For one reason or another, people have preserved the various special organs of celebrities and they’ve been doing it for centuries. From the thinking organ in our head to male sex organs, at some point in time, someone, somewhere decided that the preservation of famous body parts was an exercise well worth undertaking. Here’s our Top Five List.
1. Albert Einstein’s Brain
Surely this is a no brainer. Albert Einstein, potentially the most famous scientist of all time died in 1955. Within hours of his death, his brain was removed for scientific inspection. Researchers wanted to see if there was a difference between the brain of a genius and that of a normal person. Their result: there is no difference.
Einstein’s brain disappeared for years, only to re-emerge in 1978, in the possession of Dr Thomas Stoltz Harvey. It was later donated to the National Museum of Health and Medicine.
2. Buddha’s Tooth
According to legend Buddha’s tooth was taken from his body upon his death. The relic is considered sacred and has been relocated between India and Sri Lanka for hundreds of years. You can visit the tooth in its final residence in Sri Lanka.
3. Galileo’s Middle Finger
The famous renaissance mathematician and astronomer died in 1642 and was buried in the small Basilica di Santa Croce in Florence, Italy. In 1737, his body was exhumed and relocated to the main room in the basilica. During the relocation, a tooth, his thumb and middle finger were removed by admirers. The body parts travelled around for centuries until they disappeared in 1905. They finally remerged in 2009 along with definitve proof of authenticity. Since then, they have been reunited with a third missing finger and their final resting place is in the Florence History of Science Museum, which was renamed after the great astronomer in 2010.
4. Napoleon’s Penis
After Napoleon’s autopsy in the 1820s, the attending doctor cut Napoleon’s penis off and gave it to a priest. The penis later showed up in the 1920s where it went on display in Manhattan. It was bought by an American urologist in the 1970s and has remained with his family ever since.
5. Mozart’s Skull
A decade after Mozart died in 1791, a gravedigger known as Joseph Rothmayer, supposedly stole Mozart’s skull. The skull remained in his family until the early 20th century when it was given to the Salzburg Mozarteum Foundation. However, the jury is out on whether the stolen skull is actually Mozart’s as the skull’s genetic material matched none of Mozart’s relatives. Ludwig van Beethoven and Joseph Haydn also had parts of their skull stolen.
There you have it, for some reason or another these are the parts historians, scientists and gravediggers decided were worthy enough to keep and preserve.