And so, the zombocalypse begins. New York locals were surprised on Wednesday to find nine brains lying by railroad tracks in the town of Governeur.
Strange as it may be, no criminal activity is suspected; these are most likely dog or sheep brains from an old educational collection. But interestingly, the good ol’ U-S-of-A has a history speckled with cases of lost minds. Here are just a few:
The Texas Brainsaw Massacre
Back in 2014, staff at the Unviersity of Texas Austin were up in arms over 100 brains that disappeared from their archives. Allegedly, the most well-known among them was the brain of Charles Whitman, the infamous sniper who climbed the Texas clock tower in 1966 and unleashed a barrage of gunfire, taking the lives of 16 people and injuring many more. The overarching hunch was that the brains were taken by a student prankster, until (plot twist) reports surfaced that they had somehow taken a walkabout to the nearby University of Texas San Antonio. The mystery seemed solved, until investigators never actually found the brains in San Antonio. It turned out that this was a bad case of “media gone wild” – one that spread so fast, it convinced professors and students at both universities. A later statement from Austin revealed the brains were destroyed in 2002 as part of routine disposal of biological waste.
A penny for your thoughts
Just a month after the Texas mishap, Police in Indiana set up shop for a sting operation at a local Dairy Queen. The target? A mother truckin’ brain bandit. An earlier arrest led them to uncover a Repomen-worthy (I know, it was a horrible movie) scheme to steal the brains of dead mental patients and sell them on eBay. Then 21-year-old suspect David Charles was caught peddling over 60 jars of brain and other human tissues, stolen from the Indiana Medical History Museum. The cortex-contraband was valued at $4,800.
E=MC…wait, what was I saying?
Perhaps no one’s brain has gotten more attention than Albert Einstein’s. After his death in 1955, Einstein’s body was autopsied by Dr. Thomas Harvey of Princeton Hospital, and subsequently cremated. Only, not all of Albert made the transition to ash. Harvey took it upon himself to secretly remove Einstein’s brain for later examination, against his family’s wishes. It was carefully measured, photographed, and cut up into 240 pieces (some of which he kept, and some of which were divvied out to other scientists). When a journalist tracked Harvey down some 20-odd-years later, he found the remaining pieces hidden in glass jars labeled “cider.” Harvey’s comparative study on Einstein’s frontal cortex was eventually published in Neuroscience Letters, but there was no “Eureka!” moment to be had. Genius as he was, physiologically, Einstein was overwhelmingly average.