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Famous Body Bits
What ever happened to...


Albert Einstein's brain was kept "for future study." According to Strange Days #/, parts of the brain were stolen at his autopsy and then "stored in three jars under the sink in a tiny apartment of a doctor."

That doctor gave pieces of the brain to another doctor as a Christmas present. He distributed some to still another friend, while the first doctor kept Einstein's brain in his refrigerator and labeled it "Big Al's Brain." Several fragments are now privately owned by Einstein's admirers.


Marilyn Monroe's famous breasts were somehow destroyed during her autopsy, and a makeup artist had to create artificial breasts for her when preparing her for burial. Presumably her other parts were intact, including her six toes on one foot.


Elvis Presley: Years ago, someone who wanted him, needed him, and loved him made an unsuccessful attempt to steal Elvis's body. That failed, but Elvis Presley would probably be all shook up to know that one of his most ardent fans loved him so tenderly that this Georgia woman somehow managed to obtain for her collection of Elvis mementos one of Elvis's warts.


Big Al's eyes: In addition to the brain fragments that are floating around, Albert Einstein's eyeballs were later found in a jar and, even more humiliating, in New Jersey. (Everything's relative.)

One of his doctors spent twenty minutes disconnecting the eyes after Einstein's death so he could keep them as a little memento. They were auctioned off in 1994. In addition, Big Al's heart and intestines may also have been removed and kept by others.


Franz Josef Haydn may have been best known during his life for his "Surprise Symphony," but the biggest surprise for him came after his death. His head was stolen by a phrenologist searching for the "faculty of music."

That man then gave it to a woman who displayed it in a glass case for eleven years at her musical soirees. It wasn't until 1954, almost 150 years after Haydn died, that his head and body were finally reunited.


In the 1800s, Burke and Hare were responsible for at least sixteen murders, committed to obtain body parts for surgeons to dissect and study. But one of them became a victim of the body parts mania himself.

Some of the skin from William Burke's body was circulated to ghoulish collectors after he was hanged in 1829 for his crimes. Who ended up with some of it? Charles Dickens had a piece of Burke's skin, which he used as a bookmark.


Novelist Sir Walter Scott somehow obtained a stolen cervical vertebra of King Charles I. He used it as a salt cellar, no doubt shaking up some of his famous guests, such as Queen Victoria.


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