Important people from history left behind art, innovative ideas, political change – and sometimes, body parts. Placed for all to see in museums and mausoleums, historical figures' remains provide strange yet intriguing forms of remembrance.
Body preservation isn't a new concept; ancient Egyptians and Peruvian natives, for example, mummified their dead. During the Crusades of the 11th-13th centuries, people carefully preserved the bones of dead members of the nobility. Embalming practices even allowed several world leaders to have open casket funerals.
Body parts displayed in museums might seem creepy, but they certainly offer a glimpse into the past.
After famous physicist Albert Einstein passed away in 1955, researchers dissected his brain, eventually donating a few slices to the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia, PA. It's on display there.
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Russian mystic and healer Grigori Rasputin famously died in 1916 after being poisoned, shot, beaten, mutilated, and drowned. Someone supposedly either grabbed Rasputin's severed male member after his autopsy or fished it out of the river. Visitors can now view the 13-inch-long appendage believed to be Rasputin's at the MusEros Museum of Eroticism in St. Petersburg, Russia.see more on Grigori Rasputin
Former US president Grover Cleveland passed away in 1908. In 1893, during his second term in office, he had a secret operation to remove an oral tumor. A team of surgeons performed the surgery on a yacht and pretended it was a fishing trip.
The tumor found a new home in a glass tube at Philadelphia's College of Physicians' Mütter Museum.
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While most people want to be buried or cremated after they die, philosopher Jeremy Bentham wanted his skeleton dressed up, his head preserved, and the whole thing put on display with a sign reading "Auto Icon." But when Bentham died in 1832, the embalmers accidentally disfigured his head. They replaced it with a wax version that's on display in a specially made cabinet at the University College London, England. The museum also owns Bentham's real head, but they no longer display it for the public.see more on Jeremy Bentham