Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The president's brain is missing and other mysteriously mislaid body parts

President Kennedy isn't the only famous person to have lost a body part after death; Einstein, Beethoven and Galileo are among many others who rest in pieces.

John F Kennedy  

John F Kennedy: could his brain hold clues to his murder? Unless it's found again, we may never know. Photograph: Sipa Press/Rex Features.
 
Who stole JFK's brain? It has been a mystery since 1966 when, three years after the president's assassination, it was discovered that his brain, which had been removed during the autopsy and stored in the National Archives, had gone missing. Conspiracy theorists have long suggested the missing organ would have proved Kennedy was not shot from the back by Lee Harvey Oswald, but from the front.

The latest theory puts forward a less juicy cover-up – James Swanson, author of a new book on the assassination of Kennedy, suggests the president's brain was taken by his younger brother Robert, "perhaps to conceal evidence of the true extent of President Kennedy's illnesses, or perhaps to conceal evidence of the number of medications that President Kennedy was taking".

Kennedy is just one of a number of famous people whose body parts were taken, either for good or dubious purposes. Brains have long held a fascination, particularly for people wanting to study the secrets of the intelligent, talented and powerful. After Albert Einstein's death in 1955, his brain was removed and studied by pathologist Thomas Harvey, much of it sliced and mounted on hundreds of slides, many of which have been lost. The Moscow Brain Institute collected and studied the brains of many prominent Russian scientists and thinkers, most famously that of Lenin.
 
For the rest of the story: http://www.theguardian.com/world/shortcuts/2013/oct/21/presidents-brain-missing-mislaid-body-parts

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