10 Preserved Body Parts of Famous People That Are Displayed In Museums

The human body is a wonderful machine, a cluster of different organs working together as a single unit to make us what we are. While that definitely sounds pretty amazing on paper, getting to see them up close won’t be everyone’s first choice, unless you’re really into the anatomy. Museums have been created to showcase ancient artifacts which are significant culturally, historically, and aesthetically. Here, we shall delve into a bit weirder ones which actually have real human body parts of famous people. Hang tight; we also have two dicks coming straight up.

Mata Hari’s Skull

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Mata Hari till date remains one of the most mysterious spies of the First World War. But for whom did she spy for? It’s still a hotly debated question which spouts two possible answers, France or Germany. Nevertheless, she was executed by the French for spying for the Germans on October 15th, 1917.

Mata Hari was a professional prostitute and was a favorite among the top German officials, which made it easier for the French to make her a scapegoat to divert the public’s attention from France’s devastating losses in the war.

Her head was preserved in the Museum of Anatomy, where it mysteriously went missing.

Napoleon Bonaparte’s Penis

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Napoleon Bonaparte is considered as one of the greatest conquerors in recent history. But after his loss in Waterloo, his descent to powerlessness began. After losing the French throne, he was exiled to St. Helena by the British, where he died under mysterious circumstances.

But the third most interesting event to happen was the removal of his penis during his autopsy. Surprisingly, one of the greatest conquerors in humanity’s history had an abysmally little member down there. Napoleon’s penis was just 1.5 inches long.

Currently, Napoleon’s little member remains with the Lattimer family, which bought it back in 1977.

Albert Einstein’s Brain

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The Nobel laureate Albert Einstein, who won the Nobel Prize for his startling discovery of the Photoelectric Effect, had requested to be cremated after his death, so as not to create a cult around his name. But before that could happen, pathologist Thomas Harvey had stolen a part of his brain and two eyeballs. Although later, he was allowed by Einstein’s family to retain them under the condition that he would only use it for scientific purposes.

Albert Einstein’s brain is currently kept in the Mutter Museum, Philadelphia. This particular museum is quite famous for having some disturbing human remains, which includes the fused livers of two conjoined twins, the corpse of a woman who was called as the Soap Lady owing to her wax-like remains, and a diseased 9 feet long colon containing 18 kg of fecal matter.

Grigori Rasputin’s Penis

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Grigori Rasputin had a very peculiar and strange character. But one thing which was even more peculiar than his character was his incredibly long penis. His 33 cm long (13-inch) penis is currently showcased at the Museum of Erotica in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Rasputin used to work as a faith healer and an adviser to the ruling House of Romanov, before their fall in the Russian Revolution of 1917. In 1916, Rasputin was assassinated by some Russians. It is believed that the attackers cut off his penis while killing him. On the next day, his maid found his amputated penis and was so impressed with its size that she took it for herself. In a series of events, the legendary penis finally found its way to the Museum of Erotica in Russia.

Antonio Scarpa’s Head

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The Museum of the Story of the University of Pavia stores an actual human head belonging to Antonio Scarpa. Antonio Scarpa was an Italian neurologist and an anatomist who was infamous for his ruthlessness and nepotism in his professional life. As a result, he made more enemies than friends.

After his death, a few of his body parts were removed by Carlo Beolchin, a former assistant of Scarpa. The parts included his entire head, urinary tract, thumb and the index finger.

Jeremy Bentham’s Head

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Jeremy Bentham’s head currently lies within the premises of the museum in the University College, London. Bentham was an eccentric philosopher who wished to have his entire body preserved so that he could attend his friends’ parties after his death. True to his wish, his entire body was preserved except his head, owing to a minor accident during the embalming process.

His head was removed from the rest of his body and a wax figure was used instead. The head was earlier on display, but after being stolen repeatedly by students from the rival university, it was decided to relocate the head to storage.

Charles Babbage’s Brain

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Unlike Einstein, Babbage actually wanted his brain to be used for research. Charles Babbage is widely known as the father of the computer owing to his invention of the modern day computer. Currently, one half of his brain lies at the Science Museum in London, while the other half lies at the Hunterian Museum inside the Royal College of Surgeons in London.

Sarah Baartman’s Brain and Genitals

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Sarah Baartman was born in Eastern Cape, South Africa in 1789. She suffered from a rare disease called steatopygia which caused her body fat to accumulate on her buttocks, making them larger than usual.

In 1810, she was shipped to England to perform in front of the curious Britishers. She was named as ‘Hottentot Venus’ while exhibiting her body.

After her death, she was dissected and her brain, genitals, and skeleton were showcased in the Paris Museum of Man until 1974. After Nelson Mandela’s requests, her remains were finally shipped back to South Africa, where she was given a proper burial.

Galileo Galilei’s Tooth and Fingers

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Galileo is regarded as the father of modern science for his observational qualities which helped the field of science to transcend to new heights. Mostly popular for his heliocentric theory and theories of gravitation, projectile motion, and free fall, Galileo met strong resistance from the Vatican for defying the ancient scriptures of Christianity. But after his death, the scientific community was able to give due respects to the polymath astronomer and physicist.

In 1737, when his body was being relocated to a tomb opposite Michelangelo’s in Florence, few of his body parts were stolen by some over-enthusiastic fans. The stolen parts included three fingers, a tooth, and a vertebra.

Currently, the Galileo Museum, which is named after him boasts of having the highest number of body parts belonging to the famed astronomer. Meanwhile, his vertebra currently lies with the University of Padua.

Chief Mkwawa’s Skull

body parts of the famous people
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Chief Mkwawa is remembered as a resistance fighter against the Germans in present-day Tanzania. He fought against the colonization of the Hehe tribal lands. In 1891, he rebelled against the German forces and even managed to kill a high ranking official. He managed to stay alive for a few years by using his guerrilla tactics. But eventually, he was caught by the Germans. In desperation, Mkwawa shot himself in the head to avoid capture.

The Germans decided to send his skull back to Germany where it stayed until the First World War. In the First World War, Tanzania fought for the British against the Germans. So as a favor, the British asked the Germans to return the skull of Chief Mkwawa under the Treaty of Versailles.

Currently, the skull lies at the Mkwawa Memorial Museum in Tanzania.

Also Read: 10 Stunning Natural Wonders Which Are Rarely Known To Us

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