 1977, he was buried in a Swiss cemetery. Three months after his death, grave robbers dug him up and called his widow to demand a $600,000 ransom.
The crooks were caught with some phone-tapping and good old detective work, and given 4 years in prison. The body was reburied in it’s original grave site, reportedly intact, and they dumped a whole pile of concrete on him for good measure.
Geronimo’s body was stolen by Yale University students
Geronimo was a proud and historical Native American leader during the War with Mexico in 1848. It’s been reported that Yale’s Skull and Bones society, including George W. Bush’s grandfather Prescott Bush, stole the skull for their clubhouse.
Seriously, it’s Wiki-legit.
This theft supposedly happened during WWII, and in 1986, an anonymous letter was sent to the Apache chairman claiming that they had it and spoke of a ledger written in 1918 including the item. And yet, Geronimo’s grave was always unmarked and undisturbed. So, it must be false.
In any case, no one’s in a hurry to prove the truth one way or another, for fear of disturbing Geronimo’s grave, or alienating the Skull and Bones members.
Eva Perón’s body was stolen by their military
We all know the musical with Madonna, and the true story is no less scandalous. She was the wife of Argentinean President Juan Peron, and she was a huge political activist. She died at 33 due to cancer and her body was preserved and kept in a crypt. But 3 years later, her husband was deposed and was forced to flee, while her body was stolen by the army.
Fearing the symbolism of her body, she was hidden away for 16 years in Milan, Italy. Thankfully, someone came to their senses and she was sent to her husband in Spain. When he returned to Argentina in 1973 and was re-elected president, he brought her home, but she was again put on display when he died. Apparently, it was deemed appropriate to lie in state together, despite the fact that she was dead for almost 2 decades at that point.
Thomas Paine’s bones are scattered across the world
This English-born revolutionary was one of the founding fathers of the United States. After his death, he was actually unceremoniously buried at his farm. A devoted follower dug up his body, and took it back to London for a grand funeral meant to inspire democracy in England.
The funeral flopped and his bones ended up being old off, piece by piece, and now reside in junk drawers all over the world.
Mata Hari lost her head somewhere
Mata Hari, who’s real name was Margaretha Geertruida MacLeod-Zelle, was a legendary Dutch dancer, courtesan and femme fatale. She was accused of being a German spy by the French during WWI, and was executed by firing squad.
Her body was sent to the Paris museum of anatomy, where they lost her head somewhere. To date, no one knows what happened to it.
F.W. Murnau’s skull was replaced
You might not know the name, but you know his greatest work:
. The original vampire film is a horror classic and a stellar example of all the scary movie tropes that define pop culture today. During his time, he gained a cult following of people obsessed with the supernatural.
So it only make sense that someone stole his skull from his tomb, and left a single burning candle in its stead.
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